Starting with Ourselves-The Destination of Education(4)
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"Starting with Ourselves The Destination of Education"

III. "Starting with ourselves" --The resurrection of education.

1.            Wise political leadership following the "mainstream of world history" was finally secured in a place of leadership, in Germany's case, after the experience of two world wars. With only one unfortunate experience, Japan's leadership should be able to make the most of this. Returning Japan to its past nationalism through mimicking the methods of the Nazis will only push Japan once again back into an isolated, self-righteous nation. Will this not reap a great international loss? Education must not go back to the past, but facing the future, must be resurrected from the death of the old education. Resurrecting education requires deepening the understanding of humanity and starting again. We cannot accomplish it through superficial human understanding. The resurrecting of education requires education for resurrection. As I close this presentation, I would like to mention the collapse of two dogmas and how they are related to this.

2.            The first idea to break down is a general problem in modern society, but has existed from the time of the Greeks, namely the conflation of intelligence and character; simply said, smart people are thought to be above reproach. This assumption has created considerable repression in Japan until recently. However, recently high society elites have revealed their moral decay and, therefore, destroyed this supposition. Education after the war has diverged from the spirit of the FEL and has became education focused on entrance examinations. Those who conform to this system have climbed to the top political, governmental and economic spheres of national life. There, their moral decay became apparent when they put their own personal benefit above that of the citizens. This is evidence of the failure of education in post-war Japan.

3.            The second issue is more serious. During the war, the special attack corps gave their young lives to the country. The dogma that an individual's life is fulfilled through service to the nation was destroyed through the defeat and post-war politics. The problem of the souls of the Japanese people is that the meaning of an individual's life cannot be fulfilled through allegiance to the nation. The New Testament teaches, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?" (Luke 9:25). Japanese understand this teaching, even without knowing the Bible, through experience. Japanese people have a deep pain in their souls.

4.               Therefore, the problem of Japan's post-war education cannot be resolved by returning to the past. Modern people are no longer willing to sacrifice their lives to communistic totalitarianism, or to Hitler's totalitarianism or to Japan's totalitarianism, indeed, to any community even to our detriment, because they do not believe that they will find there fulfillment to the meaning of life. Still, the injured souls are seeking healing. Education must grapple with this problem. Prime Minister Mori advocated paying homage to Yasukuni Shrine, where the war-dead are enshrined. But since he became prime minister, he has not visited out of consideration for foreign relations. While I do not advocate visiting the shrine, I think his actions are insincere. That wound is causing pain again and again by this kind of conduct by politicians. Japanese people are being rendered incapable of offering their lives to the nation. Not only that, looking at this from outside of the country, Prime Minister Mori's actions and statements appear to reflect a two-faced tatemae and hone (outward appearances versus real intentions). Particularly in Japan, "individuals" are pathologically self-asserting in their search for healing. This is an issue of the soul of Japanese. So in addition to this hidden desire for healing, the problem of education, especially in Japan, reaches deep philosophical and religious dimensions.

5.               "Starting with ourselves" (Kai yori hajimeyo) is an old Chinese proverb that literally means, "Let's start from ourselves." It has a similar connotation as the English proverb, "He who first suggests it should be the first to do it," and also carries some meaning of "A journey of a thousand miles begins at home." A dictionary entry expands this proverb with the following explanation, "To invite wisdom, start by treating well unimportant people like yourself. In doing so, wise people will gather one after another. When attempting something great, start with something small. To start a movement, begin with yourself." The education revolution for forming a new Japan towards which Seigakuin's Conference on Education is aiming, shows that we should start from the bottom up, starting from this philosophy and using these methods. It does not start at Nagatacho or Kasumigaseki, the national government centers in Tokyo. It starts on the top of a hill northeast of the capital (our Komagome Campus) or the riverside on the outskirts of Omiya (our Omiya Campus), or rather, it should start on campuses with the fundamental educational relationship between students and teachers, or indeed, even if alone, it should start with the educator himself.

6.            The education revolution demanded by the Copernican revolution in the understanding of the nation-state must begin with a Copernican revolution within educators (including support staff). "To start a movement, begin with yourself." This is the revolution within an educator himself. The term "servant leadership" is common in the United States today. It means leading as a servant. Certainly, educators need to be leaders, but it must not be as the mistaken old adage: Issho konatte, bankotsu karu (Forgotten sacrifices of many soldiers gain the reward for the commanding officers). Leaders must be servants. Education must not be used for politics; rather politics must serve education. This does not negate leadership, but requires a 180-degree change of attitude. And this attitude has existed in Christian schools from the beginning. Through this educational conference, we at Seigakuin are trying to live out afresh our school slogan "Love God and Serve His People."

7.               "Starting with ourselves." First, education needs to be resurrected, and it must become education for resurrection. In Japan, education for the new century must be, not merely faculty development, but education for resurrection. The Latin term 'educere' is often said to indicate the drawing forth of latent faculties, but it also has the strong connotation of a general leading the military.

8.            One hundred years ago the Student Volunteer Movement was flourishing in the United States. It was part of the world mission movement. Their vision was for "the evangelization of the whole world in this generation." Seigakuin was born from this movement. This conference is also a "volunteer movement" at Seigakuin. Volunteer comes from the Latin term 'voluntas'. It is not something to do at the bequest of the government, but is of our own accord. The resurrection of our wills begins today; facing the new millennium the "Seigakuin Volunteer Movement" begins today. This is the meaning of our slogan, "Starting with ourselves."

Written by Hideo Ohki,Seigakuin's Conference on Education October 23, 2000.
Translated by Paul Tsuchido Shew.

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