*1 Ms. Sizue KatohiThe First recipient, 1996j
|Our Center receives Ozaki Yukio Award
|Nomura Center received the 9th Ozaki Yukio Award sponsored by the Ozaki
Yukio Memorial Foundation and on Tuesday, March 29. The Award Ceremony
was held at the Kensei Kinen-Kan (The Constitution Hall) in Chiyoda Ward,
Tokyo. Director General Kaneko gave her commemorative address under the
theme "The role of Japan in the world - The essence of education and
the raison d'être of human being".
The Ozaki Yukio Award was established in 1996 by the Foundation, to celebrate
the philosophy of Ozaki Yukio (1858-1954), referred to as the "Father
of constitutional government" who had given his life through Meiji,
Taisho and Showa periods, for building a modern Japan, establishing a democratic
government and achieving world peace, and is awarded to an individual or
a group, in Japan or elsewhere, who are making a difference in promoting
democracy, disarmament, human rights and world peace.
The Award recognized among others, Mrs. Shizue Katoh*1 (the first award) and Mrs. Sadako Ogata*2 (the second award) from Japan.
In January this year, the Foundation informed us that it wished to honor
the Nomura Center by presenting it the Ozaki Yukio Award for the fiscal
year 2004, which coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the death of
Ozaki Yukio. The Board of Directors of the Center decided to humbly receive
it as "recognition of the achievements of our late Director General
Mrs. Yukika Sohma, Vice-Chairman of the Foundation and Yoshiko Nomura were
long-time friends who shared common vision and purpose, pursuing Japan's
role from a global perspective and promoting ways for it to contribute
to world peace.
In presenting the Award, the Foundation cited: "In the light of the
present social circumstances, a search for the mission of education and
the principles and values that constitute its basis is a vital issue. The
development of the fundamental Principles based on the Oriental view of
nature and human beings, and the commitment to lifelong integrated education
and practice that the Nomura Center pursues, represent not just achievements
of the past but a promise for contributing to the society of the future.
Furthermore, 'Betterment of human nature and creation of an enriching global
culture' advanced by Nomura Center's voluntary educational activities serve
as the foundation of peace-building. These are in line with Ozaki Yukio's
conviction that in building a peaceful and democratic society one must
first change human attitudes and behavior through education."
The ceremony began with Mrs. Sohma's opening
address, followed by a report from Dr. Atsushi
Shimokobe, Managing Director of the Foundation
and Chairman of Shimokobe Office, on behalf
of the Selection Committee. Mrs. Sohma then
cited the reasons for this year's choice
and presented the Certificate of Merit and
an auxiliary prize to Director General Kaneko.
Mayumi Moriyama, M.P. and President of the Foundation, who had joined the group in the meantime, congratulated Mrs. Kaneko after the conclusion of her commemorative address. A reception followed in the next room.
The Award Ceremony began at 2 p.m. with Mrs. Yukika Sohma, Vice Chairman
of the Foundation, saying: "My father Ozaki Yukio wished that 'Japan
find its rightful place in the world and that we nurture men and women
who would contribute to it.' I am therefore grateful that the Nomura Center
for Lifelong Integrated Education accepted the Award. Mrs. Yoshiko Nomura
always spoke to the world. It is a crucial period for Japan to define its
role in the 21st century. I sincerely wish that Nomura Center will continue
its inspiring activities as they are much needed around the world."
Dr. Atsushi Shimokobe, Managing Director of the Foundation, on behalf of the Selection Committee stated:
"I am happy to report that it was the unanimous decision of the Committee
to award Nomura Center the 9th Ozaki Yukio Award. It is an honor for the
Foundation to recognize Nomura Center that has continued its volunteering
educational activities over a sustained period of time."
Then, Director General Yumiko Kaneko of our Center was invited to the stage to receive the Certificate of Merit and the auxiliary prize from Mrs. Sohma.
Following the ceremony, the video tape of the 8th International Forum on
Lifelong Integrated Education commemorating the 40th Anniversary organized
by the Center in 2002 at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris was shown. It
was incidentally the last International Forum for our Founding Director
General Yoshiko Nomura, and her last keynote address, "Lifelong Integrated
Education as a Creator of Future - Wisdom for the Survival of Humankind".
Director General Kaneko's commemorative address began at 3 p.m..
Yumiko Kaneko first thanked the Foundation for the honor it did by awarding the Center in the special year that marked fifty years after the death of Mr. Ozaki.
She went on to say: "Our beloved Founding Director General Mrs. Yoshiko Nomura left us on November 29, 2003, a year after that memorable 8th International Forum, the part of which you just saw in the video tape. Mrs. Nomura delivered her last keynote address, introduced her successor in anticipation of the future and left on a journey from which she will not return. I accept this Award as a token of the understanding and support given to the lifework of our Founding Director General Yoshiko Nomura, for her vision and for the outstanding achievements."
"I know it is presumptuous of a young and inexperienced person like
me to speak at an occasion like this, but I do so with humility and gratitude
as one who restored the dignity of myself through practicing the Principles
of Nomura Lifelong Integrated Education when I was feeling my life had
no purpose. I would like to share with you the vision of Yoshiko Nomura
under the theme: The role of Japan in the world - the essence of education
and the raison d'etre of human being".
"'The motive defines the objective' Mrs. Nomura reminded us again
and again," Yumiko Kaneko told her audience. "In this context,
the achievements of the Center in the last forty years all started with
what moved our Founding Director General. So that is where I would like
to begin." Yumiko Kaneko sketched for the benefit of the audience
the background against which Director General Nomura started her activities
in Japan as well as abroad early in the 1960s.
Mrs. Nomura saw the sufferings of the youth during the period of Japan's
high economic growth and was moved to the point that she felt she had to
do something about it. She felt there was a drastic need to review education
and question its essence. The tragic state of the youth was only a starting
point for her. She looked beyond them to the state of the society at large
and to the period and found that at the root of the problem of the youth
was the loss of humanity.
Mrs. Kaneko expressed, "Mrs. Nomura already had that vision forty
years ago. It makes me all the more respect her for her insight. As true
to its axiom, 'Education takes a century of planning' nurturing a person
to grow to what he or she is meant to be is a precious and yet an unglamorous
and time-consuming task." Mrs. Kaneko then turned to Yoshiko Nomura's
motive at the global level by saying, "Usually, one starts from a
personal motive that gradually expands into a global motive. In the case
of Mrs. Nomura she had both the micro and macro motives, that is to say,
domestic and global motives from the very beginning."
"With those motives in mind, Yoshiko Nomura developed her Principles
of Nomura Lifelong Integrated Education, based on the Oriental view of
nature. She always felt that it was useless unless the Principles were
lived and practiced by us on daily basis. This was her strength. She did
not stop at practicing the Principles so that she impacted the lives of
those around her and across the world. She communicated to the world as
it was always in her perspective. And the world responded to her challenge
and continues to do so as the suffering never ends." On the subject
of Japan's role in the world, Kaneko stated:
"It is safe to say we are living in a borderless world. In such a
world the challenge is to create a global civilization. It is all the more
urgent to develop a global consciousness. This is a mammoth challenge especially
for the Japanese who live in the islands.
What then do we mean by having a global consciousness? It means that instead of rigidly holding on to a national perspective or a specific direction, we will be creating a new global civilization by putting together our unique ethnic and national cultures.
Sadly however, the reality is a society riddled with division, confrontation, conflicts and destruction of ethical standards. It is against this backdrop that Mrs. Nomura sought to restore an order based on universal principles.
The loss of an identity for a country means nothing less than the loss
of identity of individual citizens. It is nature's ways that children exist
because of their parents but in our world we see increasing number of children
denying their parents, and parents in turn abandoning their children.
At the Nomura Center, there are countless families that have been reunited, as parents and children rediscover their natural and loving bonds for each other.
Isn't it true that it is we humans who create problems not only for ourselves
but cause environmental destruction and even natural disasters? Not to
mention the global warming, are not earthquakes and floods that threaten
us, nature's warning lest we forget its boundless gifts, and exploit it
for our selfish ends? Is this not nature's wake-up call to wake us up to
respect the universal order?
Director General Nomura reminded us that it was important in a globalizing world that we establish our own identity as individuals and as nations. What then is the identity of the Japanese?
I was born a little over ten years after the war. When I was in the junior
high school everything was beginning to be measured by numbers. Even in
those days, I often heard people refer to us Japanese as serious, honest
and diligent. I don't hear those words too often nowadays and I have a
certain feeling of uneasiness. It probably is that we have not quite lost
them but we certainly do not recognize them as important values.
I have personally learned from Director General Nomura's Principles of
Education, that values that I hold dear, such as honesty and seriousness,
but are looked down as trifle and ungainly in the contemporary view of
things, are in fact important. This recognition helped me to reassess myself
and find my self respect.
I am so much apprehensive of the present tendency to disregard our natural gift to treasure things that have no forms, and only value things that are tangible, those that can be translated into mathematical numbers and are achieved quickly.
I am concerned that this tendency may lead to the denial of being a Japanese and the loss of our identity. How can children be brought up sound and healthy in body and mind on a soil that adults deny their own existence and identity?
However, I know from my personal experience in my adolescence that adults
can draw out the potential of the next generation in developing a new future
of Japan by instilling in them, through education, if we ourselves open
our eyes to those profound thoughts, moral values and traditional culture,
the very qualities that have long nurtured and formed our society, and
of course with the courage to face squarely the wrong doings of the past
and atoning for them."
"Director General Nomura believed and taught us, peace is not maintained
by virtue of having a Peace Constitution, it is the love of peace and the
commitment to peace of the Japanese resulted in having a constitution of
peace. She was often heard saying, 'Japan's commitment to pacifism was
not born overnight. It represents the constitution of the people fostered
in the course of its long history by the wisdom and virtues of our forbearers
and nurtured by our soil and climate.'
I must ask my generation, that has no experience of the war but makes up the majority of the population, do we realize what we are doing to ourselves by casting away things of great value that have been accumulated by our predecessors, just because we cannot find value in them? Why must we succumb to the logic of one power? It is truly sad that we allow ourselves to be swallowed up by it for our inability to recognize our own excellent traditional culture and the spirituality that gave birth to it.
The war in Iraq and conflicts in other countries make it abundantly clear
that the logic of power only spawns a chain of revenge. If so, why is Japan
attempting to be part of that logic of power? Is it not because Japan has
lost sight of the value of the logic of virtue and harmony? Now is the
time to recognize those values as truly valuable and send this message
out to the world. This is the best way Japan can contribute to world peace.
This may be seen at first as cowardice on our part, but the courage of
our conviction will in the end prevail. That is positive pacifism of ours,
"A paragraph out of Mr. Ozaki's writing, 'My Will' caught my attention:
'It is a serious offence to kill a person as an individual. If, however,
the killing is done in war between countries, even if it were a genocide,
it is not considered a serious offence. The country gives a medal of honor
and praises the murderer. If an individual steals what belongs to another,
he is punished as a thief. Stealing land of another nation in the name
of one's country is considered serving national interest and therefore
is commended. An otherwise intelligent person, when placed under the spell
of 'Serving the interest of his country' loses his sanity and does ill to his country by losing his sense of right
and wrong. This of course is not peculiar to the Japanese but appears to
be a prevailing trend throughout the world.' 'Morality between individuals
has advanced to the level that conflicts are resolved not by force but
to the decision of the court based on reason. Resolution of conflicts between
countries has not advanced at all since the time of barbarians who sought
to settle matters by force and war. Why don't we think that killing is
just as wrong when committed by an individual or a state in the name of
war? If conflicts between individuals can be resolved by the decision of
the court, why can we not resolve conflicts between states by decision
of the court? What impedes us from doing so?' This is a reasonable proposition.
I wonder why we cannot raise this reasonable question. Perhaps we give
up bringing up the question because we do not seem to have a better solution.
If we Japanese realized that our experience of preserving peace can be
a contribution to an increasingly divided world, we can overcome that uncertainty
in us by establishing universal set of principles that can be shared by
all human beings who are gifted with life as inseparable part of nature."
Director General Kaneko concluded her address by saying: "I commit
my life to carry on the will and wishes of the late Director General Nomura.
As a member of the generation that has not known war, I will carry on her
spirit, through my own self renewal, and working in partnership with your
Foundation so that we may together contribute to the future of humankind
and the world." Mayumi Moriyama, President of the Foundation, stated:
"I am delighted and encouraged that Mrs. Yoshiko Nomura's spirit is
carried on and the work is in good hands. I am confident that you will
continue to apply yourself and make greater contributions to Japan and
the world at large."
During the reception that followed, Director General Kaneko, Mrs. Sohma and Dr. Shimokobe continued their public dialogue and pledged to collaborate in jointly creating a bright future.
For her wide-ranging activities covering gender issues, issues on human rights, family planning as well as on environments. She promoted these activities with her unchanging attitude following her conscience and carrying out her faith not being daunted by the power. She is admired for her achievement also in the global community.
*2 Ms. Sadako Ogata(The Second recipient, 1997)
For her relief activities for the refugees worldwide from her humanitarian
point of view. She carried out the nonpartisan standpoint and received
the understanding and assistance from the governments of various countries.
She is highly admired for her activities worldwide.