|Director General Kaneko's Lecture at the Numata Rotary Club, Gunma Prefecture
What is True Human Education in a Global Society
| On Friday, June 5, Director General Mrs. Yumiko Kaneko
spoke on the theme "Lifelong Integrated Education -- What is True
Human Education in a Global Society" at the Education Lecture Meeting
sponsored by the Numata Rotary Club, Gunma Prefecture.
Mr. Shuntaro Nishida, Chairman of vocational service
committee, had participated during his student years in the youth activities
of the Center and been instructed and inspired by Mrs. Yoshiko Nomura,
our Founding Director General. After he started working, he continued to
participate in the Center's seminar courses and conferences. In recent
years he came to think something should be done to those serious human
issues around him as well as in the world, and he felt more than ever the
importance of the teachings of Nomura Lifelong Integrated Education. When
he was appointed as a chair of his Rotary Club's committee to organize
a lecture meeting on education, he strongly wished for a lecturer to be
sent from the Center to his organization. He therefore visited the Center's
head office to meet Mrs. Kaneko in person and asked if she would give a
Her lecture was held at the Hotel Bella Vita in Numata
City starting at 6 p.m. There were approximately fifty people in the audience.
Mr. Ryunosuke Yamada, President of the Numata Rotary Club, delivered the
opening address, and then Mr. Nishida introduced the speaker.
Mrs. Kaneko began her lecture by referring to the abduction
and killing of the two Japanese men by IS, and said that this was a deeply
troubling start of the year as we marked the Seventieth Anniversary of
the Second World War this year. She also touched on the bill concerning
National Security, "As a citizen, I feel a sense of crisis that the
shape of our country is being changed without proper deliberation."
Referring also to rash of serious crimes committed by young people, she
shared with the audience the need to see this not just as a current issue
but in a longer perspective, since the present is the continuation of the
On the theme of her lecture, "Lifelong Integrated
Education -- What is True Human Education in a Global Society," Mrs.
Kaneko posed the following question to her audience, "Before thinking
about lifelong integrated education, should we not start by thinking what
education really means to us human beings? I would like to ask what you
think the purpose of education is."
She continued that in view of the rapid progress of science
and technology, it seems contemporary education is focused on developing
people primarily to contribute economically--in other words, to use human
beings for results and profits. Education under the value system prioritizing
economic values, she believed, has resulted in today's society losing humanity.
In referring to the cause-and-effect relation between
the time and education, Mrs. Kaneko said, "The loss of our national
identity caused by the defeat of the war remains to affect us critically
today. While we question our government for its way of conducting the debate
on national security, should we not ask ourselves deeply if we are truly
acting on our own initiatives as citizens entrusted with sovereignty under
By tracing the emergence of lifelong integrated education
against its historical and social backgrounds, Mrs. Kaneko shared her thoughts
on the motives of the Nomura lifelong integrated education and said, "We
are influenced by the times in which we live, but we in turn by the very
way we live make the times what they are. We must be aware of this relationship."
She continued, "The all-pervading scientific and materialistic civilization
of our day has ignored the invisible human spirit and mind, made instruments
and commodities of us, mechanized us and reduced us to statistics, robbing
us humans of our sensitivity and leading to the loss of our sense of ethics
and morality and our very humanity. The Nomura lifelong integrated education
has attempted to transform the conventional definition of education."
Sharing with her audience the construct of Nomura lifelong
integrated education based on the Oriental view of nature, she said that
the unpredictable natural world is giving us warnings. "Our lives
are made possible by the natural world but are we aware of it," she
asked. "To be honest, our generation may have come to see nature only
from the perspective of its usefulness to us."
She went on by questioning the often repeated explanations
the government provides in the debate over collective self-defense, such
as "It would not increase any danger" or "It is an absolute
guarantee." "Has the government considered the psychological
consequences to us human beings when we find ourselves in unexpected circumstances?
Considering the boundless complexity of human nature nothing can be 'absolute'.
Have we not experienced incessant wars while desiring peace from time immemorial?
If we humans who have in our hands the power of our scientific civilization
fail to cope with our own unfathomable nature we may well drive the world
In concluding her lecture, Mrs. Kaneko said, "Each
one of us is a unique individual with all the time past and the relationship
with its environment every moment. This is the value of human beings drawn
from purely objective view of human positioned in natural world. Existence
of each individual is precious and irreplaceable. Without putting emphasis
on this recognition in education, true purpose of education will not be
Education putting emphasis only on efficiency and results
must regain the view that human beings have the hearts and spirits. I believe
cultivating the invisible hearts and spirits is the key to lead the individual
human development and the todayfs mammoth civilization. And it is the family
the human being is born and nurtured. Therefore, when parents in family
and adults in society are awaken to the dignity of human life it will make
the future look brighter."
Oze, Gunma Prefecture