Back to listSep 2, 2012

Soka Gakkai Japan's Academic Department Holds Symposium

Professor Ikuo KameyamaProfessor Ikuo Kameyama

On September 2, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding, the Soka Gakkai Academic Department held a symposium at the Nippon-Seinenkan in Tokyo. The symposium focused on the role of academic research in times of crisis.

Guest speaker Professor Ikuo Kameyama, president of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, stated that in the wake of natural disasters, people seek a deeper sense of meaning, and this leads to a re-evaluation of the power of language and the role of the study of the humanities. He noted that due to the trauma and suffering caused by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, some people had lost their will to speak. Professor Kameyama stressed that the mission of academics at such times is to share their knowledge in order to empower people.

Professor Atsushi Ogura of Meiji University in Tokyo echoed Professor Kameyama's sentiments, stressing how important it is for scholars in the field of the natural sciences to be engaged with society, especially during times of crisis.

Soka Gakkai Academic Department Chief Hirotomo Teranishi then encouraged the participants to pursue academic research based on the approach of value-creating pedagogy, a concept proposed in 1930 by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, educator and first president of the Soka Gakkai. Mr. Teranishi also introduced Makiguchi's concept of "humanitarian competition," a nonviolent mode of mutual striving for excellence in which nations and individuals compete to contribute the most to global society.

[Adapted from an article in the September 4, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photo courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]