2004 Volume 71 Issue 3 Pages 302-313
Japanese governmental policies in recent years regarding childcare and education include measures for declining birthrates, support for childcare, and support for nurturing the next generation. The present article discusses the issue of support for nurturing the next generation from the viewpoint of relational development. Relational development refers to the state where: (a) several generation grow together while keeping the "rearing-reared" relation with each other; (b) the "self" or the mental core of individuals of each generation is largely influenced by the mutual relation with surrounding people; and (c) contradicting human natures within a self push forward with the "rearing-reared" relation. The author argues that: (1) a shift from the 'reared' stage to the 'rearing' stage is a great turning point for one's life and many young adults in modern self-centered society hesitate to go through such an experience, leading to the decline in the birthrate; (2) those who have just advanced from the 'reared' stage to the 'rearing' stage have little experience in childrearing and need social help for improving their childrearing skills; (3) the act of childrearing requires "fundamental abilities to live as a human being" on the side of the 'rearing, ' and such abilities can only be developed gradually from one's childhood through his/her mutual relations with surrounding people; and (4) "fundamental abilities to live as a human being" means the ability to balance between the contradicting human natures within a self. But in reality, Japanese adults are inclined to be self-centered, which is making childcare and education difficult. In conclusion, the paper points out the failure ofJapan's postwar educational policies to nurture "fundamental abilities to live as a humanbeing" in children and proposes that ways to nurture such abilities be seriously discussed for the successful nurturing of the next generationin Japan.