Article 23 of the Social Education Act provides regulations restricting the activities of Kominkan. But in most Kominkan it has been applied to their users, i.e. citizens as well. Especially problematic is the abuse of the regulation that is spelled out in the first sentence of Paragraph 1, Item 2, which prohibits Kominkan from engaging in “activities connected to the interests of a specific political party”. This regulation has been interpreted as excluding all political activities from Kominkan and has infringed user’s human rights. That shows a fatal absurdity of applying regulations for public facilities to citizens whose human rights should be guaranteed.
In this connection, I will focus on an attempt to eliminate this absurdity by giving a user-specific interpretation of the regulation, which allows political activities, instead of denying its application to users. This means adopting a de fact double standard. Because the strict interpretation on prohibiting political activities is still maintained and applied to Kominkan.
I first verify the logic behind the application of this regulation by referring to a survey that was carried out in 18 cities in the Tokyo Tama area in order to determine the actual situation in local Kominkan. Then, by analyzing an administrative notice and the results of two court cases, I clarify the logical structure and the features of the double standards that are revealed. Finally, I consider the significance of this double standard.
Can it be said that Kominkan are being “politically neutral” when they do not address “divided public opinion themes”? Moreover, would Kominkan be fulfilling their role as educational institutions by not addressing such issues?
This paper examines the bias involved the issue of not printing a haiku, the nature of political education and the role of Kominkan. More specifically, this paper considers the role of Kominkan, learning from the study approach of Achi Village in Nagano Prefecture where self-governance amongst its residents was nurtured through the affirmative execution of political learning on “divided public opinion”.
The purpose of this paper is to clarify the differences in interpretations of the Social Education Law by local residents and by the Ikeda Town Board of Education.
In recent years, when residents wish to hold a study meeting on a theme related to political matters, there have cases where Kominkan, basing their decisions on Article 23, Paragraph 1, Section 2 of the Social Education Law, have refused to let them use their facilities.
In Ikeda Town a problem occurred when the Kominkan, which had approved the application of a resident for the use of the venue, decided to rescind its permission the day before the meeting. The Board of Education and the resident discussed the reasons behind the cancellation for about one year. As a result of these discussions, the Board of Education acknowledged that the cancellation had been a mistake and apologized to the resident.
The cancellation of permission to use the Kominkan by Ikeda Town officials raises issues for future research, and calls for the clarification of the question of why social education officials interpret the Social Education Law in such a way as to restrict the use of Kominkan by local residents..
This paper seeks to elucidate the social context that brought on the refusal of the Mihashi Kominkan to publish a haiku poem on Article 9 as well as to examine the meaning of the new movement to revitalize Kominkan in Japan. In doing so, I apply the concept of “identity of places” to the historical research of local Kominkan and go on to analyze the history of Kominkan in Omiya and Saitama cities. After describing the paper’s purpose and research methodology, I survey the formation of Omiya City, which became Omiya Ward after its merger with two other cities in 2001 to become Saitama City, from the Meiji period and the history of Kominkan in Omiya after World War II and Saitama City after its 2001 formation. Next, I analyze the formation, loss, and reconstruction of “Kominkan identity” in Omiya and Saitama City, and draw conclusions from this analysis.
At present, residents and Kominkan staff who seek to reconstruct the identity of Kominkan in Saitama City are undertaking study sessions to that end. What is significant about this process of “reconstruction” —what Edward Relph observes as “authentically created places”—is that it is emerging as “civic learning” that seeks to redraw the “borders of the political order” with regards to education. This process should not be understood as just as a dispute involving the identity of Kominkan, but instead should be perceived as an exercise to redefine democracy in Saitama City.
This paper examines the policy of municipal social settlement facilities in fishing villages in the prewar period.
During the prewar period, both public and private sector actors worked to establish natural disaster memorial halls. For example, Kyoto City established six typhoon memorial settlements (Fugaikinen-Rinpokan) in 1935 and 1936.
After a tsunami (Showa Sanriku Tsunami) struck the Sanriku coast on March 3, 1933, Miyagi Prefecture established tsunami memorial halls (Shinshou-Kinenkan) from 1934 to 1938 in 33 fishing villages. These buildings were built with funds that came from donations. Tsunami memorial rooms were placed in the tsunami memorial halls. The facilities were built with the purpose of providing support for post-tsunami reconstruction and to provide disaster prevention education.
For all practical purposes, these tsunami memorial halls served as municipal social settlement facilities in the small fishing villages in which they were constructed. Most of the halls had educational and nursery functions, and staff were assigned to the halls.
10 of these tsunami memorial halls served as the foundation for the Kominkan that were established in early postwar Japan. For example, the Ogatsu Town Office converted the Ogatsu Shinshou-Kinenkan into a Kominkan.
All but one tsunami memorial hall, the Shuku Kaishou-Kinenkan, were destroyed by the tsunami that accompanied the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.
The purpose of this paper is to examine a new concept of Kominkan by introducing the practices of a Kominkan that is managed, not by a public body, but by a non-profit organization (NPO). This NPO, Creative Support Let’s, is locally based and although it promotes social change and the participation in society of persons with disabilities it calls itself a “Kominkan”.
In this paper, the purpose of and the process by which the Kominkan was established are introduced as well as the content of its activities and the childhood experiences of and general perceptions towards Kominkan held by its staff. Two distinctive characteristics were pointed out based on this information. First, unlike public Kominkan, this “private” Kominkan understands the elasticity of its local area and sees residents not as “people who reside here” but as “people who have needs”. Secondly, this private Kominkan is a place that welcomes all people who live in the area, not necessarily those who come with a purpose.
For these reasons, this NPO, whose mission, “to make a society in which a variety of people come together”, is limited and has been only partially realized, still calls itself a Kominkan because of its public nature.
Just as Kominkan were conceived as “schools of democracy” after World WarII, in order to develop a modern and a new concept of Kominkan, it will be necessary to draw up concrete images of what is “local” and what is “society” that embody the values that those involved hope to realize.
Three features characterized the CONFINTEA VI Mid-Term Conference. First, conference proceedings were based on GRAEL 2 and 3. Second, they were also based on three international goals that were settled in 2015. Third, they were to be connected to active civil society movements through the Civil Society Forum. After confirming these features, the paper moves on to the comments and discussions regarding ‘community learning centers’ at the conference. These are mentioned once in the written report (recommendations) of the conference and similar expressions appear in sections where the focus was on how to expand the participation of people in adult learning and education programs. This is similar to what occurred at the CONFINTEA VI. Moreover, there were lively global research exchanges at this conference about ‘adult education and community learning center’ policies and practices at the side event coordinated by DVV International.
After introducing the challenges pointed out in the Asia Pacific report, the expectations that emerged from the Latin America report, and a number of research frameworks introduced by the coordinator from DVV International, this article then looks at how these global exchanges were seen by DVV International and one of its staff members, Uwe Gartenschlaeger. They took the position that it is through these exchanges that they are challenged to reconsider the way the centers in their own countries operate. This was also suggestive of how the promotion of research and on-site practical exchanges between these centers and how transnational research on Kominkan, which would be considered one such center, could bear fruit.
This paper explores the roles of Kominkan and CLCs (Community Learning Centres) in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) activities that are directed towards the achieving of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This paper is based on the main findings of two ESD projects organized by UNESCO in 2018. One was a project on resource material development on ESD for CLCs and the other was a regional workshop on community engagement for ESD, held in Okayama in September 2018. The resource materials used consist of three modules: ESD concepts, training programmes and project planning and management. These materials will be adapted in selected countries in the region, including Japan, for pilot training programmes in 2019. In connection with the development of these training materials, a regional workshop was held for 35 participants from 15 countries. According to the country reports, since ESD is considered to be a broad concept in many countries, there are insufficient resources that can be utilized for concrete training activities.
Field visits to Kominkan and schools in Okayama provided participants with ideas about community based inter-generational learning for the promotion of ESD. The Okayama visits made it clear that an overarching ESD policy with budgetary and other resource allocations can serve as an enabling factor that lends support to community based initiatives through Kominkan and the schools. Although Japan has been a leader in promoting ESD, the main focus has been on activities in the schools, coordinated throough the Ministry of Education’s Associated School Project Network. Policy makers, practitioners and researchers should review and identify the roles of Kominkan in pursuit of SDGs, utilizing findings gained through shared transnational CLC and ESD experiences.