The Japan Society for The Study of KOMINKAN issues an annual report that reflects the results of research in Kominkan and related fields. The purpose of this paper is to offer a general survey of the research findings reported in the journal over the past 15 years.
The Japan Society for The Study of KOMINKAN aims to be an "open academic society" that demonstrates a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach that transcends academic specialization. In line with this stance, the main themes include theoretical research on Kominkan personnel and organizational reform. Moreover, interest in the comparative study of Kominkan has accelerated, as has interest in the comparative study of community learning centers （CLC） within Asia.
Kominkan halls have also assumed an important role as shelters in instances of natural or other disasters. Kominkan demonstrated their unique character and role in areas affected by the great earthquake of March 3, 2011 and subsequent studies have conveyed the significance of Kominkan presence there.
Looking back on the studies included in the annual reports of the BULLETIN of The Japan Society for The Study of KOMINKAN, papers that address important and timely stand out We look forward to continued progress in research on Kominkan and hope that approaches to those issues that remain will be considered collectively in future Society meetings.
The purpose of this study is to consider the role that Kominkan can play when a diversity of residents in mountainous regions move towards cooperative autonomy.
In this project, I begin with the perception that traditional autonomy in mountainous regions is based on subservient social relationships that are rooted in feudal customs. I then focus on the process of cooperative autonomy formation, in which people who have been on the periphery as well as those who have traditionally been at the center of community life take part in community development activities, after which I examine the role of Kominkan in this process.
The case study taken up was that of the Tobitari Kominkan in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, and the Kominkan activities that supported community organization improvement and increased resident participation. The Tobitari Kominkan has engaged in various efforts to bring together the wide diversity residents in the community in order to come to grips with lingering feudal relationships and to deal with the problems associated with depopulation, the increasing isolation of these areas as well as the divisions between old and new residents.
Three main conclusions were reached. First, the process of developing cooperative relationships for autonomous self-government involves the reconstruction of cooperative ties between those on the periphery of the community and their perspectives with long-time residents and their experience in which all parties participate equally to bring on community improvement. Second, the Kominkan plays the role of a trigger in empowering those on the community's periphery and in bringing together all residents into an organization, albeit one that in the past has been prone to splitting apart. Third, it becomes an important factor in developing the cooperative relationships that can mitigate such a split through its educational and cultural activities.
The purpose of this paper is to uncover the historical processes that have led to the formation and development of social education facilities in large metropolitan areas, using Itabashi City in Tokyo as a case study.
The introduction of social education facilities in Tokyo came later than the national trend because of its policy of focusing on people rather than buildings. At first, facilities that catered to youth were turned into social education facilities for residents of all generations. After that, they became lifelong-learning centers. Since the 1990s, however, social education facilities have been in retreat. The location of classes or other learning activities have been moved from social education facilities to community centers near to where the people who participate actually live. Moreover, the role of social educator has also changed and has taken on that of a facilitator of the independent activities of the citizens in local communities.
Taking these circumstances into consideration and by looking at the relationship between social education facilities and a proactive citizenry, we reached three findings. First, the connections between citizens, based on an awareness of the issues in their daily lives, have come to provide a consistent base of support for social education. Second, mutual learning initiatives have provided a foundation for bringing citizens together. Third, with social educators moving into local areas, policies that cover a wide geographical area are now being positioned within a local context. These three findings reveal the possibility that social education can be deployed and developed beyond the restrictions of the placement of administrative facilities.
The role of Kominkan （community learning centres） in Japan is being questioned because of the recent decrease in the number of users. However, international interest in these centres, from a community education perspective, is growing. In this paper, the development of British community education was examined, with special reference to the history of adult and community learning in London. The following results were revealed:
First, London educational authorities brought about revolutionary changes, which tended to be conservative, in school and adult education. The evening schools run under these authorities produced new learners who lacked formal education experience and were not being accommodated by existing educational providers.
Second, the integration of the everyday lives and the learning needs of adults and youth was an important practical problem faced by most evening schools. There were schools that maintained basic adult education programs that targeted those who could not read and write and those that promoted informal learning for local cultural development.
London educational authorities enacted bold and careful reforms, bringing the special qualities of community education to practical adult education. The history of adult and community learning in London can serve as a source of significant importance for those doing research on the future of Japan's kominkan.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature of and the relationship between Social Education/Kominkan and community development by looking at the 15-year Iida-city (Nagano Prefecture) - Legazpi-city (Philippines) exchange program.
The Legazpi development assistance program began in 2005 and is grounded in the theory of Participatory Local Social Development (PLSD). The third phase of this program has just been completed. PLSD is a theory that was developed and promoted by Yutaka Ohama as an alternative to typical third world development assistance frameworks that tend to ignore the structural and functional features of local society.
The aim of this framework is to enhance and integrate inner and outer systems through a process of specific and concrete activities based on an analysis of local society. Iida-city was involved in a series of processes that served as a model for local autonomy and governance that generate experience-based learning.
As the phases have progressed, the sense of autonomy and independence amongst the people and the organizations in Legaspi has been enhanced. Three key factors characterize these changes: (1) formation of a foundation for community organizations through the implementation of Participatory Approach (PA) / Social Preparation (SP), (2) formation of common norms in both the Legaspi city government and the local people, (3) formation of Technical Working Group (TWG) as a bond between inner and outer entities.
Community development workers support these activities in the field. They provide support for the formation of a community consciousness as well as organizational and capability building for people within the local community. Outside of the community, they take on the responsibility for the consciousness-raising and capability building of support organizations.
The programs in Legazpi, built on a PA and PLSD framework, has much in common with the spontaneous community development found in Iida city. This does not simply indicate a need to return to the origins of the Kominkan but also offers numerous suggestions and ideas for finding solutions and offering ways to deal with issues of local governance in a society that is facing population loss and with the rearing of the coming generation.