Makiguchi Tsunesaburō, the founder of the new religious movement Sōka Gakkai, proposed his educational principles and policies in the 1930s – at a time when the Japanese state`s policies aimed at building obedient and loyal “subjects”. In his writings, Makiguchi particularly expounded ideas on the moral growth of individuals, the interconnectedness with nature and with other individuals, direct interaction with natural phenomena and the importance of community.
In this paper, I discuss the concepts of “value” according to Makiguchi Tsunesaburō and the current president of the Sōka Gakkai International, Ikeda Daisaku, in an historical perspective as well as in conjunction with today’s educational system in Japan. I take a critical look at the attempt to implement Makiguchi`s thoughts on education into present day policies of Sōka Gakkai pedagogy on the part of Ikeda. However, I argue that the ideas of Makiguchi`s value-creating pedagogy seem to be of benefit in any age and may provide Japanese policy-makers with valuable suggestions for solving the problems they face in education today.
Sybille Höhe is a Ph.D. candidate at the Philipps-University Marburg. She is currently doing research at the German Institute for Japanese Studies.