From (Harmonious) Community Life to
(Creative) Coexistence
Considering Daisaku Ikeda’s Educational Philosophy in
the Parker, Dewey, Makiguchi, and Ikeda “Reunion”
DePaul University
A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve
a change in the destiny of a nation and further, will enable a change
in the destiny of all humankind.
—Daisaku Ikeda (2004, viii)
Educators must never look down on their students. Someone who is
not willing to do everything they can for their students is not a real
—Daisaku Ikeda (2009b, 4)
My disciples, be champions of humanity.
—Daisaku Ikeda (2008, 196)
This article anticipates the symposium “Reuniting Parker, Dewey, Maki-
guchi, and Ikeda: Education for Community and Citizenship across Lan-
guage and Culture” to be held on March 26, 2011, at the Francis W.
Parker School in Chicago, Illinois, and to be sponsored by the Francis W.
Parker School and the School of Education at DePaul University. The
symposium will gather students; parents; community members; teachers;
educators; and scholars, such as Larry Hickman, Jim Garrison, William
Schubert, Ming Fang He, Theresa Austin, Takao Ito, Andrew Gebert, and
Gonzalo Obelleiro, to discuss the educational philosophies of Francis W.
Parker (1837–1902), John Dewey (1859–1952), Tsunesaburo Makiguchi
(1871–1944), and Daisaku Ikeda (1928–) and the relevance of their phi-
Schools: Studies in Education, vol. 7, no. 2 (Fall 2010).
᭧ 2010 Francis W. Parker School, Chicago. All rights reserved. 1550-1175/2010/0702-0008$10.00
254 Schools, Fall 2010
losophies in the twenty-first century in general and under No Child Left
Behind and Race to the Top in particular.
The symposium planning committee selected the final paragraphs of
Dewey’s 1934 essay The Need for a Philosophy of Education (Dewey [1934]
2008) as a guiding conceptual framework for presenters’ talks across the
four thinkers. This essay could have been written yesterday, as the issues
Dewey contemplates still challenge us and have come into even sharper
focus in a post-9/11, globalized world. Specifically, Dewey argues that the
rapid and expanding industrialization affecting individual groups, tribes,
and race, on the one hand, and an “unprecedented wave of nationalistic
sentiment, of racial and national prejudice, of readiness to resort to force
of arms” (203), on the other hand, warrant a social aim of education.
Dewey states:
An environment in which some are limited will always in reaction
create conditions that prevent the full development even of those who
fancy they enjoy complete freedom for unhindered growth. . . .
Unless the schools of the world can unite in effort to rebuild the
spirit of common understanding, of mutual sympathy and goodwill
among all peoples and races, to exorcise the demon of prejudice,
isolation and hatred, they themselves are likely to be submerged by
the general return to barbarism, the sure outcome of present ten-
dencies if unchecked by the forces which education alone can evoke
and fortify. ([1934] 2008, 203–4)
In this article, I focus on Daisaku Ikeda’s philosophies of human edu-
cation (ningen kyoiku), human revolution (ningen kakumei), and creative
coexistence (kyosei), and I seek at once to position them in the East-West
ecology of ideas undergirding the Parker, Dewey, Makiguchi, and Ikeda
“reunion” theme of the symposium and to explain how they address the
aforementioned concerns Dewey identifies in The Need for a Philosophy of
Daisaku Ikeda’s Educational Philosophy: A Brief Context
To fully understand Ikeda’s educational philosophy, it is necessary to look
at Makiguchi and Makiguchi’s direct disciple, Josei Toda (1900–1958),
whom Ikeda took as his mentor at the age of 19. In a recent book on
1. For more on Makiguchi, Toda, and Ikeda, see http://www/tmakiguchi.org, http://
www.joseitoda.org, and http://www.daisakuikeda.org.
Jason Goulah 255
Ikeda’s philosophy of peace, Olivier Urbain (2010) argues that Toda met
Makiguchi in Tokyo in 1920 and that “they discovered a common passion
for a type of education that enables individuals to flourish” (52). This type
of education focused on children’s absolute happiness through epistemo-
logical empowerment and an ever-expanding capacity to create values of
aesthetic beauty; individual gain, or benefit; and social good. Ikeda clarifies
that “Makiguchi asserts that ‘benefit,’ which is associated with the interests
of the individual, must be balanced with the value of goodness, which
strives for the common good of society” (Ikeda in Chandra and Ikeda 2009,
103). Makiguchi called his approach soka, or value-creating, education, and
he believed that a value-creating life was a determined, socially contributive,
and fundamentally happy one.
Makiguchi helped Toda secure a job in education, and Toda quickly
took Makiguchi as his life mentor. When Makiguchi was involuntarily
transferred for refusing to show preferential treatment to children of au-
thorities, Toda followed. When Toda opened his own school, he applied
Makiguchi’s soka education philosophies and edited and published Maki-
guchi’s years of experiential and philosophical notes into what became
Makiguchi’s seminal educational work, Soka kyoikugaku taikei (The System
for Value-Creating Pedagogy [1930–34] in Makiguchi 1981–88, vols. 5 and
6; hereafter The Pedagogy). In addition, when Makiguchi converted in 1928
to the school of Buddhism propounded by the thirteenth-century reformer
Nichiren, Toda also converted. In the same year that they published The
Pedagogy, Toda helped Makiguchi cofound the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai as an
organization of conscientious educators based on actualizing the principles
of Nichiren Buddhism. On July 6, 1943, Makiguchi and Toda were arrested
and imprisoned for refusing to capitulate to Japan’s governmental policies
of militarism and Shinto worship; specifically, they were arrested for failing
to show the emperor proper respect (fukeizai) and for violation of the Peace
Preservation Law. Makiguchi died in prison in 1944; Toda was released in
1945 and immediately set out to rebuild the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai, changing
the name to the Soka Gakkai (Society for creation of value), seeing its
scope and purpose in society beyond the limits of education only.
Ikeda met Toda in 1947 at a meeting of the Soka Gakkai and joined
the organization 10 days later. Ikeda became the third president of the Soka
Gakkai in 1960, two years after Toda’s death, internationalizing and ex-
panding the organization. During the 50 years of Ikeda’s leadership, Soka
Gakkai International has become a UN nongovernmental organization and
has grown to more than 12 million members in 192 countries and terri-
256 Schools, Fall 2010
tories. Ikeda has maintained, refined, and applied Makiguchi and Toda’s
vision by living the Buddhist principles of compassion, wisdom, and courage
and by advocating the empowerment of ordinary individuals through Bud-
dhist humanism and through peace, culture, and education.
Ikeda’s 50 years of leadership represent a startling diversity of activity.
His complete works total more than 100,000 pages (and they are still
growing), and he has held dialogues with more than 1,500 leading thinkers
and political figures, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Linus Pauling, Johan
Galtung, Arnold Toynbee, and Norman Cousins. Many of these dialogues
have been published as full-length works (e.g., Galtung and Ikeda 1995;
Gorbachev and Ikeda 2005; Pauling and Ikeda 2009; Toynbee and Ikeda
1976). Ikeda has founded numerous cultural and educational institutions,
including the Institute for Oriental Philosophy (with offices in France,
Hong Kong, India, Japan, United Kingdom, and Russia), the Boston Re-
search Center for the Twenty-first Century (in the United States; it was
renamed the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue in 2009), the
Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research (in Japan and the
United States), the Min-On Concert Association (in Japan), the Fuji Art
Museum (in Japan), and the Victor Hugo House of Literature (in France).
Ikeda has been awarded the UN Peace Prize and over 300 honorary doc-
torates and professorships from the world’s academic community.
In addition, soon after assuming the presidency of the Soka Gakkai,
Ikeda founded the secular Soka schools based on Makiguchi and Toda’s
educational vision of value-creating pedagogy. The Soka schools include
kindergartens in Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, andSingapore;
elementary schools in Brazil and Japan; secondary schools in Japan; a
women’s college in Japan; and comprehensive universities in Japan and the
United States. Ikeda’s institutionalization of soka education has made it
perhaps Japan’s most internationally practiced pedagogical approach. More-
over, Andrew Gebert and Monte Joffee (2007) argue that, in addition to
the practice of value-creating education in the formal Soka schools, nu-
merous teachers around the world are implementing its principles in their
own local contexts.
In 2008, the John Dewey Society named Ikeda and the Soka schools
the society’s first lifetime honorary members, and past presidents of the
society Larry Hickman and JimGarrison are currently engaged in a dialogue
with Ikeda about the confluence of Soka education and Deweyan philos-
ophy (see, e.g., Hickman et al. 2009–10), and a number of scholars have
begun to examine Ikeda’s ideas alongside those of Dewey (e.g., Rockefeller
Jason Goulah 257
2009). This article seeks to contribute to this growing but still limited body
of literature and does so by excerpting passages fromIkeda’s major and minor
writings on education.
Understanding the Mentor-Disciple Relationship in the Ikeda
Ikeda never met Makiguchi (Ikeda 2009a), but he came to understand the
latter’s desire to establish a university grounded in value-creating pedagogy
through interactions with Toda. Ikeda ([2005] 2006) recounts that Mak-
iguchi once said to Toda: “In the future, we must found a school based
on the value-creating (Soka) pedagogy that I have been formulating. If we
can’t do it during my lifetime, please do it in yours” (11). And that, based
on Makiguchi’s request of Toda, Toda later said to Ikeda: “Daisaku, let’s
establish a university, Soka University. I hope this can be achieved in my
lifetime, but that may not be possible. Should that be the case, Daisaku,
I’m counting on you to do it.” Ikeda reports: “In that instant, a bright
flame, the dream of Soka University, was kindled in my heart” (10–11).
This account is important for understanding Ikeda’s approach to peace,
culture, and education as president of Soka Gakkai International, for it
illustrates the mentor and disciple relationship (Makiguchi-Toda, Toda-
Ikeda) that has been the guiding concept undergirding Ikeda’s actions and
beliefs. For example, Ikeda argues:
One hundred years ago, when the social standing of women in
Japan was extremely low, the founding president of the Soka Gak-
kai, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, worked passionately to expand ad-
vanced educational opportunities for women out of the belief that
it is they who will build a better society. He established a program
that offered correspondence education to women who were unable
to receive a secondary education after graduating fromprimary school,
compiling learning materials and editing a related periodical. He was
also instrumental in establishing a facility that offered free classes to
women with limited financial resources to learn sewing and embroi-
dery, skills that constituted a major element in Japanese girls’ edu-
cation at the time. It was as heir to his spirit that I created the corre-
spondence programs at Soka University and founded Soka Women’s
College. (Ikeda 2010, 12; emphasis added)
In terms of education as process, Ikeda also invokes the mentor and
disciple relationship:
258 Schools, Fall 2010
Needless to say, Soka education does not purport to teach any
religious doctrine. Yet it is based on a solid and, I believe, universal
worldview. If I were to express this in a single phrase, it would be
the spirit of shared commitment between teacher and student, mentor
and disciple.
Just as a diamond can only be polished by another diamond, it is
only through intense human interaction engaging the entire person-
ality that people can forge themselves, raising themselves up to ever
greater heights. It is the relationship between teacher and learner,
between mentor and disciple, that makes this possible. ([2005] 2006,
This theme of mentor and disciple relationship is also central in Ikeda’s
dialogue with Dewey scholars Larry Hickman and Jim Garrison (Hickman
et al. 2009–10). In one section, Garrison says to Ikeda: “Of course the
triplet of Makiguchi, Toda, and Ikeda, too, is interesting because it shows
the continuity of the mentor-disciple relationship. You [Ikeda] have followed
the path they trod before you and, in doing so, have made a highway that
others, too, can follow. Obviously I don’t mean this literally, but in a certain
sense Makiguchi’s greatest achievement is Toda. Toda’s great achievement
may have been Ikeda” (Hickman et al. 2009–10, pt. 3, 60).
Garrison then links this concept to Deweyan philosophy: “The second
of my two components concerns the teaching partner. Whereas in your
[Ikeda’s] terms the Mystic Law governing the life force of the universe is
always the teacher, for Dewey the experience of nature shared with the
student is always the teacher. Dewey’s idea and yours seem analogous. In
the experience of nature, both mentor and disciple cooperate and inquire
along the way” (Hickman et al. 2009–10, pt. 3, 63).
I believe it is this principle of the oneness of mentor and disciple—a two-
way shared commitment, not one of receptive passivity on the part of the
disciple, as Garrison correctly indicates in the dialogue (Hickman et al. 2009-
10, pt. 3, 64)—that most undergirds Ikeda’s approach to human education,
the first aspect of Ikeda’s educational philosophy I wish to address.
Ikeda’s Concept of Human Education—in Light of Mentor and
As the principle of mentor and disciple played a key role for Makiguchi
and Toda and for Toda and Ikeda, Ikeda argues that such a shared com-
mitment is an important point of “human education” that can be traced
Jason Goulah 259
back through the history of humankind to the brilliant light emanating
from the mentor and disciple relationship of Socrates and Plato (Ikeda in
Hickman et al. 2009–10, pt. 3, 57). Moreover, in looking at the theme
of the “reunion” among Parker, Dewey, Makiguchi and Ikeda, this concept
of shared commitment not only existed between Makiguchi and Toda and
between Toda and Ikeda but also in the shared commitment and relation-
ship between Parker and Dewey. On another level, it existed between the
young Makiguchi and the elder Parker (see Goulah 2010b; Ito 2007a) and
between Makiguchi and Dewey; Makiguchi met neither Parker nor Dewey,
but he referenced their work numerous times in advocating his philosophy
of value-creating education and contributive social self-actualization.
On yet another level, this concept of shared commitment existed in
the link between Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827) and the four
thinkers highlighted in the symposium. Pestalozzi’s work influenced Par-
ker’s, Dewey’s, and Makiguchi’s educational philosophies directly and
indirectly through their readings of Johann Friedrich Herbart and Fried-
rich Froebel. In addition, the Soka Kyoiku Kenkyu (Soka Education Research)
editor, Takao Ito (2005, 2007b), cogently discusses when the young Daisaku
Ikeda, as editor of the Japanese boys magazine Shonen Nihon [Boys’ Japan],
wrote an article in 1949 under the pen name Shin’ichiro Yamamoto on
Pestalozzi, titled “Pestalozzi The Great Educator.” Ikeda himself recounts
this in Watakushi no rirekisho [My Recollections] (Ikeda 1978; cf. Ikeda 1980):
“And I myself wrote under the pen name of Shin’ichiro Yamamoto, a
biography of the educator Pestalozzi. I had long been impressed by his
selfless passion for education” (Ikeda 1978, 104–5; cf. Ikeda 1980, 62).
Moreover, in the section of My Recollections titled “Suspension of Boys’
Japan,” Ikeda brings his editorial view (and, thereby, his early essay on
Pestalozzi) together with his founding of the Soka schools: “Finally Boys’
Japan has taken a step toward an entirely new world, a new universe. . . .
We hope that this magazine will give courage and strength to boys who
will create the new world” (Ikeda 1978, 106; cf. Ikeda 1980, 64). He adds:
“But thinking back on it now, I believe that my dream of entrusting the
future to the next generation of boys and girls has been realized in the field
of education through the Soka Academy and Soka Girls’ Academy, as well
as in the planned Soka Kindergarten and Elementary School” (Ikeda 106–
7; cf. Ikeda 1980, 64).
2. The comprehensive Soka schools had only begun to be established at this point.
Soka Junior and Senior High Schools opened in 1968; Soka University was founded in
260 Schools, Fall 2010
Ito draws from Ikeda’s notes in which Ikeda states that he was forced
to write the essay on Pestalozzi at the last moment because the person
scheduled to write it for the magazine could not finish by the publication
deadline; so Ikeda wrote a “sketch on the life of Pestalozzi” using as a
foundation notes he took on Evening Hours of a Hermit, which he read in
a local reading circle at the age of 19. Ikeda recalls that this book by
Pestalozzi, in particular the concept of “Pestalozzian experience,” was also
used in the reading circle as material for a thorough discussionondemocratic
education new to Japan.
This episode takes on importance when considering Ito’s argument that
Ikeda’s often-used phrase of “human education” (ningen kyoiku) also comes
from that period and from Pestalozzi. Specifically, Ito (2005) provides a
passage from page 54 of the Japanese version of Pestalozzi’s Evening Hours
of a Hermit that Ikeda read as a 19-year-old in which the technical term
“human education” appears three times. Pestalozzi uses the term to argue
for a type of school education modeled after home education that happens
under the gaze of a mother’s eye, where the means to a child’s academic and
moral cultivation happen through direct observation of the close at hand and
through experiences in nature. Under such education, Pestalozzi argued, the
child’s happiness is the teacher’s happiness, and the child’s joy is the teacher’s
joy (Ito 2005). Ito (2007b) continues to argue that Pestalozzi’s influence—
the concept of human education in particular—on Ikeda has manifested in
a number of ways, chief among them in his serialized historical novel, The
Human Revolution (Ikeda 2004) and in his speeches at Soka University.
First, Ito (2007b) states that in 1965 Ikeda writes in The Human Rev-
olution: “A philosopher once said that the purpose of education is not to
produce machines but to develop people” (Ito 2007b, 15; see also Ikeda
1995, 26; cf. Ikeda 2004, 1:13).
Although the reissued abridged English
translation of The Human Revolution (Ikeda 2004) attributes this phrase
to Toda, Ito argues that “a philosopher” in the original Japanese (and in
the first English translation [Ikeda 1995]) is Pestalozzi. In addition, Ito
adds, the following phrase that appears a couple pages later also comes
from Pestalozzi: “Good seeds yield strong plants and eventually bear beau-
tiful blossoms. Good children will become fine young people, who in turn
1971 and Soka University of America in 1987; see http://www/daisakuikeda.org for the
founding dates of each of the Soka schools around the world.
3. In the reissued abridged English translation, this sentence reads: “The purpose of
education, Toda believed, is not to produce machines but to develop people” (Ikeda 2004,
Jason Goulah 261
will develop into excellent leaders of society” (Ikeda 1995, 28; cf. Ikeda
2004, 1:14; see also Ito 2007b, 15).
In more specific terms, how do these statements represent human ed-
ucation, and how is the concept defined and realized in Ikeda’s approach
to value-creating education envisioned by Makiguchi and Toda? In a special
Makiguchi issue of Educational Studies, Goulah and Gebert (2009, 126)
argue: “Ikeda has used the formula ningen kyoiku to describe the educa-
tional philosophy and practice that has developed on the basis of Maki-
guchi’s pedagogy. . . . Literally ‘human education,’ this phrase could be
translated as humanistic, humane, or human/people-centered education; it
probably indicates all these aspects. There is, thus, in the Soka schools and
among educators inspired by the philosophy, a strong emphasis on the
human qualities of teacher-learner interactions.”
Goulah and Gebert (2009) argue: “Teachers in the schools point to the
example of Ikeda himself, who, through his many visits, small gifts, and
encouraging messages to students, has modeled humanistic educational
interactions for faculty members” (126). A couple of examples are helpful.
In discussing his interactions with Soka University students in the early
years of the school, Ikeda (2008) recounts how, as the school’s founder, he
personally encouraged the students who were establishing a school news-
paper and contributed his own money to purchase a proper printing press.
Ikeda (2008) writes that “he was determined to do whatever he could to
support the students. He also hoped they would become journalists who
could discern between right and wrong and would speak out fearlessly for
truth and justice” (121).
In another example, Ikeda recalls how he encouraged the members of
the university’s new baseball team, which, at the time, did not even have
a proper field on which to practice. Ikeda recalls how he surprised the team
with a visit to one of their practices at a time when they were in a slump
and presented them with Los Angeles Dodgers memorabilia he had received
a week earlier from Dodgers players.
After giving them the gifts, he encouraged them, saying: “In sports,
it is inevitable that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. The
important thing, however, is that no matter what the outcome, you
continue to grow and win as an individual” (Ikeda 2008, 125). On
another occasion, Ikeda again surprised the team to encourage them,
this time hitting balls to the players:
The club members may have in fact been catching the sincere
hopes and expectations of their school’s founder. Some even had tears
262 Schools, Fall 2010
in their eyes as they fielded [Ikeda’s] hits. The sound of the ball
cracking against the bat echoed across the grounds for a long time.
The club members were determined to win and live up to [Ikeda’s]
expectations. . . . In later years, as an expression of his hopes for the
club’s victory and glory, [Ikeda] offered them the following guidance:
“First, win with your minds, then win with your ability. Practice is
the game, and the game is practice.” The tradition of building one’s
character through baseball was steadily created at Soka University
with the support of the school’s founder. (Ikeda 2008, 128)
Much of this volume of The New Human Revolution focuses on Ikeda’s
firsthand experiences founding Soka University and interacting with many
of its early students and faculty. In all of it the mentor and disciple rela-
tionship as the font of human education, in the spirit of Pestalozzi, Mak-
iguchi, and Toda, is evident. In one explicit example, Ikeda recounts a
speech he delivered at the school in which he told students: “There are no
easy paths through life and that facing and overcoming difficulties is the
starting point of our education as human beings” (Ikeda 2008, 184). There-
after, invoking Pestalozzi, he conveys to students in the first and second
classes their important mission, also as founders, in sharing his commitment
to the ideals upon which the university was founded:
The Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi once called on the
students of the academy he established: “My friends, my fellow foun-
ders who have built the foundation of this academy with me, who
have assisted me with deep friendship in this difficult period of es-
tablishment, who have shouldered with me the heavy weight of these
significant years with patience and love—if it were not for you, my
enterprise would have seen its end soon after it began.”
[Ikeda], too, was expressing his heartfelt gratitude to his beloved
Soka University students by calling on them to be the school’s foun-
ders alongside him. (Ikeda 2008, 184–85)
More than 30 years later, Ikeda echoed this encouragement and his
commitment to the warmrelationship between teacher and student, mentor
and disciple, in the opening of his commencement speech to the first
graduating class of Soka University of America: “To the first graduating
class of Soka University of America (SUA), Aliso Viejo, who are my life,
my hope, my pride, I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations on the
marvelous occasion of your graduation. Each of you is a great pioneer, an
Jason Goulah 263
honored founder of SUA. All of you are victors. Each of you is a brilliant,
precious jewel; you possess a noble mission” (Ikeda [2005] 2006, 165).
Returning to The New Human Revolution, Ikeda (2008) argues: “Genuine
education takes place when a mentor resides in one’s heart” (192). He then
states: “Both President Makiguchi and President Toda were educators. How
happy they would be if they could see today’s Soka University students, the
leaders of the twenty-first century! True educators are willing to devote their
lives to protecting and nurturing their students. That is why I am exerting
myself to the extent that I am. As long as the students are growing, I am
prepared to do anything, whatever the personal cost may be. Education must
be carried out with such powerful commitment” (Ikeda [2005] 2006, 198).
Ikeda’s approach to human education, then, can most easily be defined
by his shared vision with Makiguchi and Toda (and, by extension, Pestalozzi,
Herbart, Froebel, Parker, and Dewey) for developing contributive citizens in
the nurturing relationship between teacher and student whereby ordinary
individuals are empowered to transform their beliefs and behavior and create
value toward personal and social benefit (Goulah 2010a). Ikeda calls this
internal transformation through human education a process of “human rev-
olution” (ningen kakumei), which I address next.
Ikeda’s Concept of Human Revolution
Around the same time that Toda entrusted Ikeda to establish a Soka Uni-
versity, Ikeda states that the Japanese Minister of Education Teiyu Amano
(1884–1980) wrote: “‘The fundamental pillar of any educational reform
must be a clear determination to realize human revolution’” (Ikeda [2005]
2006, 11). According to Ikeda (Huyghe and Ikeda 2007), the term “human
revolution” seems to have been coined by Shigeru Nambara, president of
Tokyo University, shortly after the end of World War II because, “in those
times, he realized that, more than changes in exterior political systems, the
people of Japan required the adaptability and support that self-revolution
could provide” (144).
Ikeda argues that because of the lack of solid philosophical foundation
or because of political and economic interests, Nambara and Amano’s lofty
ideal of human revolution was soon forgotten. However, at about the same
time, Josei Toda employed Amano’s words in his explanations of the practice
of Buddhist teachings (Ikeda [2005] 2006) and used the term “human
revolution” as the title of his autobiography written under the pen name
Myo Goku. Urbain (2010) argues that Toda popularized the term “human
264 Schools, Fall 2010
revolution” in Japan, but that it was Ikeda, again in the spirit of mentor
and disciple, who promoted it globally.
In his 2002 UN peace proposal, Ikeda explicitly defines his use of
human revolution: “Altering the course of human history—throughout
which ‘peace’ has been but an interlude between wars—will require of
each individual a profound inner resolution, a truly existential determi-
nation to seek their fundamental, inherent humanity and to transform
their entire being. In the SGI we call this ceaseless struggle for inner
renewal ‘human revolution.’ It is the steadfast effort to construct ‘the
defenses of peace within our own hearts and minds as proclaimed in the
Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO)’” (Ikeda 2002c, 5).
It was also in the spirit of mentor and disciple that Ikeda wrote the
Human Revolution (Ikeda 2004) and The New Human Revolution (Ikeda
1995–2010) and applied the concept of human revolution to soka edu-
cation: “(Toda) consistently urged people to realize a fundamental, positive
transformation in the depths of our own and others’ lives. The focus of
Soka, or value-creating, education must always be the achievement of this
kind of human revolution” (Ikeda [2005] 2006, 176).
Moreover, just as Ikeda considers human education couched in Maki-
guchi and Toda’s vision of fostering value-creative and contributive lives,
human revolution in the realm of education is, for Ikeda, likewise couched
in one’s capacity to create value: “As you meet various trials and difficulties,
thus polishing all the many facets of the jewel which is life, you will learn
to walk that supreme pathway of humanity. Of this, I am confident, and
I am confident too that those who embrace life’s native creativity now
stand and will continue to stand in the vanguard of history. Bringing the
creativity of life to its fullest flowering is the work of human revolution.
Carrying out this kind of human revolution is your mission now as it will
be throughout your lives” (Ikeda [1974] 2006, 49). In the following section,
I consider Ikeda’s concept of creative coexistence.
Ikeda’s Concept of Creative Coexistence
Although this article focuses on Ikeda, it can be read as a continuation of
a piece I published in the previous issue of Schools: Studies in Education
(Goulah 2010b), in which I examined Francis Parker’s and Makiguchi’s
views of harmonious community life as the goal of education through a
bilingual analysis of Parker’s My Pedagogic Creed (1896) and Makiguchi’s
On the Significance of Social Aspects That Mr. Parker Says Should Be Incor-
Jason Goulah 265
porated into the School Experience ([1897] in Makiguchi 1981–88), Research
on Instruction in the Multiple Grade Classroom ([1897] in Makiguchi 1981–
88), The Practical Application of Social Pedagogy ([1901] in Makiguchi
1981–88), and Reforms in Geography Instruction from the Perspective of the
Economy of Learning ([1919] in Makiguchi 1981–88) in relation to their
major works. That article marked the first time that Makiguchi’s early, so-
called minor essays had been introduced and excerpted in English and
revealed that, although Makiguchi appropriated the phrase “harmonious
community life” from Parker’s My Pedagogic Creed, repeated it in Signifi-
cance of Social Aspects and Social Pedagogy, and reiterated it 33 years later
in his most characteristic work, The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy
([1930–34] in Makiguchi 1981–88), he subscribed to its ideology before
reading Parker. My examination also illustrated that both Makiguchi
and Parker viewed harmonious community life as the means to absolute
I believe that article anticipates this one because I contend that the thread
from Parker and Makiguchi’s shared commitment to harmonious com-
munity life as the goal of education is evident in Ikeda’s vision of kyosei,
which has been differently translated into English as “symbiosis,” “coex-
istence,” “harmonious coexistence,” and “creative coexistence” (e.g., Ikeda
1996, 2003, 2005b, 2006, 2010). Like many keywords in the Ikeda corpus,
kyosei has also been in the air for some time. Fujita (e.g., Fujita 2010) has
written extensively on kyosei, defining it as “peaceful symbiosis/co-existence/
co-living . . . [it] is a basic value for social and human security, peaceful
social order and daily life activities, and social solidarity, as well as for
sustainable economy and society. It is the value that tends to be considered
a natural given and not necessarily recognized as important when and where
it is maintained and enjoyed by most of the people” (42–43).
Fujita continues: “[Kyosei] is not limited only to the relationships among
human beings but refers to the relationships between human beings and
various nonhuman species, materials, industrial products, and environ-
ments, as well as relationships between various species. It is not limited
only to war-related situations but is used to refer to forms, conditions, and
situations of our daily life—interpersonal and social interaction, social pro-
jects, and activities, including business” (Fujita 2010, 44).
Kyosei has also appeared in Japanese educational policy initiatives in
the phrase tabunka kyosei, a key concept to foster multicultural coliving—
literally “coexistence of multicultures” (Kubota and McKay 2009; Tai
2007)—a growing issue given the increased population of non-Japanese
266 Schools, Fall 2010
moving into Japan concomitant with globalization. Kubota and McKay
argue that “the word kyosei (coliving) represents a political shift in the
view of migrant workers—the previous focus on labor and law enforce-
ment shifted to the need to integrate these workers as residents in the
local community” (599).
Ikeda (2003, 9) defines kyosei this way: “[Kyosei] is an ethos that seeks
to bring harmony from conflict, unity from rupture, that is based more
on ‘us’ than ‘me.’ It signals a spirit that seeks to encourage flourishing and
mutually supportive relationships among humans and between humans and
nature. It is my belief that by making this ethic of coexistence the shared
spirit of our age, we can find the certain means to close the gap between
power and ethical standards of behavior.”
Elsewhere, Ikeda (1996) envisions kyosei as a “greater self ” fused with
the life of the universe through which cause and effect intertwine over the
infinite reaches of space and time. He states: “Each individual being func-
tions to create the environment that sustains all other existences. All things
are mutually supporting and interrelated, forming a living cosmos, what
modern philosophy might term a semantic whole” (160). He concludes,
“I am firmly convinced that a large-scale awakening to the greater self will
lead to a world of creative coexistence in the coming century” (161). More
recently he has applied this concept of kyosei to education for disarmament
(Ikeda 2006).
Ikeda’s understanding and application of kyosei as an aim and goal of
education and social self-actualization contains the same elements Fujita
(2010) and Kubota and McKay (2009) discuss above, but it is different in
an important way that, I believe, makes “creative coexistence” the most
comprehensive translation and makes the concept especially appropriate for
the twenty-first century. Ikeda’s application of kyosei is couched in Maki-
guchi’s theory of value creation and, thereby, takes on the essence of con-
scious and volitional creativity or creation. The Japanese root for “creative”
(sozo), such as that used in value-creation, does not appear in Ikeda’s usage;
however, just as “harmonious” was added to the Japanese translation of
Parker’s My Pedagogic Creed (1896; also see the Kyoikudan 1897 translation)
to fully convey the social self-actualization Parker envisioned (see Goulah
2010b), the English word creative has been added—something “gained in
translation”—to convey Ikeda’s full intention beyond a simple coexistence
or “passive” symbiosis. That is, Ikeda’s use of kyosei, as I read it, is couched
in the theory of value-creation (both in and outside education) and conveys
the sense that human beings must actively work at peaceful and harmonious
Jason Goulah 267
coexistence by creating values of beauty, individual gain, and social good
in each moment and in every interaction with all human beings, species,
and nature. This is captured, I believe in Ikeda’s 2010 peace proposal,
Toward a New Era of Value Creation (Ikeda 2010), commemorating the
eightieth anniversaries of Makiguchi and Toda’s founding of the Soka
Kyoiku Gakkai and their publication of Makiguchi’s System of Value-Cre-
ating Pedagogy (Makiguchi 1981–88): “In his 1930 book, The Pedagogy of
Value-Creating Education, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi called for a fundamental
transformation in the way people live their lives. He decried a passive,
dependent way of life and declared that even an active, independent way
of life is insufficient. Instead he called for a consciously interactive, inter-
dependent mode of existence, a life of committed contribution” (6).
In an educational context, Ikeda argues that students must be educated
to lead such a contributive and value-creative coexistence, which thereby
leads to their developing fundamentally happy lives. For example, in his
proposal for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development,
which was submitted to and approved by the General Assembly in Johan-
nesburg in 2002 and is currently in effect, Ikeda argues that a major goal
of education is to adopt a plan that will serve as a basis for making the
twenty-first century “an era of creative coexistence between humans and
nature” (Ikeda 2002a, 2). He adds: “Nothing is more crucially important
today than the kind of humanistic education [read: ningen kyoiku] that
enables people to sense the reality of interconnectedness, to appreciate the
infinite potential in each person’s life, and to cultivate that dormant human
potential to the fullest [read: human revolution]” (7).
Here, I think it is necessary to revisit Garrison’s aforementioned equation
of Ikeda’s view of the cosmic life with Dewey’s view of students’ experience
of “nature,” which Garrison assuredly took, in part, fromDewey’s Experience
and Nature ([1929] 1958). This work, Dewey argues, considers “‘experi-
ence’ in its usual signification, naturalistic humanism” (1a), and it is linked,
I believe, with his and Francis Parker’s earlier work, based on that of
Herbart, Froebel, and, thereby, Pestalozzi, in locating children’s moral and
academic development in their direct observation of and experiences in the
natural environment of their local community, a philosophy of education
to which both Makiguchi and Ikeda also subscribe. Like Dewey (and Parker
and Makiguchi), Ikeda similarly advocates for children’s dialogic experience
with and in nature as a means to developing their full humanity toward
value-creative coexistence. For example, he states: “In establishing the uni-
versity and our other educational institutions, I have attached great im-
268 Schools, Fall 2010
portance to environment. After all, in my opinion one vital consideration
in education is the need to provide for the harmony of man and nature”
(Ikeda 1978, 159–60; cf. Ikeda 1980, 103). Elsewhere Ikeda (2002b) states:
“When human beings are separated from one another or separated from
their place of activity, they cannot live as true human beings. Therefore
. . . [Makiguchi’s The Geography of Human Life ([1903] in Makiguchi
1981–88, vols. 1 and 2)] is a study devoted to discovering how, while
strengthening relationships between people and their environment, the cul-
ture of their society and their international situation, one can build finer
human character, create new values, and enrich society and the natural
environment” (xxxiv).
On the following pages, Ikeda then captures, I believe, Garrison’s in-
tention: “It is my hope that this English translation of A Geography of
Human Life will serve in similar fashion, or to an even greater degree, to
provide a basis for dialogue between people and people, people and the
community, people and the world, and people and nature. If it can act as
a source of energy to awaken the citizens of the world to the ways in which
they as individuals are related to the life force and thus usher in a century
dedicated to the dignity of life, I will be most gratified” (xxxv–xxxvi; em-
phasis added). It is noteworthy in this sense that the Japanese online news
magazine Sankei News (2010) recently reported that children with more
experiences in nature enjoy more academic achievement and higher earning
Finally, returning more specifically to the concept of creative coexistence
and Ikeda’s proposal for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable
Development, it is important to note that in this document Ikeda explicitly
ties the concepts of human revolution and creative coexistence to the value-
creating and contributive education Makiguchi envisioned, which is rem-
iniscent of language used in his aforementioned foreword:
Through dialogue and engagement, we draw forth and inspire in
ourselves and in the lives of others a profound sense of purpose and
joy. We begin a process of fundamental change that awakens a vastly
expanded sense of identity—our “greater self.” The ultimate objective
of SGI’s activities is to bring about—starting with a reformation or
“human revolution” in our individual lives—a universal flowering of
the philosophy of reverence for life. . . .
. . . A passive and dependent way of life lacks a clearly defined
sense of self; we live at the mercy of changing circumstance. An
Jason Goulah 269
independent mode of living may manifest a clear sense of individual
self but lack awareness of the realities and needs of others. In contrast,
a contributive way of life is based on an awareness of the interde-
pendent nature of our lives—of the relationships that link us to others
and our environment. It is a way of life in which we actively strive
to realize happiness both for ourselves and for others. (Ikeda 2002a,
The flow from “harmonious community life” to “creative coexistence”
from Makiguchi to Ikeda exists, perhaps most significantly, in the ideal of
human education envisioned by Pestalozzi and expressed by Ikeda in the
fourth guideline of Soka University of America (SUA): “Foster leaders for
the creative coexistence of nature and humanity.” Specifically, in his message
for the SUA dedication ceremony, Ikeda writes:
The great Swiss educator, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827)
left us these words: “Lack of knowledge of your own nature, o man,
curbs your wisdom still more than all the external restrictions forced
on you.”
It is my hope and desire that an unbroken succession of outstanding
leaders will depart from these gates to serve humanity in the 21st
century. It is my hope and desire that the waves of world citizens,
united and awakened to a genuine global ethic, will spread without
cease into an ever more brilliant future.
Thus, I have asked that the following principles will serve to guide
SUA in its endeavors.
1. Foster leaders of culture in the community
2. Foster leaders of humanism in society
3. Foster leaders of pacifism in the world
4. Foster leaders for the creative coexistence of nature and humanity.
([2001] 2005, 14–15)
Conclusion: Ikeda in Dewey’s Need for a Philosophy of Education
As mentioned at the outset, Dewey’s rationale for a social aim of education,
published in 1934, could just have convincingly been written yesterday.
The forces of globalization have had an impact on and dislocated races,
languages, cultures, and communities; destabilized ecosystems; and ad-
vanced calls to arms and terrorism. The need for a philosophy—and prac-
tice—of education that elevates students’ beliefs and participation beyond
270 Schools, Fall 2010
the lesser self to what Ikeda calls the “greater self ” through social self-
actualization is necessary more now than when Dewey wrote the Need for
a Philosophy of Education. Ikeda (2005) powerfully captures this sentiment
in his foreword to Educating Citizens for Global Awareness (Noddings 2005):
The great wave of globalization sweeping contemporary society, in
areas such as information and communications, science and tech-
nology, and the market economy, is a contrast of light and dark. The
positive potentials are democratization and the spread of awareness
of human rights; the negative aspects are war and conflict, rising
economic disparities, the obliteration of distinctive cultures, the spread
of weapons of mass destruction, and the destruction of the global
These dark shadows entailed in the current process of globalization
stir a vortex of malice and mistrust and provoke an identity crisis in
the very depths of the human spirit. Only as a growing movement
of people work to transform this bleak spiritual landscape will specific,
concrete measures produce meaningful results at international levels.
(Ikeda 2005a, ix)
Like Dewey before him, Ikeda, surveying the light and dark in the global
landscape, turns to education and the need for a philosophy of education
to amplify the light:
Education, in the genuine sense of the word, holds the key to
resolving these problems. Education has the power to enrich the inner
landscape of the human spirit, to build within people’s hearts what
the Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) refers to as “the defenses of peace.”
True education summons forth the innate goodness of humanity—
our capacity for nonviolence, trust, and benevolence. It enables in-
dividuals to reveal their unique qualities and, by encouraging empathy
with others, opens the door to peaceful coexistence of humanity. This
kind of humanistic education is crucial if we are to foster global
citizens. (Ikeda 2005a, ix)
In the arc of history and the East-West ecology of ideas interconnecting
Parker, Dewey, Makiguchi, and Ikeda across language and culture, then,
Ikeda’s contribution is, I believe, the shared commitment of and lessons
in mentor and disciple toward the greater self and the creation of value
Jason Goulah 271
through human revolution and creative coexistence by way of humanistic
education. As Dewey implores the need for a philosophy of education,
Ikeda (2010) can be seen responding, most recently and clearly, in his 2010
peace proposal, Toward a New Era of Value Creation (Ikeda 2010). Ref-
erencing the French philosopher Simone Weil (1909–43), Ikeda states:
“The essential characteristic of the first half of the twentieth century is the
growing weakness, and almost the disappearance, of the idea of value,”
which Weil referred to as “the enfeeblement of the sense of value” (3). As
if addressing Dewey directly, he continues:
Weil’s insights, like those of her contemporary philosopher Gabriel
Marcel (1889–1973), embody enduring truths. We can easily and
appropriately apply her description to our present situation. In fact,
the ailment she describes has, if anything, grown more severe. War
already represents the human pathology in its most concentrated form,
and in the present period the use of weapons of mass destruction
and the techniques of terrorism have made its violence almost entirely
indiscriminate. Such indiscriminate violence represents a refusal to
feel the moral sense of value that compels us to engage with people
as unique and irreplaceable individuals.
“Soka” literally means “value creation,” and the members of the
Soka Gakkai International are determined to respond on the deepest
level to the challenge of nihilism—the interregnum of values that
presently prevails—and to restore those functions that would guide
and restrain a runaway civilization. We consider this undertaking to
be one of significance even within the greater context of human
Ours is a movement that seeks to dispel the clouds of nihilism in
order to reveal the language and values of good that languish on the
verge of extinction. It is a movement that works quietly to revive the
human spirit and reawaken ordinary citizens, exhorting people to
choose the good that is the fruit of self-mastery and resist the de-
structive pitfalls of evil. It is an attempt to realize a fundamental
transformation in human priorities based on the idea that a change
in the destiny of a single individual can change the destiny of all
humankind, the key theme of my novel The Human Revolution. (Ikeda
2010, 3)
Finally, although this commitment is the hallmark of the Soka Gakkai
International’s Buddhist humanism, Ikeda simultaneously sees it, in the fullest
272 Schools, Fall 2010
spirit of the oneness of mentor and disciple, acutely in the realmof education.
Ikeda (in Chandra and Ikeda 2009) states: “I believe that the more all of
these values are created and manifested in a person’s behaviour, the more
this is evidence of the extent of that person’s humanity. The driving force
and engine for this value creation is wisdom and philosophy. In other words,
it is critical to answer the question ‘Why?’” (103). Observing that both the
current moment and contemporary civilization suffer froman acute impasse
characterized by the ills Dewey articulates as well as environmental deg-
radation, terrorism, fundamentalism and self-destructive apathy, Ikeda
(2008) argues that “in order to lift the curtain on a new age . . . a new
kind of university and a new philosophy [are] required” (194). Alas, it is
for these reasons that Ikeda founded the Soka schools and entrusts the lived
realization of Dewey’s needed philosophy of education—the philosophy of
value-creation—to the pioneering founders of Soka: “If Soka University
can play a role in the great challenge facing the world, if it can make some
significant contribution, I believe it will have fulfilled its purpose. . . . My
greatest personal task from now on will be education. This is because my
sole concern is how to lead humanity in the twenty-first century toward
happiness and peace. In that spirit, I am entrusting the world’s future to
you, the students of this university. And I ask the faculty to foster these
students into fine human beings” (Ikeda 2008, 190).
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