- 国際基督教大学学報. I-A, 教育研究 (ISSN:04523318)
- vol.11, pp.47-103, 1965-03
Kanji Kato (1884-) was a unique educator of farmers who aspired to regenerate agricultural communities as the spiritual and material foundation of the nation. He was once converted to Christianity under the influence of an American missionary, but later he became an enthusiastic follower of Dr. Katsuhiko Kakei, a Shinto theorist and professor of law at Tokyo University. Kakei, having adopted Hegelian philosophy, developed a new interpretation of Shintoistic Nationalism. Thus it became Kato's mission to educate the farmers to Shintoistic Nationalism. From another approach, Tadaatsu Ishiguro, a pioneering leader in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, was seeking ways to solve the serious problem of farmers' poverty, which was aggravated by a continuous agricultural crisis in the 1930's. Ishiguro attempted to implement two policies. One was a kind of reform of the landlord system (which, however, only became realized by command of the U.S. Occupation Forces after World War II), and the other was a plan to develop an educational program for training leaders in rural communities. Ishiguro was planning to establish a Japan Higher Folk School, adopting the pattern of that developed in Denmark under the leadership of Nikolai F. S. Grundtvig, an outstanding Christian leader who worked to solve that country's ruraIproblems. Kato was invited to serve as the first principal of this school, which, first in Tomobe and later in Uchihara, in Ibaraki prefecture, became the center of education of farmers in Japan. Same or similar kinds of folk schools with Kato's educational thought and method, spread all over the country. This educational movement in its early stage was expected to be like that in Denmark. It might have given the impression of sharing some of the humanistic and democratic sentiments of other new educational movements of the Taisho period, which were typically critical of the formalistic public school system (under direction of the Ministry of Education) and emphasized informal educational methods, pragmatic combining of "labor" and "education", and practical concern for social problems, etc. But in reality Kato's movement contributed to preparing, spreading and supporting the idea of Shintoistic Nationalism and fascistic ultra-nationalism in the thought pattern of the rural Japanese. Kato, when he realized that the second and third sons of poor peasants had no land to cultivate, was convinced simply that land had to be found for them somewhere in the world, and Manchuria offered the best opportunity. He persuaded military authorities, as well as the government itself, to adopt an agricultural emigration policy under which 5,000,000 poor peasants were to be sent to Manchuria. After the Manchurian War in 1931, this program became national policy, and Kato's school became the center for training the emigrants to Manchuria. Later Kato proposed sending out young boys between the ages of 16 and 19, besides the adult emigrants. At the government's request, many schools all over Japan were forced to select the best ten in ability and health among their graduating students and to send them to the school in Uchihara. They were trained there, and later at branches in Manchuria, in both agricultural and military practices. Then they were sent out to the northern frontiers as kind of colonial troops… a total of more than 300,000. Many of these capable and healthy boys, living under inhuman conditions in a severe climate, with poor food and heavy labor, suffered illness or died. Later, at the end of World War II, more than 80,000 boys, women and children were left behind by the Japanese troops and became tragic victims to the attacking Russians and Chinese. This paper is an analytical study of Kato's Shintoistic Nationalism and the nature and role of his educational movement in the historical process of modern Japan. The content is as follows: I . Preface…the purpose of this paper. II. The Folk School Movement for "regeneration" of rural communities in the period of agricultural crisis. III. Kanji Kato's Shintoistic Nationalism and his educational thought and method practiced and demonstrated through the Japan Higher Folk School Movement. IV. Emigration of farmers and youth troops to Manchuria as the result and continuation of Kato's educational activities. V. The significant nature and problems of Kato's nationalistic educational thought and movement in the history of educational thought in modern Japan.