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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Sybille Höhe

Sybille Höhe

Sybille Höhe
Japanese Studies, Study of Religions
(PhD Students, June 1, 2004 - July 31, 2005)

“Religious influences on Japanese politics concerning the present educational reform” (working title)

Related to the “Rainbow Plan 2001”, a concept was authored by the National Commission on Educational Reform that determines the reform plans concerning nurture and education in Japan. This bill was among others passed with the agreement of the New Kōmeitō Party. The religious organization Sōka Gakkai, whose founder Makiguchi Tsunesaburō had already dealt in the 1920s with this still prevailing major issue in the field of education, and the New Kōmeitō are officially separated, but since the New Kōmeitō became part of the governing coalition in 1999, it is said that some connections between the two institutions are still existent. This calls for a judicial investigation as well as an inquiry from the perspective of religious studies. Goal is to determine if the separation of state and religion in Japan is being de facto adhered to or if a religious organization is granted participation in matters of approaches to reforms in the Japanese educational system, and therefore in political affairs.
   As a first step, the problems in the Japanese education system which arouse in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as the progression from the discussion of a third educational reform to the “Rainbow Plan 2001”, which was passed by the governing coalition, should be elucidated. In addition to the elaboration of the “Rainbow Plan 2001”, the various reform proposals and different positions of the involved groups are to be presented. Besides, an analysis of the New Kōmeitō`s party program is relevant to see in which educational fields the party tries to encourage reforms resembling Sōka Gakkai’s educational guidelines. The criticism of the different parties on the third educational reform should be considered as well. Beside the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology that is significantly involved in the structural change of the educational system, the National Commission on Educational Reform need to be mentioned which was set up ad hoc for this reform project.