FY2009 “Reitaku Studies Crew” Program Report I

Reflecting upon the Tanigawa Orientation Camp

Practical study on our university

Yuichiro Satonaga, Department of Japanese Studies, College of Foreign Studies

The Tanigawa Orientation Camp (hereafter “Tanigawa OC”) is a training camp for the freshmen of the College of Foreign Studies (majoring in English Communication, English Language and English / American Cultures, German Language and German Culture, International Exchange and Cooperation, or Japanese Language and Japanese Culture). This is the second year of the “Reitaku Studies Program,” one of the highlights of the training camp in Tanigawa. The local community has long-standing ties with Reitaku University.

In this unique Reitaku program, the seniors (Reitaku Studies Crew) are assigned to teach the founding philosophy of “the unity of knowledge and virtue” to freshmen in the days immediately following their entrance ceremony, while the cherry blossoms are still in bloom. This year, the Crew welcomed new members who themselves were freshmen only last year, which breathed new life into the program and made it easier for new students to relate.

As part of the Reitaku Studies Program about conveying the university’s founding philosophy, I gave an introduction on the “Sanpo-Yoshi (benefits for all parties)” principle which Chikuro Hiroike exercised. If I were a freshman, I would ask the Reitaku Studies Crew whether they have exercised the principles of “the unity of knowledge and virtue” and “Sanpo-Yoshi” themselves. I would want to know whether they are practicing what they preach.

As a leader of the program, I wish to reflect upon the members of the Reitaku Studies Crew and their activities.

First, let me examine the question of whether we have practiced the “Sanpo-Yoshi” principle. “Sanpo-Yoshi” is a principle of practical wisdom about “ensuring that what one does benefits oneself, the recipient, and any third party.” In the context of Reitaku Studies at Tanigawa OC, the “three sides” represented “Reitaku Studies Crew,” “freshmen” and “Reitaku University.”

From the perspective of the Reitaku Studies Crew, we placed the greatest emphasis on “enjoying ourselves” and “conveying the emotional message.” The members of the Crew have experienced the “fun and intriguing aspects of Reitaku University” for one to three years. The experiences have provoked so many thoughts and sentiments we want to share with freshmen. It was clear that these could not be truly conveyed unless we were having fun doing it.

Thankfully, the university warmly accommodated the Reitaku Studies Crew, allowing us to be totally informal and enjoy doing the program, which brought substantial growth to the participants (See reports by other members for details). The experience was a testimony to the University’s motto on mercy and generosity.

However, we would not be thinking of the benefit of others if we were only pleasing ourselves. What we had to consider was the “intention of the University.” Reitaku Studies Crew was expected to convey the University’s “founding philosophy” and other characteristics to freshmen based on fact.

To fulfill this expectation, we made sure to study and attain full understanding of the “purposes and need for founding Reitaku University (Moralogy University)” and the meaning of “the unity of knowledge and virtue” in advance. The program was developed carefully and thoroughly, covering the meaning of the word “Reitaku” and the significance of “Tanikawa / Oana,” “the unity of knowledge and virtue,” and the “founder Chikuro Hiroike.” This allows the features of Reitaku University to be presented in an easy-to-understand fashion.

All this consideration still does not make the program perfect. Even if we share a wonderful and noble story, it is only self-serving if it is hypocritical or unconvincing. Information is only meaningful if it has real benefits. This makes it necessary to consider the viewpoint of freshmen. There were two factors we had to keep in mind in order to see things their way. One was the fact that they came to the mountains of Gunma Prefecture to camp on the third day after their enrollment, and the other was that they had never even heard of “moral science.”

Although this may be a little off-topic, the camp at Tanigawa involved University lecturers providing information about Chikuro Hiroike until two years ago, instead of Reitaku University itself. In the good old days, freshmen might have felt moved and excited about their good fortune of being accepted to Reitaku University. But, for better or for worse, times have changed. The modern Reitaku freshman class includes those who did not necessarily want to study here. In fact, a majority of the freshmen might be joining Reitaku without really knowing what kind of university it is.

This is why the Reitaku Study Studies has now takencenter stage in freshmen orientation. Taking advantage of the camaraderie we have as fellow students of the University, the Crew presents extensive information in an entertaining and student-friendly approach, one wholly different from a lecturer. Some of the freshmen might have felt as if they were forced to come, when they had no idea what Reitaku University was all about. If that is the case, we thought we might as well take on that attitude head-on, and adopt an entertainment approach to fascinate them. The Reitaku Studies Program was then developed with the goal of providing knowledge required for the freshmen to make the most of their four years at Reitaku University.

The efforts seem to have paid off, as many of the participants responded positively and embraced the information provided with a spark of intrigue in their eyes. In the post-camp survey, many said they “enjoyed” the camp. There was an interesting story where freshmen from one department were divided into groups, and each group was allocated to receive a session by the Reitaku Studies Crew at either the Tanigawa Reitaku Hall or the Memorial Hall. One group which attended the Memorial Hall session, and was only meant to receive a briefing on the Reitaku Hall, felt greatly enlightened by the Crew’s session. They demanded that they be allowed to visit the Reitaku Hall as well. Their schedule was eventually adjusted to accommodate the request. As this story shows, freshmen seem to have a fun and fulfilling time with their interest fully stimulated.

The program turned out to be beneficial for the Reitaku Studies Crew, freshmen, and the University. There should be no argument about recognizing it as a good example of “Sanpo-Yoshi” program.

As for the practical implementation of the Founding Philosophy of ” the unity of knowledge and virtue,” what we achieved in the camp is indeed the embodiment of the philosophy.

In the process of developing this program, we asked ourselves; “What can we do to help freshmen make the most of what Reitaku University has to offer?,” and “What can the program offer that also benefits Reitaku University itself?” These “considerations for others” represent “virtue.” The Crew gave “thorough consideration” to identifying the most effective method and approach for conveying information. This represents “knowledge.” What counts most here is the fact that the “consideration” and “knowledge for realization” should come together naturally, as knowledge emerges from consideration for others.

This shows that the Reitaku Studies Crew made sincere efforts to put into practice the principles of “Sanpo-Yoshi” and “knowledge-virtue unity.” It is evident that the concerted efforts by the crew members brought significance to the program.

I feel there will be a greater need to educate students about their own University. Unfortunately, this is the last Tanigawa orientation camp that I can personally attend. Yet, reliable juniors have already started preparing for next year’s program. I hope they explore the “study” aspect of the program, finding joy and achieving growth in the process.



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