FY2008 “Reitaku Studies Crew” Program Report II

■Report: Reitaku Studies at the Tanigawa Orientation Camp

Norimi Tsukada, College of Foreign Studies

This is the first time I have attended the Tanigawa Orientation Camp for freshmen as a member of the Reitaku Studies Crew.
Please refer to the report by the leader Sugiki for details on the camp. This report focuses on what I felt during the camp from my personal perspective.
Crew members first discussed the overall picture of the camp to share the objective of this activity, before examining the specific details of assigned tasks. Meetings were convened to discuss the significance of the Reitaku Studies program, what the phrase “the unity of knowledge and virtue” means, what the founder’s philosophy was, and which aspects we could improve on camp activities performed until last year. Among the past issues identified for the Reitaku Studies (Moral Science) program at Tanigawa Orientation Camp was “Moralogy.” Many freshmen enter Reitaku University without any knowledge about Moralogy, an academic field advocated by Reitaku University founder Chikuro Hiroike. Upon hearing the word “Moralogy” for the first time during the camp, they see it as something completely unfamiliar and liken it to a religion, which undermines the effect of the Reitaku Studies program. It was not that the students rejected the concept of Moralogy, but that they became suspicious of the unfamiliar subject. We agreed that the situation could be improved by taking a more friendly approach to presenting the concept. Specifically, we decided to portray Chikuro Hiroike as the “founder of Reitaku University,” rather than the “advocate of Moralogy,” and refer to the concept as “Moral Science” / “Hiroike,” so as to give a more universal aspect to the program even when seen from outside the university. Defining and developing Reitaku Studies as a universal program could help it become one of the major characteristics of Reitaku University, at a time when other universities are setting up similar initiatives to teach their students about their universities. This notion was very inspiring.
The advantage of having senior students provide Reitaku Study instead of teachers is that freshmen see them as more approachable. Teachers with greater knowledge can deliver more information in lecture sessions than us students could ever achieve. But this time, the emphasis was on helping freshmen embrace Reitaku Studies free of preconceptions. With this objective, a friendly and approachable image was more important than the amount of knowledge that could be delivered.
Discussions about the significance of Reitaku Studies led to the expression of various opinions. Today, over 50% of secondary students receive a university education. University degrees no longer have a “brand value” like they did in old days. At a time like this, giving each student a sense of pride and a positive view about our University’s educational philosophy might give an added meaning to “graduating from Reitaku University.” “Raising motivation for learning” is often cited as the meaning of encouraging students to study about their own universities. I wondered how this applies to Reitaku University. Under the founding philosophy of “the unity of knowledge and virtue,” Reitaku University places as much emphasis on “virtue” – the education of minds – as it does normal education. Although courses offered include those about the depth of human nature and workshops about humanity, there are not many opportunities for students to know why and under what educational policy the curriculum is defined. We felt that learning about “knowledge-virtue unity” in this camp and becoming aware of the philosophy through university life would encourage students to pursue both “knowledge” and “virtue” enthusiastically and effectively. The benefit of encouraging the pursuit of both “the unity of knowledge and virtue” is that freshmen, who focused primarily on “knowledge” through secondary education to prepare for university entrance exams, can gain a new perspective of “virtue.” They may learn about the importance of seeing things from multiple perspectives so as to enrich their university life and prepare themselves for post-graduation. Through these discussions, I was able to see what we were trying to achieve in Reitaku Studies in this camp. This became a guidepost for later activities.
Members were then assigned individual tasks. New students are sent to the Oana Memorial Hall and the Reitaku Hall for information sessions during the orientation. We decided to send them to the Oana Memorial Hall first, to learn about Reitaku University and its founder. They would then go to the Reitaku Hall to undergo extended sessions. I was teamed up with the leader Sugiki to take charge of the session at the Oana Memorial Hall, while Satonaga and Honda were assigned to Reitaku Hall sessions. Here, the report focuses on the sessions at the Oana Memorial Hall.
The Oana Memorial Hall is a compound that preserves the hot spring spa which Reitaku University founder Chikuro Hiroike used to treat his afflictions, and the room where he spent his final days. There, we taught new students about the founding philosophy of Reitaku University, history and the characteristics of modern Reitaku University. We built these lessons from scratch, which was the hardest part of this project. If we had presented information about how Reitaku University was established in chronological order, it would have gone something like “Hiroike advocated Moralogy, which led to the establishment of Reitaku University.” This approach would introduce the phrases “Moralogy” and “Hiroike” with no prior explanation, and might take the audience by surprise. For this reason, we opted for the approach of building the presentation around the founding philosophy of “the unity of knowledge and virtue.” The session program started with information on what Reitaku Study was, and went on to describe the founding philosophy of Reitaku University, the meaning of “the unity of knowledge and virtue,” the person responsible for developing this principle, and the developments which lead to the establishment of Reitaku University based on “the unity of knowledge and virtue” and the current formula of education that combines knowledge and virtue. The session design took a structural approach instead of a chronological one, to make it easier for new students to grasp the concept. Emphasis was always placed on ease of understanding and approachability.
At the actual camp, freshmen were divided into departments and again into smaller groups, making it necessary to hold information sessions about ten times. As the sessions progressed on, the student response showed me which parts interested them and which ones confused them. The lecture was modified after each session for improvement. What surprised me was the positive student response when I was describing the founder’s upbringing and developments leading to the establishment of Moralogy. I realized that the “difficult to understand” image of Reitaku Study came from student confusion over the unfamiliar terms, rather than their rejection of the concept of Reitaku Studies. Young people of university age are extending their sense of identity, often described as the “second life,” and are said to suffer from numerous fears and worries about their lives. The fact that the founder overcame various hardships and achieved excellent accomplishments holds appeal for many of them, inspiring future studies. We made particular effort to maintain neutrality in describing the founder and Moralogy, so as not to create prejudice among the students. As a result, post-camp surveys showed that no one complained about “not fully comprehending” the concept of Moralogy. We established that the philosophy could be fully understood as long as information is delivered properly. This could be a useful reference for future camps.
However, there were many other areas needing improvement. One of them is the information sessions at Oana Memorial Hall lacking depth due to downplaying the significance of Moralogy and the founder to make the concept more palatable to the freshmen. Although the facts provided were embraced by the new students, lecturers observed that they ended up being spread out too thinly. The Reitaku Studies this time was positioned as an “introductory” program. The emphasis was placed on ensuring the delivery of basic knowledge as the foundation for future studies, rather than providing in-depth information during the camp itself. However, an “introductory” program should also fulfill the role of getting the students interested in Reitaku Studies and increasing their motivation for future extension. To this end, we could have presented unique characteristics of our University’s program to spark student interest. Also, the resumé-based presentation approach used in the sessions at both the Oana Memorial Hall and Reitaku Hall needs fundamental review to develop a better means of teaching the more serious side of Reitaku Studies.
While we needed to improve certain areas, there were other areas that need continuing in future camps. One of them was calmness. Many of the Crew members remained calm and reasoned logically throughout the program, instead of just running blindly. For example, during preparation work, members discussed the significance of Reitaku Studies itself, explored interpretation of the founding philosophy of Reitaku University, and examined the aim of this program. We must always define a clear goal, examine what is required to achieve it, and put that into practice. This approach will help prevent activities from becoming an exercise in “self satisfaction.”
Now I wish to write about my personal views. Until now, I was never good at holding “discussions” with others. I was never the type of student who actively participated in classroom discussions, because I had no confidence in my own opinions and did not know how to speak in front of others. However, since this program was without precedent, and started out with no clear vision. I felt that everyone had to contribute as much as they could to end the camp on the best note possible. In retrospect, that constant sense of urgency kept me from being shy. In the given situation, repeated discussions seem to have given me the courage to voice my opinions. As a Junior, I no longer am hesitant to speak my mind or ask questions at seminars. This is major personal progress which will no doubt aid me when I begin a career. Member personalities also contributed to smooth communication. Other members and Mr. Kawakubo were all prepared to consider and examine different points of view. This atmosphere which accommodated any well-thought comments made me feel at ease expressing myself. I thought I should learn from their attitude, and was particularly moved by how Mr. Kawakubo acted, being understanding and respecting our opinions despite the vast difference in insightfulness his years of experience at the camp gave him. I was truly inspired by his flexibility, which was something I lacked. The importance of staying calm, which I mentioned earlier, is also something I need. Just as the Reitaku Study Crew had their eyes firmly on the program’s objectives and target, I must always remain level-headed and never lose sight of the target and objectives of whatever projects I might take on. Having this awareness is essential to efficiently achieve results without becoming too self-absorbed.
Studying about the University is a field that could extend beyond the Tanigawa camp to include a broader range of activities. There was a suggestion that Reitaku Study information be displayed at the Reitaku Festival, so that people outside the university can learn more about Reitaku University. While the Reitaku Studies Crew should stay focused on the Tanigawa camp, they should also explore various projects in the early stages to expand its potential.
I am grateful for this valuable opportunity to get involved in the transformation of Moral Science and Reitaku Studies programs in Tanigawa. I will always keep in mind the responsibility to expand the scope of Crew activities. Thank you very much.

■Report “What I learned from the Reitaku Studies Crew”

Asami Honda, Collage of Foreign Studies

I became involved in the 2008 Tanigawa Orientation Camp after an invitation from a senior in my campus club. I accepted the invitation because everyone else in the team belonged to the same club, and also because I wanted to give it a try. Before setting off for the camp, I set my personal goal as “expanding my personal network.” I felt the importance of this goal in my freshman year. In the first semester of that year, I had trouble getting used to the new environment. Although I had joined a campus club and other groups, I found it hard to make friends and enjoy university life. The second semester included the University Festival, which gave me opportunities to spend more time with other students. I got to know more people, talk with them about a variety of topics, and started to see the many positive aspects of each new friend. This experience taught me a great deal and helped me grow as a person. I realized that networking with people can broaden my horizons and bring positive experiences, letting me grow as a person. That is why I was eager to work with Tanigawa staff, senior students, freshmen, and university teachers to expand my personal network and grow even more.
The Reitaku Studies Crew that I was a part of worked separately from other senior students and handled different tasks. The Crew conducted information sessions on the founding philosophy of Reitaku University, “the unity of knowledge and virtue,” and also about the university’s founder Chikuro Hiroike. This was the first camp where students handled all information sessions and preparation work. The Crew was divided into groups of two to handle sessions at the Oana Memorial Hall and the Reitaku Hall. We were most concerned over how to accurately portray “Moralogy” as an important subject for humanity, instead of a pseudo-religious concept. I was very tense during the first session on the first day of camp, and there are many things I would have done differently. In the review meeting that evening, the Crew and Mr. Kawakubo gathered to hear each member’s thoughts and areas for improvement for the next session. I told fellow members that, despite my goal of expanding my personal network, I could not communicate well with freshmen. I also told them that the same session led to different reactions between different groups of freshmen. I was exhausted at the end that day. The review meeting helped me reflect on what was missing from my delivery, and motivated me to inspire the new students more and improve the camp as a whole. Compared to the first day, I was not as nervous on the second or third day. I could look freshmen in the eyes while communicating. My task was to share my personal experiences, which was relatively easy. I think the presentation of my “personal experiences” should speak to them, as they are all fact with no fiction.
This camp helped me learn and feel a lot of things. There are too many to list, but here are three examples:
First, I was able to achieve my goal of “expanding my network.” Although communication with freshmen did not go well on the first day, it became easier on the second and third days. The new students inspired me in many ways. What pleased me most was some freshmen remembered me, and talked to me even after camp.
Second, I could feel myself improve. My presentation on the third day was naturally a big improvement from the first day, and successfully conveyed exactly what I wanted to deliver. It is quite true when they say, “A higher position makes a better person.”
Third, I must refer to the “support from a large number of people.” It was the support from those people that made the Tanigawa Orientation Camp a fun and fulfilling experience. My sincere gratitude goes to Mr. Kawakubo and the senior members of the Crew for supporting me all the way through to the end. I was able to fulfill my duty thanks to the support of senior staff in other departments, teachers of various departments, freshmen, and the staff of the Tanigawa Center. Thank you very much. I would like to participate again next year.



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