Professor Osamu Mizutani delivers lecture at Soka Education Theory Course

On September 26, 2022, a lecture hosted by the Ikeda Research Institute for Soka Education (IRISE) was held.

Theme: My Experience in Humanistic Education
Lecturer: Professor Osamu Mizutani
(Educator and child welfare activist; Director of the Mizutani Institute for Youth Affairs)
Location: Discovery Hall

When Professor Osamu Mizutani worked at a night-time high school in Yokohama, he was in charge of student guidance and was involved in the delinquency, drug abuse and psychological problems of junior and senior high school students. His dedication to patrolling the downtown area late at night, talking to young people who had lost their place at school or at home, and helping them regain hope for life, earned him the nickname 'Yomawari-Sensei' (night patrol teacher). Since establishing the Mizutani Institute for Youth Affairs in 2004, he has received more than 800,000 consultations by e-mail, and has been involved with nearly 260,000 young people around the clock.
In this lecture, he spoke about the problems facing Japan and the future of education through his experiences.
During the Q&A session, he carefully responded to questions from prospective teachers and other students, introducing his own past experiences and giving encouragement to the students in the audience.

Comments from student representatives
〇After listening to this lecture, I was very moved by Professor Mizutani's attitude and way of thinking towards the children. I felt that the presence of a person who gently accompanies and listens to those unheard, who have their own worries and anxieties can be a source of comfort for many people. What also left an impression on me was that "Only happy people can save and help others. This happiness can be transmitted to others". When I think about what my own happiness stands for, the answer that immediately came to mind was that I want to first be happy myself, so that I can then pass this happiness on to young children.

〇Through today's lecture, I learned that the mind and body are closely related. I gained many new perspectives, such as that the purpose of life is to be of value to others. To make others happy, we must first be happy ourselves. If our mind is tired, our body will also be tired, and that love is something you realize when you look back.
The realizations that Professor Mizutani gained from his many experiences were all very convincing, and it was a great opportunity to learn some great lessons on life from perspectives other than education, such as how to protect one's own mind.

〇I have once watched Professor Mizutani's lecture video. The content of his talk at that time was also very shocking and still has a strong impression on me. Drugs, prostitution, murder, etc., were words that I usually hear only on TV news or dramas, but I learned deeply that these things are real and happening in Japan, which is said to be a country of peace, and that these problems are happening among children who have a great future that lies ahead of them. After listening to this lecture, I was very convinced that many of Professor Mizutani’s students aspired to become teachers and are in fact teachers now. Regardless of my job as a teacher, I will live my life to make someone happy and to make people smile. I will continue to learn to first be happy myself and be on the front line to save and help others.

〇Everything that Professor Mizutani said influenced my thinking in a positive way. Every minute of his speech was precious and I wished I could have heard more of his lecture. When I heard the story of one of Professor’s students who became a nurse, I was moved to tears at how she saved the life of one of her students and the lives that followed, as well as the precious compassion of the student towards her family. I feel that today's lecture has reaffirmed me on how I should live as a human being.
When Professor Mizutani said, "If you want to save people, you have to first be a happy person" and "Only a happy person can save people", I was determined to win and be happy in my life. I will also think about what I really want to do, which is to do something "for the sake of others".

〇Today's lecture by Professor Mizutani was a lecture I will never forget. I once attended a lecture by Professor Mizutani when I was a high school student and I remember hearing stories about the students he had been involved with. This time, I learnt about Professor Mizutani's life and education. I never had any kind of mental illness or faced any violence from my family. I am very grateful to my parents and other family members. There are too many stories that left an impression on me to narrow it down to one, but the story of a student who died as a result of the disaster left a strong impression on me, and I was very sorry for her loss. But I felt that meeting Professor Mizutani, becoming a teacher, and spending time with her students must have been happy and joyful days for her. While I was really moved by Professor Mizutani's lecture, I also learned a lot about the real situation in Japan, where psychiatrists and doctors only prescribe medicines to emotionally traumatized young people, and there are people who want to receive an education but are unable to do so because it is too difficult for them. Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to come all the way to Soka University today.

*Some of the participants' impressions have been revised in this article.