Professor Saito Takeshi


IRISE holds lecture commemorating the 120th Anniversary of "The Geography of Human Life"

On June 12, a lecture was held to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the publication of the book The Geography of Human Life written by Tsunesaburo Makiguchi.

Theme: Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and The Geography of Human Life – its new development
Lecturer: Professor Saito Takeshi (Professor Emeritus of Tokyo Gakugei University, former President of Japan Association of Geography Education
Venue: Discovery Hall

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the publication of The Geography of Human Life (1903), a major work by the young Mr. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the progenitor of Soka education. The book, written just prior to the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese war, was highly praised by many intellectuals including Inazo Nitobe, Kunio Yanagida, and Takuji Ogawa for its macroscopic view of the relationship between humans and the environment and its appeal for an awareness of "global citizenship.”

At the lecture, former President of Japan Association of Geography Education, Professor Saito Takeshi was invited to speak about the contemporary and historical significance of The Geography of Human Life.

While reviewing the history of geography and geography education in Europe and Japan, Professor Saito praised Mr. Makiguchi's theory of "local studies" as an achievement that pioneered topophilia (love of place) advocated by Yifu Tuan in the late 20th century. He also stated that the purpose of geography education in schools is to support "the formation of an image of the world as the basis for a scientific worldview," and expressed his hope that many young people will leave Soka University to face the challenges of the modern world head-on. A total of 360 people (340 students and 20 faculty members) attended the lecture.

Voices from student participants:

〇 After listening to Professor Saito Takeshi's lecture, I was able to realize that The Geography of Human Life had a great impact on the research of geography education. I was also able to once again learn that this is a book that makes us think about the future.
I could understand well what Mr. Makiguchi wanted to appeal in The Geography of Life and what founder Ikeda thinks the purpose of geography is. I did not plan to study geography at the university, but after listening to this lecture, I am now motivated to study geography.


〇After attending the lecture today, I think that The Geography of Human Life is extremely difficult to understand, but if we think from the perspective of human beings and geography, it would be easier to understand. Even though there were some things that were difficult to understand or I could not understand the meaning, but I was able to learn about different things through this lecture.

〇In the lecture today, I could learn many things about Mr. Makiguchi from the perspective of a geographer and not from a religious perspective.
Geography is not so much about memorizing the names of different places or studying artifacts, but rather about human life, trends, and the importance of living that can be seen through geography. I was able to learn that geography has a very deep correlation in recognizing the connection between the world around us and our own existence.