Meiji Gakuin University’s Five Educational Principles
There were three major contributions that Dr. Hepburn made: pro bono medical services; editing and publishing of a dictionary and translating of the Bible; and education. Through these contributions, we have been able to learn the following:
First, Dr. Hepburn’s actions of offering his services to others regardless of their nationality, ethnicity or social class, demonstrate his faith and response to Jesus Christ’s unconditional love (Agape). His “Do for Others” indeed represents his faith and response to Christ’s love. Dr. Hepburn shows to us the inner richness that comes about through Christianity-based character building education.
Second is the importance of mutual communication. Even if we advocate the spirit of “Do for Others,” because we are humans who have self-interests, there is always the tendency to measure others with our own yardstick. We must be careful not to judge others with our own set of standards and as a result fail to realize how our actions may be affecting others. When Dr. Hepburn offered pro bono medical care to the common people, he was well liked by them despite differences in social class and wealth, as there was mutual communication. The result of such communication is reflected in the extensive vocabulary found in his dictionary, A Japanese and English Dictionary with an English and Japanese Index, as well as in the realm of education, where he had gained the trust of his students.
Third is the importance of knowing the “what” that you are to “Do for Others.” The practice of offering one’s services to others must come with an objective of what it is that you want to do. Dr. Hepburn had a strong sense of mission, which was to “pass on the teachings of Protestant Christianity to the Japanese people.” He taught us the importance of knowing by what means we want to “Do for Others,” of having a dream of pursuing the kind of job that would let us fulfill our version of “Do for Others,” and of diligently following the path toward the realization of that dream.
In line with these educational principles of “Do for Others” based on Christian character-building education mentioned above are the following five educational principles of Meiji Gakuin University:
The first principle is to nurture individuals who possess a sense of empathy for others. The university’s education in humanities promote personal healthcare, development of language which is vital for mutual understanding, activities of artistic expression, and spiritual inquiry, and at the same time cultivate the ability to gain insights about others. The goal is to develop well-rounded individuals who, through such insights, understand the existing diversity of culture, religion, ethnicity and sense of value.
Second is to nurture individuals with the ability to analyze and conceptualize; to cultivate, through the university’s social science education, sharp-minded individuals who are able to analyze economic law, management organization, social relationships, the legal system, and political movements; who possess logical and empirical ability and the capacity to conceptualize a future society.
The third principle is to nurture individuals with a strong ability to communicate; to cultivate individuals who can successfully convey, through writing, media, information processing and various foreign languages, their insights regarding human conditions and their analysis of society to people of various ages, social backgrounds, cultures, religions, languages and countries.
The fourth principle is to nurture individuals who possess the ability to design their own careers; to cultivate individuals who have learned from Dr. and Mrs. Hepburn the importance of having a mission, and are able to determine—whether through the university’s regular curricula or extracurricular activities—what their own missions are, and to put forth effort toward designing their own future careers.
The fifth principle is to nurture individuals who will take part in supporting a coexisting society; to cultivate individuals who, taking a hint from Dr. and Mrs. Hepburn’s principle of “Do for Others”—a mutual contribution that cast a loving gaze toward the disadvantaged, developing countries, and young children without regard to their position, circumstances, nationality or ethnicity—can offer their volunteer and welfare services to their neighbors, contribute to peace building with other countries, and promote coexistence with the natural environment; in other words, individuals who can “coexist” (Mitleben) with other humans, society and nature.
Meiji Gakuin University will continue to put forth its efforts in research and education based on the above five educational principles.