chapter  9
20 Pages

Kôminkan: its roles in education and community-building

WithCHIZU SATO

Kôminkan are local civic centres, initially established as an education reform under the Allied occupation after WWII, with the expecta­ tion that they would contribute to transforming a nationalist and mili­ tarist Japan into a democracy. There are currently approximately 15,000 kôminkan (and equivalent facilities)1 employing almost 50,000 full­time and part­time staff. On average, every Japanese participates in a kôminkan program 1.6 times per year (Japan, Monbukagaku­shô, 2011). Like the approximately 22,000 elementary schools and 10,000 junior high schools, kôminkan are a fundamental part of life, yet they now face the challenge of being replaced by community centres, lifelong learning centres and pri­ vately operated culture centres.