Kôminkan: its roles in education and community-building
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.