Social Education in Japan

Asuka Kawano, Takeo Matsuda, Lan Xiao


The concept similar to social pedagogy is ‘social education’ in Japan. The aim of this paper is to clarify the reality of social education in Japan, through discussion on the history, theory, methodologies, professionalization and practice of social education in Japan. The goal of social education is to achieve individual self-fulfillment by either systematically organizing formal education and non-formal education, or accumulating non-formal education, and at the same time, contributing to a better society. It also means the realization of a social capital in a community. The realization of a better society and individual self-fulfillment are the social welfare philosophy itself. Although the ways of approaching social education and social welfare are different, it may be said that they share the same philosophy.

In recent years, there have been attempts to integrate social education and welfare, and develop structurally-consolidated practices in some communities. Administratively, it is a challenge to bureaucratic sectionalism, and the problem is with the arrangement of staffing who are in charge of its practice. It is possible to create a Social Education Welfare practice in communities by assigning staff who are in charge of social education and staff who are in charge of social welfare. Both of the groups will cooperate and work together. The practice carried out by the cooperation between social education and welfare will lead to the development of community and also the structure of community governance.

  In the future, it is required to develop communities for the purpose of realization of a better society through the practices of social welfare and education. The structure of Social Education Welfare based on communities suggests the direction of social education in Japan in the future.


social education; lifelong learning; Kominkan (community education center); community development; self-education; socialization of education; sozialpädagogik

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DOI: 10.7179/PSRI



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ISSN: 1139-1723

DOI: 10.7179/PSRI