Shizuo Imai, the Chairman of the Executive Committee
Dr. Kagawa lived together with the people who were at the bottom of a society. And he never stopped thinking one after another what was needed for them. He opened “Tengokuya”, a simple canteen, then created a medical assistance and more as far as concerning in mental problems. The idea to protect human rights and the future of those people has evolved into labor unions or co-operative movement or a credit bank or schools, etc. I have heard some people criticize that Dr. Kagawa began his works by his ideas but soon he gave them away to others, and that he hardly ever brought them up to the end. Rather I think that he made a certain person take responsibility and so his works spread one after another.
In the 20th century, we considerably succeeded to have our desires contented. We became economically rich enough to own houses, to eat good food and so on. But we may not say that every person has become happy whereas one’s desires might have been contented. That is what we should reconsider about our way of living in the 20th century.
Then, how is it about today? Globalization has been expanding. Humanity is disregarded. Everything is dehumanized. The economy, which people have taken a good use of to become rich, nowadays rules people in reverse. When the economy grows in such a high speed so as to break the earth, it is very important I think for us to raise a question how we can protect a person’s “life” in the 21st century. And isn’t it the very thing that Dr. Kagawa had taught us? The reason why Dr. Kagawa had worked so hard was “human beings”. As we know there are many scholars who have given their time for studying and published their achievements but we don’t see many people who have reorganized people and have raised a question on what a human being was and what the happiness was. We want to keep learning the foresight. At this chance of the centennial of Dr. Kagawa’s devotion, we are going to have a nationwide project but especially we intend to send off ”Kobe Project” from Kobe, where Dr. Kagawa was born and brought up and began his work at first.
Fortunately, Mr. Ido, Governor of Hyogo Prefecture and Mr. Yada, Mayor of Kobe have joined our “cheer group”. It shows that what we are going to send off is expected to play a very big and important role not only in Kobe or Hyogo but also in Japan and in the world. We are not saying, “Dr. Kagawa was great”, looking back upon his works of old days. The biggest role of ours is to tell, “This ‘life’ should be lived now.”
I thank you from my heart for your approval to our thought that we might not bury Dr. Kagawa’s teachings but should hand down his spirit. And I ask you to cooperate with us from now on.