Principle and purpose


Principle and purpose


Kyoto International Student House ・ Haus der Begegnung Kyoto


by Dr. Werner Kohler

 “Haus der Begegnung” is a house where men from different continents and cultures, of different races and colors, different social strata, religions and outlooks live together. The house members face realistically the difference of national, cultural and religious backgrounds. It is a “House of Encounter” as its name “Haus der Begegnung” indicates. It is an experimental training place for peace, which is not merely absence of war, a training place for the construction of a new form of society necessitated by the demands of the world of tomorrow.

 The house life is guided by the following considerations.

1. The living together in the International Student House Kyoto is not an end in itself. Nor is it a world of its own. It is concerned with the daily human society to which we all belong. Our human society, as history shows, is in need of constant renewal. Forms of society change, old traditions decline, new ones arise; but Life Together is the destination of man.

2. Life Together is life in relation with others, with those we like and those we dislike, with those who have different convictions and opinions. Life Together means love and respect for those who are different. We have the freedom to agree to disagree with one another.

3. Life Together is life in daily renewal. We all have a natural inclination to favor our own beliefs and concepts. The house members let themselves be mutually questioned and challenged in their opinions, attitudes and habits. By nature we are inclined to have relations with, and fulfill responsibilities to, our own family group and those of our own social milieu or those that are useful to us. We aim to outgrow these self-centered inclinations. Life Together allows for diversity and runs counter to conformity and unconformity. The traditional societies classify people according to their educational, political, moral and financial standards. Life Together transcends these traditional classes.

4. Life Together is an adventure and an experiment. “Haus der Begegnung” in Kyoto practices in small dimension a new form of society. This new society is both conservative and revolutionary in that it respects the past with its traditions and looks to the future with its possibilities. It is a form of society which is renewing itself in free self-criticism of its members. The basis of this Life Together is Life itself.

Thus it is hoped that students living in this house are willing on their own initiative to participate in various activities such as seminar-like meeting, common meals and house chores of different kinds.

*Dr.Kohler was the most central among the forwarder of HdB in 1965. He and Dr.Inagaki served as the first House Farther.