Yoshi Ikezumi: a Health Educator Who has Adapted Paulo Freire’s Methodology to Japan
Yoshi Ikezumi—who for many years has been a leader at the Asian Health Institute—is one of the newest members of the coordinating group of the IPHC. He is now trying to pull together an IPHC contingent in Japan and eastern Asia. Yoshi’s quiet wisdom and eye-opening methods for health
education and awareness-raising were a high point in the post-conference Summer School Course in Cape Town.
Yoshi began his session by drawing a Japanese word on the blackboard. It looked like the character shown here.
Through a game like “20 Questions,” he had the group figure out what the different elements of the drawing meant, and what word they formed putting them together.
Through thoughtful discussion, the group figured it out. The object inside the square was the word for TREE. The square is the word for BOX. The combination of the two, a tree inside a box, is the Japanese word for SUFFERING. “Why do you suppose that is?” asked Yoshi.
“Because a tree in a box is closed in. “It isn’t free” “It can’t grow.” answered the group. “It can’t meet its potential.”
“And how is the tree like you and me?” asked Yoshi.
The group concluded that we, like trees, need to keep growing, and to do so our minds must be open, free, and not be boxed in.
“To free the tree we must draw it out of the box. To free our minds so they can grow we must draw them out too. That is what education means. ‘E’ = out. ‘DU’ = draw. Education is the art of drawing ideas out of a person, not just dumping them in . . .
Yoshi had brought with him a marvelous collection of drawings and posters (see next page) which he uses as discussion starters.
“That is what Paulo Freire in Brazil called education for liberation and the health promoters with whom David and Martín work in Mexico call discovery-based learning. It has to do with observing, thinking, and taking action—not just memorizing facts and following instructions.”
Yoshi had brought with him a marvelous collection of drawings and posters (see next page) which he uses as discussion starters, to draw observations out of participants and get them thinking about and analyzing key issues. We all learned a lot from him.
Questioning the Solution into Japanese Yoshi Ikezumi now has a team of people in Japan working on a Japanese translation of David Werner and David Sanders' new book, Questioning the Solution. The book has already been reviewed in Japan and has stimulated a lot of interest.