- Tatsuru AkimotoTatsuru AkimotoProfessor Asian Research Institute for International Social Work
A Christian social reformer, evangelist, and leader of social movements, Toyohiko Kagawa’s work spanned a wide range; he led advocacy work in urban slum settlements, argued for the betterment of the welfare of children and women, and was involved in the cooperative movement, the labor movement, the farmers’ movement, and the peace movement. His direct field of practice was mainly in Japan and later social movements in the country have been said to owe their existence to his achievements one way or another. His philosophical thoughts and ideas, however, went far beyond the borders of Japan. His ideas on the cooperative movement were welcomed by President Roosevelt, his nonviolence/pacifist thinking was once mentioned along with those of Gandhi and Schweitzer and his ideas on cooperation also interested early leaders of the European Union.