Purpose of foundation
The Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture is doing academic studies on both the Eastern and Western spiritual culture to contribute to the expansion and fulfilling the lives of citizens by extending their mental and moral principle. Therewith, this foundation aims for the development of the world culture.
The Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture was established in Okurayama, Yokohama, Japan in 9th of April 1932 by Kunihiko Okura at his own expense. The current Okurayama Memorial Hall was used as the main building of the institute at the time. He himself gave instructions and ran the management as the head of the institute. He gathered top experts from various fields to proceed with academic researches and also collected both domestic and international books written about spiritual culture, which brought him to set up an institute library. To widen spiritual education among students, educators and the general public, he compiled and published many books including “SHIN-TEN”, written about the Shinto scripture. In 1936 the institute activated its movement by becoming a foundation under the control of the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture (the current Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), however, then was obliged to suspend their activities in consequence of the World War 2.
After the war, the foundation restarted its activities with the name “Okurayama Cultural and Science Institute” but during that time, they had to face management difficulties so that the library of the institute was hold as the affiliate of the National Diet Library from 1950 to 1960.
In 1959, the institute returned its name to “The Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture” but after the death of the founder Kunihiko Okura in 1971, the management of the institute became even more difficult so that the land was sold and the building donated to Yokohama-city. Thereby, the financial bedrock was established and is in operation until today.
For detailed information, please refer to *“Zaidanhoujin Okura Seishin Bunka Kenkyujo Enkakushi Kouhon” (Engl. meaning: The manuscript history of the Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture) and *“Zaidanhoujin Okura Seishin Bunka Kenkyujo Enkakushi Kouhon Dainisatsu” (Engl. meaning: The manuscript history of the Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture Part 2).
*in Japanese only
Organization of foundation (as of April 2011)
Administrative director: Rokuro Takai
Secretariat Chief: Tadao Sunakawa and 2 staff members
Institute Head: Jitsuo Mozumi, division head: Seiji Hirai, institute director: Tsuneo Masuda,2 part-time researchers, 11 guest researchers and 2 staff researchers.
Library Head: Jitsuo Mozumi and 5 staff members
Please refer to institute outline.
The founder Kunihiko Okura
Biography of Kunihiko Okura (1882 to 1971)
Kunihiko Okura was born into a Samurai family as the son of Ebara in Kanzaki, Saga Prefecture. He graduated from Toa Dobun Shoin College in Shanghai in 1906 and started working at the Okura Paper Company the same year. He won the confidence of the then-president Bunji Okura and was adopted by the Okura family in 1912. Later on, it led him to the president of the company after the death of Bunji.
Kunihiko developed the business successfully but believed that the true economic activities are not only to seek for profits. His thought was that the personal growth is vital to develop a company and the bottom line for the prosperity of a nation. This is why he involved himself in educational activities and established the Fujimi Kindergarten in Meguro, Tokyo and the Nouson Kogei Gakuin in Saigomura (current Kanzaki), Saga Prefecture. To deepen and widen this thought, he established the Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture in 1932.
The institute faced fateful crisis during and after the confusing period of the World War for many times but Kunihiko gave all his personal fortune to maintain and develop this institute until his death in 1971.
Main chronological list
|1882||Born in Kanzaki, Saga Prefecture|
|1897||Entered the Saga junior high school|
|1903||Entered the Toa Dobun Shoin College in Shanghai, China|
|1906||Started working at Okura Paper Shoko Tianjin branch in China|
|1912||Was adopted by Bunji Okura, the second then-president of the Okura Paper Company|
|1918||Assumed the presidency of Okura Paper Company|
|1919||Additional post as president of the Odawara Paper Company|
|1924||Established the Fujimi Kindergarten in Meguro, Tokyo|
|1925||Additional post as president of the Aichi Paper Company|
|1928||Established the Nouson Kogei Gakuin in Saigomura (current Kanzaki), Saga Prefecture|
|1929||Let the great poet of India Sir Rabindranath Tagore stay at his home and deepened friendship|
|1930||Established the Joboku Jyoshi Kogei Gakuin in Kurume, Tokyo|
|1932||Established the Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture|
|Started running the Okura Factory|
|1934||Additional post as president of Tokushu Paper Mfg. Co., Ltd.|
|1937||Assumed the presidency of Toyo University|
|1948||Began operation of selling Library supplies “Gorindo”|
|1959||Became the director of Tagores Memorial Association|
|1962||Assumed the office of adviser of Kogakkan University|
|1964||Started the Okurayama Zen Meditation Society|
|1971||Died at the age of 89|
- Research of spiritual culture
We respect the spirit of the founding of the institute and aim to advance the research to expand and fulfill the lives of citizens.
(1)Research on practical study
We make surveys, research and resource acquisitions of practical businessperson philosophy, cultural programs and educational activities.
(2)Research on cultural fusion of East and West
Scientific studies on the Eastern and Western spiritual cultures are done, which is one of the purposes of this foundation.
(3)Research and survey of the founder and institute history
We conduct surveys, research and resource acquisitions of the philosophy and merits of the founder Kunihiko Okura and the history from the foundation up to present.
Holding workshops to report the above mentioned researches and professional studies of researchers.
- Popularization of the spiritual culture
In accordance with the spirit of the institute, we open information such as study results to expand and fulfill the lives of citizens.
We open various seminars about research achievements in simple terms.
As part of the release of research achievements, we display some of the archival documents at the institute library.
(3)Compilation and publication of printed records
Research bulletins “Okurayama Ronsyu” are compiled and published.
Compilations and publications such as leaflets are made for institute guidance, exhibits commentaries and the popularization of spiritual culture.
(4)Transmission of electronic information
We actively give out information such as research achievements and seminar information through our web page.
(5)Cooperation with the community
We widely cooperate with municipalities (Kohoku, Yokohama, Kanagawa), public libraries, museums, schools, residents’ groups and others by giving lectures, lessons, giving out writings to publications, making library tours, strolling through surroundings etc., to contribute to the understanding of community and further development of the local culture.
- The operation of institute library and repletion of library materials
For details refer to our institute library page.
About our institute Library (about our library)
Purpose of establishment and history
The founder of the institute, Kunihiko Okura, had the idea of building a library for the purpose of mental training and research, especially for the education of young people, but in fact, he established Okura Institute of Spiritual Culture in 1932. The library opened as its affiliated library.
Prior to the opening of the library, for 10 months from March 1926 (Taisho 15), he visited Europe where the ravages of the World WarⅠwas still remaining and investigated the library situation in developed countries. Over 8,000 Western books purchased at the time are kept in the library as valuable books.
The library opened April 9, 1932. At that time, we made it available to external users free of charge. Despite being temporarily closed after the World War Ⅱ, it was reopened for general use in October 1946. From 1948 (Showa 23), due to financial difficulties, voluntary management became difficult, and we were obliged to collect the browsing fees. Furthermore, from 1950 (Showa 25) to 1960 (Showa 35), the library became an affiliation the National Diet Library Branch Library. Then it became the institute Library again in 1960, and it opened twice a week for researchers only from September 1967.
In 1981, with the transfer of the site of the Institute to Yokohama City, we donated the research institute's building, and since May 1988, it has been open to the public as a specialized library for free. (Reference: “My Town Kohoku” by Seiji Hirai)
Outline of the collection
Mainly books and magazines on philosophy, religion, history, literature, etc., we have an introductory books and specialized books. Especially, Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Japanese history are abundantly collected from old books to new books. The open bookshelf is equipped with best-selling books and popular books.
Access to books
9:30 to 16:30 (from Tue. to Sat.)
Sun., Mon., national holidays and year-end through New year holidays
Please feel free to ask for any questions at our reception counter.
We also accept inquiries by phone, e-mail and fax. Please note that we can only respond to Japanese.
anyone possible up to 10 books per person 2 weeks. If there are no holds on the book, it can be renewed for one time.
* Renewing of books can be accepted by giving us a call.
* An ID with address is required to sign out a book. Please show at our reception counter for registration process which will be valid for 5 years.
- black and white... ￥20 per pc (paper size possible from B5 to A3）
- color...￥80 per pc (paper size possible from B5 to A3）
Possible printing areas will be based on the copyright law.
Under certain conditions of materials, we might not be able to give out to print.
If you have the request,please contact us in advance and also apply at our reception counter on the day of visit.
Address: 2-10-1 Okurayama, Kohoku-ku,Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 222-0037 JAPAN
Tel: +81 45 834 6636
Fax: +81 45 542 0051
Access: A seven minute walk from the Okura Sta. Tokyu Toyoko Line(walk uphill the Kinenkanzaka which is on the side of Kentucky Fried Chicken)
The Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture and India
1st of March 2011
The Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture and the founder Kunihiko Okura (1882-1971) has a deep connection to India as stated below.
- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
He was an Indian famous litterateur, thinker and artist who was called the great poet “Gurudev”.
In 1913, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature with his anthology “Gitanjali”
In 1916, he had his first trip to Japan and stayed at the homestead of Tomitaro Hara(Sankei).
In 1929, he stayed at Kunihiko Okuras’s home for about a month.
At that time, he fell ill and was grateful for the nursery he got, so that he sent about 160 books of his writings and a model ship as a gift to Kunihiko after his return to India, which is kept at the Okura Institute at this time.
At the same year, Tagore shared Kunihiko his wish to spread Judo to India, so that he gave it further to Jigoro Kano, who arranged to dispatch Takagaki Shinzo from the Kodokan.
Tagore’s 70th birthday Anniversary in 1931
Chakravarty, the secretary of Tagore, asked all Tagore’s friends around the world to write a script about him and collected these to make the “GOLDEN BOOK OF TAGORE” to give it as a present to his anniversary. At that time, Kunihiko was asked to recommend Japanese authors and the pieces of the poet Yonejiro Noguchi, the novelist Saneatsu Musyanokouji and the philosopher Tetsujiro Inoue had been sent. Besides these three people, the names of Masaharu Anesaki (religion scholar), Toshihiko Katayama (French litterateur) and Kihachi Ozaki (poet) are also on the book.
Under the request of the Hindu then president Nehru in 1958, the Tagore Memorial Association was found to celebrate the centennial of Tagore's birth. Kunihiko became the director of the association and the office as well as Tagore’s laboratory was placed within the Okura Institute. Remembrance articles “Sachiya”, paper collections”Tagore”, publications such as “Tagore and Japan”, and exhibitions and more were held to celebrate his centennial.
Centennial celebration of Tagore's birth in 1961
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Tagore, the Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture is planning exhibitions and lectures in 2011.
- Rash Bihari Bose (1886-1944)
The leader of India racial movement, known as “the Bose of Nakamuraya”
Bose also had friendship with Kunihiko Okura, so that he asked Kunihiko for the stay of Tagore at his house for the reason that “Tagore disliked staying at a luxurious house of rich people being formally welcomed but rather wished to stay on a place where he could share his thought with” (reference “Tagore Kinenkai Kaihou” Vol.1).
- Radhabinod Pal (1886-1967)
Indian judge representative of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East's trials (Tokyo Trial)
Radhabinod Pal swore loyalty and became blood brothers with Yasaburo Shimonaka (1878-1967, the founder of Heibonsha and the head of Okura Institute for the Study of Spiritual Culture from 1952 to 1956) and drove forward the World Federalist Movement.
In 1953, Yasaburo Shimonaka, who was a friend of Kunihiko Okura and became the head of the institute, invited Doctor Pal all the way from India to Japan to open lectures to researchers and for the public at Okurayama from 20th to 30th of Oct.