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Meet Hiro Inaba
Hiro Inaba is president of the Church and Home Education Association of Japan (CHEA Japan). A graduate of Waseda Law School, Japan's most prestigious law school, Inaba-san became a journalist at the NHK, the Japanese equivalent of the BBC. After a successful career of video production, however, Mr. Inaba felt called to serve the Kingdom of God full-time. He left journalism to attend Fuller Theological Seminary in California.
|HSLDAChairman of the Board Mike Farris meets with Hiro Inaba during a visit to the United States this past spring.|
In California, Hiro and his wife Wendy discovered home education. They were convinced that parents should train their children to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength by teaching them diligently in the home. Today, Wendy homeschools all three of their children.
After seminary, Hiro's unique combination of Japanese heritage, journalistic skill, and homeschool enthusiasm led him in an unusual direction. Instead of pursuing a pastorate in a local church, he became president of CHEA Japan, where he uses his camera and Bible with equal skill to help Japanese parents fulfill God's command to raise up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Despite the difficulty and discouragement homeschooling parents face in Japan, Hiro's homeschool documentaries paint pictures worth ten thousand words. In one gripping sequence, first shown at this year's Tokyo conference, a Japanese teenager told her story of rebellion and repentance. The audience was deeply moved as this story of God's grace unfolded onscreen.
Homeschooling may face significant challenges in Japan, but Japanese homeschoolers have great advantages as well. Hiro Inaba's unique combination of experience and talent are just what the Japanese homeschooling movement needs.
Encouraging homeschool moms
While Japanese families appreciated HSLDA Attorney Scott Somerville's speeches, they seemed especially glad to hear from his wife, Marcia, who shared from her 21 years of experience teaching six children at home.
|Marcia Somerville (left) pauses while her message of encouragement to moms is translated into Japanese.|
Marcia offered tips on teaching a houseful, compiled from her years of educating older children with toddlers around her knees. Although Japanese families tend to be small, a number of conference attendees did have large families. Marcia's experience was just what they were looking for.
Marcia also spoke on "Cross-eyed Parenting," which brings a spiritual dimension to the challenge of home education. She exhorted Japanese mothers to preach the gospel to themselves every day, insisting that only grace can give a mom the strength and patience she needs to lovingly care for a houseful. She used concrete examples of childish disobedience and parental impatience to help her audience understand how much the gospel can transform the way we teach. It was obvious from her listeners' questions that Japanese moms are just as likely to be impatient and frustrated as American mothers are. The overwhelming response to her message proved that grace is the secret ingredient that makes homeschooling sweet, no matter what country you are in.