Ibasho Across Different Domains

Aside from its daily use to track a person's whereabouts, Professor Haruhiko Tanaka highlights that ibasho is also incorporated in various fields, particularly in education. In this context, the term is used for policy-making and creating a sense of belonging for students.

Integrating ibasho within the academic realm

Nick: On the subject of writing, I came across your paper titled “Development of the ibasho concept in Japanese education and youth work: Ibasho as a place of refuge and empowerment for excluded people.”

I love this word ibasho, it has become very meaningful to me. I think my community is an ibasho. So it is one of my favourite Japanese words. How would you define ibasho?

Haruhiko: Thank you very much for your attention to ibasho concept. Ibasho is a Japanese word composing of i and basho. I is being and basho is place. So it's very usual, we use it every day. And my definition is that ibasho is a place where community feels at home.

Nick: Yeah, I love this word. And it's very interesting how this word generally means whereabouts or where someone is. But recently, it's become quite a powerful word, meaning your place to be or where you can feel comfortable. And I think everyone wants that in their life.

So I think that drove you to writing your paper, and the aim of your paper was to examine the academic significance of the concept of ibasho. So could you elaborate on how ibasho, a commonly used word came to be used as an academic term?

Haruhiko: The old Japanese word ibasho has been used in everyday situations, like, please tell me his ibasho, his way about. This term ibasho is newly used in policy-making and research in the 1990s.

The background of this is that in 1980s, the Japanese education problem was truancy, those who do not attend schools, and the Minister of Education, the Manbusho in Japan, gave a report or policy of Truancy in 1992.

The subtitle was ‘give them ibasho in schools.’ So ibasho is used in policy-making. And after that, researchers in the field of education, psychology, sociology, and architecture, use the word ibasho as a technical term.