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Monday, July 30, 2001



Japanese institute
urges parents
to heap love,
attention on babies

Experts will discuss
"warmheartedness" at a
conference here next month


By Treena Shapiro
tshapiro@starbulletin.com

Giving a newborn unconditional love and unrestricted attention will help the baby mature to a warmhearted adult leading to his or her and society's future well-being, says Japanese pediatrician Jushichiro Naito.

Naito is a founding member of the Aprica Childcare Institute, which promotes nurturing of warmheartedness in child-care practices in Japan.

"We are aiming for education on how to communicate from heart to heart during those critical years," said Tokuo Kassai, Aprica president. "What we are aiming for in Hawaii is to establish a systematic educational curriculum to realize that vision for the happiness of our children."

In the United States, a parallel movement -- based on the Carnegie Corp.'s Starting Points report -- also focuses on providing adequate support and services for children under 3.

Next month, the two movements will converge at the East-West Center for the Childcare Summer Institute Symposium on Early Childhood and Health Development, featuring speakers from Japan, Hawaii and the mainland.

The conference will be the first step toward creating an academic base for Aprica's movement, Kassai said.


Symposium registration

The Symposium on Early Childhood and Health Development will be held Aug. 13-16 at the East-West Center.

Michael Levine, executive director of the I Am Your Child Foundation, and Hajime Nakamura, chairman of the pediatric unit at Kobe University School of Medicine, will be the keynote speakers.

The registration fee is $25 per day, or $80 for the entire symposium.

For more information, log on to summerinstitute.hcc.hawaii.edu, or contact Louise Yamamoto at 845-9122 or louise@hcc.hawaii.edu


Joyce Tsunoda, UH senior vice president and chancellor for the community colleges, said the university would be happy to host a center for the international, academic research-based movement. She is vice chairwoman of the U.S.-based Global Association for the Welfare of Children Inc., which will oversee a joint child-care research agreement between Aprica and UH.

The university, with ties to Asia and the mainland, could be the ideal location to launch the international movement.

"What better place than Hawaii to start a dialogue between East and West?" Tsunoda asked.

The university also has the academic support, with its medical and nursing schools, the Center on the Family, the College of Education, the early childhood-care program at Honolulu Community College, and even the College of Engineering.

Given Hawaii's diverse population, Tsunoda envisions a "living laboratory" where mothers and children of different cultures become sources of research on mother-child bonding.

"This is going to be the mecca, and the University of Hawaii is going to be right smack in the center," Tsunoda said.

Aprica has published Naito's child-rearing manual "Childcare: Nurturing the Heart" and set up a hot line for new mothers.

The movement has worldwide implications, Tsunoda said, as well as lofty goals. If it spreads internationally, a new generation of warmhearted adults could bring about world peace, she suggested.



E-mail to City Desk


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