Meaning of the Name “Mifuji”
The founder of our Kindergarten, Nobuko Utsumi (1909 – 1986), gave the name “Mifuji” to the ideals that we strive for in our daily practice. Mi-fuji, in Japanese, means three (mi) Mount Fujis, o to look (mi) at Mount Fuji. She saw the three mountains in the basic colors red, yellow, and blue, and commissioned the painter Jun Muraoka to produce three pictures to express our kindergarten’s vision.
Utsumi also said that these three Mount Fujis represent the three faculties of the human mind, thinking, feeling, and will, which we understand as the basis of the individuality, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or religion. Thus, she endowed the symbol of the Japanese Spirit, Mount Fuji, with was is universally human.
Beginning of Nasu-Mifuji Kindergarten
Long before Nasu-Mifuji Kindergarten was founded, in the 1960’s, Nobuko Utsumi travelled to Germany to visit her daughter Hiroko Takahashi, who was then studying together with her husband in Munich and Stuttgart. They visited the Waldorf Kindergarten in Stuttgart and Nobuko was so impressed that she said to Hiroko that one day she would found a similar kindergarten in Japan.
As the former prime minister Masayoshi Ohira (1910 – 1980), who was from the same prefecture as Nobuko Utsumi – Kagawa prefecture -, contacted her to ask if she could purchase the vast land – about 66,000 sq.m. – in Nasu, where a group of repatriates from Manchuria had in vain tried to develop a dairy farm, she decided to obtain this piece of land with the vision that she would found a kindergarten to start with, and then go on to build a school, then a college for women and a nursing home for the elderly. So, the existing Nasu-Mifuji Kindergarten had been conceived of as being part of Utsumi’s project of a human life encompassing learning institution.