As a Geographer
The Geography of Human Life was published in 1903, when Makiguchi was 32. In this work, Makiguchi rejects the prevailing approach to the study of geography, which was based on the rote memorization of facts and place names, instead advocating a systematized, rational approach based on the relationship of nature and society to human life.
One of the core ideas of The Geography of Human Life is that learners should draw on the immediate and close at hand and, by first understanding the way physical features interact with and influence human activities and society in local communities, learn to expand their field of study to embrace the entire human enterprise.
Writing in the aftermath of Japan's war with China over the Korean Peninsula and during the build-up to war with Russia, the work critiques the violence and oppressiveness of imperialism and advocates what Makiguchi termed "humanitarian competition," a mutual striving for excellence.
The Geography of Human Life was reprinted numerous times and became essential reading for students sitting teacher-training examinations in geography.
[The texts in this section were developed by Andrew Gebert, researcher at the Institute of Oriental Philosophy.]