| International Foundation for Cultural Harmony (IFCH) was established in 1961 as a non-profit foundation and registered with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports. Science and Technology, Japan. Its activities are mainly two areas ? one: promoting education on human relation with the Universe and our own planet, designed particularly for school education, and two: promoting international youth exchange and intercultural understanding. IFCH aims at placing the sound foundation for world peace and sustainability by means of promoting these activities. |
IFCH manages an astronomical observation facility- GEKKO Tenmondai (moon light observatory) - at a hillside close to Mount Fuji. It is equipped with astronomical telescopes, earth science museum, a planetarium as well as accommodation facilities. These facilities are open to the public. The Observatory provides an excellent opportunity to youth and children in addition to elders to observe movements in the sky at night and sun spots at day time. A rich collection of fossils at the earth science museum leads visitors to the history of our planet since tens and million years ago. Not many institutions in the world may have such comprehensive facilities of educational value on astronomy as ours.
Viewing pictures and movies of outer space is a commonplace of our daily life today as a result of science and technological advancement. But, through its astronomical observatory, IFCH encourages people to observe the sky on real time and learn the structure and history of 13.8 billion years old and wide great Universe, coming close to its awe-inspiring beautify and vastness.
Our observatory has been discovering asteroids. As many as 176 have so far been found, of which 13 names have been approved by the Asteroid Center of the Intern ational Union of Astronomy. The first one was “OISCA” with its registration No.3843, and the 13th “Kannami”. Reg.No.13934 (Kannami is the township where is housing GEKKO observatory.)
Our observatory hosts lecture meetings on astronomy in collaboration with Japan Space and Air Research Institute (JAXA). Study sessions on astronomy for parents-children together are organized every year. Monthly sky observation through 500mm reflection telescope is organized, too. Special observation programs to watch Venus, Saturn, Mars and comets, are also going on. Visitors in groups, for instance in 2013, counted 37 groups with 1,546 persons in addition to individual visitors.
A calendar on astronomy? “KOYOMI・Man and the Cosmic World” - has since 1976 been published. Not only describes days, weeks and months with social and cultural events, it also shows the wax and wane of the moon, eclipses, meteoric swarms, unusual configurations and other interesting phenomena in the sky. Today, it is widely known as one of the most valuable calendars having educational value on astronomy.
In addition, GEKKO Tenmondai has been hosting a World KOYOMI Exhibition since 1994. Calendars have been donated by individuals, organizations and agencies worldwide. Diplomatic missions in Tokyo have been the major donors of the calendars that represent traditions and cultures of countries. The 20th Exhibition, held in April to May 2014, has displayed 134 calendars from 53 countries and regions, has attracte thousands of school children and visitors. These calendars are serving as useful means of cross-cultural understanding.
IFCH organizes cross cultural exchange programs, too, involving particularly young people. The participants, including Tokyo-based diplomats, of different cultural backgrounds are encouraged to come close to the awe-inspiring sublimity of the Universe that generates genuine principle, and promote common understanding where difference of races, religions and languages has no place to stay.
Dr. Nakano Yoshiko
Chairperson, International Foundation for Cultural Harmony
Prof. Hirai Masanori
Honorary Director, GEKKO Astronomical Observatory
Mr. Watanabe Hirohiko
Director, GEKKO Astronomical Observatory