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فتحه اجباريه

Klaus Luhmer, former Chancellor of Sophia University

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Klaus Luhmer, former Chancellor of Sophia University

مُساهمة من طرف شاعر في الأربعاء 12 سبتمبر 2012, 11:34 pm

Klaus Luhmer, former Chancellor of Sophia University

[FYI: For a printable version of this entry and for
the Japanese Eulogy delivered by Fr. Jerry Cusumano, S.J., on the
occasion of Fr. Luhmer's funeral, please click the following link and
view the first entry:
I hate to make this into a blog of obituaries, but unfortunately so many
illustrious professors and builders of Sophia University are
disappearing that I am forced to write something about at least some of
them. Just a couple of minutes ago, I heard that Fr. Klaus Luhmer, one
of the most well-known faces of Sophia University, passed away at the
age of 94, at 12:20 PM today (March 1, 2011).

My association with Klaus goes back to many years, but it started
getting closer and warmer since the time he started using computers and
email, in mid-1990s. He was one of the most athletic, energetic, and
enthusiastic men around, and so his curiosity knew no bounds. He boldly
embraced the Internet, and despite numerous 'electronic accidents', he
continued to use it and do creative work with it. I believe he started
engaging himself seriously in Montessori-style education around that
time, and he started translating, writing, and editing numerous books
and articles on Montessori--of course, with several Japanese
collaborators, one of his closest associates being Professor Masako
Ejima. He also became the President of Nihon Montessori Association
(日本モンテッソーリ協会会長) and was eager to give some exposure to the Association
on the Internet. That was what brought us together. Following his
suggestions and recommendations, I opened a Montessori web site for him
at Sophia (with web-data created by another Montessori colleague),
since the Association had some links with Sophia University then.
Sophia, unfortunately, cut off its ties to the Association after some
years, and so the Webpages had to be removed. Luhmer too gave up the
Association's Presidency in favor of some other person.

Around the same time, I also created a Web site for Fr. Luhmer, aptly named LUHMERLAND
(see http://pweb.cc.sophia.ac.jp/luhmer/), listing major events in his
life and the series of Montessori books he authored, edited, or
translated. Even after he moved to Loyola House, he continued supplying
some information for the Web page, including his meeting with Agnes
Chan, a Sophia University alumna and a teen idol of the 1970s. Fr.
Luhmer really enjoyed life and loved to be in the company of people, and
so he was constantly on the move meeting persons, giving talks, and
visiting the sick. It was hard to keep up with all his activities, and
so I have to confess that I was a bit negligent in reporting many of his

Here is a list of some major events in his life:

**1916, September, 28 : Luhmer was born in Koln, Germany. Had his early education at Beethoven Gymnasium near Bonn.

**1935, April 26 : Entered the Society of Jesus.

**1937, February 18: Arrived in Japan, via Siberia, with other
illustrious Jesuits such as L. Laures & Erlinghagen, after 13 days
of travel! Studied Japanese in Tokyo and Hiroshima for about 18 months,
and then studied philosophy at Hiroshima noviciate for about three

**1943: Studied at Tokyo Azabu Theologate, while experiencing many aerial attacks and bombs.

**1945 July 1: Ordination to priesthood, and on August 6, witnesses
the incredible atomic bomb over Hiroshima, from a distance of 4
kilometers. Enters the bombed zone within the city several times to
help the wounded, rescue Fr. Enomiya Lasalle, and save some Church
relics and sacred vessels. Thus becomes acquainted first hand with the
atom bomb, and also gets affected with some skin infection.

**1947: After acquiring teaching skills at Kobe Rokko Gakuin, proceeds
to Detroit University, USA, for studying Educational Administration.

**1953: Enters Sophia University as a Professor in the Department of
Education, Faculty of Literature. He teaches Western Educational
History and Comparative Education.

**1957-1965: Holds the
position of Sophia University Chancellor. Among his achievements as
Chancellor were the buying of the Kioizaka Building, establishment of
the Science Faculty, and the recruitment of illustrious Japanese to hold
important positions.

**1965: Is in charge of Public
Relatioins, and gives publicity to Sophia overseas. Also sees to the
publication of student newspaper and dissemination of information about

**1969: For about three years--especially during the
Student Unrest period--serves as the Vice-President of General Affairs
under President Moriya.

**1985, November: Receives an Award from the Japanese Government for his services (勲三等旭日中授賞)

**1987: Even as he is ready to retire at the age of 70, he is
appointed the Chancellor of Sophia University once more! Also made a
Professor Emeritus.

**1992 March: Retires from the job of
Chancellor, and takes up wholeheartedly and intensely the study of
Montessori Education. Visits various countries like India and Italy to
get to know Montessori first hand, and attends many conferences on
Montessori. Becomes President of Nihon Montessori Association.
Publishes several books (see http://pweb.cc.sophia.ac.jp/luhmer/album.htm), including The origins of Liberal Education: From Plato to Montessori, The Way of Montessori Education, and Schule und Ildungsreform In Japan I & II

**Fr. Luhmer was not only an academic, but also a sportsman, doing
ice-skating even in his mid 80's, and a man of many talents. He loved
playing the flute and organ, often playing with friends in an ensemble.
Even at the age of 90, he was learning Korean, Spanish, Italian, and
French listening to the NHK radio!

Fr. Luhmer was perhaps born to govern as he spent most of his life
occupying positions of power and administration. Still, he had a
simplicity and gentleness that made him amiable and approachable. He
was friendly with all and never put on airs. Like most great men and
women of history, he had a way with fellow human beings, and dealt with
them respectfully, fairly, and generously. He seemed adept in using
languages--especially Japanese--and wielded Japanese ably to raise
funds, extract cooperation, and encourage colleagues. He used to speak
of the verbal and non-verbal cues that the wealthy gave him whenever he
went fundraising, and had a list of signs that guided him when to
continue a conversation and when to cut it short.


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