After an hour or so later, I sat down with Sakayanagi.
How did today’s results look to someone outside of the White Room?
It goes without saying that this was a unique opportunity to find out.
“Let me once again ask you your thoughts. Of course, you don't have to hold back.”
“Is that so? I've been thinking about it all day long as I've watched those children grow up.”
The raison d'etre of the White Room—the usefulness of the White Room.
I wonder if Sakayanagi was able to feel this firsthand.
“The children I saw today were far from the ordinary 3-year-olds I know, not to mention the children educated by Suzukake-san, and even the children educated by Ishida-san and Souya-san are probably better than 90% of the children in this world.”
Sakayanagi's signature, praise-first analysis, remains unchanged.
“It's not easy to bring a child to this level, even if the child’s a wealthy family’s gifted progeny,” he says.
“But with the way you speak, you don't think they can compete with the remaining 10%?”
“Isn't that what you, Ayanokouji-sensei, yourself have experienced firsthand?”
It’s been almost proven that these children who’ve only grown up to the age of three have more developed intelligence and physical abilities than the average child.
Some results have been achieved.
However, the world is still skeptical, and I had a feeling that this success wouldn’t be enough to dispel it.
If you were to ask me if they were as good as or better than the “gifted” 3-year-old children, I would say they’re in the gray.
Waiting for the first generation children to reach the age of four or five years old shouldn’t be decisive.
“But I thought this was good enough for me. If we can give children who are at risk of not getting the education they’re looking for—if we can give them this thorough education—we can give them enough skills to be able to enter the world.”
Sakayanagi, who had no idea what the White Room was really like, summed it up.
“That's why I was a little worried about Suzukake-san as a leader. For children... No, emotions are essential for all humans. We cannot exist if we lose any of them. If you can correct me on that, I won’t hesitate to continue my support and assistance.”
“I see. I knew you’d say that. But do you really think that’ll convince the current investors and those in the business world whom you’ve yet to meet? Not everyone thinks only of the children like you do. There are big interests involved in the White Room.”
“You're saying we need more rigorous education?”
“Yes, indeed. Anyone with a certain amount of money can produce brilliant students. Just put a lecturer who graduated from a top university by your side and bring in a coach who’s produced Olympic athletes. If you continue to educate gifted children from an early age, you can usually improve their skills to some extent. There’s no point in having a White Room that only produces the same level of results. It’s worthless.”
Who would invest tens or hundreds of millions in such a White Room?
“What is needed is outstanding ability. The brains to go beyond Japan's top universities and win top positions at the world's most prestigious universities, and the physical abilities to surpass those of Olympic athletes. We’ll create a person who has the physical and mental fortitude to take on the world’s leaders. That's the kind of power we need in the White Room.”
“Isn't that sort of charity a bit excessive? Not all children who have no parents or who were abandoned by their parents are looking for such power. It’s enough to give them the ability to live and adapt to society.”
“I understand what you want to say. Your opinion is already enough as a reference.”
“...Ayanokouji-sensei, is what you told me true?”
“Of course. I'm working to help underprivileged children. You know my ambitions lie there, but nothing more, nothing less.”
Sakayanagi, who had been looking at me doubtfully, bowed his head apologetically.
“Then I have nothing more to say to you. I urge you to give your students a loving education that puts them first. If you do so, the day when the people will recognize the White Room will come.”
With those words, Sakayanagi left the office, though seemingly unconvinced.
“Sakayanagi you're naive, that's no good.”
The world is not so sweet that it’ll only accept such idealism.
What’s required is not a reasonable result, but the best result. But what we have still isn’t enough. We need one more push. There’s no guarantee that the current results alone will keep the investors nodding their heads forever. We need something that will give them a strong push…
We need a decisive factor.
But imposing a more rigorous education on our students now won’t produce immediate results.
Three years… No, it’ll take five years… at least that long.
We need to create persuasive power.
What should we do…
How can we get the business world to invest more money in a short period of time?
This White Room may change the world.
I want my words to carry weight.
I‘m reminded of what Naoe-sensei said. Without some self-sacrifice, there’s no real success.
No matter how enthusiastically I talk about education’s success or failure, my words will never carry any real weight. The business world doesn't trust the White Room either.
Why is that?
Naturally, the White Room is about educating others. I don't put myself at risk. This is nothing more than an extension of my leisure time.
I need to be able to show that I can fearlessly trust the White Room with my precious child.
There’s only one thing I have to do to achieve that. I picked up my cell phone and gave someone a call.
The caller, who was probably still sleeping, answered the phone in a drowsy voice.
“I have a favor to ask you.”