Japanese history textbook controversies: Wikis

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Japanese history textbook controversies refers to controversial content in government-approved history textbooks used in the secondary education (junior high schools and high schools) of Japan. The controversies primarily concern what some international observers perceive to be a systematic distortion of the historical record propagated in the Japanese educational system, which seeks to whitewash the actions of the Empire of Japan during WWII.[1]

Also at issue is the constitutionality of the governmentally-approved textbook depictions of World War II, Japanese war crimes, and Japanese imperialism during the first half of the 20th century. The history textbook controversies have been an issue of deep concern both domestically and internationally, particularly in states which were victims of Imperial Japan during the war.

Contents

Textbook authorization system

School textbooks in Japan are not written by the Ministry of Education. Instead, the textbooks for all subjects in elementary, and both lower and upper secondary schools are written and published by several major private companies. This system was introduced to Japan after World War II to avoid government having direct authority over the written contents. Japan's School Education Law (教育基本法) requires schools to use textbooks that are authorized by the Ministry of Education (MEXT). However, each local education board has the final authority to select which textbooks can be used in their jurisdiction from the approved list.

In Japan, a potential school textbook must pass a sequence of evaluations before receiving approval to be used in Japanese schools. First, textbook companies submit a draft of their proposed textbook to the Japanese Ministry of Education. The Textbook Authorization and Research Council (教科用図書検定調査審議会), an official council of the Ministry of Education, composed of university professors, high-school and junior high teachers, checks the draft in accordance with the Ministry's educational curriculum guidelines (学習指導要領) to ensure that the contents of the proposed textbook is "objective, impartial, and free from errors." The Ministry of Education will give the company that authored the textbook the opportunity to revise the draft when it is found to contain information that is inconsistent with national guidelines. Once the textbook revisions are complete and the textbook has received the approval of the Ministry of Education, Local Boards of Education select books from a list of authorized textbooks for schools under their jurisdiction. The process of textbook authorization is ongoing and conducted every four years, the results of which are presented to the public the following year.

Critics claim that the government textbook authorization system has been used to reject textbooks that depict Imperial Japan in a negative light. This includes a case in the 1960s where a description of the Nanjing Massacre and other war crimes committed by the Japanese military before and during World War II was rejected by the Ministry of Education. The author sued the Ministry, finally winning the case decades later. Recent controversy focuses on the approval of a history textbook published by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, which placed emphasis on the achievements of pre-World War II Imperial Japan, as well as a reference to the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere with fewer critical comments compared to the other Japanese history textbooks. Reflecting Japanese tendency towards self-favoring historical revisionism, historian Stephen Ambrose noted that "The Japanese presentation of the war to its children runs something like this: 'One day, for no reason we ever understood, the Americans started dropping atomic bombs on us.'"[2]

Defenders of the system counter that a book which fails to mention specific negative facts regarding the aggression and atrocities committed by Japan during World War II would also fail the Ministry of Education's approval process. During the approval process for the aforementioned history textbook by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, the author was ordered to revise the book's content several times before receiving final approval. Moreover, during the Cold War, the Ministry rejected textbooks by left-leaning publishers which attempted to portray Soviet, Mainland China, North Korea and other Communist countries in a positive light. Defenders also point out that during the 1960s and 1970s, the extent of the atrocities, as well as the existence of many of the incidents, were still being debated by Japanese historians; therefore, the Ministry of Education was correct in rejecting references to specific atrocities such as the Nanjing Massacre during that era, but the Ministry finally insisted on the inclusion of those same incidents after Japanese historians had finally reached consensus during the 1990s. They also point out that, North and South Korea, as well as Communist China, which happen to be the most outspoken critics of the Japanese textbook approval process, do not allow private publishing companies to write history textbooks for their schools. Instead, the governments of those countries write a single history textbook for all of their schools. Critics of Chinese and Korean textbooks also argue that the textbooks of those countries are far more politically censored and self-favoring than Japanese textbooks. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Today there are 30 unique textbooks for Social Studies (社会 Shakai ?), from 5 different publishers, in Japanese primary schools. Additionally, there are 8 unique textbooks for the study of history as part of the Japanese Social Studies curriculum (社会-歴史的分野 Shakai-Rekishi teki bunya ?), from 8 different publishers, for junior high schools. In Japanese high schools, the number of available options is much greater, with 50 unique textbook editions available for teaching Japanese, and world, history.

The beginning of school textbook screening (1947)

The current textbook authorization system began in 1947 under the direction of the U.S.-led Supreme Commander, Allied Powers (SCAP) authority during Japan's post-World War II occupation. SCAP ordered the provisional government of Japan to end the system of government-designated textbooks (国定教科書 Kokutei Kyōkasho ?) and allow scholars in the private sector to write textbooks. Local educators would then choose which textbooks to use at their schools. Descriptions that promoted militarism and ultranationalism were eliminated, and the new idea to promote the dignity of the individual (個人の尊厳) was introduced. The New School Education Law states that while the government sets a curriculum guideline, it is not meant to establish a fixed, uniform line for all educators to observe, like in the old militarist days, but rather to help educators to creatively adapt the curriculum to the new demands of children and society in general.

Major controversies

Tokushi Kasahara identifies three time periods in postwar Japan during which he asserts the Japanese government has "waged critical challenges to history textbooks in attempts to tone down or delete descriptions of Japan’s wartime aggression, especially atrocities such as the Nanjing Massacre." The first challenge occurred in 1955, and the second took place in the early 1980s. The third began in 1997 and continues unresolved to this day.[9]

“Ureubeki Kyōkasho” issue (1955)

At the general election of February 1955, the Japan Democratic Party proposed an idea that while editing of school textbooks might be left to the private sector, the government ought to supervise them and limit the kinds of textbooks to about two for each subject by tightening the authorization, so that the textbooks in effect would be equivalent to government-designated textbooks.

At the Special Committee on Administrative Inspection of the house of the House of Representatives in July of the same year Kazutomo Ishii (石井一朝) of Japan Democratic Party suggested that textbooks that could overthrow the principle of the education of Japan are about to be published. Those textbooks have the following characteristics, he argued:

  • They depict that the life of the working class of Japan is extremely horrible, intentionally and more than necessary, so that it is a product of the defect of the social system and of the contradiction of capitalism.
  • They extol the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China very emphatically, seeming to suggest that Japan should be subservient to them.

In addition, from August to October of the same year, Japan Democratic Party published three volumes of booklets entitled "Ureubeki Kyōkasho" (うれうべき教科書, deplorable textbooks). The first volume listed four types of bias as "examples of biased education that appeared in textbooks":

  • Ones that unconditionally support the labor union of teachers and Japan Teachers Union, and advance their political activities: Miyahara Seiichi (宮原誠一) ed., social studies textbook for high school, Ippan Shakai (一般社会), published from Jikkyo Shuppan (実教出版).
  • Ones that hype how horrible the predicament of the Japanese workers are, and thereby advances a radical and destructive labor movement: Munakata Seiya (宗像誠也) ed., social studies textbook for junior high school, Shakai no Shikumi (社会のしくみ), published from Kyōiku Shuppan (教育出版).
  • Ones that particularly glorify and extol the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, and castigate Japan: Sugo Hiroshi (周郷博) ed., social studies textbook for 6th grade, Akarui Shakai (あかるい社会), published from Chuukyō Shuppan (中教出版).
  • Ones that instill children with Marxist-Leninist, i.e. communist ideas: Osada Arata (長田新) ed., social studies textbook for junior high school, Mohan Chuugaku Shakai (模範中学社会), published from Jikkyō Shuppan (実教出版).

Japan Democratic Party condemned these textbooks as biased "red textbooks" (赤い教科書). In response to this, the authors and editors of the listed textbooks made various public statements and protest notes. However, Japan Democratic Party did not answer back. Since this incident a greater number of textbooks had been rejected as being biased (偏向).

The resulting changes resulted in one-thirds of pre-existing textbooks being banned from Japanese schools. The Ministry of Education required that new textbooks avoided criticism of Japanese involvement in the Pacific War, and avoid mention of Japanese invasion of China and involvement in the Second Sino-Japanese War at all.[10]

"Section F" purge (1956)

Textbook screening in 1956, right after a change of the members of Textbook Authorization Research Council (教科用図書検定調査審議会) in September of the previous year, failed six drafts of textbooks, a significantly greater number than before. The evaluations of drafts by the Council had been noted by five letters from A to E, each representing the evaluation of a member in the Council. At 1955's screening, however, there was an additional section F that was considered responsible for the rejection of all the six drafts. Over this incident professor Iwao Takayama (高山岩男) of Nihon University who newly joined the Council was suspected be the writer of section F, and the news media reported the incident as the "Section F purge" (F項パージ, "F-ko paaji").

Ienaga v. Japan (1965–1997)

Saburo Ienaga was a Japanese historian famous for controversies regarding school history textbooks. In 1953, the Japanese Ministry of Education published a textbook by Ienaga, but censored what they said were factual errors and matters of opinion, regarding Japanese war crimes. Ienaga undertook a series of law suits against the Ministry for violation of his freedom of speech. He was nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize by Noam Chomsky among others.[11][12]

Neighboring Country Clause (1982)

On June 26, 1982, the Japanese textbook authorization system became a major diplomatic issue for the first time when Asahi Shimbun, one of the big three leading national newspapers in Japan, reported that the Ministry of Education demanded a textbook, which stated that the Japanese army invaded (侵略) Northern China, be rewritten using the phrase "advanced (進行) into" instead of invaded. Having heard this news the Chinese government strongly protested to Japan. In response, on August 26, 1982, Kiichi Miyazawa, then the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, made the following statement:

  1. The Japanese Government and the Japanese people are deeply aware of the fact that acts by our country in the past caused tremendous suffering and damage to the peoples of Asian countries, including the Republic of Korea (ROK) and China, and have followed the path of a pacifist state with remorse and determination that such acts must never be repeated. Japan has recognized, in the Japan-ROK Joint Communiqué of 1965, that the "past relations are regrettable, and Japan feels deep remorse," and in the Japan-China Joint Communiqué, that Japan is "keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war and deeply reproaches itself." These statements confirm Japan's remorse and determination which I stated above and this recognition has not changed at all to this day.
  2. This spirit in the Japan-ROK Joint Communiqué and the Japan-China Joint Communiqué naturally should also be respected in Japan's school education and textbook authorization. Recently, however, the Republic of Korea, China, and others have been criticizing some descriptions in Japanese textbooks. From the perspective of building friendship and goodwill with neighboring countries, Japan will pay due attention to these criticisms and make corrections at the Government's responsibility.
  3. To this end, in relation to future authorization of textbooks, the Government will revise the Guideline for Textbook Authorization after discussions in the Textbook Authorization and Research Council and give due consideration to the effect mentioned above. Regarding textbooks that have already been authorized, Government will take steps quickly to the same effect. As measures until then, the Minister of Education, Sports, Science and Culture will express his views and make sure that the idea mentioned in 2. Above is duly reflected in the places of education.
  4. Japan intends to continue to make efforts to promote mutual understanding and develop friendly and cooperative relations with neighboring countries and to contribute to the peace and stability of Asia and, in turn, of the world.[13]

In November 1982 the Ministry of Education adopted a new authorization criterion, the so-called "Neighboring Country Clause" (近隣諸国条項): Textbooks ought to show understanding and seek international harmony in their treatment of modern and contemporary historical events involving neighboring Asian countries (近隣のアジア諸国との間の近現代の歴史的事象の扱いに国際理解と国際協調の見地から必要な配慮がされていること).

New History Textbook

In 2000, Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, a group of conservative scholars, published New History Textbook (Atarashii Rekishi Kyokasho, 新しい歴史教科書) that was intended to promote a revised view of Japan. The textbook downplays or whitewashes the nature of Japan's military aggression in the First Sino-Japanese War, in Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910, in the Second Sino-Japanese War, and in World War II. The textbook was approved by the Ministry of Education in 2001, and caused a huge controversy in Japan, China and Korea. A large number of Japanese historians and educators protested against the content of New History Textbook and its treatment of Japanese wartime activities. China Radio International reported that the PRC government and people were "strongly indignant about and dissatisfied with the new Japanese history textbook for the year 2002 compiled by right-wing Japanese scholars".[14]

Subsequently, the New History Textbook was used by only 0.039% of junior high schools in Japan as of August 15, 2001. According to the Society, there are currently eight private junior high schools, one public school for the disabled in Tokyo, three public junior high schools and four public schools for the disabled in Ehime that use their textbook (Mainichi Shimbun, September 27, 2004).[15]

Anti-Japanese demonstrations were held in the spring of 2005 in China and South Korea to protest against New History Textbook.

"Comfort women" comments

In 2007, former education minister Nariaki Nakayama declared he was proud that the Liberal Democratic Party had succeeded in getting references to "wartime sex slaves" struck from most authorized history texts for junior high schools. "Our campaign worked, and people outside government also started raising their voices."[16] He also declared that he agreed with an e-mail sent to him saying that the "victimized women in Asia should be proud of being comfort women".[17]

2007 passage change on forced World War II suicides

Japan orders history books to change passages on forced suicides during World War II.[18] In June 2007, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly officially asked the Ministry of Education of Japan to retract its instruction to downplay the military's role in mass suicide in Okinawa in 1945.[19] More than 100,000 people in Okinawa rallied against the text book changes at the end of September. According to the Kyodo News agency, it was the biggest staged rally on the island since its 1972 return to Japanese rule. Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima spoke to the crowds, commenting that the Japanese military's involvement in the mass suicides should not be forgotten.[20]

Examples

Some examples of descriptions of controversial war-related events from government-approved Japanese history textbooks:

Junior high school history textbook, 1983

Kaitei Atarashii Shakai Rekishi (改訂 新しい社会 歴史). Published by Tokyo Shoseki (東京書籍) on February 10, 1984. Approved on March 31, 1983.

"In Chosen, Keijo (now Seoul), on March 1, 1919, Korean intellectuals proclaimed the Declaration of Independence from Japan. With this as a turning point, students started a movement chanting 'Independence mansei'. This movement aroused the sympathy of the Korean people who had been suffering under the Japanese colonial rule, and spread all over the country." (p. 259)
"朝鮮では、1919年3月1日、京城(現在のソウル)で、知識人などが日本からの独立を求める独立宣言を発表した。これを契機として、学生たちは「独立万歳」をさけんで運動をおこした。この運動は、日本の植民地支配に苦しめられていた民衆の共感をよんで、各地にひろがった。"
"Entering 1932, Japan established Manchukuo with the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty as the head of the state, and separated it from China. However, the Japanese were at the helm in reality, and the state was economically dominated by Zaibatsu. China petitioned to the League of Nations for this Japanese invasion." (p. 275)
"1932年になると、日本は、清朝最後の皇帝を元首として、満州国を建て、中国から分離させた。しかし、実権は日本人がにぎり、財閥なども進出して、この国を経済的に支配した。中国は、このような日本の侵略を国際連盟にうったえた。"
  • Growing Militarism:
"Through these incidents [May 15 Incident and February 26 Incident] the influence of the military on politics grew greater. Ideas that opposed militarism were harshly regulated, and various people such as liberals and the persons of religion were persecuted with Peace Preservation Law, etc.... 75,000 people were arrested by the end of the war (1945) for the violation of Peace Preservation Law, and quite a few of them were tortured." (pp. 275-276)
"これらの事件をへて、軍部の政治への発言が強まった。 軍国主義に反対する思想のとりしまりもはげしくなり、治安維持法などによって、自由主義者や宗教家など、さまざまな人々が弾圧をうけた…治安維持法違反であるとされて、終戦(1945年)までに7万5千人もの人々が検挙され、なかには、拷問をうけた人も少なくなかった。"
"The Japanese army occupied the Northern China, then invaded Nanjing, and killed and destroyed the lives of many Chinese people across. Footnote: The Japanese army that occupied Nanjing killed many Chinese people inside and outside the urban district within several weeks. The number of deaths was around 7-80,000 counting only civilians such as women and children. Including the deserted soldiers the number is estimated to be over 200,000. China estimates the number of the victims to be well over 300,000 including war deaths. Japan was condemned by other nations for this incident known as Nanjing Massacre; however, the Japanese people then were not notified of the fact." (p. 277)
"日本軍は華北を占領し、さらにナンキン(南京)へ侵攻して、各地で多くの中国民衆の生命を奪い、その生活を破壊して大きな損害をあたえた。脚注:ナンキンを占領した日本軍は、数週間のあいだに、市街地の内外で多くの中国人を殺害した。その死者の数は、婦女子・子どもをふくむ一般市民だけで7〜8万、武器を捨てた兵士をふくめると、20万以上ともいわれる。また、中国では、この殺害によるぎせい者を、戦死者をふくめ、30万以上とみている。この事件は、ナンキン大虐殺として、諸外国から非難をあびたが、日本の一般国民は、その事実を知らされなかった。"
  • Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere:
"In 1940, observing the defeat of France to Germany, Japan proclaimed the establishment of Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Japan made an entry into French Indochina and occupied the northern part. Footnote: It was to submit an idea that Asian nations should cooperate with one another and prosper together removing the American and European forces. However, in reality, it was only a pretext for Japan to dominate the rest of Asia." (p. 282)
"1940年(昭和15年)、フランスがドイツに敗れたのをみて、「大東亜共栄圏」の建設を唱えて、フランス領インドシナに進駐し、北部を占領した。脚注:アジアから欧米諸国の勢力を除き、アジア諸民族だけで協力して栄えていこうという考えを示している。しかし、じっさいには、アジアを日本が支配しようとするものであった。"
  • Occupation of Southeast Asia:
"In Southeast Asia that the Japanese military occupied, independent governments were established in Burma and the Philippines; however, the real power was held by the Japanese military. In the occupied territories, the life of the people were impoverished because the Japanese military forcibly collected from them rice and resources necessary to wage the war. In addition, the Japanese military killed more than 6,000 Chinese residents who were deemed rebellious in the occupied Singapore and Malaya, and oppressively ruled the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia by severely punishing the people who opposed the policy of the military. As the result of such an occupation policy, resistance movements against the Japanese rule spread throughout." (pp. 283-284)
"日本軍が占領した東南アジアでは、ビルマやフィリピンに独立政府がつくられたが、その実権は日本軍がにぎっていた。占領地域では、戦争に必要な資源や米などが強制的にとりたてられ、民衆の生活は苦しくなった。そのうえ、日本軍は、占領していたシンガポールで、日本軍に抵抗するとみなした6千人以上もの中国系住民の生命を奪ったのをはじめ、フィリピンなど各地で、軍の方針に反した人々を、きびしく処罰するような強圧的な支配をおこなった。このような占領政策の結果、日本の支配に対する抵抗運動が各地にひろがった。"
  • Predicament of Korean and Chinese people:
"Many Korean and Chinese people were forced to move to Japan and worked a hard labor job in coal mines under horrible conditions. Footnote: In wartime years the government strengthened the policy to assimilate the Koreans to the Japanese, by forcing them to use Japanese language, worship Shinto shrine, and adopt Japanese names." (p. 284)
"さらに多数の朝鮮人や、中国人までも強制的につれてきて、ひどい条件のもとで炭坑などの重労働に十字させた。脚注:戦時下になると、政府は、朝鮮人に対して、日本人に同化させる政策をさらに強め、日本語を使用することや神社に参拝すること、姓名を日本風にかえること(創氏改名)などを強制した。"
  • Potsdam Declaration:
"Finally, Japan accepted Potsdam Declaration and decided to surrender.... With this, China and the occupied Southeast Asian nations were freed from the invasion of the Japanese military. In Joseon, the 35 years of the Japanese colonial rule was brought down." (p. 290)
"日本はついに、ポツダム宣言をうけいれ、降伏することを決めた…それとともに、中国や占領された東南アジアは、日本軍の侵攻から開放された。また、朝鮮では、35年間にわたった日本による植民地支配がうちくずされた。"

High school history textbook, 1998

Nihonshi B (日本史B). Published by Tokyo Shoseki on February 10, 1999. Approved on March 31, 1998.

  • Unit 731:
"Footnote: Struggling an uphill battle against the Eighth Route Army of the Communist Party of China, the Japanese army started an all-out mopping-up campaign. Also Unit 731 of Kantogun dealt with germ weapons, and the Japanese army used poison gas." (p. 299)
"脚注:中国共産党の八路軍などに苦戦を強いられた日本軍は、1940(昭和15)年ごろから徹底した掃討戦を展開した。また、関東軍の731部隊は細菌兵器をあつかい、日本軍は毒ガスも使用した。"
"Footnote: There were many Korean women who were brought to combat area as wartime comfort women. Recently the victims have been vocally protesting for official apology and individual reparations from the Japanese government." (p. 308)
"脚注:従軍慰安婦として戦地にだされた朝鮮人女性も少なくなかった。最近になって被害者が日本政府に大して公式謝罪と個人補償を求める声をあげている。"
"Footnote: In this battle that involved civilians, the tragedy of mass suicide occurred and civilians were killed by the Japanese soldiers on suspicion of espionage in many places." (p. 309)
"脚注:民間人をまきこんだこの戦いでは、集団自決の悲劇や、民間人がスパイの嫌疑などで日本軍兵士に殺害される事件も各地でおこった。"
"Footnote: In an accompanying agreement, it was decided that Japan shall offer economic aid over 8 hundred million dollars in total. Also it was confirmed that the problems concerning property and reparation claims of the two nations and of the peoples of the two nations had been settled completely and finally." (p. 333)
"脚注:付属の協定で、日本が韓国に総額8億ドル以上の経済援助を供与することがとりきめられた。そして、日本の植民地支配がもたらした、両国および両国民にかかわる財産や請求権の問題は、完全かつ最終的に解決されたことが確認された。"
"Footnote: Japan expressed that it was keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused, and regretted deeply for it.... Also in this communique China renounced its demand for war reparation from Japan." (p. 343)
"脚注:日本は、過去の戦争による加害の責任を痛感し、深く反省すると表明した…また、この声明で中国は、対日戦争賠償請求権の放棄を宣言した。"
  • War responsibility and reparations:
"From around the 1990s after 50 years since the end of World War II, people in Asia started to demand apology and compensation for the damages that they received during the war such as compulsory recruitment from China and Joseon and wartime comfort women. These issues of war responsibility and post-war compensation also are big issues for Japan to settle. Footnote: As for state reparation it has already been completed with San Francisco Peace Treaty and bilateral agreements that were concluded with each nation individually." (p. 354)
"第二次世界大戦の終戦から50年をへた1990年代のなかばごろから、中国・朝鮮からの強制的な徴用や従軍慰安婦問題など、戦争時の被害に対する謝罪や補償をもとめる動きがアジアの人々におきている。これらの戦争責任や戦後補償の問題を解決することも大きな課題である。脚注:国家賠償については、サンフランシスコ平和条約や各国と個別に結んだ二国間協定で履行ずみである。"

Junior high school history textbook, 2005

New History Textbook 2005 version (新しい歴史教科書). Published by Fusosha, translated by Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.

"In August 1937, two Japanese soldiers, one an officer, were shot to death in Shanghai (the hub of foreign interests). After this incident, the hostilities between Japan and China escalated. Japanese military officials thought Chiang Kai-shek would surrender if they captured Nanking, the Nationalist capital; they occupied that city in December. *But Chiang Kai-shek had moved his capital to the remote city of Chongqing. The conflict continued. Note *At this time, many Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed or wounded by Japanese troops (the Nanking Incident). Documentary evidence has raised doubts about the actual number of victims claimed by the incident. The debate continues even today" (p. 49).
"On July 7, 1937, shots were fired at Japanese soldiers while they were engaged in maneuvers near Marco Polo Bridge (located outside Beijing). By the next day, this incident (the Marco Polo Bridge Incident) had escalated into hostilities with Chinese troops. The incident was of relatively small magnitude, and efforts were made to resolve it locally. But Japan decided to send a large number of troops to China when the Nationalist government issued an emergency mobilization order. These events marked the beginning of a war that lasted for eight long years" (p. 49).
  • Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere:
"The war inflicted a huge amount of devastation and suffering on the peoples of Asia, where it was fought. The casualties (both military and civilian) attributable to Japanese invasions were particularly high in China. Each time the Japanese occupied a Southeast Asian nation, they set up a military administration. Leaders of local independence movements cooperated with those military administrations so that they could liberate their countries from the yoke of the Western powers. But when the Japanese insisted that local populations learn the Japanese language and worship at Shinto shrines, they met with resistance. Anti-Japanese elements who aligned themselves with the Allies engaged in guerrilla warfare, which Japanese troops dealt with severely. Many people, civilians included, were killed during these confrontations. When the fortunes of war turned against Japan and food supplies ran short, the Japanese often forced the local population to do back-breaking work. After the war was over, Japan paid reparations to those nations. Then Japan was accused of promoting the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere philosophy to justify the war and occupation of Asia. Later, after Japan was defeated and Japanese troops had withdrawn from Asia, all these former colonies achieved independence through their own efforts during the next dozen years. Some Japanese soldiers remained in Asia and participated in the various struggles for independence. The initial goal of Japan’s southward advance was to obtain resources, but it also served to spur on nascent independence movements in Asia" (p. 54)
  • Japanese Actions Inspire the Peoples of Asia :
"Japanese soldiers drove out the forces of Western Europe, which had colonized the nations of Asia for many years. They surprised us, because we didn’t think we could possibly beat the white man, and they inspired us with confidence. They awakened us from our long slumber, and convinced us to make the nation of our ancestors our own nation once again. We cheered the Japanese soldiers as they marched through the Malay Peninsula. When we saw the defeated British troops fleeing, we felt an excitement we had never experienced before. (Excerpt from the writings of Raja Dato Nong Chik, leader of the Malaysian independence movement and former member of the Malaysian House of Representatives)" (p. 54)

Current Issues

Recently there has been controversy about the inclusion of the Liancourt Rocks (sovereignty over the islands is disputed between Japan and South Korea) as being part of Japan in Japanese teacher's guidebooks for social study classes for junior high school students.

See also

References

  1. ^ Kathleen Woods Masalski (November 2001). "EXAMINING THE JAPANESE HISTORY TEXTBOOK CONTROVERSIES". Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education. http://spice.stanford.edu/docs/134. Retrieved 2008-06-27.  
  2. ^ Stephen Ambrose, To America: Personal Reflections of an Historian, 112.
  3. ^ Howard W. French (2004-12-06). "China's Textbooks Twist and Omit History". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/06/international/asia/06textbook.html. Retrieved 2007-10-26.  
  4. ^ Philip P. Pan (2006-01-25). "Leading Publication Shut Down In China: Party's Move Is Part Of Wider Crackdown". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/24/AR2006012401003.html. Retrieved 2007-10-26.  
  5. ^ "Teach History So It Does Not Repeat Itself". Chosun Ilbo. 2005-12-13. http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200512/200512130027.html. Retrieved 2007-10-26.  
  6. ^ 오창민·강병한 (2006-01-15). "초등 4~6학년 교과서, 단일민족·혈통 지나치게 강조" (in Korean). 경향신문. http://news.khan.co.kr/kh_news/khan_art_view.html?artid=200708212359521&code=940401. Retrieved 2007-08-21.  
  7. ^ 강 병한 (2007-08-21). "초등교과서, 고려때 ‘23만 귀화’ 언급도 안해" (in Korean). 경향신문. http://news.empas.com/show.tsp/cp_kh/20070821n11817/?kw=%C0%CF%BA%BB%20%3Cb%3E%26%3C%2Fb%3E. Retrieved 2007-08-21.  
  8. ^ "【教科書】「韓国の歴史教科書は世界史的解釈が欠如」韓国歴史学の重鎮・崔文衡教授に聞く(上)" (in Japanese). Chosun Ilbo. 2006-01-15. http://www.chosunonline.com/article/20060115000017. Retrieved 2007-10-26.  
  9. ^ Kasahara, Tokushi. "Reconciling Narratives of the Nanjing Massacre in Japanese and Chinese Textbooks". Tsuru Bunka University. http://www.usip.org/events/2007/kasahara.pdf.  
  10. ^ http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/133p/133p04papers/JChapelNanjing046.htm
  11. ^ "Obituary: Saburo Ienaga: One man's campaign against Japanese censorship" Jonathan Watts. The Guardian. London (UK): Dec 3, 2002. p. 22
  12. ^ "Persistence of memory: Saburo Ienaga insists Japan remember an unsavoury war to ensure dreams of peace" John Price. The Vancouver Sun. Vancouver, B.C.: Mar 7, 2001. p. A.13
  13. ^ Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Kiichi Miyazawa on History Textbooks
  14. ^ CRI Online, April 2001
  15. ^ Sven Saaler: Politics, Memory and Public Opinion: The History Textbook Controversy and Japanese Society. Munich: 2005
  16. ^ Sex slave history erased from texts
  17. ^ Comfort women distortion stirs indignation
  18. ^ "Japan orders history books to change passages on forced World War II suicides". SignOnSanDiego.com. 2007-03-30. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20070330-0757-japan-forcedsuicides.html. Retrieved 2007-09-30.  
  19. ^ "Okinawa slams history text rewrite". The Japan Times. 2007-06-23. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070623a1.html. Retrieved 2007-09-30.  
  20. ^ "Huge Japan protest over textbook". BBC News. 2007-09-29. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7020335.stm. Retrieved 2007-09-30.  

Further Reading

  • Ijiri, Hidenori (1996), “Sino-Japanese Controversy since the 1972 Diplomatic Normalization,” in China and Japan: History, Trends, Prospects, ed. Christopher Howe (Oxford: Clarendon), 60-82.
  • Lind, Jennifer (2008) Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).
  • Rose, Caroline (1998) Interpreting History in Sino-Japanese Relations: a Case Study in Political Decision-making (London: Routledge).
  • Whiting, Allen S. (1989) China Eyes Japan (Berkeley: University of California Press).

External links


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