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School textbooks to be revised to reflect gov't view on history

131 Comments

The Education Ministry is planning to implement school textbook reform to better reflect the government's stance on topics such as history and island disputes.

Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura said his ministry will revise the textbook screening process for elementary, junior high and high schools, TBS reported Saturday. "We are attempting to adopt the government's viewpoint on textbook criteria, but this doesn't mean that we will block various historical or political viewpoints," he told a news conference.

According to the proposal, textbook certification revisions will start next fiscal year beginning with middle school textbooks. With subjects like history and territorial disputes, the reform seeks to encompass the government viewpoint. But where varying viewpoints exist on a particular subject, then each will be explained fully and objectively to provide an overall sense of balance to the textbook curriculum, Shimomura said.

The issue of how wartime history is a sensitive issue between Japan and its Asian neighbors, particularly events such as the Nanjing Massacre, as well as the question of comfort women.

The revision is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's education reform policy that also includes adopting moral education and patriotism into school curricula.

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Abe is a scary monster, ramping up military spending, revising history, brain washing kids. Hitleresque.

12 ( +29 / -17 )

where varying viewpoints exist on a particular subject, then each will be explained fully and objectively to provide an overall sense of balance

I don't know spudman, I don't think that explaining things "fully and objectively" reminds me of Hitler.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

China's education states the Senkaku islands - Diaoyu - belong to them, South Korea's education FEVERISHLY states Takeshima - Dokdo - belongs to them, Britain's education (well I'm not sure it's taught in school but it's stated in society)states thet the Falkland Islands - Malvinas - belong to us, and we're (the UK) currently suffering bad relations with Spain over Gibraltar, with Spanish coast guard entering our waters around the rock and obstructing access out of Gibraltar and into Spain.

I didn't learn about Bomber Harris flattening Dresden and killing countless innocent civilians in my English school; I didn't learn about Cromwell in Ireland, the plantation of Ulster; I didn't learn about the attempted genocide post-Culloden in Scotland. But luckily that's history. And even though Britain invaded lots of countries and called it the Empire, that's still history and I don't think they're going to do it again - even though we still have an army.

Brain washing? Hitleresque? ... No.

I suppose this report is scary stuff if you really believe Japan is about to don the puttees again and fix bayonets.

16 ( +29 / -13 )

spudmanNov. 17, 2013 - 07:41AM JST Abe is a scary monster, ramping up military spending, revising history, brain washing kids. Hitleresque.

I've re-read the article 3 times and I don't see where you got that.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

It doesn't take a genius to see the writing on the wall (in the text books). There is a tendency in this country to put a lid on anything that doesn't fit with the current opinion. The many small "revisions" and the efforts to instill "national pride" and impose "morals" on kids is really scary.

Instead of striving to make people independent an open minded, Japan seems to go in the opposite direction.

16 ( +24 / -8 )

" adopting moral education" to me that read as they want to explain what disputes are all about.

As with regards to Abe wanting to invest in the military. We sit next to China and North Korea while being dependant on the US for defence. That's not healthy.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Abe can't be objective

5 ( +12 / -7 )

It will be nothing but a de facto "national textbook". This is political intervention gone too far. The "leading role" of education is children. There can be no education reform that has left behind the children.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Let us see what is the government view on history and what they want to change.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Teach the Japanese students about debt - 2nd largest debt - public and private - behind Ireland.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

I grew up with Japanese hitory textbooks and was surprised the derogatory way they depicted Japan's past. Yet, China and South Korea and Int'l community believe otherwise without reading by themselves. Another myth caused from language differences.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

“We are attempting to adopt the government’s viewpoint on textbook criteria, but this doesn’t mean that we will block various historical or political viewpoints,” *

I think that is precisely what it means, minister.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Hitleresque? Yes.

Third Reich school textbooks were rewritten to reflect Nazi version of history and biology. They have even reworked mathematics problems.

"A bomber aircraft on take-off carries 12 dozen bombs, each weighing 10 kilos. The aircraft takes off for Warsaw the international center for Jewry. It bombs the town. On take-off with all bombs on board and a fuel tank containing 100 kilos of fuel, the aircraft weighed about 8 tons. When it returns from the crusade, there are still 230 kilos left. What is the weight of the aircraft when empty?"

It all started like this.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Wartime history should be taught! The good and the bad. That is just common sense isn't? Teach it as not to repeat it.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

"School textbooks to be revised to reflect gov't view on history" this headline says it all, reflect the governments view , and who's actual view would that be. Would they be seeking the views of the present ruling party members, or do you think they might take the views of credited Japanese historians, past and present, Kiyoshi Inoue,Tadayoshi Murata.to name two. But then its a known fact that politicians don,t believe credited facts and figures from the professional educated comunity.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Knox HarringtonNov. 17, 2013 - 09:08AM JST It doesn't take a genius to see the writing on the wall (in the text books). There is a tendency in this country to put a lid >on anything that doesn't fit with the current opinion. The many small "revisions" and the efforts to instill "national pride" >and impose "morals" on kids is really scary. Instead of striving to make people independent an open minded, Japan seems to go in the opposite direction.

I completely disagree with respect to "national pride". Most Japanese haven't had any since 1945 with the USA protecting them, they developed an attitude that national security isn't their problem. Only the actions of North Korea and China seems to have awakened them to reality. There's is no doubt in my mind that Japanese kids today need not "morals" and "national pride". What country doesn't need that for their kids?

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Pre-contractual solidarity relies upon things like nationalism, religion, and ethnic homogeneity. Public schools are a great way of maintaining the first, which has been rather crucial in the US considering the lack of the third. Good on Abe for recognizing the importance of nationalism.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

"national pride". Most Japanese haven't had any since 1945

I nearly spat my tea over my keyboard reading that. Do you really believe the nonsense you spout? Japanese are force fed a diet of how special and unique they are nearly everyday. National pride isn't just about sending planes to bomb arab children you know.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Wow! Hitleresque??? Seriously? Japan's military and patriotism is about 1% of the USA and UK.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

There's no "question of comfort women; only tragic ignorance and cruelty.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sorry to say this; but the Japanese do not have so much pride. It is their cowardice that perpetually makes them avoid recognising the truth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with Ossan. Japanese have no sense of nationality at all at serious level. Japanese teachers have been too far left, and brainwashed their students that even singing national anthem, raising national flag, and so on and on are all bad things.

-4 ( +9 / -13 )

tinawatanabeNov. 17, 2013 - 10:42AM JST

I agree with Ossan. Japanese have no sense of nationality at all at serious level.

You really have to wonder what universe some npeople are living in. They are brought up on a stable diet of nationalistic twaddle that goes much further than anything I've encountered elsewhere, including America.

They spend so much time navel gazing at themselves that 99.9% of Japanese are pretty ignorant about anything else in the world.

National pride within the Japanese has blinded them to the failings of their own system, both political and economic, and the historical strength of the Japanese, the ability to learn from others and improve upon what was learnt, has died a sad death since 'The Economic Miracle'.

Japan has become a constant of the past in the last 25 years and this in itself is the cancer that will be its undoing because the rest of Asia, from Thailand to Vietnam to Indonesia, are not. They are changing with the economic and political times.

Even the strain of Japanese nationalism that the present Japanese government is trying to promote, is not a healthy benign one, but an anarchaic malignant type, based more around Wilsonian ideals of US exceptionalism - Abe's Japan as Number 1 and unique - a type that has ill served the greatest power on this earth, let alone an Asian has-been.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

Filling the textbooks with 'the government's stance' is wrong on so many levels. I hope the 72.6% of the electorate who didn't vote for the LDP coalition in the last election refuse to put up with it. If my kids were still in school I wouldn't want them being taught the government line. Especially not this government.

Japanese have no sense of nationality at all at serious level.

What do you call a 'serious level'? Flying the flag from anywhere and everywhere a flagpole can be set up? Ritualistic en masse pledging of allegiance every morning? It's only when people don't have a firm sense of nationality at a serious level that they feel the need to shout it from the rooftops all the time.

I didn't learn about Bomber Harris flattening Dresden and killing countless innocent civilians in my English school; I didn't learn about Cromwell in Ireland, the plantation of Ulster; I didn't learn about the attempted genocide post-Culloden in Scotland.

Wow you must have gone to a really bad school or not have been the sharpest knife in the history cupboard. I learnt about that and more for my O Level history class and without it, I wouldn't have passed O level History.

Like hatsoff I also didn't learn anything in school about the Second World War, Cromwell in Ireland or anything about Ulster. The school I went to was not 'really bad' (actually one of the best in the North) nor was I not the sharpest knife (though I did find history very, very boring once we started on O-levels). We ran very quickly through Roman Britain and all the Kings and Queens with a bit of lingering over the dissolution of the monasteries, then since we were in Lancashire, the O-level syllabus was all about the Industrial Revolution, the canals, railways, Empire, etc., and ended before the start of the 20th century. The Second World War came under Current Affairs in the 6th Form, not History. If things have changed now and they're including more stuff in the History syllabus, and more interesting stuff, that's a Good Thing.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

So the new text books will read. 1. The Japanese imperial government / army helped Asian counties (china, Korea, taiwan, Indonesia and etc by chasing out the western devils by coming to their aid with or without their consent. . 2. Young Korean, Chinese, Dutch and other Asian women energetically volunteered to bring comfort to more than 200 imperial army soldiers hero every day and night. 3. Imperial navy had successful destroyed the American pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. 4. The American devils dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killing millions of innocent women and children without cause. 5. The Chinese army killed and raped 500,000 Nanking citizens and tried to blame the imperial army.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

School text books are so out of date, they are in desperate need of revision. The other day I asked 300 JHS kids what the Senkaku islands were and only a handful knew what I was talking about. History text books focus a lot on ancient Japan.

History changes all the time as new evidence becomes available and revisionary versions arrive on the scene. It is not something that is fact and remains exactly as it was 50 years ago. A government not willing to revise their history syllabus to make it more relevant to the lives of young citizens would be negligent IMO.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

There's is no doubt in my mind that Japanese kids today need not "morals" and "national pride". What country doesn't need that for their kids?

School is not the place for 'teaching' those things. Children should get morals from their parents, and a sense of national pride from there actually being things to be proud about in their countries.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

If Abe wants people to be patriotic, build a country people can feel pride in.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

But where varying viewpoints exist on a particular subject, then each will be explained fully and objectively to provide an overall sense of balance to the textbook curriculum, Shimomura said.

Okay. We'll wait and see if that's what happens. Meanwhile, true patriotism should come about naturally, having reflected on the strong points of one's country. When patrotism is forced on people, it is called brainwashing. Brainwashing does have a long history... maybe that could be mentioned in the new textbooks as well.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ossan,

I am not surprised you disagree. What you (and most Japanese) fail to understand is that North Korea is no threat to Japan whatsoever. They know they are having their every move scrutinized by the US and South Korea and are probably painfully aware of the potential repercussions should they choose to start a ruckus.

The Japanese have issues with self-esteem and think that acting all tough and big will make them feel better. At least that is what the hopelessly behind boys in government thinks. So they try to change people's opinions. Seeing as how many people are smarter than that, this textbook revisionistic move is an attempt to mold they clay of future generations. It is not only unfair to the kids but to the country itself. Most of the world knows that the Japanese have a history that was violent and cruel because there are still people alive to be able to talk about it.

In many countries in Europe, kids go on school trips to concentration camps. They go there to show kids a harsh historic reality, to open their eyes, to educate them. That is the right way to go. To try to instill a warped sense of supremacy is the wrong way.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

adopting moral education and patriotism into school curricula.

These two objectives are mutually exclusive. A proper discussion about morality cannot happen when it always comes back the position of, "this is immoral... except when Japan does it.".

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japan must learn to admit past mistakes instead of trying to whitewash its wrongs in WW2. Yes, it had since 70 years ago but some people is still trying to deny the wrongs. And that some people like that abe guy is trying to influence the other japs to whitewash their past cruelty. I am from asia and we know the sufferings of our grandparents under the japs. They look down on all other asians even till today. Hence that abe proclaimed recently that Japan wants to be the leader of asia. This shows japan superiority complex.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Sorry, but rewriting history to support one's point of view sort of reminds me of that nutcase in North Korea, especially when you add government stated morals and patriotism to the curriculum. Next we'll see photos of the all-mighty Abe in schools and homes. Somebody really needs to explain the concept of democracy to the Japanese government.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Haven't you heard of the phrase "history is written by the victors?" Japan came out "victorious" in WWII by virtue of the USA bailing them out, investing in them, teaching them modern ways, and effectively becoming their sword and shield for over 40 years.

Abe knows he has to change the culture of Japan to reinvigorate the economy. He's also correct in that many vested interests (the corporations) are loathe to change. However, these steps by his cabinet are misplaced. Rewriting history to leave out the unscrupulous bits won't help. Look at Germany. They squarely confront their sordid history and learned from it. The last thing Japan needs is a military-industrial complex.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Ugh! Don't go there... Stay focused on the economy..

3 ( +5 / -2 )

But where varying viewpoints exist on a particular subject, then each will be explained fully and objectively to provide an overall sense of balance to the textbook curriculum, Shimomura said.

This is where it is really dangerous. There is no variance of opinion anywhere else but a lunatic fringe in Japan which has become more and more mainstream. The Nanking massacre happened, forced sexual slavery happened, medical experiments happened. What they are speaking about not is not variance of opinion but extreme right wing lunatic fringe opinions moving into the mainstream.

didn't learn about Bomber Harris flattening Dresden and killing countless innocent civilians in my English school; I didn't learn about Cromwell in Ireland, the plantation of Ulster; I didn't learn about the attempted genocide post-Culloden in Scotland.

These things might not have been taught in your school but no-one is claiming that they didn't happen. No schools in the UK as far as I know are saying the potato famine didn't happen or claiming the numbers of deaths were considerably lower than the actual number. This is the equivalent of holocaust denial being taught in schools. Does Japan want to go down that road? Because they will be seen as a lunatic country if they do. It won't just be Obama having less cordial relations with Abe but most of the world shunning Japan. Abe and his cohorts are extremists hiding their views until they have a base of popular support. The worrying thing is that the Japanese media are his strongest cheerleaders instead of critics.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Abes job is to lead the country in to the future. Nothing strange if they want to revise whatever the national agenda for morals and citizenship is in Japan today. That is simply what happens in every democracy I know of. An elected government are supposed to impose their agenda as much as possible during their reign. And the next one will of course try to change that to something else. More interesting however is if Abe indeed have instructed the ministry to revise uncomfortable but internationally recognized truths about ww2. If so I believe Abe has chosen to step in to the beginning of the end of this government. Japan risk loosing face in the internationally community and that will of course be bad for business. Lets wait and see.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The government has absolutely no business of writing/revising history textbooks, not its view of history. This should be left to unbiased, well informed scholars who are not afraid of stepping on toes.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

What you (and most Japanese) fail to understand is that North Korea is no threat to Japan whatsoever.

My goodness. Do you have secret information you'd like to share that supports this idea? Certainly military experts in the U.S. and Japan would like to know why North Korea is no threat.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@cleo Because of my poor English ability, I did not understand your comment about mine. Do you think you can rephrase it? What I said was that

Japanese teachers are far too left, and even now many teachers don't want to or refuse to song national antham or stand up for raising national flag at school ceremonies. Some teachers even teach their students to do the same. Japanese people have no sense of nationalism at all. Too much nationalism is not good thing, but zero nationalism is not good either. Schools have to teach children positive view of the country as well.
-3 ( +2 / -5 )

not its view of history.

Sorry; nor its view of history

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Heil Abe! You've got a revisionist scumbag as PM, and a Finance Minister who worships the Nazi's and says the government should be more like them, what do you expect? I just hope the apologists stop making excuses and see the government for what it is on this issue -- pure and plain fascist.

“We are attempting to adopt the government’s viewpoint on textbook criteria, but this doesn’t mean that we will block various historical or political viewpoints,”

Ummm... yeah, it does. Why are politicians here so extremely vapid and obvious? "We are reneging on our carbon emissions quota, but that doesn't mean we are reneging!" "We are white-washing our textbooks, but that doesn't mean we are white-washing them!", etc. Do these guys think the rest of the people in the world are idiots? But if you question them on it, it becomes an 'attack on culture'.

My guess is they won't be skimming any pages from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki sections of the texts.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Good attempt. Objective historical perspectives are much needed on all sides of the territories. Bully, distortion and exploitation will lead to more ignorant, thus creating pain and suffering. I.C.O J. anyone?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is where it is really dangerous. There is no variance of opinion anywhere else but a lunatic fringe in Japan which has become more and more mainstream.

I think that should be mentioned in books.

Anyway, I am pessimistic. My feeling is that the average Japanese, educated or not, shows a saddening lack of interest in politics. As if it would be something for only the erai hito. On top of that, people have an unhealthy respect for whomever they percieve is "above them" in the strict Japanese hierarchy. I doubt very few parents would question dubious text books that were "fact checked" by the high-rollers in government. There would simply be very little debate. That is not good.

OT Farmboy,

My goodness. Don't tell me you actually believe the scare tactics about NK. Why don't you quote some of these "military experts" so we can all read what they have to say 'cause I have yet to hear what you claim "they" have said. /OT

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

So historical facts change from government to government? I love Japan, and there are many things in its history it should be proud of. It's role as the biggest aggressor in the most brutal war in human history is not something that should be glorified (as it undoubtedly will be.

I absolutely agree that kids should grow up to be proud and love their country. But they should love it for the good, peaceful achievements and triumphs, the humility and kindness that is often under the surface of everyday social transactions, for it's beauty and mystery and a million other things... but those kids also deserve education and their empathy and understanding would be highly cultivated by learning not only about Japanese suffering (at times resultant of its aggression), but also about the suffering of millions of others that Japan caused during its 20th century military conquests.

Education should instill facts (in the case of history, internationally accepted facts), not just patriotic rhetoric based on right-wing propaganda.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Every American feels regret about what we did to the Indians thanks to our textbooks. Can the Japanese say the same about world war 2 or is it just themselves they feel sorry for?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Every American feels regret about what we did to the Indians thanks to our textbooks.

Maybe, but if you ask an American, "Who discovered America?" don't you imagine most people will say Columbus?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Maybe, but if you ask an American, "Who discovered America?" don't you imagine most people will say Columbus?

But he was the most recent person to discover America.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Readers, please keep the discussion focused on Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Teach the Japanese students about debt - 2nd largest debt - public and private - behind Ireland."

Good idea. Lesson #1: fiscal debt is different from private debt. Sounds crazy, but few people seem to understand this fact.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Government meeting : "Mr. Abe, the failure of abenomics is starting to get noticed... what is next ? -It's time to celebrate about Fukushima, it's a success, we are taking the rods out... -Ahem, not really, there are many problems there... -We can party all year about the win of Olympics... -Lots of people complain now about the stadium and costs... -Well, we need a diversion."

adopt the government’s viewpoint on textbook criteria

Ware ware, openly rewriting our history like the Chinese Emperors or the North Korean Kims.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

JeffLeeNov. 17, 2013 - 04:11PM JST

Good idea. Lesson #1: fiscal debt is different from private debt. Sounds crazy, but few people seem to understand this fact.

Noooooo, your posts, claiming that Japanese debt is different from any other debt, are the thing that sounds crazy on this site.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Abe is a right-wing nationalist. No one should be remotely surprised that his revisionist agenda is now surfacing. His grandfather PM Kishi, a man accused of war crimes but never charged, taught him not to believe in Unit 731, Nanjing Massacre, coerced comfort women, Bataan Death March or any of Japan's atrocities. Abe was heavily indoctrinated as a child and has always been an extremist. He wanted to rescind on Japan's apologies for its past, and announced this in the media before chickening out. He wants Japanese children to grow up being instructed in patriotism, nationalism and nihonjinron the way he was raised. Shimomura says there will be a "sense of balance". Yeah, right.

Abe-sanctioned textbooks will not teach history. They will obfuscate and will attempt to confuse the next generation with the warped meanderings of Japan's right-wing elite. Abe believes the Japanese people have too much freedom. He believes the (painfully controlled) Japanese media has too much freedom. He thinks Japanese education is too liberal. He also believes he has the mandate to change these things, and he's right about that one. He is going to move forward with these plans. Give it 5 years, and even writing your opinions on JT might be dangerous.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

I find it cute. I think the only thing that most people really agree about is that Japan's textbooks need some form of revision. No details on exactly how this changes is published, yet most people are on a knee-jerk criticism mode.

Second, to people like pochan. It is probably true that if they are going to teach oh say the Naking Massacre in detail in school with "multiple viewpoints", it will include views that the Nanking Massacre killed a lot less than 300,000 people. It is a toss as to whether they will think the one saying "It didn't happen" can be politely ignored or whether they will include it. Nevertheless, with more viewpoints saying it happened than it didn't, the end result will almost certainly leave the impression that it probably happened.

In fact, they'll probably wind up getting one of the more in-depth treatments, and as an education a far better learning experience than the alternative. Remember, the world's monopolar read is creating people that will actually judge people's character on the academic issue of their view of a piece of ancient history.

Instead of worrying whether oh Abe thinks that massacring 300,000 people is a good idea, we worry more about if he agrees unconditionally with the international party line that on a certain event his country killed 300,000 people. It sometimes seems as if Abe and his kin will be less criticized if he unconditionally accepts the world's judgment but then starts a new massacre himself.

Surely, this is not healthy.

By the way, the above does not mean the author is not skeptical about the moral education plan, and no I do not like the LDP's Constitutional amendment

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

It's role as the biggest aggressor in the most brutal war in human history is not something that should be glorified

Wow, so Japan was worse than the nazis, who were actively exterminating a whole race and nearly succeeded - not to mention killing off gay people and the disabled. But yeah, Japan was worse (!)...Now THAT'S rewriting history. Way to go.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

The government has absolutely no business of writing/revising history textbooks, not its view of history.

What are you talking about? Surely one of the functions of government is to ensure that educational materials for public schools contain the most up to date information possible. I suggest a couple pages on the 1965 treaty with ROK be added to every history book, and maybe a couple of pages on recent PRC hysterics over the Senkakus and Yasukuni as well.

Japanese government doing its job. Lefties freak out and see Hitler. Yup, business as usual at JT.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki

I do see your point but quibbling over the numbers does not make it any less gruesome and barbaric.

In May 1994, Justice Minister Shigeto Nagano called the Nanjing Massacre a "fabrication".[96] On June 19, 2007, a group of around 100 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers again denounced the Nanjing Massacre as a fabrication, arguing that there was no evidence to prove the allegations of mass killings by Japanese soldiers. They accused Beijing of using the alleged incident as a "political advertisement".[97] [98] On February 20, 2012, Takashi Kawamura, mayor of Nagoya, told a visiting delegation from Nanjing that the massacre "probably never happened". Two days later he defended his remarks, saying, "Even since I was a national Diet representative, I have said [repeatedly] there was no [Nanjing] massacre that resulted in murders of several hundred thousands of people."[99][100] On April 1, 2013, Kawamura said his position remained unchanged when the issue came up during an election debate.[101] On February 24, 2012, Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara said that he also believes that the Nanjing massacre never happened. He reportedly claims it would have been impossible to kill so many people in such a short period of time.[102]

These people are high ranking politicians, many of them in the current governing party. Why were they not expelled from their party for these lunatic far right views?Are these the type of people that want textbooks revised and multiple viewpoints expressed. It will not bode well for Japan who will more and more become a pariah state to their neighbours.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Digging, digging & digging… Soon in the deep dark!

How is that still possible in a 21st century democracy?

Disappointed!

Open the eyes of the youngsters, work for a bright and peaceful future while admitting the past mistakes. Move forward…!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Kazuaki: "In fact, they'll probably wind up getting one of the more in-depth treatments, and as an education a far better learning experience than the alternative."

This kind of comment reminds of the apologists' comments like, "Well, maybe a bad thing happened a long time ago that we should forget, but we should remember that Japan's colonization of various nations resulted in their current well-being in education" and what not. Denial is a disease.

"It sometimes seems as if Abe and his kin will be less criticized if he unconditionally accepts the world's judgment but then starts a new massacre himself."

And then comes the lame 'defense' when you point out the fact that a well-known revisionist is revising history. Sorry, bud, but Abe is quite well known for white-washing, and that's exactly what they want to do here. Put all the lip-stick you want on that pig.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

When I was at school and we doing history, all we got were the tobacco barons. There was mention of slavery, but included the fact that it was outlawed in the early 19th century. There was nothing about the way Boer civilians were treated, nothing about how the British Empire trampled over other nations and made them colonies... nothing about WW1 dirty weapons, etc.

Are Japanese text books rewriting history? How many people posting about this have actually read a Japanese school textbook? I haven't - my Japanese is poor compared to a lot of people on here. So who has read them? If so, maybe they could provide us with a translation of what it says that denies or changes history?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Removing the nuclear power may turn Japan military vulnerable!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As I read this, the government is saying they're adding their "take' on these topics, not removing anyone else's. I believe there are enough people out there looking closely at Japan's history texts that if Japan truly DID try to re-write what is recognized by the rest of the world, the outcry would be swift and deafening. Let them do their update, read what they have put in there, THEN cry foul if what they add is perceived as wrong.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The revision is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe%u2019s education reform policy that also includes adopting moral education and patriotism into school curricula.

i don't think patriotism is needed during these days (with the fukushima problem and the economy still find their way up). perhaps with the exception of island disputes, some patriotism might be needed, but maybe only if some kind of war is coming. i hope they don't play around with WWII issues again.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@pochan

I do see your point but quibbling over the numbers does not make it any less gruesome and barbaric.

Let me agree with this sentence. The numbers are of secondary importance. In which case, China should have no major quibble with something like 90% of Japan's historians who are re-assessing the numbers. But it doesn't seem to work that way.

And leaving aside the truth of Nanking, Beijing does use the whole Nanjing Massacre for its own political ends.

@smithinjapan

Denial is a disease.

If we accept that "denial is a disease", then certainly the denial of even the possibility that some good came out of the Japan's colonization would qualify as one as well.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

They can make history book as they wish, but in Japan by the time they reach to go to 7th grade, they are already reading various magazines and weeklies. Text books are usually read before the semester begins, Magazine?Read\ Chuo Koron, Bungei shunju, etc. These magazines have special edition of Rekishi to Jinbutsu, etc. Get one and read to see how deeply writers dig around any topics. Also, now-a-days, students can use wikipedia selecting Japanese language. A lot and lot more than English language writings. Text change once in a while but that is it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Knox Harrington If taking European kids to visit concentration camp sites to educate them worked how do you explain all of the Neo-Nazis in Europe?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sometimes, bringing students to historic site educate more than books or video (not my time). When I was in girls college in our prefecture, I was in dormitory. We were all brats so one day, we were ordered to visit Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Hospital. parents were ordered to prepare white robes and gloves. On the way in chu chu train, we insulted men who want us to give our seats (custom then). until men gave up. We went to the hospital and visited patients. Since then, we stopped being brats and learned to be humanitarian,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

With subjects like history and territorial disputes, the reform seeks to encompass the government viewpoint. But where varying viewpoints exist on a particular subject, then each will be explained fully and objectively to provide an overall sense of balance to the textbook curriculum, Shimomura said.

Something that is missing from this scenario is teaching something about the principle of negotiation and compromise, and how it can benefit the welfare of all involved. The spirit of "win, win".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thunderbird: "Are Japanese text books rewriting history? How many people posting about this have actually read a Japanese school textbook? I haven't - my Japanese is poor compared to a lot of people on here. So who has read them? If so, maybe they could provide us with a translation of what it says that denies or changes history?"

Really? Just look at the news itself! Abe helped remove from textbooks any reference to 'comfort women' and denied the military ever engaged in any sort of prostitution. Shortly before he quit as one of Japan's shortest PMs, he had to admit that the military had, in fact, engaged in prostitution (he tried to backtrack by saying the women were all volunteers, etc.). Also removed from texts were any reference to the forced suicides by Imperial troops in Okinawa, who forced women and children off cliffs for their war of attrition. Then there's Nanjing, something that a lot of posters on here and people like Abe suggest never happened at all, let alone fudging the numbers, and tell people that were actually there and admit to the slaughter (including Japanese soldiers) that they are wrong.

Kazuaki: "If we accept that "denial is a disease", then certainly the denial of even the possibility that some good came out of the Japan's colonization would qualify as one as well."

Like I said, people like yourself want praise for the 'good' colonization did, but outright deny any wrong. Sick.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

if I had a lot of time on my hands, I reckon it would actually be quite interesting to look back at the school history text books over the last 30 years or so and see exactly how they have been revised each time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If taking European kids to visit concentration camp sites to educate them worked how do you explain all of the Neo-Nazis in Europe?

I didn't know that Europe was overrun by neo-nazi, I thought it was a few idiots on the fringe of society.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Spanki: The old ones have likely been burned in a big book burning by these right-wing nutters in government.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yikes! We'll be saluting the flag and saying God Bless Japan, next.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@pochan

The far right polls around 17% in Hungary, Golden Dawn in Greece is the third most popular political party and Germany's NDP party has had two members elected to regional government.

There have been dozens of news reports this year on the rise of Neo-Nazis in Europe.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

proxy,

If you take the time to read what I wrote, you'll see that I never said it worked, but that it was the right way to go, to try and educate the youngsters vs. the Japanese way of trying to hide what is uncomfortable. It will not work with all people but it is the initiative of trying to get things out in the open I prefer. Right-wingers exist in Europe, yes. What differs from here is that there is a loud, active counter-movement that doesn't shut up.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Like I said, people like yourself want praise for the 'good' colonization did, but outright deny any wrong. Sick.

Cute, you are literally demonstrating the problem I suggest - I hadn't even said I wanted praise or "outright denied" "any" wrong", but you've already branded me with such attributes based solely on my unwillingness to unconditionally surrender to K&C's one sided story. Just as bad, your acceptance of K&C's story is to a probability beyond reasonable doubt not due to years and decades of investigating both sides before deciding K&C are completely right, but on what you had been fed in History class possibly backed by watching the equivalent of Discovery Channel.

That just can't be healthy.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

no brain washing!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@hatsoff

I leant about the Dresden attrocity at school in England (our history teacher was an ex Battle of Britain Wing Commander who deeply troubled by it.) We also studied the Argentinian claim to the Falklands (the war was in my 6th year...). We also learnt about the Jacobite Rebellion (essentially a Scottish invasion of England) and the subsequent Highland Clearances (undertaken mainly by Lowland Scots) and atrocities by Government troops against Jacobite prisoners after Culloden. But I admit I know little of any "genocide". Could you provide links?

Anyway, we learnt all this at my school precisely the UK government doesn't tamper with textbooks.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Standardized text are part of all societies....what's the big deal? As long as the information is validated what's the big deal? This issue is one that is used by totalitarian regimes like China to justify their anti-Japanese rhetoric, which is being created by their governments as means to placate the people in China, the common foreign foe being better to hate than the oppressive regime right in front of their faces. Don't duck history but having a representative's government version of history in their own school's books is not a bad thing. BTW, Russia and the US all have different versions of World War II, in terms of focus, cause etc, and I'm sure England does as well. What's not acceptable is for China or Korea to impose their version of history on someone else's school text unless they can show that what is being taught is not just complete but rather re-fabricated to give the idea that Japan was innocent etc. As long as something like that is not occurring I see no big deal in having a Japanese view on Japanese history in Japanese text books. Good students should hit their libraries if they want more in-depth writing. Textbooks are meant to dip ones toe into a subject not to make one all knowing about ever facet that can be known on any one subject.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Whitewashing" in textbooks in Japan is nothing like in China and South Korea. Proof is the level of anti-Japan sentiment ingrained into the young people of those countries. Which is why those two countries whining bout "whitewashing" to Japan sound so hypocritical.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Japan lost the war that is the center of the textbook controversy. In Japan it is the government that influences the content of textbooks. People fight over textbook content because education is so obviously about the future, reaches so deeply into society, and is directed by the state. The Japanese textbook describes the unopposed annexation of the Korean peninsula as necessary for Japan's security and dismissed the Nanjing Massacre as "nothing like a holocaust" and attempt to play down the Rape of Nanjing. The invasion of the Korean peninsula as an unopposed annexation, necessary for Japan's security and Japan's wartime rule that prepared Asian countries for independence from European colonial masters.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Whitewashing" in textbooks in Japan is nothing like in China and South Korea.

Then it is OK isn't it. As long as white washing isn't as bad as their whitewashing.

Proof is the level of anti-Japan sentiment ingrained into the young people of those countries.

I have no idea what this means

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Then it is OK isn't it. As long as white washing isn't as bad as their whitewashing.

No Pochan. The term of "whitewashing" in most of these debates are for Japan to accept unconditionally the version provided by Korea and China and any deviation is classified as so.

The usual posters are again making comments again who have not read a single Japanese textbook ( or can't) and assume since Abe's is a "right wing", the textbook will also reflect on his policies.

However, in this case, the move towards these aim is to "reflect on the government viewpoint" which simply means you click on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs site and look up their position on various historical events. (Nanking, comfort women, Takeshima, war reparations)

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

nigelboy Nov. 19, 2013 - 07:29AM JST the move towards these aim is to "reflect on the government viewpoint"

Yes, the goverment's viewpoint is the problem. Few years ago, former education minister like Nakayama, who believes the Nanjing Massacre, in which Japanese Imperial soldiers rampaged across the Chinese capital in an orgy of bloodshed, never happened. In 2007, Nakayama declared he was proud that the LFP had succeeded in getting references to Korean "wartime sex slaves" struck from most authorized history texts for junior high schools.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yes, the goverment's viewpoint is the problem. Few years ago, former education minister like Nakayama, who believes the Nanjing Massacre, in which Japanese Imperial soldiers rampaged across the Chinese capital in an orgy of bloodshed, never happened. In 2007, Nakayama declared he was proud that the LFP had succeeded in getting references to Korean "wartime sex slaves" struck from most authorized history texts for junior high schools.

The term "government" in this case refers to the ministry as opposed to some fringe lawmaker. And yes. "Comfort women" should not be taught in Junior high schools but should be taught in high schools.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

nigelboy Nov. 19, 2013 - 07:47AM JST "Comfort women" should not be taught in Junior high schools but should be taught in high schools.

This is exactly the problem. You sound like a goverment spokesperson. At the age of 14, young Japanese students are clueless of Japan's relations with the outside world. They are taught too late. Young Japanese people often fail to understand why neighboring countries harbor a grudge over events that happened in 1931-45. The reason, in many cases, is that by the time they reach high school, they barely learned any 20th century history. Many young Japanese got a full picture when they left Japan and went to school in foreign countries. It's hardly surprising that some classes, in some schools, never get there, and are told by teachers to finish the book in their spare time.

Many young people in Japan really don't understand the Japan's war history and making the point that many of today's geopolitical tensions stem from what happened then. In Japanese textbook, only a footnote on the Nanjing massacre. Why they couldn't go straight to that period if it was so important, instead of wasting time on the other subject. When students did finally get there, it turned out only few pages dealt with events between 1931-45. Reading many factual books on the incident at least allowed them to understand why many people in China still feel bitter about Japan's military past. Few years ago, PM Abe was forced to apologize after casting doubt on the existence of comfort women. While school pupils in Japan may read just one line on the massacre, children in China are taught in detail not just about the Rape of Nanjing but numerous other Japanese war crimes, though these accounts of the war are sometimes criticized for being overly anti-Japanese. The same can be said about South Korea, where the education system places great emphasis on our modern history. This has resulted in very different perceptions of the same events in countries an hour's flying time apart. And yet, many Japanese will have no clue why it is such a big deal.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

sfjp330

You could classify pretty much every 14 year old in any nation with your descritption. In your second paragraph, you are basically doing what I predicted most would do in that you are instilling China and Korea's version of their history and any deviation from that is a "problem", when it's simply a matter of agreeing to disagreeing for their is no way in the world historical events of each nation is going to match with another. Having said that, the "problem" I see is how a nation teaches their kids to hate another as a result of those teachings. For some unknown reason, this is completely neglected during these debates.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Nigelboy your view on every single subject is that Japan is right and the rest of the world is wrong. Japan is sinless and blameless and the best at everything and if anyone disagrees with you it is because they can't speak Japanese. Really there is no point engaging in sort of discussion with you on any subject.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

pochan,

I'm pretty much on a school that history should be discussed among historians and what the textbooks should cover are the basics without attaching any emotional and political narrative. The reason why I mention the language portion is that there are literally hundreds of books published by Japanese historians' whose view are expanded to where they are polar opposites which proves that even within their own population, there are no "standard" view of history.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Nigelboy,

Japanese system has been creating young people who get annoyed by all the complaints that China and South Korea make about war atrocities because they are not taught what they are complaining about. The government deliberately tries not to teach young people the details of Japan's atrocities. If you experience history education in two countries, the way history is taught in Japan has at least one advantage, students come away with a comprehensive understanding of when events happened, in what order.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Japanese system has been creating young people who get annoyed by all the complaints that China and South Korea make about war atrocities because they are not taught what they are complaining about. The government deliberately tries not to teach young people the details of Japan's atrocities. If you experience history education in two countries, the way history is taught in Japan has at least one advantage, students come away with a comprehensive understanding of when events happened, in what order.

Like I said, the Japanese scholars have the most comprehensive research materials in terms of controversial issues such as comfort women system and Nanking. Their views are so wide ranging that they often engage in debates about their works in various research papers.

What Japanese system teaches are bland in comparison to other countries as stated by Prof. Peter Duus of Stanford. Hence, on the flip side, it does not glorify what Japan did during that era as well.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

As someone who reads Japanese School textbooks in their spare time, I can conur that they do not go very deeply on any subjects related to WW2 and mainly focus on dates. However, the U.K English History textbooks do not go into details about any of the atrocities that the empire carried out either...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@nigel ... I'm pretty much on a school that history should be discussed among historians and what the textbooks should cover are the basics without attaching any emotional and political narrative.

I cannot see why the ability to discuss, debate, and form ones one opinions, should not begin in school. Including with regards to history. The very idea that students can memorize a few sentences and so become knowledgeable has the same real world impracticality as found in the way most Japanese students learn English without conversation ability.

What I am concerned about is that a democratic nation of adults who can only repeat the lines of history they learned in school will be at a disadvantage in a fast changing and complex world where lateral thinking is required for survival. (Not that Japan would stand out remarkably in that regard).

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is an interesting read if you wish to know some more details on the Nanjing Incident.

http://www.japanfocus.org/-David-Askew/1729

The problem with history is that although there may only be one truth and reality, it is written by human beings that are not all-knowing. It will always be a perception and hence there can and will be a variety of views on any historic event. Historians are the ones who are entrusted with having an objective view with reference to first source evidence, but even then there will always be conjecture on why something happened the way it did.

So history will always have an angle of some kind.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Well as far as Japan building up it's military they do have the right to defend themselves considering the military buildup of both N Korea and China, as far their textbooks being historically accurate, any textbook that has been done are rarely 100% accurate.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

CraigHicks

In my experience, I rarely encounter "adults" who can only repeat the lines of history that they learned in school. They're knowledge and viewpoints are as a results of their own readings afterwards. This is why I see contrasting views from adults within the Japanese population.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

This is exactly the problem. You sound like a goverment spokesperson. At the age of 14, young Japanese students are clueless of Japan's relations with the outside world. They are taught too late. Young Japanese people often fail to understand why neighboring countries harbor a grudge over events that happened in 1931-45.

One can argue that based on the reactions of Koreans, Chinese and to a lesser extent the world, they are being taught the atrocities too early and in too much graphic detail for their immature minds. The more primitive the stage of development when they are taught and the more graphic the education, the less perspective they have and the 'deeper' the event sticks.

The idea of restricting violence and sex from kids does have some point, and a lot of acceptance from the world, yet it seems the world doesn't apply it to history here.

Of course, maybe the Chinese and Koreans are deliberately teaching it early and graphically, in full knowledge of the effect and if that's so, what does this make them?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Ossan: "Whitewashing" in textbooks in Japan is nothing like in China and South Korea. Proof is the level of anti-Japan sentiment ingrained into the young people of those countries. Which is why those two countries whining bout "whitewashing" to Japan sound so hypocritical."

Enter Ossan, jaded, to turn the argument about Japan changing history into a rant about China and South Korea. Big surprise.

Kazuaki: "One can argue that based on the reactions of Koreans, Chinese and to a lesser extent the world, they are being taught the atrocities too early and in too much graphic detail for their immature minds. "

One could, if the Japanese were taught what really happened instead of constantly deflecting the fact that they too white-wash history and blame everything on China and South Korea, as you and Ossan are fond of doing.

nigelboy: Quite impressed by your later posts on this thread -- they seem quite objective and very to the point. I agree that even within Japan historians differ on past issues, but I disagree that some 'standard' should be decided, because you don't negotiate the facts and rewrite things.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

For those who can read Japanese, here is a link that translates Korean history school textbooks.

http://www7.plala.or.jp/juraian/ktextbook.htm

As can be seen, it is full of anti-Japan sentiments. And Japan has never meddled in how Korea wishes to teach its history to its people.

I have children that attend Japanese schools so I have access to their text books.

I do wish people would look at primary sources and not form opinions just from newpaper/magazine articles. Or Wiki which is so unreliable and differing depending on language viewed.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Onsen: "As can be seen, it is full of anti-Japan sentiments. And Japan has never meddled in how Korea wishes to teach its history to its people."

How about a translation of how wonderful the atomic bombings were? How they were necessary, how they helped Asia, how it stabilized the region?

There is a perfectly good reason why Korean and Chinese textbooks are anti-Japanese -- they were raped, brutalized, and murdered for a few decades before Japan met it's rightful end in the war. Hell, the Imperial soldiers even raped and forced the suicides of their own in Okinawa! You won't find that in any of the textbooks, of course, thanks to people like Abe. I would like you to please teach your children about it so that it never be repeated and so that they know what horrors war can bring.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

nigelboy: Quite impressed by your later posts on this thread -- they seem quite objective and very to the point. I agree that even within Japan historians differ on past issues, but I disagree that some 'standard' should be decided, because you don't negotiate the facts and rewrite things

Smith,

So what are "facts"? Can you name any war of any nation that lacked rape and murder? I can't. So why is Japan the only nation that is required to put those materials in detail as opposed to the others? What about Okinawa? Why is IJA's action in Okinawa so important when it was the U.S. that was bombing everything in sight without regard for civilians where they are still undetonated bombs discovered throughout Okinawa? (Reason why it's called Typhoon of Steel) Why do you think the soldiers and civlians he was guiding/protecting decided to kill themselves while the enemy was caving in? Don't you think this is more important that simply stating "IJA forced the suidcides of civlians"? In essence, we could delve in deeper in this "fact finding" mission but it's going to end up in an opposite narrative of what you hope to accomplish.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

smithinjapan,

"how wonderful the atomic bombing were?" I have no idea to what you are referring to.

I would like to know from where you get your information on all of these "truths" that you mention. What exactly are you basing your opinions on? It seems you cannot read Japanese nor Korean, and you have not read Japanese history textbooks, nor the details of this planned reform from other Japanese sources.

The horrors of war? Are you a war veteran? A pacifist?

Changing some wording in textbooks will neither prevent nor cause wars.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

but if it's Japan as the victim, such as with the atomic bombings, HUGE chapters are given over to explain in detail about how Japan was wronged.

Smith. It's described in a single paragraph. Some are in a single setence.

Do you see why people like Onsen and others including me are questioning your abilities? Why don't you just be honest and state that you haven't read a single one of the textbooks. It's so blatantly obvious.

http://tamatsunemi.at.webry.info/201107/article_44.html

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Onsen: "I have no idea to what you are referring to."

Of course you don't. When you refuse to see the forest for the trees. When Japan is the victim it gets chapters. When they are the people who committed the atrocities it gets erased. Or tell me, how many pages of said texts are dedicated to sex-slaves? how many to Nanjing? how many to the Baatan death march? how many towards the more than 10-million the IJA killed in their rape of Asia in general?

"I would like to know from where you get your information on all of these "truths" that you mention. "

Common knowledge. Certainly not from Japanese textbooks, though, and not from 2-Channel.

nigelboy: "Can you name any war of any nation that lacked rape and murder? I can't."

Nor can I, and nor can I agree with any nation covering it up for 'moral education'.

"So why is Japan the only nation that is required to put those materials in detail as opposed to the others? What about Okinawa? Why is IJA's action in Okinawa so important when it was the U.S. that was bombing everything in sight without regard for civilians where they are still undetonated bombs discovered throughout Okinawa?"

I think it's pretty well detailed what the US did, and yes a lot of it was wrong, and if you know my posting history on the atomic bombings in particular I consider them among the most heinous war crimes in modern history. But the fact remains, the US 'bombing everything in sight without regard for civilians' remains in texts, but the forced suicides do not, and that is the point. Japan evidently did nothing wrong. Nah, they never asked little girls in Okinawa to rush out in machine gun fire because it was 'their duty' (himeyuri-no tou). They never forced at gun point people to jump off cliffs. Nah, it was all the US's fault!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I think it's pretty well detailed what the US did, and yes a lot of it was wrong, and if you know my posting history on the atomic bombings in particular I consider them among the most heinous war crimes in modern history. But the fact remains, the US 'bombing everything in sight without regard for civilians' remains in texts, but the forced suicides do not, and that is the point. Japan evidently did nothing wrong. Nah, they never asked little girls in Okinawa to rush out in machine gun fire because it was 'their duty' (himeyuri-no tou). They never forced at gun point people to jump off cliffs. Nah, it was all the US's fault!

That's the thing. You think it's detailed but it's not. Do you know the largest single day massacre in history? And why in the world is there need to place "blame" on himeyuri tai? Are you aware of the events that lead up to their decision to jump off cliffs?

-8 ( +3 / -10 )

after living here as long as i have, and knowing how two faced and deceitful they can be, its not a doubt in my mind thats what they are going to do. But then again, they already did. None of the kids really even know about what happened. and for the ones who do, they don't really care. I am telling you. Take it as a warning. They are up to something. their military is growing again. there are a lot of things going on and nobody seems to see it. or maybe they don't care. fascism thinking is dangerous.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

History: Junir school children read Rekishi-to Jinbutsu magazines. Even elementary children read Shincho, Chuou-Koron, Bungei Shunju, etc. Not because mangas, but articles. They usually finish to study textbooks before the semester begins, They also watch TV, beside using i-pad, llaptop too. Ministry of Education have to beg scholors to revise text book.. Don;t think politicians write textbooks in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nigelboy,

Have you talked to any Okinawans about WWII? I have and many are upset with how the Ministry of Education portrays these "suicides" in Okinawa. Most were forced at gunpoint.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I didn't learn about Bomber Harris flattening Dresden and killing countless innocent civilians in my English school; I didn't learn about Cromwell in Ireland, the plantation of Ulster; I didn't learn about the attempted genocide post-Culloden in Scotland. But luckily that's history. And even though Britain invaded lots of countries and called it the Empire, that's still history and I don't think they're going to do it again - even though we still have an army.

That's funny. At my American, public (ie state-run) high school I did learn about the following: Slavery Segregation Lynching Trail of Tears Mai Lai Massacre Agent Orange The H-Bomb Japanese Internment Firebombing of Tokyo Yellow Journalism Eugenics Movement Smallpox & etc...

And while I'm sure there were some controversial topics that got whitewashed, simplified, or ignored, I don't remember the state barging in and mandating the school take a specific line on any of them.

I don't think we should sit back accept this sort of behavior from our governments as par for the course, no matter how common it is. Just because others our doing something bad, doesn't excuse doing that thing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@nigelboy ... In my experience, I rarely encounter "adults" who can only repeat the lines of history that they learned in school. They're knowledge and viewpoints are as a results of their own readings afterwards. This is why I see contrasting views from adults within the Japanese population.

You are right about the contrasting views in Japanese society; I was reminded of that reading Asahi Shinbuns editorial opposing the current governments reasoning and plans for revising textbooks. http://www.asahi.com/paper/editorial.html?ref=com_gnavi#Edit1

I think we both agree that high school education should cover the basics of education. However I would include in the basics of education the ability not only passively accept information, but also to form opinions and logically present those opinions. Forgive me if I am wrong, but it seems you don't think that is a good idea.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I guess not. Oh well some people will believe what they want to believe. As they say, "don't confuse me with the facts!"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

CraigHicks

One of the primary reason I am against the idea of let's say having a debate among students in these events is because they would be dictated by the teachers who, for instance, if they are members of Nikkyoso would steer the direction in his/her views.

Some experiences reflected by adults afterwards.

http://homepage1.nifty.com/1010/sayokusensei.htm

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

government’s stance on topics = Propaganda.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"He is going to move forward with these plans. Give it 5 years, and even writing your opinions on JT might be dangerous."

Lets hope this is not the case, but it seems that everything I predicted has or is the process of becoming a reality. I dont know where the constitution issue stands today but all this escalation that has come about since the defeat of PM Noda is not just a coincidence. It seems the textbook issue has been coming up for decades; why the need to rewrite it again?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

smithinjapanNOV. 19, 2013 - 10:04PM JST

When Japan is the victim it gets chapters.

I have a high school textbook right here.

It talks about Nanking massacre in 13 lines with no pictures.

It also talks about Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 4 lines with two pictures.

Most of the textbooks I’ve seen are like this.

The textbook you are referring to seems problematic.

Will you please give me the source?

Which publisher is it?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

nigelboy: "And why in the world is there need to place "blame" on himeyuri tai? Are you aware of the events that lead up to their decision to jump off cliffs?"

I'm not blaming the poor girls who were forced out to get killed, I blame the mentality and the officers that put them in that position. And yes, I'm aware of the events.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

History - with a big H - is a too serious matter to be left in politicians' hands!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's funny, I wonder how many posters here originate from places like the US, England and Australia. All of those Governments have been/are involved in some appalling foreign or domestic actions which have resulted in untold suffering and death in some parts of the world which very conveniently get hidden from domestic view, and yet here are the same old howls of derision at Japan for not properly confronting it's past. It reminds me of the Salem witch trials.

Thomas Berger, who wrote a book called 'War Guilt and World Politics After World War 2' said in an interview with Time magazine: "Most Japanese school textbooks deal with issues like the Nanjing massacre and the colonial oppression of Koreans in a fairly open manner."

Reading what's said in this article above, I can't see any reason that will change. Tone and objectives of the article aside.

Some people here behave as if they constantly and continually want to rub Japan's face in the misdeeds of their past. Well, perhaps learn a little more about what has gone on at home first, then see if you can continue to deride Japan with such fervour.

3 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm not blaming the poor girls who were forced out to get killed, I blame the mentality and the officers that put them in that position. And yes, I'm aware of the events.

That's the point. You failed to answer the first question which is "what is the largest single day massacre in history" which is the key to explain the officers' action during some part of Battle of Okinawa. So no. You are not aware as you think.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

.........I cannot believe what I am reading. Does Abe realize what would happen to the beloved younger citizens of the world when and if they go out in the big, wide world and people will tell them what Japan did?? They might either think the rest of the world is crazy, OR lose trust in their own country..both things are quite sad really!

Patriotism..depends what one understands by that..moral ethics..too. Teaching a biased history in fact goes AGAINST moral ethics... ummm.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

nigelboy Nov. 22, 2013 - 07:54AM JST That's the point. You failed to answer the first question which is "what is the largest single day massacre in history" which is the key to explain the officers' action during some part of Battle of Okinawa. So no. You are not aware as you think.

Granted the other side of the coin generally deals with the fact that millions more would have died storming the beaches of the Japaneese mainland. Mass murder is unfathomable, but in war it is a general fact of life, especially once the war has dragged on and it's cost in capital, whether human or otherwise, had become too big to ignore.The U.S. saved more allied prisoner lives than were lost in the atomic bombings. As Japan neared defeat, orders were sent to Japanese POW camps to execute all Allied POWs once the invasion of Japan began. Many allied prisoners were, in fact, executed to keep them from being freed. Read some history.

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@Tamarama,

Thomas Berger, who wrote a book called 'War Guilt and World Politics After World War 2' said in an interview with Time magazine: "Most Japanese school textbooks deal with issues like the Nanjing massacre and the colonial oppression of Koreans in a fairly open manner."

Yes, he said that, but he ALSO said in the same interview:

It’s true, Japan has not been as repentant as Germany or other countries that have faced up to the darker sides of their past. Japan has apologized for waging aggressive war and oppressing its neighbors, but those apologies have fumbling and awkward, and often been undercut by revisionist statements from senior politicians. Japan has offered relatively little compensation to the victims. And to this day there are no nationally sponsored museums or monuments that acknowledge Japanese aggression or atrocities.

As for the U.S., we know about most of our atrocities. Our schools don't attempt to hide them nor rationalize them. The atomic bombs and why they didn't need to have been used have been written about ad nauseum, along with smaller atrocities like the Mei Lai massacre in Vietnam. I still remember the news reports of the trial Lt. Calley faced for leading the massacre. More recently, the shoot-down of an Iranian commercial airliner by the U.S.S. Vincennes can rightly be called a massacre because the victims had no chance to defend themselves and the killing was completely unjustified. It, too, was heavily reported in the American press. Yes, as a country we've done some despicable things, but we own up to it afterwards. We're not saints, nor do we claim to be. We don't expect Japan to be saints either, but we do expect them to own-up to their past transgressions and not try to justify atrocities with a "government version" of why things happened.

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Granted the other side of the coin generally deals with the fact that millions more would have died storming the beaches of the Japaneese mainland. Mass murder is unfathomable, but in war it is a general fact of life, especially once the war has dragged on and it's cost in capital, whether human or otherwise, had become too big to ignore.The U.S. saved more allied prisoner lives than were lost in the atomic bombings. As Japan neared defeat, orders were sent to Japanese POW camps to execute all Allied POWs once the invasion of Japan began. Many allied prisoners were, in fact, executed to keep them from being freed. Read some history.

You too sfjp330. You can't even answer what the "largest single day civilian massacre" so why on earth are you typing this overused boiler plate copy/paste view from U.S. perspective?

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nigelboy Nov. 23, 2013 - 07:35AM JST You can't even answer what the "largest single day civilian massacre"

Why don't you tell us.

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sfjp330

March 10, 1945. Is it mentioned in the textbook of the nation that conducted this? And you're talking about the treatment of captured soldiers (as in the people who were trying to kill you)?

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nigelboy

In December of 1937, is it mentioned in the Japanese textbook of the nation that conducted this? The Japanese Imperial Army marched into China's capital city of Nanking and proceeded to murder 300,000 out of 600,000 civilians and soldiers in the city. The six weeks of carnage would become known as the Rape of Nanking and represented the single worst atrocity during the World War II era in either the European or Pacific theaters of war.

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sfjp330

Is that a preface to Iris Chang's book or something?

Here's the government's view.

1.The Government of Japan believes that it cannot be denied that following the entrance of the Japanese Army into Nanjing in 1937, the killing of a large number of noncombatants, looting and other acts occurred.

2.However, there are numerous theories as to the actual number of victims, and the Government of Japan believes it is difficult to determine which the correct number is.

3.Japan candidly acknowledges that during a certain period in its history, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations, and holds a firm resolve to never repeat war again and to advance the path of a peaceful nation with feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology always engraved in mind.

http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/q_a/faq16.html#q8

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nigelboy Nov. 23, 2013 - 09:47AM JST with feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology always engraved in mind.

Yes, in a wording and verbal openings on diplomatic meets, Japanese officials delivered apologies. but there were never formal documentation of apology with promises to fix their mistakes by taking such actions and such. Their apologies were always vague and lacked details, other than saying sorry and we'll never do it. In meantime in Japan, these 168 Japanese politicans worship their old war criminals as gods and glorify the old days by adding easily accepted forms such as textbooks, popular magazine and newspaper articles and suggesting Japanese legitimacy on their position in WWII. Then someday, we'll come across generation of Japanese population that really believes that their course of action in WWII was the right thing and wanting retribution. With Abe's administration Japan things really started to look that way.

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sfjp330

The lawmakers pray respects for those who died serving the country. It's people like you who try to be mind readers making an issue out of something.

Now you know that certain country virtually OMITS the "single day largest civilian massacre in history" and the targeted nation don't bitch about this omission whatsoever, and their present day relationship/alliance is one of the strongest globally, perhaps those nations who always bitch and whine about "not sincere enough" should learn something for a change.

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Fadamor

Yes, as a country we've done some despicable things, but we own up to it afterwards. We're not saints, nor do we claim to be.

You think so? I don't.

Even your choice of language about arguably the two single worst wartime atrocities in human history doesn't show a very repentant tone to me. Not to mention the fire bombings of Japanese cities, et al.

Ad nauseum?! Think about it.

In fact, every year on these boards we see American posters who say things like 'The Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were entirely justified'. You've read it. You know.

What about, say, the estimated 500,000 children who died in Iraq due to a lack of food and medicine during the US maintained embargo on Iraq from 1991 until it finally invaded the country post 9-11? Does that make to the text books as well? Because people in the US seemed really surprised about the attacks in 9-11 to me. I distinctly remember people saying 'Why us?'

Perhaps they hadn't read the 'Iraq' part of the textbook?

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possibly one of the reason for future war,riot,dispute or not . Future generation,they probably wouldn't realize whether it's the whole truth or not .Nah, the only thing they would be probably worry about is whether they gonna remember it or not for their test in the future .

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