Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants patriotism and moral education included in school curricula in Japan. Do you think this is a good idea?

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When I discuss education with Japanese people the issues that come up are its poor English results and the problem of memorization based learning rather than encouraging critical thinking and debating techniques. I don't think I've met anyone who said lack of 'patriotism' or moral education is the biggest problem. Moral education is fine as long as pupils are encouraged to debate moral questions relating to the past and present, but this doesn't seem to be what Japanese education encourages or wants to encourage. As for 'patriotism', I can imagine what Abe has in mind and it's unpleasant. This is not what Japanese education needs and Abe is doing the children of Japan a disservice by not tackling the issues which would actually improve their education.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Moral education is a good thing, in some areas the morals in Japan are so fricken low though.

Food labelling standards pops to mind for a start.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Kind of hard to teach moral education if you can't lead by example.

But "patriotism" is the general go-to resource when your economy is swirling the toilet. Gotta gear everybody up for the inevitable war.

It's coming.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

The problem with Japan, especially guys like abe is that they don't know about morals or patriotism so cannot possible teach any.

We all know what abe wants & that's to be able to lay the white washing on a hundred times thicker than its already being laid down now.

I have often said if Japan had dealt with its history from the 1930s onwards that japan would be in a much better place now, but unfortunately Japan took & continues to take the wrong roads which lead to worse & worse relations vis a vis China, Korea etc.

Don't get me wrong Korea & China BOTH have things messed up as well historically but Japan has really sold its people/country down the river & there doesn't appear to be any way of stopping it now

3 ( +6 / -3 )

How about a boot camp in school? This may straighten up many knuckle heads in Otaku society.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Government sanctioned patriotism and moral education is exactly what they do in North Korea. Does this mean we will portraits of the supreme leader Abe in schools and homes?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

More patriotism is exactly what Japan does not need. I was hoping the younger generations were going to grow up to be a little more international minded. However, Abe seems to have other ideas...

10 ( +10 / -0 )

I don't think I've ever met a person who wasn't on some level patriotic about the country they're from or identify with. But, anyone with even a couple of functioning brain cells realises that if they were from somewhere else they'd probably feel the same way about that country.

As for "teaching" it, if its done in a balanced way and left up to the students to decide whether patriotism is good or bad then no problem. But I guess that's not what is in mind. The recent letter from Putin in the NY times comes to mind, where he points out how dangerous it is to encourage one group of people to think they are exceptional.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There is nothing wrong with trying to encourage children to be good citizens. As for patriotism - Japan isn't alone in that. Tony Blair's government introduced citizenship classes in England and Wales in 2002... has that had a negative effect on the kids? I'm sure other European countries do the same.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

@Thunderbird2 Blair's citizenship classes were about understanding cultural and religious differences and attempting to reduce ignorance and discrimination. This is one of the few issues he does have strong feelings about and has continued to promote after leaving office when he takes time off from making millions on the lecture circuit. Some on the right criticized this for what they perceived as the government attempting to force its multicultural ideals on the young. Whatever your views on this, it certainly wasn't an attempt to further a nationalist agenda. I very much doubt that Abe has the goal of creating more open, tolerant thinking through his 'patriotism' classes.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Anyone who can bleat about putting moral education into schools who goes round Turkey and Kuwait trying to flog nuclear "technology" when he ignores a disaster the size of Fukushima can only be described as a bigot.

Abe has the moral fibre of a sapling in a high wind.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

i think not a bad idea. morals used to be taught by society (the nail sticks out thing) but as people move around more, it doesn't work so well cause people worry less about what strangers think of them than family and friends. as for patriotism, try asking some what they will do if invaded by china, a lot will say that will never happen and in any case the u.s. will protect them. is that patriotic?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Kind of hard to teach moral education if you can't lead by example. But "patriotism" is the general go-to resource when your economy is swirling the toilet. Gotta gear everybody up for the inevitable war. It's coming.

I don't think thats gonna happen. Its a global depression/recession, so every country's economy is swirling in the toilet. Though needless to say, some are better off than others.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The U.S. used to have something akin to this. Except it was called Civics (or Citizenship) and Ethics. It's not taught much anymore.

Where it is taught, it's mostly jingoism/American Exceptionalism and bible belt "morality". Both are mostly rote repetition of the views of whatever political and religious hacks control the local government and neither help make, or even encourage, the students to be better citizens.

Good luck Mr. Abe. You'll need it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

When I meet people who advocate teaching "patriotism" I always ask, "Aren't there already history classes?", and get met with blank looks. In my opinion if a country has a deep history it gives young students a sense of belonging and a sense of rootedness. That history should be portrayed honestly, the highs and the lows. If one can point to a fair and neutral account of the history and say, "Look how much we have improved!" that's all that is needed to create true love of country, a sense that your country has overcome adversity and is growing stronger.

... and this is why Abe wants to "teach" patriotism, because looking at modern Japan it is clear that its progress stalled after about 1980. Instead of fixing the problem and getting Japan back on track to making progress they're going to just paper over the cracks and pretend they're making progress... which will make the next generation unlikely to fix something that they've been taught to see as not broken.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

By saying such things are needed, Abe is 1) effectively admitting that the state, society and the family unit have failed to instill such sentiments; and 2) that he thinks the solution is mass indoctrination. Actually Japanese patriotism seems to be alive and well at international sporting events. (From quite some time ago some cynic referred to the Hinomaru as Japan's "Olympic flag.") As for moral education, what's he got in mind? Planning to dust off and recycle neo-Confucianism?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The school could be a great place to teach morality but the more important question is whose version of morality is it? When deeply immoral and untrustworthy people are advocating that morality should be taught in schools then alarm bells start ringing. Let's face governments and politicians the world over are better placed to advocate the teaching of immorality.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It's kind of odd that the J-Gov and Abe want to push globalization, which is a two way street, both into Japan and out of Japan, but this move will only teach narrowmindedness and international prejudice. They should be going the opposite way and teaching openmindedness, internationalism and critical thinking. The Japanese idea of patriotism is only prejudices against other races. And, if their business ethics are an indication of the morals they will be teaching it is not gonna be a bright future for Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Basically, I feel, what with the plummeting birthrate, the increase of taxes, the energy disaster and a whole host of other things, Abe is trying desperately to force the nation to concentrate on other things, like the Senkaku Islands and other disputes over tiny uninhabited rocks, national pride. National pride will make people blind to the fact Japan is heading for financial and economical disaster.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't know aout you guys, but aren't they already nationalistic already? In the sense they believe they are the most superior. Many japanese people I know tell me that most japanese people are 'shy', and that they need 'more confidence', etc. But man, that is a mask. I swear to you. This people are motivated and ready to go. They have a momentum built up behind them. Which would be good, in good hands. But thats not the case. I can almost guarantee that they have already put more nationalism and patriotism in their classroom curriculums at school. It has been years since I was a ALT last time in junior and seiro high schools. But even then, they had some in their, Which is ok, its their country and culture. And I think its great. But I honestly see an unhealthy side to their patriotism, more like the weed of nationalistic fascism growing again in the garden. Cant say I didn't warn you. People saying that the Emperor has no influence on the government and shouldn't get involved, but yet they want to build the military again?? That growth of a military is dangerous. And whole decade of foreigners controlled from anime and manga. They got the world rapped around their fingers. You guys don't see it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Let's say the things straight here.

Abe doesn't refer to moral and patriotism the way it's usually understood. What he refers to is more about teaching conservatism (what people shouldn't do based on the government view back sourced by Shintoism) and governmental propaganda (brain wash people for blind obedience). All for the sake to have more control on people and their freedom of thinking.

This is what we are talking about here. I don't believe on second that Abe cares about moral, he does have none.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

... how about CRITICAL THINKING?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Asking people to vote on whether they think Abe's idea to reintroduce "moral education" into the Japanese curriculum is a bit silly without explaining what moral education Abe supports.

I'm pretty sure that what a duck hunter considers right, wrong, good and bad is quite different to what the duck thinks.

Young people certainly need some guidance. They need to know where the edges of the road are. But Abe is not exactly a good role model for this, is he?

An American puppet who does what he is told, going round the world selling nuclear "technology" in the aftermath of Fukushima, pushing Japan to be a military country again. What can a man with the spine of a jellyfish tell young Japanese kids about morals?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Some students could feel strongly that patriotism meaning feelings about their country are their own business and schools have no right to try to influence them. On the other hand some teachers could feel that a balanced set of patriotism can be taught while others might feel strictly neutral. As far as moral values are concerned if children were taught by parents or grandparents at home it would not necessarily have to be taught at school. However the sad fact is that children are not learning the difference between right and wrong because many parents are both working. They are only able to spend a few hours with their children. Therefore in many families their is only one parent and no other role model for children to follow.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good for Abe.

Japan has been the subject of much unfair stereotypes and ignorance.

Absolutely nothing wrong with instilling patriotism in its students. For far too long Japanese have been 'taught' to accept people criticizing them as weak and lacking backbone (interested in manga, sexual perversions, fluff, etc. etc.).

Good idea all around.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

What a great idea - because it worked really, really well behind the old Iron curtain, USSR, China, NK....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They should probably START with critacal thinking skills, maybe next move on to common sense. After you introduce those two concepts, I will 100% fully endorse you "patriotism and moral education" Patriotism without critical thinking skills creates idiot drones that do anything you say.... which the world has already witness Japan guilty of before. like when they tried to take over the world and no one questioned it at all.

4 ( +4 / -0 )


Japan never tried to take over the world; she just wanted an empire, like every other advanced nation worth its salt of the time. Problem was nobody told her that the "Empire club" was a whites-only organisation; no admission to Orientals.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@lucabrasi Your kidding right? Maybe that is what they put in their text books. But that is NOT true. They wanted to take over the world plain and simple. You do know that the USA white washed Japans histroy as well. The west was DESPERATE for an ally in the pacific so they could fight off the spread of communsim. Which was spreading and did spread all acorss asia. That is why Japan did not see the same kind of treatment Germany did, many war ciminals were not prococrutec, many who did had quick quit trials unlike the VERY puplizseies trials for Nazis.

I guess you are not aware that maps and ducments have been found in germent that had divded up South America between the Japanese and Nazis. Both Germeny and Japan had plan to finish taking over and controling the ENTIRE WORLD! this is historal fact.

Many say Alaxnander the great had the largest empire in the world. This is untrue. It was actully the Japanese. In terms of actual control Japan controlled nearly 1/3 of the world. Land, sea, and air.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

And let's not forget that the Nazis also had moral/patriotism lessons in schools.

The last thing we want is an "Abe Youth."

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"We don't need no education, We don't need no thought control"

The Pink Floyd said it in The Wall.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


No. Japan was like every advanced nation of the time: convinced she had God-given right to expand her territories at the expense of "lesser peoples". And if the Japanese had been white, the other great powers wouldn't have raised any objections; they'd just have exploited the consequent opportunities for trade.

Colonisation was a filthy business; nobody comes out of it looking good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Moral Education" is already taught roughly one hour per week in JHS and ES. What the question fails to inform people about is that the government is looking to make it a graded class.

Like other subjectively graded subjects morals, if this passes, will become an issue of "right vs wrong" based upon a textbook and not reality.

Morals should be taught at home. It's the parents who need the education not the kids!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In my opinion true patriotism cannot be taught, it is gained by one being proud of the Country they are in not just because it is the place of their birth but because there are plenty of things about the Country to be proud of. Your job Abe is to make Japan a place to truly be proud of, not force pride into the Country's people.

However, moral education is definitely a good idea, we need something like that over here in the UK. Wish I could be proud of where I live...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

By "patriotism," do they mean more blind faith in a system which has no plans for the future, yet which somehow manages to make people believe that "everything will be ok, because this is Japan."? And if everything isn't ok, let's blame everyone who isn't Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@lucabrasi. You make one or two interesting points. Japan didnt plan to take over the world, and they werent seriously planning to invade Australia like my compatriots believe (although it was considered) One can argue that by slapping the oil and assets embargo on Japan that the US provoked the Pacific war. However, its how Japan has handled itself in relation to its neighbours after the war that matters. Frequent visits to Yasukuni by national leaders, where war criminals are enshrined. Denial of thr "comfort women". Denial of the Nanking massacre. Denial (by Abe recently) that Japan conducted a war of aggression in Asia at all. One might argue, (impressive economic achievements until 1993 set aside) that Japans postwar history has been one big statement of denial

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Denial (by Abe recently) that Japan conducted a war of aggression in Asia at all.

When did he do this?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I disagree his decision because the moral and ptriolism education is not needed. Is it ture that Japanese children get more aggressve or have worse parsonality? Aside from good or bad parsonalty, I definitely think Japanese children dont get more aggressive. Because the crime rate is decreasing. In the case of Bullying, actually the number is increasing. But That is just because people pay more attention to the Bullying. Previously, teachers do not report BUllying in their class and count on the number. In the result, naturally, the number increased. Now We need more citizen ship education. I mean that we educate children to be create society and tackle current various issue.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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