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ByronicAsian comments

Posted in: Gov't to review statements on wartime history, revise textbook guidelines See in context

Okay....the textbook thing again?

To quote several redditors.

(A) Here we go again... Since 1982, the Japanese education ministry has required textbooks to conform with the "Neighboring Country Clause" (近隣諸国条項): Textbooks ought to show understanding and seek international harmony in their treatment of modern and contemporary historical events involving neighboring Asian countries (近隣のアジア諸国との間の近現代の歴史的事象の扱いに国際理解と国際協調の見地から必要な配慮がされていること). Textbooks published since the 1980's mention that large numbers of Asian civilians were killed by Japan's invasions and the Nanking massacre is also mentioned. A Stanford University study of American, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese history textbooks found that Japanese textbooks were the least nationalistic[1] : Far from being nationalistic, Japanese textbooks seem the least likely to stir patriotic passions. They do not celebrate war, they do not stress the importance of the military, and they tell no tales of battlefield heroism. Instead they offer a rather dry chronology of events without much interpretive narrative. Japanese textbooks are deliberately written in this somewhat subdued manner, partly to avoid overt interpretation and because they are aimed at preparing students for university entrance examinations. Nonetheless, Japanese textbooks do offer a clear, if somewhat implicit, message: the wars in Asia were a product of Japan’s imperial expansion and the decision to go to war with the United States was a disastrous mistake that inflicted a terrible cost on the nation and its civilian population. Indeed, that basic tale is what prompted revisionist critics to author their own textbooks to correct what was seen as a “masochistic” view of modern Japan.

Contrary to popular belief, Japanese textbooks by no means avoid some of the most controversial wartime moments. The widely used textbooks contain accounts, though not detailed ones, of the massacre of Chinese civilians in Nanjing in 1937 by Japanese forces. Some, but not all, of the textbooks also describe the forced mobilization of labor in the areas occupied by Japan, including mention of the recruitment of “comfort women” to serve in wartime brothels. All of the nations were guilty of leaving out descriptions of events that reflect badly on themselves. It could be said that history textbooks in China and South Korea are guilty of even worse distortion, especially China's whitewashing of the millions who died under Mao's rule.

Far from Oblivion: The Nanking Massacre in Japanese Historical Writing for Children and Young Adults[2] Concentrating on atrocity as reflected in Japanese popular historical writing for children and adolescents since the 1960s, this essay argues that such war crimes are far from ignored. Representations of the Nanking Massacre in particular, and of Japanese World War II atrocities in general, have been widely mobilized in Japan to inculcate an anti-war philosophy. Japanese nationalists face an "uphill battle" to spread their views. Opinion polls show[3] the majority of Japanese do not share the views of deniers.

(B)To further back this up, let's check out why there are articles about the textbook problems that make their way into the press: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4416593.stm[1] This article from 2005 covers the work of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform[2] , a fringe nationalist group that makes it their business to write textbooks that deny war crimes. This article is not about whether this textbook has actually been used in schools, but simply about the fact that it passed the dry bureaucratic standards set for textbooks in Japan. The book technically passed regulation standards, but ended up being used by less than 1% of schools in Japan, all of them private. The BBC article ultimately amounts to sensationalism.

(C)It is funny that you mention "government censorship" as if it is being used to hide war crimes. If anything, such censorship has prevented nationalists from whitewashing history. Over the years, the ministry of education (even under the conservative LDP) has forced nationalist publishers to make major changes to textbook content. For example, in 2009: The social studies textbook, published by Jiyusha, originally carried a passage on war history stating, “In areas that were invaded, Japanese troops … were also unable to fully avert unjust killings and abuse toward unarmed civilians and soldiers of enemy countries who became prisoners of war.” This passage was judged to be “difficult to understand,” and the wording was subsequently changed to “… carried out unjust killings and abuse, leaving behind great horrors.” In another passage on the period after Korea’s opening, the phrase that Japan “assisted in modernization” was changed to “assisted in military system reform” on the basis that the original wording could be misinterpreted. Another section on Japan’s advance south was also changed over fears that it could be taken to mean that Japan contributed to independence of countries in Asia.

There, three separate "bestof'd" reddit posts detailing how much this textbook stuff is sensationalized.

And screencaps of a Japanese History textbook.


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Posted in: S Korea: Japan must educate its people about World War II See in context

Actually, thats not completely true. If I'm correct, they're refering to a Right-Wing Textbook (revisionist) that got approved by the Ministry of Education a decade ago?

You know what happened afterwards? The Japanese Teacher's Union started a massive lobbying effort and effectively stopped the book from being used in all of Japan's public schools and the vast majority of its private ones. In fact, according to wikipedia, the book they're probably mentioning is only used in .0039% of the schools in Japan.

Regarding Education, I'll just post what another expat said in the history sub reddit regarding the Neighboring countries clause, which was put into effect and as such, all textbooks have to teach past acts of agression and crimes commited by the Imperials.


Quote sloan: As a journalist working in Japan, over the years I've been here I've taken a great personal and professional interest in examining how Japan deals with its past aggression. What I can say right up front is that the way the Japanese are represented in these kinds of debates on reddit is pretty disgraceful. Most of the information posted here is second-hand "internet wisdom" from people who have never visited the country and are just repeating the same propaganda and half-truths that come up every time this topic is mentioned. So, in the interests of providing a little balance, let me put straight a few things that frequently come up in these debates.

•The Rape of Nanking is taught in Japanese schools, and is taught entirely from the perspective of being a shameful incident that Japan needs to learn from and not repeat. I know this because I've been an invited guest in a wide number of schools and have seen for myself what takes place in the classroom. The amount of graphic coverage varies from teacher to teacher, however I have on a number of occasions witnessed students in tears over the scenes that have been presented to them.

•The last revisionist textbook was published in 2000. It was published by an extremist right-wing organization, not a mainstream publisher, and was used in only 16, mostly private schools in Japan. While regrettable, in context this is a tiny number, and nothing like on the scale that we in the west believe the problem to be.

•There was a tradition of Japanese leaders visiting Yasukuni Shrine (mentioned above) to pay homage to the Japanese war dead. However the last five Japanese Prime Ministers have stopped this practice and on a number of occasions have made their reasons for doing so quite clear; namely the fact that it's highly offensive to Japan's neighbors.

•The younger generations of Japanese society have largely shed the victim complex and clearly recognize the fact that Japan was both the aggressor during the Imperial era and received the comeuppance it deserved. There is some regret about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (as any country who suffered massive civilian losses would be entitled to feel) however most Japanese accept that they brought this upon themselves. I remember recently watching an interview with a leader of one of the survivors groups associated with the bombing on NHK (the national broadcaster) where he stated clearly his view that the actions of the Japanese military invited the bombing to occur.

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Posted in: Lawmakers push gov't to get tough on Senkakus dispute See in context

Lol...well that would be awkward. Guess we'll have USFK and USFJ fight using paintballs while the ROK army and the SDF duke it out.

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Posted in: Lawmakers push gov't to get tough on Senkakus dispute See in context

I think a lot of people here are overestimating the strenght of the PLAN, while they may have numerical numbers, they do not have large amount of blue-water operational experience and training. Though they are modernizing rapidly, they are definetly not replacing their obsolete ships on a 1:1 basis and as such the vast majority of the Chinese Navy are not up to 21st Century Standards. The JSMDF on the other hand have several modern destroyers (esp. the Kongo class, based of the Arleigh Burke), Helicopter Destroyers for ASW,and the ability to call on the JASDF (since theoretically, we're talking about the Chinese attack Japan over these islands. Although any prolonged conflict/confrontation around the Senkakus Is. will probably result in the Japanese taking excessive losses due to attrition.

The REASON, we are foward deployed in Japan is it makes it much easier for us to counter Cold-War Russian (and now China) and allow a much faster response to any Korean conflict. Like USFK, we act like a tripwire. You attack one of these nations under our umbrella, you gonna be messing with us.

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