Japanese history textbook controversies

Japanese history textbook controversies

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Encyclopedia
Japanese history textbook controversies refers to controversial content in government
Government of Japan
The government of Japan is a constitutional monarchy where the power of the Emperor is very limited. As a ceremonial figurehead, he is defined by the 1947 constitution as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people". Power is held chiefly by the Prime Minister of Japan and other elected...

-approved history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 textbooks used in the secondary education
Secondary education in Japan
Secondary education in Japan is split into middle schools which cover the seventh through ninth grades, and high schools which mostly cover grades ten through twelve...

 (junior high schools and high schools) of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. The controversies primarily concern what some international observers perceive to be Japanese nationalist efforts to whitewash
Whitewash (censorship)
To whitewash is a metaphor meaning to gloss over or cover up vices, crimes or scandals or to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data. It is especially used in the context of corporations, governments or other organizations.- Etymology :Its first...

 the actions of the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Also at issue is the constitutionality
Constitutionality
Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution. Acts that are not in accordance with the rules laid down in the constitution are deemed to be ultra vires.-See also:*ultra vires*Company law*Constitutional law...

 of the governmentally-approved textbook depictions of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

, and Japanese imperialism during the first half of the 20th century. The history textbook controversies have been an issue of deep concern both domestically and internationally, particularly in states which were victims of Imperial Japan during the war.

Despite the efforts of the nationalist textbook reformers, by the late 1990s the most common Japanese schoolbooks contained references to, for instance, the Nanking Massacre
Nanking Massacre
The Nanking Massacre or Nanjing Massacre, also known as the Rape of Nanking, was a mass murder, genocide and war rape that occurred during the six-week period following the Japanese capture of the city of Nanjing , the former capital of the Republic of China, on December 13, 1937 during the Second...

, Unit 731
Unit 731
was a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development unit of the Imperial Japanese Army that undertook lethal human experimentation during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. It was responsible for some of the most notorious war crimes carried out by Japanese...

, and the comfort women
Comfort women
The term "comfort women" was a euphemism used to describe women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, with numbers ranging from as low as 20,000 from some Japanese scholars to as high as 410,000 from some Chinese...

 of World War II, all historical issues which have faced challenges from ultranationalists in the past. The most recent of the controversial textbooks, the New History Textbook, published in 2000, was shunned by "nearly all of Japan's school districts".

Textbook authorization system


School textbooks in Japan are not written by the Ministry of Education
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japan)
The , also known as MEXT or Monkashō, is one of the ministries of the Japanese government.The Meiji government created the first Ministry of Education in 1871....

. Instead, the textbooks for all subjects in elementary, and both lower and upper secondary schools are written and published by several major private companies
Market share of government-approved Japanese history textbooks
-Year 1966–2002:*Legends: Bunkyo = Nihon Bunkyo Shuppan , Chukyo = Chukyo Shuppan , Gakkou = Gakkou Tosho , Kyouiku = Kyouiku Shuppan , Dainihon = Dainihon Tosho , Fusosha = Fusosha , Shimizu = Shimizu Shoin , Shoseki = Nihon Shoseki , Teikoku = Teikoku Shoin , Tokyo = Tokyo Shoseki .*Source: Japan...

. This system was introduced to Japan after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to avoid government having direct authority over the written contents. Japan's School Education Law requires schools to use textbooks that are authorized by the Ministry of Education (MEXT). However, each local education board has the final authority to select which textbooks can be used in their jurisdiction from the approved list.

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

Critics claim that the government textbook authorization system has been used to reject textbooks that depict Imperial Japan in a negative light. This includes a case in the 1960s where a description of the Nanjing Massacre and other war crimes committed by the Japanese military before and during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was rejected by the Ministry of Education. The author sued the Ministry, finally winning the case decades later. Recent controversy focuses on the approval of a history textbook published by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, which placed emphasis on the achievements of pre–World War II Imperial Japan, as well as a reference to the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a concept created and promulgated during the Shōwa era by the government and military of the Empire of Japan. It represented the desire to create a self-sufficient "bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers"...

 with fewer critical comments compared to the other Japanese history textbooks. Reflecting Japanese tendency towards self-favoring historical revisionism, historian Stephen Ambrose
Stephen Ambrose
Stephen Edward Ambrose was an American historian and biographer of U.S. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. He was a long time professor of history at the University of New Orleans and the author of many best selling volumes of American popular history...

 noted that "The Japanese presentation of the war to its children runs something like this: 'One day, for no reason we ever understood, the Americans started dropping atomic bombs on us
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
During the final stages of World War II in 1945, the United States conducted two atomic bombings against the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, the first on August 6, 1945, and the second on August 9, 1945. These two events are the only use of nuclear weapons in war to date.For six months...

.'"

Defenders of the system counter that a book which fails to mention specific negative facts regarding the aggression and atrocities committed by Japan during World War II would also fail the Ministry of Education's approval process. During the approval process for the aforementioned history textbook by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, the author was ordered to revise the book's content several times before receiving final approval. Moreover, during the Cold War, the Ministry rejected textbooks by left-leaning publishers which attempted to portray Soviet, Mainland China, North Korea and other Communist countries in a positive light. Defenders also point out that during the 1960s and 1970s, the extent of the atrocities, as well as the existence of many of the incidents, were still being debated by Japanese historians; therefore, the Ministry of Education was correct in rejecting references to specific atrocities such as the Nanjing Massacre during that era, but the Ministry finally insisted on the inclusion of those same incidents after Japanese historians had finally reached consensus during the 1990s. They also point out that, North and South Korea, as well as China, which happen to be the most outspoken critics of the Japanese textbook approval process, do not allow private publishing companies to write history textbooks for their schools. Instead, the governments of those countries write a single history textbook for all of their schools. Critics of Chinese and Korean textbooks also argue that the textbooks of those countries are far more politically censored and self-favoring than Japanese textbooks.
Today there are 30 unique textbooks for , from 5 different publishers, in Japanese primary schools. Additionally, there are 8 unique textbooks for , from 8 different publishers, for junior high schools. In Japanese high schools, the number of available options is much greater, with 50 unique textbook editions available for teaching Japanese, and world history.

The beginning of school textbook screening (1947)


The current textbook authorization system began in 1947 under the direction of the U.S.-led Supreme Commander, Allied Powers (SCAP
SCAP
SCAP may refer to:* Société de Constructions Automobiles* Security Content Automation Protocol* Separation of Content and Presentation* Shackled City Adventure Path* SREBP cleavage activating protein...

) authority during Japan's post–World War II occupation
Occupied Japan
At the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers, led by the United States with contributions also from Australia, India, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power...

. SCAP ordered the provisional government of Japan to end the system of and allow scholars in the private sector to write textbooks. Local educators would then choose which textbooks to use at their schools. Descriptions that promoted militarism
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

 and ultranationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 were eliminated, and the new idea to promote the dignity of the individual
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

  was introduced. The New School Education Law states that while the government sets a curriculum guideline, it is not meant to establish a fixed, uniform line for all educators to observe, like in the old militarist days, but rather to help educators to creatively adapt the curriculum to the new demands of children and society in general.

Major controversies


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

“Ureubeki Kyōkasho” issue (1955)


At the general election of February 1955, the Japan Democratic Party
Japan Democratic Party (1954)
Japan Democratic Party was a short-living right-wing political party in Japan 1954–1955, led by Ichirō Hatoyama. Its leaders included former foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and future Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. The party was formed on November 24, 1954, by merging Ichiro Hatoyama's group...

  proposed an idea that whilst editing of school textbooks might be left to the private sector, the government ought to supervise them and limit the kinds of textbooks to about two for each subject by tightening the authorization, so that the textbooks in effect would be equivalent to government-designated textbooks.

At the Special Committee on Administrative Inspection of the house of the House of Representatives
House of Representatives of Japan
The is the lower house of the Diet of Japan. The House of Councillors of Japan is the upper house.The House of Representatives has 480 members, elected for a four-year term. Of these, 180 members are elected from 11 multi-member constituencies by a party-list system of proportional representation,...

 in July of the same year, Kazutomo Ishii of Democratic Party of Japan suggested that textbooks were about to be published that could overthrow the principle of the education of Japan. He characterized these textbooks as:
  • Intentionally and unwarrantably depicting the life of the working class of Japan as extremely horrible, so that it seems to be a product of the defects of the social system and of the self-contradiction of capitalism.
  • Extolling the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     and the People's Republic of China
    People's Republic of China
    China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

     very emphatically and seeming to suggest that Japan should be subservient to them.


In addition, from August to October of the same year, Japan Democratic Party published three volumes of booklets entitled "Ureubeki Kyōkasho" . The first volume listed four types of bias as "examples of biased education that appeared in textbooks":
  • Ones that unconditionally support the labor union of teachers and Japan Teachers Union
    Japan Teachers Union
    , often just called , is Japan's largest and oldest labor union of teachers and school staffs. The union is known for its critical stance against the conservative Liberal Democratic Party government on such issues as Kimi ga Yo, the Flag of Japan, and the screening of history text books since its...

    , and advance their political activities: Miyahara Seiichi ed., social studies textbook for high school, Ippan Shakai , published from Jikkyo Shuppan .
  • Ones that hype how horrible the predicament of the Japanese workers are, and thereby advances a radical and destructive labor movement: Munakata Seiya ed., social studies textbook for junior high school, Shakai no Shikumi , published from Kyōiku Shuppan .
  • Ones that particularly glorify and extol the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     and the People's Republic of China
    People's Republic of China
    China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

    , and castigate Japan: Sugo Hiroshi ed., social studies textbook for 6th grade, Akarui Shakai , published from Chuukyō Shuppan .
  • Ones that instill children with Marxist-Leninist, i.e. communist
    Communism
    Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

     ideas: Osada Arata ed., social studies textbook for junior high school, Mohan Chuugaku Shakai , published from Jikkyō Shuppan .


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

The resulting changes resulted in one-third of pre-existing textbooks being banned from Japanese schools. The Ministry of Education required that new textbooks avoided criticism of Japanese involvement in the Pacific War, and avoid mention of Japanese invasion of China and involvement in the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 at all.

"Section F" purge (1956)



Textbook screening in 1956, right after a change of the members of Textbook Authorization Research Council in September of the previous year, failed six drafts of textbooks, a significantly greater number than before. The evaluations of drafts by the Council had been noted by five letters from A to E, each representing the evaluation of a member in the Council. At 1955's screening, however, there was an additional section F that was considered responsible for the rejection of all the six drafts. Over this incident professor Iwao Takayama of Nihon University
Nihon University
Nihon University is the largest university in Japan. Akiyoshi Yamada, the minister of justice, founded Nihon Law School in October 1889....

 who newly joined the Council was suspected be the writer of section F, and the news media reported the incident as the "Section F purge" .

Ienaga v. Japan (1965–1997)


Saburo Ienaga was a Japanese historian infamous for controversies regarding school history textbooks. In 1953, the Japanese Ministry of Education published a textbook by Ienaga, but censored what they said were factual errors and matters of opinion, regarding Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

. Ienaga undertook a series of law suits against the Ministry for violation of his freedom of speech
Freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used...

. He was nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 by Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 among others.

Neighboring Country Clause (1982)


On June 26, 1982, the Japanese textbook authorization system became a major diplomatic issue for the first time when Asahi Shimbun
Asahi Shimbun
The is the second most circulated out of the five national newspapers in Japan. Its circulation, which was 7.96 million for its morning edition and 3.1 million for its evening edition as of June 2010, was second behind that of Yomiuri Shimbun...

reported that the Ministry of Education demanded a textbook, which stated that the Japanese army invaded Northern China, be rewritten using the phrase "advanced into" instead of invaded. Having heard this news the Chinese
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 government strongly protested to Japan. In response, on August 26, 1982, Kiichi Miyazawa
Kiichi Miyazawa
was a Japanese politician and the 78th Prime Minister from November 5, 1991 to August 9, 1993.-Early life and career:Miyazawa was born in Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, and graduated from Tokyo Imperial University with a degree in law. In 1942 he joined the Ministry of Finance...

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


In November 1982 the Ministry of Education adopted a new authorization criterion, the so-called "Neighboring Country Clause" : Textbooks ought to show understanding and seek international harmony in their treatment of modern and contemporary historical events involving neighboring Asian countries .

It is worth noting that despite the widespread attention that the issue received in both the Japanese and international media, investigations done in September 1982 reveal that the alleged change never actually took place, that the ministry of education did not even make a recommendation for the change, and that the entire incident was caused by hasty and inaccurate reporting by a small group of journalists assigned to cover the Ministry of Education.

New History Textbook (2000)


In 2000, Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform
Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform
is a group founded in December 1996 to promote a revisionist view of Japanese history. The group was responsible for authoring a history textbook published from Fusōsha , which was heavily criticised by China, South Korea, and many Western historians for not including full accounts of or...

, a group of conservative scholars, published New History Textbook (Atarashii Rekishi Kyokasho) that was intended to promote a revised view of Japan. The textbook downplays or whitewashes
Whitewash (censorship)
To whitewash is a metaphor meaning to gloss over or cover up vices, crimes or scandals or to exonerate by means of a perfunctory investigation or through biased presentation of data. It is especially used in the context of corporations, governments or other organizations.- Etymology :Its first...

 the nature of Japan's military aggression
Japanese war crimes
Japanese war crimes occurred during the period of Japanese imperialism, primarily during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. Some of the incidents have also been described as an Asian Holocaust and Japanese war atrocities...

 in the First Sino-Japanese War
First Sino-Japanese War
The First Sino-Japanese War was fought between Qing Dynasty China and Meiji Japan, primarily over control of Korea...

, in Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910
Korea under Japanese rule
Korea was under Japanese rule as part of Japan's 35-year imperialist expansion . Japanese rule ended in 1945 shortly after the Japanese defeat in World War II....

, in the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

, and in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The textbook was approved by the Ministry of Education in 2001, and caused a huge controversy in Japan, China and Korea. A large number of Japanese historians and educators protested against the content of New History Textbook and its treatment of Japanese wartime activities. China Radio International
China Radio International
China Radio International , the former Radio Beijing and originally Radio Peking, founded on December 3 of 1941, is one of the three state-owned media in China along with China National Radio and China Central Television in the People's Republic of China .As the PRC's external radio station, CRI...

 reported that the PRC government and people were "strongly indignant about and dissatisfied with the new Japanese history textbook for the year 2002 compiled by right-wing Japanese scholars".

Subsequently, the New History Textbook was used by only 0.039% of junior high schools in Japan as of August 15, 2001. According to the Society, there are currently eight private junior high schools, one public school for the disabled in Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, three public junior high schools and four public schools for the disabled in Ehime that use their textbook (Mainichi Shimbun
Mainichi Shimbun
The is one of the major newspapers in Japan, published by .-History:The history of the Mainichi Shimbun begins with founding of two papers during the Meiji period. The Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun was founded first, in 1872. The Mainichi claims that it is the oldest existing Japanese daily newspaper...

, September 27, 2004).

Anti-Japanese demonstrations were held in the spring of 2005 in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 to protest against New History Textbook.

"Comfort women" comments


In 2007, former education minister Nariaki Nakayama
Nariaki Nakayama
is a Japanese politician. He served as Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in the Cabinet of Junichiro Koizumi and later as Minister of Land,Infrastructure,Transport and Tourism under Taro Aso...

 declared he was proud that the Liberal Democratic Party
Liberal Democratic Party (Japan)
The , frequently abbreviated to LDP or , is a centre-right political party in Japan. It is one of the most consistently successful political parties in the democratic world. The LDP ruled almost continuously for nearly 54 years from its founding in 1955 until its defeat in the 2009 election...

 had succeeded in getting references to "wartime sex slaves" struck from most authorized history texts for junior high schools. "Our campaign worked, and people outside government also started raising their voices." He also declared that he agreed with an e-mail sent to him saying that the "victimized women in Asia should be proud of being comfort women
Comfort women
The term "comfort women" was a euphemism used to describe women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, with numbers ranging from as low as 20,000 from some Japanese scholars to as high as 410,000 from some Chinese...

".

2007 passage change on forced World War II suicides


Japan orders history books to change passages on forced suicide
Forced suicide
Forced suicide is a method of execution where the victim is coerced into committing suicide to avoid facing an alternative option they perceive as much worse, such as suffering torture or having friends or family members imprisoned, tortured, or killed...

s during World War II. In June 2007, the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly officially asked the Ministry of Education of Japan to retract its instruction to downplay the military's role in mass suicide in Okinawa in 1945. More than 100,000 people in Okinawa rallied against the text book changes at the end of September. According to the Kyodo News
Kyodo News
is a nonprofit cooperative news agency based in Minato, Tokyo. It was established in November 1945 and it distributes news to almost all newspapers, and radio and television networks in Japan. The newspapers using its news have about 50 million subscribers. K. K. Kyodo News is Kyodo News' business...

 agency, it was the biggest staged rally on the island since its 1972 return to Japanese rule. Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima
Hirokazu Nakaima
is a Japanese bureaucrat, a business leader, and a politician. He was elected governor of Okinawa Prefecture in 2006.- History :Nakaima was born on August 19, 1939 in Higashinari Ward of Osaka. In 1945 during World War II, his family escaped from the air raids in Osaka and evacuated to Meiji,...

 spoke to the crowds, commenting that the Japanese military's involvement in the mass suicides should not be forgotten.

Current Issues


Recently there has been controversy about the inclusion of the Liancourt Rocks
Liancourt Rocks
The Liancourt Rocks, also known as Dokdo or Tokto in Korean or in Japanese, are a group of small islets in the Sea of Japan . Sovereignty over the islets is disputed between Japan and South Korea...

 (sovereignty over the islands is disputed between Japan and South Korea) as being part of Japan in Japanese teacher's guidebooks for social study classes for junior high school students.

See also

  • Market share of government-approved Japanese history textbooks
    Market share of government-approved Japanese history textbooks
    -Year 1966–2002:*Legends: Bunkyo = Nihon Bunkyo Shuppan , Chukyo = Chukyo Shuppan , Gakkou = Gakkou Tosho , Kyouiku = Kyouiku Shuppan , Dainihon = Dainihon Tosho , Fusosha = Fusosha , Shimizu = Shimizu Shoin , Shoseki = Nihon Shoseki , Teikoku = Teikoku Shoin , Tokyo = Tokyo Shoseki .*Source: Japan...

  • 2005 anti-Japanese demonstrations
  • List of war apology statements issued by Japan
  • Historical revisionism
    Historical revisionism
    In historiography, historical revisionism is the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event...

  • Anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea
    Anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea
    The Anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea is complex and multi-faceted. Anti-Japanese sentiment attitudes in the Korea can be traced back to the effects of Japanese pirate raids and the Japanese invasions of Korea , such as dismembering more than 20,000 noses and ears from Koreans and bringing them back...

  • Japanese nationalism
    Japanese nationalism
    encompasses a broad range of ideas and sentiments harbored by the Japanese people over the last two centuries regarding their native country, its cultural nature, political form and historical destiny...

  • People's Republic of China – Japan relations
  • Japan–Korea relations
  • Japan–Korea disputes
  • Bias in education
    Bias in education
    -Bias in school textbooks:The content of school textbooks is often the issue of debate, as their target audience is young people, and the term "whitewashing" is the one commonly used to refer to selective removal of critical or damaging evidence or comment...

  • Historiography and nationalism
    Historiography and nationalism
    Historiography is the study of how history is written. One pervasive influence upon the writing of history has been nationalism, a set of beliefs about political legitimacy and "cultural identity". Nationalism has provided a significant framework for historical writing in Europe and in those former...

  • Selective omission
    Selective omission
    The selective omission is a memory bias. In collective memory it's a bias where a group work to forget some traumatic memories. This expressions is often used for post-war rewriting of history in a more coherent way according to local stereotypes and moral values. That's denying war atrocities...


Further reading

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

External links