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View Poll Results: What do you think should be mentioned in Japanese history textbooks ?

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  • Brief outline of WWII only, without reference to war crimes or atrocities

    1 4.76%
  • Japan's military advances in Asia, without the description of the war atrocities

    0 0%
  • Explanation of the evolution militarism in Japan from Meiji to WWII

    17 80.95%
  • Detailed military expansion of Japan, annexation of Korea, Japan's setting up of the Manchurian incident, etc.

    17 80.95%
  • The Japanese Army's massacres, rapes and plunder of China and other countries

    15 71.43%
  • Japanese biological warfare experiments made on live humans, such as Unit 731

    16 76.19%
  • Harsh treatment of POW's (eg. Death Railway) and slave labour used by Japanese zaibatsu

    16 76.19%
  • Sexual slavery of tens/hundreds of thousands of Asian and Western women

    16 76.19%
  • Mention that the Japanese holocaust cost about 10 to 30 millions lives around Asia

    14 66.67%
  • Mention of that 50,000 to 300,000 Chinese died in the Nanking Massacre

    17 80.95%
  • Mention of other massacres like Sook Ching, Manilla, Laha, Jinan, etc.

    15 71.43%
  • Pictures/videos of atrocities such as the Nanking Massacre

    15 71.43%
  • Emphasis on Japan's responsibility for these war crimes

    15 71.43%
  • Divine status of the emperor before 1945, and responsibility as supreme commander of the army

    13 61.90%
  • Explanation on how Japan has paid reparations and apologised for its war crimes

    11 52.38%
  • Explanation on the controversy about the Yasukuni Shrine, and why war criminals should not be worshipped

    14 66.67%
  • Other (please specify)

    5 23.81%
  • Don't know

    0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: What should be mentioned in Japanese history textbooks ?

  1. #1
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    What should be mentioned in Japanese history textbooks ?

    China, Korea and other Asian countries that have experienced the Japanese occupation during WWII have constantly complained about the content of history textbooks used in Japanese schools everytime the Japanese Education Ministry approves new books. Germany, Austria or Italy do not have this problem. What is the difference ?

    According to Wikipedia "The German education system focuses on teaching about the Holocaust and the Third Reich and denounces the crimes committed during World War II." I believe that they also explain about slave labour used by some German companies, or show pictures of concentrations camps.

    Nowadays, I have seen by myself that Japanese history textbooks only quickly outline Japan's invasion of Asia in WWII, and doesn't describe the atrocities, shows any picture or insist one Japan's culpability.

    Worse, modern history is an optional subject, and Japanese students have to choose between Japanese History, World History or Geography. So people who do not choose history have no mention of WWII at all. In my opinion, both geography and history from the antiquity to the late 20th century should be compulsory.

    What do you think should be included in Japanese history textbooks ?

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  2. #2
    free spirit lineartube's Avatar
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    Hi Maciamo,

    I think that the best examples can be learn from our global history and you did raised an interesting comparison though I'm not familiarised with the German, Japanese or even the Russian learning system. Agressors or victims, massacres or mass-rapes, how do they deal with their past?
    And how about Austria, Hungary or any former member of the Austrian-Hungary empire, Greece, Turkey, or even the more recent Yuguslavia ex-members?

    It would be nice getting some information about this current countries learning systems and how they try to explain their turbulent past.
    Ln.

  3. #3
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lineartube
    It would be nice getting some information about this current countries learning systems and how they try to explain their turbulent past.
    Could you start by telling us about how WWII is taught in Portugal ? Did you learn about pre-war Nazi propaganda, Nazi military conquests, the holocaust, with pictures/videos, etc. ?

  4. #4
    free spirit lineartube's Avatar
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    Portugal had a neutrality of convenience. We did allowed the use of the Azores islands as air and naval bases by the Allies while we traded with the Axis powers for much needed raw materials. But at the time, Portugal had its own type of fascism, or more correctly, its fascist corporativism government.
    But since I like reading about history, I am not sure if I learned this in school.

    As for the last World War, it is thought in texts and pictures. Documentaries were rare in school, except in the public TV stations. As for what it was thought, it did refered the Nazi rise to power as also the rise of the black shirts in Italy or Japan invasion of China. The focus was more into the European theather of war than in Asia. The Holocaust was also teached though with mild pictures of concentration camps like Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen.

  5. #5
    The Hairy Wookie Mycernius's Avatar
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    Despite how painful it might be for the government, how about the whole truth? Everything from the reasons why to what they did. It is the only way for the Japanese population to realise what they Grandfathers did and maybe for them to understand why so many ex-servicemen from allied ppowers don't like them. If they are kept in the dark by their own education system, you can see why they don't really understand why China and Korea have this attitude of distrust towards them. Unfortunalty the change has to come from the government. Until it dose the people will remain in the dark except those who look in foreign text books on WWII.
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  6. #6
    A gamer in Auckland
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    History, i mean the truth cant b hiden by a group of people.

  7. #7
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    Japanese history texbooks should definitely mention modern history ...which they don't do at the moment!! Forget the fictional...Jomon period!!

  8. #8
    Cat lover Apollo's Avatar
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    I clicked on all except the two first......

    It is especially important to explain in history books the atrocities in Manchuria......

  9. #9
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Thumbs up The best kind of constructive criticism, Maciamo !

    However, I hope it can be supplemented by more polls building upon this great idea. One thing about option no. 16. Shouldn't it be "why war criminals should not be worshipped" ?

    quote:
    "Explanation on the controversy about the Yasukuni Shrine, and why war criminals should be worshipped"

    Some extra options for future extensions I would hope to see:

    19. Assessments of immediate damages that resulted from exploitations by country, by city, by industry.

    20. Assessments of immediate damages that resulted from Imperial Japan's war activities.

    21. Assessments of immediate damages that resulted from discriminatory treatment of non-Japanese citizens.

    22. Assessments of long-term damages to individuals & families due to Japan's war decision.

    23. Assessments of the pain, agony, loss of body funtion, body part, or both, leading to the eventual loss of all body parts, and life itself for the majority interned at Unit 731 for the human experiments (‘ε“ϊ–{’ιš  —€ŒR萓ŒŽ΅ŽOˆκ•”‘ΰ lŠΤΆι“›‰ι„). Did any survive in the end ? Or were all burned to cover it up ? Such questions for discussionin the history classes.

    24. Assessments of environmental damages, costs of restoration, and monetary figures after compound interest since the time of destruction to the present. (or the time of reparation made, if any.)

    25. Actual repartions made and how those figures compare to the actual/immediate/long-term damages.

    26. The internal logic of Pan Asian Commonwealth Sphere, how it was to benefit Imperial Japan, how it was to exploit Asian countries & individuals, how the propaganda was administered, the descrepancy between the ideals and realities of PACS.

    27. How Japan got lucky by the Marshall plan; ie. not demanding full reparation, but being offered aid for reconstruction instead, and how that fostered the illusion within certain groups in Japan, that nothing was really wrong with Imperial Japan.

    28. How Japan's primary war criminal late Emperor Hirohito got off the hook of the death sentence, and how that perpetrated the false impression of his & Japan's ultimate innocence.

    29. How gentle a treatment Japan got when considering the great damage it caused to the world, and how ungrateful Japan has been for the astonishing humane treatment. All it had to offer was preferential treatment to the major occupying forces; the US, and how unfair that was.

    30. Why Japan was not allowed to have its own army for the purpose of combating on foreign soil; why Japan cannot ammend its constitution to have an army now, and why it must stay that way forever.

    31. Some basic education in philosphy, logic, some simple civics such as being responsible, and how criminal behavior costs the perpetrator in the end. Why lying is bad, although it may look lucrative.

    32. The cause & effect relationship in history; e.g. you hit someone, he hits you back, that it is perfectly natural to do so if you don't apologize immediately or go to gaol.

    33. How Japan's history education has been misrepresenting reality.

    34. The oppression of dissidents to the militarism since Meiji; how may Japanese perished in the torture, in the cells, in the human experiments, or simply fled to another country.

    35. An assessment of damages Japan has sufferred due to extremist right wing conservatives' activities.

    That's it for now.
    Last edited by lexico; Apr 29, 2005 at 00:19.
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  10. #10
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    However, I hope it can be supplemented by more polls building upon this great idea. One thing about option no. 16. Shouldn't it be "why war criminals should not be worshipped" ?
    Can you comment on this point, please ? Was it meant to be that way; then I don't understand option 16.

  11. #11
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    Can you comment on this point, please ? Was it meant to be that way; then I don't understand option 16.
    That's right. Soory. I have changed it.

  12. #12
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Heart Look at this, all history lovers !

    Thanks, Mac. Now I can vote with peace of mind.

    Today I discovered (well rediscovered) this site; unfortunately, they seem to be incomplete. There were claims by some Japanese scholars that certain material were not available by design; the more controversial, sensitive material. So, good, and bad, as anything in life. *sigh*

    š —§Œφ•Ά‘ŠΩ Japan Center for Asian Historical Records

    The National Archives of Japan:

    Among the collection of the National Archives of Japan, JACAR currently provides access to materials assembled to the Japanese Cabinet from the Meiji era to closing years of World War II during the Showa era. As these materials also include vast amounts relating to domestic affairs, we are extracting those that concern Asian history for the convenience of the user. As of June 2002, JACAR has made approx. 120,000 images and catalog of approx. 30,000 items accessible through the Internet in the 3 historical record series below. We are planning to also provide "Kobun Zassan" (materials not entered in "Kobun Ruishu" that were received by the Cabinet dating from the 19th year of the Meiji era (1886), compiled according to government agency and year), "Goshomei Gempon" (original documents promulgating laws and treaties, with name and seal of the Emperor), "Sumitsuin Kaigi Kankei Shorui" (document related to Privy Council meetings), and others in the future.

    Dajo Ruiten

    Dajo Ruiten is the compilation of records collected by the Dajokan, the central administrative organ of the Government until the Meiji Government adopted the cabinet system. These records cover the period from October of the 3rd year of the Keio era (1867) to the 14th year of the Meiji era (1881). Consisting of copies and originals of journals of the Dajokan, regulations concerning ceremonies, diplomatic documents, and others, the materials are valuable records of such matters as treaties of friendship Japan concluded with various foreign countries during the early Meiji era.

    Kobun Roku

    Kobun Roku are original copies of official documents that the Dajokan received from the 1st year of the Meiji era (1868) to Meiji 18 (1885) sorted by ministry or agency concerned and year, designated as the country's important cultural property. Among the records of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are detailed records concerning establishment of diplomatic relations with various foreign countries, arranged in chronological order.

    Kobun Ruishu

    Kobun Ruishu is a collection of official documents that were compiled under the Dajo Ruiten title until Meiji 14 (1881) and that took the present title in Meiji 15 (1882). Starting from Meiji 19 (1886), original proceedings for laws and regulations have been placed in this category. As of June 2002, JACAR has provides access through the Internet to Asian historical records up to the 11th year of the Showa era (1936).

    (There's more matrerial there with Congress & Navy documents, too !)

  13. #13
    I follow the strong Loyalist's Avatar
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    The Yasukuni Shrine honors those who died for thier country, and the Japanese should worship them. Not all enshrined their are war criminals. The term "war criminal" should not exist, It should just be "criminal". The united States killed many japanese civilian (672,000). So those who ordered the drop, ceated the atomic bomb should also be considered war criminals. The only reason they arnt is because those who achive victory acheive righteousness andare veiwed by history to be right. I am not in any way defending the obvious atrocities committed by Japan, I think that they have been reformed, and currently are a force of good in the world. They dont need to be punished by constant reminders of their mistakes, They must be mentioned and never forgotten, but not constantly forced in thier face. Some american texbooks fail to mention the dresdin firebombing.
    Last edited by Loyalist; May 1, 2005 at 01:00. Reason: casualtie #
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  14. #14
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    The Yasukuni Shrine honors those who died for thier country, and the Japanese should worship them. Not all enshrined their are war criminals.
    Should worship ? As if there exists an obligation ? Why secretly smuggle in people who were at the forefront of bringing shame to Japan ? And all of humanity who happen not to be Japanese, who happened to pay by being in the wrong place as a non-Japanese ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    The term "war criminal" should not exist, It should just be "criminal".
    Why not ? For the comfort of your mind that all is well ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    The united States killed many japanese civilian (672,000). So those who ordered the drop, ceated the atomic bomb should also be considered war criminals.
    Absolutely.
    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    The only reason they arnt is because those who achive victory acheive righteousness andare veiwed by history to be right.
    And where do you draw your conclusion from ? From some general reflections into the deep meanings of life ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    I am not in any way defending the obvious atrocities committed by Japan, I think that they have been reformed, and currently are a force of good in the world.
    Reformed ? What evidence of being reformed can you present ?
    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    They dont need to be punished by constant reminders of their mistakes,
    Constantly ? Some Japanese citizens are shocked to hear the news for the first time in their lives. You must not have much experience with many Japanese in Japan/from Japan. Do you think the self-imposed critics here are just that way and love to criticise, throw dirt in the face of decent people in general ? I wouldn't want to waste my breathe on negativity, my friend. Life is just too short for that kind of stuff !!
    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    They must be mentioned and never forgotten, but not constantly forced in thier face. Some american texbooks fail to mention the dresdin firebombing.
    A lot of those "atrocities" are never mentioned. Hence comes the raison d'etre of this thread-poll.

  15. #15
    I follow the strong Loyalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    Should worship ? As if there exists an obligation ?.
    No, I phrased this wrong. My mistake. My meaning is that Many of those enshrined have made valient efforts for the sake of their country, and should be honored for it.


    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    Why not ? For the comfort of your mind that all is well ?
    Because war itself is a crime. Those foolish enough to set up rules for war beg disaster from those who are willing to win at all cost. Im saying that they are just plain and simple criminals. I belive the term war criminal is foolish.

    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    And where do you draw your conclusion from ? From some general reflections into the deep meanings of life ?
    The Romans conquered province after province under the guise of self defense or liberation. And are generally veiwed to be on the side of good. When marco polo was in the chinese empire it was controlled by invaders, and that dynasty is veiwed as good. Europeans conqured ruthlessly the "new world" and are hearalded as great explorers. The colonys rebel against their govenment and win. They are veiwed as good. American millitary preforms almost demi genicide on the native americans and now we are veiwed as good. Had the civil war ended differently the confederates wold be veiwed as good.

    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    Reformed ? What evidence of being reformed can you present ?.
    Oh your right because i compleatly forgot about all the horrible atrocities that the japanese millitary has comiited after WWII!......OH wait ...they havent. Japan is no longer trying to become an empire or establish colonys. Now I would like proof that they havent. And dont use any examples of ultranationalist who dont represent the entire japanese government.

  16. #16
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    As Mac said: We learn the full thing in Germany, so if you don't sleep in history you should have a detailed knowledge about German warcrimes and the holocaust etc etc.

    And I believe that Japan should teach it too, because growing up with a stigma without even knowing it is bad i think.

  17. #17
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    hmmm, Lexico has failed to reply, im dissapointed. Im sure he is busy, i look forwards to his response.

  18. #18
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    The Yasukuni Shrine honors those who died for thier country, and the Japanese should worship them. Not all enshrined their are war criminals. The term "war criminal" should not exist, It should just be "criminal". The united States killed many japanese civilian (672,000).
    When you don't know the meaning of a particular term like "ar crime" or "war criminal", you should look it up in an online dictionary, or better an encyclopedia like Wikipedia. It may surprise you, but there are laws regulating war and some actions are prohibited. Mass murder or genocide of civilians is one of them. The Japanese committed many war crimes, the most famous of which is the Nanking Massacre.

    FYI, there are 14 class-A war criminals and a few thousands class-B and class-C enshrined in Yasukuni Jinja. The shrine was built in 1869, and is dedicated to war deads since then. However, the war criminals (not ordinary soldiers but the people who commanded the massacres, rapes or torture of civilians) were only added to the Shrine in 1978. The controversy only started at that time. Before that nobody complained that the Japanese, even politicians, paid homage to war deads. The problem is that Prime Minister Koizumi has been visiting Yasukuni just since 1978, and now as PM it appears as if he is worshippig war criminals equivalent to Hitler, Himmler, Goering, Goebbels, etc. (if you don't know them, check Wikipedia or Google).

  19. #19
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    Because war itself is a crime, Those foolish enough to set up rules for war beg disaster from those who are willing to win at all cost. Im saying that they are just plain and simple criminals. I belive the term war criminal is foolish.
    (this is from an erlier post.)

    I am aware of the rules set up for war, but this in itself is quite fustrating.Maciamo, I hope you arn't implying that im babbling mindlessly. I dont belive that term shold exist. A crime is a crime is a crime is a crime. We shold not specify them in such a manner. A white collar crime, is still a crime and they shold not be called "white collar criminals" they are just "criminals".

    Are you Inferring I don't know my history Maciamo? I am quite aware of who Himmler, Goebbles, and the rest are. (If your last line was for the sake of others, and not implying that I have no idea what im talking about then ignore this.)
    Last edited by Loyalist; May 5, 2005 at 10:00. Reason: avoiding doubble post.

  20. #20
    Twirling dragon Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    Because war itself is a crime, Those foolish enough to set up rules for war beg disaster from those who are willing to win at all cost. Im saying that they are just plain and simple criminals.
    No, in wartime there is a big difference of responsibility between the people who give the orders and those who execute them. "War criminal" refers to the people at the top organising the war, and especially ordering the massacre of civilians (incl. women and children).

    What about torture ? Don't you make any difference between the ways of killing someone (eg. shot, or made to suffer horribly for hours or days ?) ? If not, then I suppose you also don't recognise manslaughter as less serious than murder. In the gradation of responsibility for killing someone, manslaughter (killing someone by accident, with no intend to kill) is the least serious, followed respectively by :

    - killing on orders (well you could say that the executioners of death penalty also kill on orders like soldiers, so they are completely crime-free, legally speaking)
    - murder with extenuating circumstances
    - cold blooded murder
    - serial murder
    - mass murder
    - and finally, ordering mass murders (+tortures, human experiments, etc.)

    Class-A war criminals are this last category.

    Are you Inferring I don't know my history Maciamo? I am quite aware of who Himmler, Goebbles, and the rest are. (If your last line was for the sake of others, and not implying that I have no idea what im talking about then ignore this.)
    No. I don't know you, so I was just giving general info. But do you know about the Japanese war criminals in question (Tojo, Itagaki, Matsui, etc.) ? (see list here).

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo
    What about torture ? Don't you make any difference between the ways of killing someone (eg. shot, or made to suffer horribly for hours or days ?) ? If not, then I suppose you also don't recognise manslaughter as less serious than murder. In the gradation of responsibility for killing someone, manslaughter (killing someone by accident, with no intend to kill) is the least seriou
    Shooting someone and touturing someone to death. Both acts still make you a criminal, as i stated before war itself is a crime and either way you are killing someone and you are now a criminal. Manslaughterr is different in my mind and not as black and white, it depends on the circumstances, for instance a man runs over a pedestrian on accident, ok fine, but if he was drunk, or not fit to be driving then he is a criminal and that persons blood is on his hands. and yes, those with more power have more responsability, and they are criminals also. But as i veiw war itslef to be a crime i do not belive the term War criminal should be used. They are criminals.

  22. #22
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    Bring it all out in the open

    I think that most of the events mentioned in the poll should be written in text books as long as they were factual... History books are not about blame or responsibility, they are about what actually happend. As humans we learn from our mistakes and our accomplisments, if we are unaware of past mistakes and atrocities, it is hard to learn from them.
    History should be taught in full, as not to run the risk of repeating it.

  23. #23
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    My Japanese girlfriend knew nothing of Pearl Harbor

    I understand that the Japanese education system is superior to the American one;this I agree with out argument.
    I was thinking it strange ,at first, my former Japanese girlfriend knew nothing of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Then I was told by a Japanese friend who had been educated in austrailia, not all history makes it into the Japanese text books. How much creedance should I give to this?

  24. #24
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
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    Question Disturbing message

    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist
    *Japanese flag* "If you cannot lead, Follow the best."
    May I ask what you mean to convey with you signature if it's not too personal a question ?
    Is it the Japanese version of Iacoca saying, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way ?"
    Or is it a slogan of some right-wing fascist party ?
    It terribly bothers me because it is reminiscent of Japan's imperial past when all of Japan, intelligent or not, concientious or not, moral or not, peace-loving or not, succumbed to the militarist leadership of the Emperor and his men to follow blindly in one straight file of aggression against the non-Japanese world surrounding them.
    What do you mean to portray; what values to you intend to project of yourself, of what, in your mind, a Japanese person should ideally be ?

  25. #25
    I follow the strong Loyalist's Avatar
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    personally that signature means that if you do not have the charisma or power or whatever to get you idea out there, or to gather people to support your idea, find somone whom you agree with who has power and support them. the japanese flag is just because i like japan. and i belive you have not replied to an erlier post i mad. (its quite a ways towards the top)
    Last edited by Loyalist; May 18, 2005 at 09:26. Reason: not clear enough

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