Wa-pedia Home > Japan Forum & Europe Forum

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

21. You may not vote on this poll
  • 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.
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 26 to 37 of 37

Thread: What should be mentioned in Japanese history textbooks ?

  1. #26
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 9, 2003
    not Africa's great lakes region
    Personally this one #26 posted by lexico and also various ones
    (which I never thought of)
    with regards to affects on individuals and their communities
    of war in general should be part of history/civics/social studies
    classes throughout the world, not only in Japan. Such stuff
    is missing from US education as well. The reality is ignored &
    war is glorified and as just explosions and bloody movies.
    Not that I'm against these movies. I think the glorification
    comes from else where.

    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.

    #26 Is important I think. Since many an imperialistic war has been launched
    on the platform of doing great good for others but only to set up "peaceful" relationships in which one dominates over others. (economically of course,
    what else are wars about? religion [and racism] is mainly used for self-justification. "god is on my side" "god bless my side" [the British
    claimed they were doing others a favor by democra..., err "civilizing"
    the "uncivilized". Japanese imperialists claimed to be freeing their
    Asian bretheran from European colonialists only to take their place
    and used the "trade agreement" mentioned in #26 as their "peace-time"
    blue print to justify the domination. i think? do i digress?])

    Should war criminals that escaped persecution because they
    were useful to the victors, should that be covered in Japanese
    history? Examples : Yoshio Kodama & Ryoichi Sasakawa both
    were classified as Class A war criminals, yet the United States
    secured their release to work for them.

    Does German history mention nazi war criminals that the US
    helped escape persecution and put to work doing the exact same things?
    check out this awesome shirt.
    If You're Really a Goth, Where Were You When We Sacked Rome?
    no, i got nothing against goths. just think the shirt is neat.

  2. #27
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 28, 2003
    Quote Originally Posted by Sukotto
    Does German history mention nazi war criminals that the US
    helped escape persecution and put to work doing the exact same things?
    Yes, it does. Although they did not do exactly the same things, one main difference was that they didn't have slave workers for their projects anymore.

  3. #28
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Sep 18, 2004
    A sorry state
    By Ian Buruma
    Published: May 27 2005 15:47 | Last updated: May 27 2005 15:47
    俺は70年代から80年代に大阪で義務教育を公立の学校で 受けたけど、
    平和教育とか人 教育で死体の写真ばっかりみてたよ。
    どんなに日本軍とアメリカ軍が(空襲ね)残虐だったか 教えられたね。
    流石にソビエトの事は覇 主義だと批判してたけどね。
    それから今現在は日本はアジアを経済的に侵略してるが 、
    日本政府はアメリカ覇 主義の手先となって、お前たち を(俺たちの事だな)再びアジア侵略に駆り出そうとし てるなんて言ってたな。

    可笑しな事に小学校の卒業式では日本の読み方がニホン なのか
    ニッポンかで社会党支持の教師と共産党支持の教師が少 しもめてたよ。

  4. #29
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    May 2, 2005
    Wuhu China
    Maciamo raised a good question, though many Japanese people may have got bored of dwelling on WW2. But as a Chinese, i don't think i myself am in the best position to provide an answer. Who? Japan,

    Japan needs to ask itself what should be mentioned of WW2, for itself to go on with its Asian neighbors, if not for the sake of other nation's dignity. (The latter purpose may be too noble and too demanding)

  5. #30
    Chukchi Salmon lexico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 22, 2004
    Sunny South Korea
    Nice article, Konoiko no neko. The second half that analyzes the historical development underlying the symptoms of Yasukuni enshrinement, historical misrepresentation, and strange governmental behavior is particularly interesting. It would require a good, long look at these phenomena to make a judgement of validity. While the analysis itself is illuminating in certain ways, does it offer a remedy to the current situation ? Excuses such as threats from the Soviet bloc and home grown communism fail to explain why they didn't find parallel, dominating trends in Germany or Italy, do they ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2nd half of article
    When the US-led Allies occupied Japan after dropping the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, one of the first things General MacArthur’s administration did was to tackle Japanese education. Japanese were ordered “to eliminate from the educational system of Japan those militaristic and ultranationalistic influences which in the past have contributed to the defeat, war guilt, suffering, privation, and present deplorable state of the Japanese people”.

    Since patriotic education, which included emperor worship and the idea that the Japanese were a superior race with divine roots, had played an important role in mobilising the Japanese for war, this was not a spurious measure. Henceforth, the production of history textbooks would be privatised and no longer be subject to government control. But before new textbooks could be published, “ultranationalistic” and “militaristic” passages in the old ones were blocked out in black ink. Teachers who had extolled the unique virtues of the divine Japanese race until the surrender in August, 1945, now taught the unique virtues of American-style demokurashi. Moral education (shushin), with its stress on sacrifice and discipline, was a particular target of the occupation authorities since this was regarded, not without reason, as the main obstacle to the new spirit of individualism. Cultural re-education was not just limited to school books but to the arts as well. Samurai dramas were banned for a short while, in movies and even in the Kabuki theatre. And generally, Japanese were encouraged to believe that their brutal wartime behaviour was rooted in deep cultural flaws.

    Those who stood on the left of the political spectrum, which included much of the Japanese intelligentsia, had no problem with these policies. Like most Japanese they were glad to be rid of the oppressive wartime regime and embraced democratic change. Marxists had their own ideological reasons for seeing the dark past in terms of “feudalism” and “capitalist imperialism” and it was not uncommon in the 1950s and 1960s for Marxist school teachers to praise Chairman Mao’s China while denouncing imperialist Japanese history in the most lurid manner. Such teachers had a strong influence on the Japan Teachers Union, whose institutional power only began to crumble in the 1980s. Many school textbooks reflected their views, even though leftist biases were almost invariably watered down by conservative education ministry bureaucrats.

    Cultural conservatives, not unnaturally, took a very different view of the US occupation. They felt robbed of their national identity. Even though American censorship was minimal compared with Japanese wartime censorship, some writers and thinkers felt deeply humiliated by foreigners telling them what to think. And conservatives, who deplored the “moral vacuum” that replaced emperor-worshipping nationalism, have tried to fill this vacuum with the old patriotic spirit ever since. A rosier view of the wartime past is part of this effort, which has found support among many conservative politicians, including prime ministers.

    The issue of moral education and patriotic history is closely linked to the postwar constitution. To leftists and liberals, official pacifism has always been seen as a way to atone for the militarism of the past - something that is not pointed out in the Chinese media. Teachers associated with the Japan Teachers Union discussed Japanese war crimes as an integral part of what came to be called “peace education”. Pacifism was not only the answer to Hiroshima but also to the Nanking Massacre. More has been written in Japan about Japanese war crimes than anywhere else, albeit often with an ideological slant.

    With the waning of Marxism, however, and the waxing of resentment over the idealistic but somewhat unrealistic pacifist constitution, the terms of the historical debate in Japan have changed. In fact, this already began in the early 1950s when China had “gone Communist”, the Korean War was under way, Japanese war criminals were released from prison and reds were purged from public life with American connivance. Men who had never endorsed the pacifist constitution, postwar education or war guilt entered the mainstream of Japanese politics.

    As long as the majority of the Japanese people still held on to the pacifist ideal and resisted a revival of old-style moral education, rightwing nationalists had little room for manoeuvre. Prime-ministerial visits to Yasukuni Shrine, where the souls of imperial soldiers including quite a few war criminals are enshrined, are symbolic gestures that please Japanese veterans and other conservative voters at the cost of irritating Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese liberals, but they cannot restore Japan’s right to go to war again. And neither can public remarks about the justness of Japan’s war, the moral decadence of the young or the negative effects of masochistic history teaching.

    What has shifted, though, in the wake of the Cold War (which is not really quite over in East Asia), is the public consensus that official pacifism is a realistic or even desirable option in the long run. It was humiliating for Japan to write cheques for the Gulf War in 1991 while being forced to be a passive bystander. Since Japan is so dependent on the US for its security, most foreign policy simply follows the dictates of Washington DC. Many Japanese people who hold no brief for wartime imperialism feel that it is time for a change. Not a few also feel that the time for apologising is over.

    This is why Kobayashi’s comic strips have found a ready audience. Not because militarism is on the rise in Japan, but because the old leftwing shibboleths are losing their persuasive power. And this owes a lot to the dogmatism of pacifist intellectuals, who can be as inflexible as rightwing patriots. If one adds the cynical manipulation of popular sentiment in China, one can see why this has stoked up a kind of rebelliousness or at least irritation which the patriots can exploit. Since young Japanese, like young people everywhere, are becoming more ignorant of the facts as the war slips into the past, they also lack the critical sense to challenge some of the more outrageous claims of the historical revisionists.

    Denial, then, is not the whole story in Japan. And neither is the lack of official remorse. The problem is that history was politicised from the moment the American victors chose to remake Japan in their own image. This turned out to be successful in many respects: Japan has a flawed but functioning democracy; militarism is pretty much dead; and most Japanese lead secure, prosperous lives. But when constitutional law, military defence, foreign policy and history education become hopelessly entangled, the last thing people care about is the honest truth.
    Z: The fish in the water are happy.
    H: How do you know ? You're not fish.
    Z: How do you know I don't ? You're not me.
    H: True I am not you, and I cannot know. Likewise, I know you're not, therefore I know you don't.
    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.


  6. #31
    Economist in Residence lonesoullost3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1, 2005
    Interesting poll indeed. The options forget Japan's large influence and the camps in Southeast Asia. Chinese and Korean soldiers were not the only ones that suffered from camps. Many Australian, American, and British soldiers caught in Southeast Asia died in camps on Singapore and parts of the Phillipenes (before US took over) and Indonesia - not to mention the deaths of the native inhabitants. A very interesting book to read that goes into detail about different camps and outfits of the Japanese Army is "Hidden Horrors" by Yuki Tanaka. I don't know the background of Tanaka, it doesn't have information about the author in the book, but it would be more interesting if he was a native Japanese.
    Create Possibilities.

  7. #32
    a non member
    Join Date
    Feb 5, 2005
    My excuse, by filling in the Pole i excedently presses : Brief outline of WWII only, without reference to war crimes or atrocities...

    for anyone who see that.. my excuse.. small mistake

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Jul 19, 2005
    japan history books should also be written of the western colonialism and expansion and its attrocities and the unfair treaties bestowed on japan was the result of its war..

  9. #34
    Kenshi Dan mononokifool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 11, 2005
    N.Ft.Myers florida
    I think that nothing should be left out of history books. not one race has a perfectly clean backround and i dont think that there ever will be. yes the germans a japanese did this but us americans did almost the same thing to the native amercans that we happily forced out of there own land. oh and for those of you who dont know the head japanese sergoun that torched the people in prison was actualy hired by the usa after everything was said and done. he was not persacuted at all. Also do you think what that the atomic bombs that we dropped were any better? i belive that last count was over 300,000 non-combatent citezines died from them. They dont tell us that in our american textbooks. As far as most americans know the worst thing we ever did was enslave people(which is not uniqe to america it has happend every were and in some places it still does). i find this very sad. oh yes wasnt the other day the 60th anniversury of hiroshima, i have to say that i cried after seeing the little kids with the side of there face peeling off form the radiation.

  10. #35
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 24, 2005
    Well I choose nearly everything on that list. I think the knowledge of ones coutries past should be known by all the people of its country.

    I know here in the states, there were things I wasnt aware of that we did. I wasnt aware of the internment of the japanese during the world war 2, I wasnt aware of many things. I ended up hearing about them from other places outside of school while doing my own research on various other topics.

    In general, I think schools around the world need to have some more indepth history classes, as there is a ton of stuff, major things, for example the nanking massacre, that just arent taught... or at least wasnt here in the midwest, and I was quite shocked by what I had read once i learned about it. I was wondering why it wasnt in the history books to begin with.

    Anywho, getting off my soap box now.

  11. #36
    Regular Member CBT1979's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 14, 2006
    I think the poll misses the most important option:
    "the whole truth about the pacific war/WWII"

    Letting out here and there can always turn history look like injustice for nation A or Nation B.
    To understand the whole historical event of the war, the textbooks must explain how the situation was before the war, why did the progress looks like that and what the did really happen after the war for all involved nations.

    History books should not be made to display heroic or evil doings, but need to stick with a neutral tone the best it can do.
    In modern conflicts like the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia, many peace-education workers (including my professor) were responsible to supervise the the writings of the new historical textbooks in Croatia, Serbia etc.
    Because they want to avoid that the textbooks contain too much hatred and anti-nation X sentiment which could cause too much tension even after the war. This is something where most nations involved in the World Wars missed because it was not considered as a problem back then.
    That's why I met many US, British or French people who still thinks that Germany is full of Nazis for example. Very sad IMO.

  12. #37
    Regular Member Sukotto's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 9, 2003
    not Africa's great lakes region
    CBT1979's post about modern wars and history text books make me think of an email I received back in 2004. It was supposedly written by a US soldier in Iraq in favor of the Iraq war and all the good things the US was doing there.

    It is known that new text books for Iraq were being written by US companies, but this fact was not in the email.

    This email said that Saddam Hussein was not mentioned in the text books for the first time. This was actually kind of disturbing. What? Did 30 some years of Iraqi history just not happen? Kind of goofy and dangerous to censor 3 decades of history, if this email is to be believed.
    (the email also contained a line such as: "Iraqi girls can now go to school for the first time ever." Which might place the entire email in the realm of mere propaganda to be spread among soldier's families. ? Or just ignorance on the author's behalf? Which I tend to doubt. Surely SomeOne would have deflated the person's obvious mistaken beliefs after being there a couple months. Iraqi girls could go to school under Hussein and in truth he was a sort of "feminist" in the Arab world as women could even attend college, get government jobs, and were not required to wear head scarfs under Hussein.)

    However, if this bit about Hussein not even being mentioned in Iraq history books is correct, one could ask why the winners(conquerers) are being so seemingly ignorant? It is general consensus that 'history is written by the winners of wars'. It seems almost like common sense that attempting to erase Hussein from Iraq history would cause more are than good, in the short term as well as the long. Wouldn't it more logically fit into the US administration's line that "this dictator was present and the US came and saved the day" to include that narrative?

    This also raises questions about Japanese texts from just after WW2.
    Were they too written by the winners; the US?
    And if so, how might this have altered the post WW2 era?
    This then affects how Japanese text book authors write the narrative today.
    Stuff that was suppressed then, would be less likely to appear now.

    The example of Klaus Barbie and other Nazis escaping prosecution (under Operation Paperclip) so they could work for the US to track down leftists (not just Russian commies) comes to mind on the other end of the post-war era. How did injustices like this stuff, as well as non-prosecution of those who dropped the A-bomb affect history?

    Do Japanese history books look at the A-bomb and report on the war crime it was? There were high US military personal at the time that said if the US had lost the war they would have been the ones on trial for this. Or when Japanese history books cover the A-bombs do they stick to the winner's (US) line, being politically correct so as not to upset the status quo?
    Last edited by Sukotto; Jan 30, 2007 at 02:16.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Similar Threads

  1. The Japanese and world history
    By Maciamo in forum History
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Aug 29, 2005, 21:24

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts