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The Editors


Myth and Fact in Northeast Asia's History Textbook Controversies

August 1, 2008
Volume 6 | Issue 8
Myth and Fact in Northeast Asia’s History Textbook Controversies

Mikyoung Kim

The past is haunting Northeast Asia. The China-Japan-Korea triad has been on a repeated collision course over how each perceives the shared past. Bound by dense memory webs, cultural affinity and geographical proximity, each of the three nations has made conflicting historical claims against the other, giving rise to conflict throughout the region and beyond.

China, Japan, and Korea constitute the core of the Northeast Asian “community.” According to Robert Nisbet, “community” encompasses “religion, work, family, and culture; it refers to social bonds characterized by emotional cohesion, depth, continuity, and fullness."[1] No community, however, can be totally unified; indeed, national communities can contain antagonistic elements, and the members of a community are not necessarily content with one another. The community of China, Japan, and Korea, like many a marriage, is charged with intense but coexisting feelings of interdependence and conflict, of love and hate.

The triad bound by felt history engages in intense discourse for which history textbooks serve as an important medium for mnemonic contention. This article examines the history textbook controversies plaguing the three nations in Northeast Asia.

History Textbooks as Memory Sites

History textbooks are an important site of “memory wars.”[2] In the aftermath of 1982 history textbook controversies involving Chinese and Korean protests over Japanese texts, the Japanese government enacted the “Neighboring Country Clause,” proclaiming that in the interest “of building friendship and goodwill with neighboring countries, Japan will pay attention to these criticisms and make corrections at the Government’s responsibility.” In 2001, two decade after the conciliatory gesture, Chinese youths took to the streets protesting against Japan’s New History Textbook (Atarashii Rekishi Kyokasho). In 2005, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade called on Tokyo to instruct publishers of Japanese history textbooks to review and change 51 items. Harking back to events four centuries earlier, South Korea’s commercial market quickly cashed in on public anger by introducing a popular computer game called, “Hideyoshi’s Aggression and Chosun’s Counterattacks.” With history issues surfacing, the Chinese and Korean media published a spate of stories on history textbooks and visits to Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese leaders.

South Korean computer game[3]

History education in Northeast Asia needs to be contextualized within the context of regional and global expansion of mass education. With the spread of mass and compulsory education throughout the twentieth century, governments sought to control pedagogical content with education ministries frequently taking the lead.[4] Education is a “system of legitimization” wherein “schools process individuals” by instilling commonly shared values among the citizenry.[5] Whereas school and family long functioned as important socialization units, schools are now assuming a greater role in educating future generations.[6] Youth establishes self-identity in relation to group membership in classes and schools, where knowledge about national history is transmitted. Emile Durkheim led us to believe that “a man is surer of his faith when he sees to how distant a past it goes back and what great things it has inspired.”[7] Remembering noble deeds, he said, elevates the community’s dignity and moral values. In that regard, national history education is both a “model of” and “model for” society. The common past is the story of a nation, and history textbooks tell the story of a nation to its citizens. Overlapping histories make textbooks one important site where nations engage in “memory wars.”

Japan: The Price of Ambivalence

Post-Cold War Japanese history education emphasizes two main goals: 1) understanding national history in the context of the global historical trajectory; and 2) educating citizens as members of the international community.[8] The empirical realities have not been in sync with the educational goals: history education, instead, has been the target of domestic ideological contention and international criticisms.

Political bifurcation over history textbooks is nothing new in Japan. The ideological pendulum has been in constant flux between right and left throughout the postwar era. Textbooks approved by the Ministry of Education after the beginning of the screening system in 1947, for instance, were liberal enough to contain narratives on the Manchurian Incident of 1931 and the Nanjing Massacre of 1937. Such critical self-historicism under SCAP (Supreme Command for the Allied Powers) provoked the conservatives who deemed Japan’s aggressive wars Japan’s only viable option to secure its own survival in the face of Western colonialism. With the pendulum swinging to the right, the Liberal Democratic Party’s 1955 proposal to augment the screening authority of the Ministry of Education ignited the first history textbook controversies. Textbooks up for approval that year were criticized for such subversive actions as describing the bleak living conditions of the working class and presenting rosy depictions of the People’s Republic of China and the Soviet Union.[9] With the “Red Purge” underway, the Ministry rejected more than 80 percent of the textbooks, citing “factual distortions.”[10] Tightening of the screening process continued for the following quarter century.[11]

The pendulum swung back toward the progressive camp during the second major round of history textbook controversies in 1982. It started with a Chinese newspaper’s allegation that the Ministry of Education pressured textbook publishers to replace “aggression [towards China]” with “advancement [into China],” and to replace “independence movement [in Korea]” with “riots [by the Koreans].” This allegation, which turned out to be false, was picked up by the Korean and Japanese news media, fueling the “history” debates. With more and more media outlets copying and embellishing each other’s accounts, history emerged as an important diplomatic issue. The Suzuki cabinet proceeded to make accommodative gestures by enacting the “Neighboring Country Clause,” as noted above.

Why did Japan move to placate its neighbors in spite of the factual inaccuracies and exaggerations of the media claims? I argue that it was a reflection of changing perceptual milieu: Japan was rediscovering Asia. Japan had made a conscious decision to distance itself from Asia at the turn of the nineteenth century. Very influential opinion leaders such Fukuzawa Yukichi were at the forefront of advocating Japan’s de-Asianization policy.[12] In order for Japan to catch up with the advanced West, they argued, it had to shed its backward and feudalistic Asian identity. Asia lapsed into perceptual oblivion, as it were, until the 1982 textbook controversies, coming at a time when both Korean and Chinese economies were rapidly developing, drove the situation home. With Asia re-emerging on the Japanese mind map in the 1980s, more complex and conflictual perceptions of the war emerged.

The international criticisms of Japanese history textbooks were a wake-up call for the Tokyo government. Japan began paying attention to its former “victims” as a legitimate concern for diplomatic relations. From the 1982 controversies through the 1990s, the Japanese government extended an unprecedented number of apologies to China and Korea.[13] Prime Minister Suzuki (August 24, 1982) and Chief Cabinet Secretary Miyazawa (August 26, 1982) made specific reference to the textbook issues in their apologies.[14, 15] As the “comfort women” issues emerged as a source of political and diplomatic contention in the early 1990s, more apologies were extended to China and Korea. Prime Minister Miyazawa (January 17, 1992), Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato (July 6, 1992), Chief Cabinet Secretary Kono (August 4, 1993), Prime Minister Murayama (August 31, 1994; July 1995), and Prime Minister Hashimoto (June 23, 1996; July 15, 1998) apologized for the pain and suffering endured by women.[16, 17, 18, 19] Many other apologies on the war in general were made by a range of political leaders and even the Emperor.

Repeated apologies failed to convince the Chinese and Korean governments and people of their sincerity. Regret and apology are two different things. Regret is a sentiment accompanying the realization of wrongdoing; apology, the communicative format through which regret is conveyed. Even today, China and Korea, remain keenly aware of the separate realms occupied by sentiment and ritual, and of the telltale signs of inauthentic performance. Theories of Japanese dual consciousness (tatemae-honne) fuel suspicion of performance-only insincerity in the apology rituals.[20] Repeated insults and denials by Japanese politicians confirm suspicions of Japanese indifference and intensify demands for authentic remorse.[21] A deep perceptual dilemma between Japan and its former victims fuels the “memory problem.”

With the pendulum swinging to the left, the 1994 textbooks contained mention of Japanese wartime atrocities including the comfort women, Unit 731 and the Nanjing Massacre.[22] The conciliatory stance provoked hostile reactions from Japanese rightists for being “masochistic” and “biased.” This round of clashes led to the 1996 formation of “Tsukurukai,” which consists of conservative diet members and academics critical of the new textbooks.[23] Tsukurukai authored and published many books which reached the general public. The Research Association of Liberal Historical Perspectives (Jiyushugi Shikan Kenkyukai) was another advocate of conservative views which engaged in active public outreach programs such as publishing the three-volume Manga History of Japan: What the School Textbooks Do Not Teach (Manga: Kyokasho ga Oshienai Rekishi).[24]

The saga continues in the twenty-first century. Following Education Ministry’s approval of the New Japanese History (Atarashii Rekishi Kyoukasho) authored by Tsukurukai in April 2001, China and Korea demanded revisions of the text, but to no avail. China Radio International, as an example, reported on the Beijing government and the Chinese people’s strong dissatisfaction with the new Japanese history textbook.[25] The controversies continued the following year when a Chinese newspaper report linked Japanese corporations to Tsukurukai. Chinese consumers launched boycotts of the companies linked to Tsukurukai. Amid the mass protests led primarily by the youth, Asahi Breweries became the first target of boycott. The 2005 clashes were, again, the result of Chinese and Korean protests against the New Japanese History (Atarashii Rekishi Kyoukasho), which was accused of downplaying the nature of Japan’s militarism including its past aggression and the circumstances of World War II.

Atarashii Rekishi Kyoukasho (upper left) and other texts in a bookstore

The Japan Teachers Union denounced the book published by Fusosha, and only 18 out of 11,102 junior high schools adopted the book, taking up only about 0.04 percent of the total market share. Despite Beijing and Seoul’s persistent protests, the market share of “problematic” texts has been consistently dismal.[26]

South Korean protesters burn banners during 2005 demonstration over Japanese textbook distortions

The Japanese history textbook controversies reveal two persistent patterns. First, Japan’s domestic political divide has fueled the memory debates. A sequence of attacks and counterattacks has led to no meaningful synthesis. The latest episode comes from Okinawa. Hundreds of thousands of Okinawans, with the support of the prefectural government, protested Ministry of Education instructions in June 2007 to retract descriptions of the Battle of Okinawa. The Japanese military was known to have forced residents to commit mass suicides during the battle. The Tomigusuku Municipal Assembly in Okinawa stated that the 2007 instructions were to “deny the historical facts, accumulated through studies of the Battle of Okinawa that are based on the numerous testimonies of those who experienced it.”[27] Japan as a country is still grappling over what really happened during the war, in particular the nature of and responsibility for war atrocities.

A second pattern is many of the international controversies began with erroneous or misleading allegations and misunderstandings. Contrary to the widespread belief in the region, the Japanese Ministry of Education does not directly intervene in textbook writing although it does conduct textbook screening. Moreover, with the availability of commercialized textbooks, the process of textbook selection is decentralized with local boards of education enjoying substantial autonomy in the selection of textbooks from among those approved by the Ministry of Education. In 47 prefectures, some 500 Textbook Screening Committees are formed every four years under the auspices of local boards of education. A committee usually consists of about 20 school principals, teachers, experts and ordinary citizens who provide advice and consultations to the board of education. After holding public textbook exhibitions and internal discussions, the committee selects the textbook to be adopted for the school district.[28] An analysis of thirty-three junior high school history textbooks (1950-2000) shows very little narrative change over time.[29]

Shanghai 2005 protest over Japanese textbooks

Compared to Japan, the Chinese and Korean systems of textbook writing, screening and marketing are far less decentralized. The Ministry of Education in Korea exercises almost sole supervisory authority.[30] Since the 1980s the Chinese system has allowed private companies and individuals to author texts, which are then subject to stringent screening process.[31]

China: Narrative of Humiliation

The Chinese Communist Party censures a wide spectrum of social discourse. Dissemination of information is closely monitored, and education is no exception. Debates on the tumultuous internal strife (e.g., Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen Square Incident, etc.) have been banned in the public forum, and few people have open access to factual information.[32] History textbook narratives are also selective.

From the 1950s until the 1990s, noticeable changes took place in three areas: greater emphasis on economy, science and culture; more descriptions on the Japanese invasion; and strengthening of nationalistic and patriotic messages. The “Opium Wars” section of the junior high school history textbook (1994 edition) refers to “[foreign] invasion,” “[Chinese] people,” and “[Chinese] bravery [on the battlefield]” more than five times each in a passage 600 words long. The descriptions of humiliation suffered at the hands of foreign powers (e.g., the Opium Wars [1839-1842 and 1856-1860], Taiping Rebellion [1850-1864] and the Boxer Rebellion [1899-1901] ) increased accordingly.[33] On the other hand, some narratives cast Japan in a positive light as a country of cherry blossoms, home to Mount Fuji, and of advanced science and technology.

Japanese scholars have noted inaccuracies in the analysis of modern History in Chinese textbooks. For instance, historian Kawashima Shin contests this description of post-Meiji Restoration Japan, found in a section on the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, as follows:

"Japan remained home to forces of feudalism with considerable power, and as domestic markets were not large enough to bring economic benefits to everyone, there were numerous popular uprisings. Japan’s rulers quickly decided that Japan’s path to continued growth lay in taking over foreign lands, and they put together a ‘continental strategy’ aimed mainly at invading China."[34]

The text notes that Japan became a modern nation through the Meiji Restoration (1868), but, Shin contends, it exaggerates social instability amidst the rapid changes. With the major exception of the Saga uprising staged by the remaining samurai class in 1874, popular rebellions such as the Shimabara Uprising (1637-38) and urban riots (around 1767) took place well before the Restoration. A conspicuous remnant of the feudal social order, the samurai class, faced a fatal blow with the suppression of the Keian Incident (1651) and the Forty-Seven Ronin incident (1703) long before the Restoration. As for the “continental strategy,” it was the outcome of Japan’s strategic choice to pursue its identity as a “continental country” as opposed to an “oceanic country.” Its subsequent invasion of China was a result of the doctrine rather than a cause of the doctrine.[35]

Regarding the Twenty-One Demands of 1915, Kawashima holds that the Chinese text narratives exaggerate Chinese humiliations suffered due to Japan:

The European powers no longer had the energy to spend on Asian matters, and Japan took advantage of this opportunity to accelerate its encroachment into China, plotting to take over the entire nation for itself.... Finally, offering support for Yuan Shi-kai’s bid to become emperor of China, Japan set as its condition the Twenty-One Demands, which were tantamount to the very destruction of China as a nation. On May 9, 1915,...Yuan’s government accepted these conditions. This is known as the ‘national shame of May 9’.[36]

While the narratives are not inaccurate, Kawashima finds overstated the implication that Japan manipulated domestic Chinese politics for its own opportunistic advantage .

Kawashima’s list continues on the narratives of the 1931 Manchurian Incident: “Japan had a desperate craving for Chinese territory”; on the more open conflicts with Japanese forces in China: “There was nothing surprising about the fact that the Japanese imperialists conducted their war of aggression against China. This conflict was the natural outgrowth of a long-standing policy in Japan, built up over many years, that pursued the annexation of China, the control of all Asia, and finally world supremacy as its goals”; and on the defeat of the Japanese armed forces in China: “China’s victory in the war against Japan was the first total victory in a war that the Chinese people had fought against imperialism for more than a hundred years. This gave great courage to and boosted the self-respect of all the peoples of the nation. It also formed a solid foundation of the triumph that the people’s revolution would soon see. China’s war against Japan was an integral part of the global war against fascism, and the Chinese people, by playing their part in this war made great contributions to this worldwide struggle and helped to boost China’s position on the global stage.”[37]

With “humiliation” as the underlying theme of the modern and contemporary periods, the overall narrative emphasizes Chinese victimization at the hands of imperial powers. Japan emerges as the “ungrateful beneficiary” of  Chinese culture.[38] Kawashima thus concludes that Chinese construction of the history of China-Japan conflict contributes to distancing the two nations today.

Korea: Far From Fault-Free

In portraying Korea’s relations with Japan, two main themes run throughout Korean textbooks: victimhood and resistance. The sense of victimization comes from deeply internalized wounds. Korean history can be literally defined by foreign threat. According to Yoon Tae Rim (1984), the number of raids, incursions, and other offenses against Korea from the seas and by neighboring peoples were no less than 1 to 1.5 times a year during the Koryo (918-1392) and Chosun (1392-1910) dynasties. The figures come exclusively  from the official record, implying that the actual number of aggression could be much higher.[39] The Korean sense of victimization is neither a contemporary phenomenon nor one exclusively related to Japan. The middle school textbook states:

We have suffered from many invasions by neighboring countries throughout our long history. However, we have never provoked, exploited, or caused any pain to any of our neighbors. In other words, we have always tried to maintain peaceful international relations and preserve a peace-loving tradition.[40]

The sense of victimization becomes stronger around the turn of the twentieth century when Japan was the primary aggressor. The text accentuates the Chosun dynasty’s efforts to preserve its sovereignty dignity in the whirlwind of imperialism spear-headed by the island country:

The Chosun government refused Japan’s demands for trade because of the inappropriate terms used in the diplomatic documents. The expressions alluded to the superiority of the Japanese Emperor over the Emperor of Chosun. Furthermore, the documents included contents that were beyond conventional diplomatic norms at that time.[41]

Japan demanded talks [to open up Korea] while dispatching battleships to Kanghwa Island. The act imposed threats on Korea. Thereupon, the Chosun government refused to meet the Japanese, criticizing their tactics as barbaric and aggressive.[42]

The above narratives juxtapose Korea and Japan: the former as a victim and the latter as an aggressor. Korea’s honorable behavior in confronting Japan’s naked belligerence is highlighted. The moral superiority of the weak is juxtaposed against unprovoked violence unleashed by the assailant. The text emphasizes how Korea handled the threatening situation in spite of its eventual fall into the hands of imperial Japan. The implicit pedagogical message, therefore, is that Korea, however weak militarily, was morally superior. Korea was an honorable victim.

The theme of resistance is a relatively new one in Korean texts. In the aftermath of democratization movements since the 1980s,[43] South Korean textbooks began placing greater emphasis on people’s power. The middle school textbook openly acknowledges the need to rewrite history from today’s standpoint. It further emphasizes the imperatives of shedding new light on the dark past, as it declares in the following:

Our history is the record of our people’s footsteps. Past events can be re-evaluated from the historian’s perspectives [today], and the new meaning of the past is narrated in the history books. . . History is today’s lamp, and window to the future. Therefore, historical narratives should neither hide the dark past nor exaggerate the non-existent as if it did exist.[44]

One notable change in recent texts is the negative assessments of the Park Chung Hee regime. The text states the regime had a “weak will for democratization,” citing “international criticism of the dictatorship.”[45] In similar vein, the text highlights democratization movements in the 1980s and the positive changes taking place in North Korea.

Korean history textbooks

Mnemonic democratization in South Korea meant giving a bigger voice to the previously silenced.[46] This change is evident in the richer narratives on the mass resistance against Japanese colonialism.[47] But this trend has also been criticized. A conservative Korean academic stated: “Popularization of Korean history led to demoralization of our achievements. All the modernizing forces like national leaders and capitalists were denigrated as the corrupt power ... The section on economic growth, for instance, goes into detail about the negative consequences of rapid growth ... The history textbooks are not really about our past. They record resistance movements against any status quo.”[48]

University textbooks, which lack a screening process, also are known to be nationalistic in tone. Even a popular university textbook, Our History (Uri Yoksa) by the centrist historian, Han Yongu, discusses the colonial period with chapter headings such as “The Plunder of Our Land, Economic Resources, and Industry” and “The Japanese Imperialists’ Plan to Eliminate the Korean Race.”[49] The legacy of Japanese colonialism is open to debate, and ideology is often interjected. As in the case of China, Korea can hardly claim impartiality in textbook narratives.

The Korean case stands out in two ways. Korean texts devote more space than their Chinese and Japanese counterparts to the threats of western imperialism and Japanese colonialism. Their focus on Northeast Asian history is also the most substantial of the three, with themes of victimization at the hands of bigger powers and popular resistance emphasized.

Conclusion: Toward Reconciliation in the East Asian Community

World War II was and is a pivotal moment in Asian memory. Japanese wartime atrocities are remembered throughout Northeast Asia. What we see through the so-called “history textbook controversies” are deep historical grievances waiting to explode.

Japanese often argue that the ongoing memory wars are a mere reflection of a rising tide of nationalism in China and Korea. Some assert that the Beijing and Seoul governments cynically manipulate anti-Japan sentiments as a means of diverting internal tensions to international targets. During the second half of the twentieth century, Japan quickly restored its influence on foundations of rapid economic growth under the auspices of a pacifist Constitution and American protection. Japan’s neighbors, however, remember the dark years, and reject expressions of regret for war atrocities that could mitigate Asian resentment directed against Japan’s record of colonialism and war. [50] Here lies a deep perceptual chasm fueling the memory wars between the former aggressor and its victims. History textbooks, in the eyes of China and Korea, are tangible evidence of the Japanese lack of sincere remorse.

Why has there been an explosion of accusations against Japan since the 1980s? How can we explain the cycle of protests? Four explanatory threads can be considered: rising nationalism, increasing self-confidence, domestic situations and rising pluralism. Those who stress rising nationalism often contribute to intensifying rivalry in the region. Nakanishi Terumasa, a Japanese realist with a conspiratorial bent, for instance, asserts that the 2005 textbook controversies were nothing but Beijing’s brainchild launched in an effort to block Japan’s bid to enter the United Nations Security Council.[51] Similar charges have been made against the previous Roh Moo Hyun government in Seoul for its nationalistic policy stances on US-ROK and ROK-DPRK relations.[52] More generally, with China and Korea emerging as rivals in global markets, their voices as national actors became accordingly bigger.

An alternative analysis is more optimistic. Seemingly anti-Japanese sentiments are not necessarily a reflection of nationalism, but rather an expression of growing self-confidence.[53] While nationalism typically claims superiority by demeaning others, self-confidence comes from within, entailing healthy pride grounded in objective achievements. Given the positive association between economic growth and self-confidence, the ability to voice concerns over history is a result of decreased transaction costs. In the changed power equation, angering the powerful (i.e., Japan) no longer entails the high costs it once did on the part of the recently powerless (i.e., China and Korea).[54] Disagreements over the “history problem” are the natural course of events in order to achieve mutual acceptance in an era of evolving power relationships.

Some Japanese and Western analysts claim that Beijing is exploiting popular anti-Japanese feelings at a time of rising discontent in Chinese society. Beijing faces a wide range of problems (e.g., the widening gap between rich and poor and between coastal and interior regions, ethnic conflict, Falun Gong, and rural migrants in search of work, environmental degradation) and mass discontent is reaching dangerous levels. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security, acknowledged 74,000 mass incidents---demonstrations, riots and other acts of protest---in 2004, an average of 200 incidents per day.[55] Given current domestic tensions, Japan becomes a convenient target.

Finally, some theorists link rising political pluralism to historical issues. It has been suggested, for example, that the real reasons behind the Chinese anti-Japanese sentiments lie with political democratization within the country.[56] As China and South Korea continue (at very different paces) on their trajectories towards democracy, it is only natural that they seek to correct past wrongs as a means to advance human rights. This line of thought frames historical wrongs as a contemporary issue of human rights, where the Japanese military violated the rights of Chinese and Koreans during the war.

Substantial efforts have been made to alleviate the discord over the Japanese history textbooks. Joint colloquia among historians of the three countries resulted in textbooks with common pedagogical content.[57] As Japan and Korea are currently locked in a dispute over the Japanese Ministry of Education’s 2008 history education guidelines that claim Takeshima (Dokdo) as Japanese territory, the textbook collaboration project’s vision of striking a balance between nationalism and reconciliation is clearly needed.

Chinese edition of a common East Asian history textbook prepared by Chinese, Japanese and Korean researchers

Such endeavors, however, carry only limited significance given the differences in educational systems. Unless and until collaborative textbooks can be widely used in classrooms (a goal still far from fruition), the works will not significantly impact on Chinese, Korean and Japanese students. Moreover, recent actions taken by Japanese government have alarmed many in the region. The 2007 passage of the revised Fundamental Law of Education with an inserted “Patriotism Clause” undermines the cooperative spirit.[58] Nevertheless, despite mixed signals, traditional hostilities are being weakened by the growing diversity and openness of Northeast Asian societies in a rapidly changing world.

Mikyoung Kim is Assistant Professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute – Hiroshima City University. Before assuming her current position in 2005, she taught at Portland State University as a Fulbright Visiting Professor. She previously served with the U.S. State Department from 2000 to 2004, specializing in U.S.-ROK-DPRK relations. Her forthcoming book, Securitization of Human Rights: North Korean Refugees in East Asia, will be published by Praeger in 2009.

This is a revised version of a chapter that appeared in Tsuyoshi Hasegawa and Kazuhiko Togo, eds., East Asia’s Haunted Present (Westport and London: Praeger Security International, 2008). Posted at Japan Focus on August 15, 2008.


[1] Robert A. Nisbet, The Sociological Tradition (New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 2005, 7th edition), p. 6.
[2] Yoshida Takashi, “The Making of the Rape of Nanking: History and Memory” in Japan, China, and the United States (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 129-133.
[3] Source.
[4] Japanese compulsory education started during the Meiji period, while the Korean system began under US military rule after the country’s liberation from Japan in 1945. In the case of the People’s Republic of China, public education expanded dramatically after 1949 and compulsory education took effect with the passage of “People’s Republic of China Compulsory Education Law” in 1986. For more information on the global trend, see Francisco O. Ramirez and John W. Meyer, “Comparative Education: The Social Construction of the Modern World System,” Annual Review of Sociology, 1980, Vol. 6, pp. 369-99; Francisco O. Ramirez and John Boli, “Global Patterns of Educational Institutionalization,” in George M. Thomas, John W. Meyer, Francisco O. Ramirez and John Boli (eds.) Institutional Structure: Constituting State, Society, and the Individual (Newbury Park and London: Sage Publications, 1986), pp. 150-172; John W. Meyer,, Francisco O. Ramirez and Yasemin Nuhoglu Soyal, “World Expansion of Mass Education, 1870-1980,” Sociology of Education, Vol. 65, No. 1 (1992), pp. 128-149.
[5] John W. Meyer, “The Effects of Education as an Institution,” American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 83, No. 1(1983), p. 56.
[6] Steven Brint, Schools and Societies (Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press, 1998), pp. 136-170.
[7] Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (New York: Free Press, 1965 [1915]), p. 311.
[8] Shimanuki Manabu, “Nihon[Japan],” Tetsu Nakamura (ed.), Higashi Ajia no Rekishi Kyoukasho wa Do Kakarete Iruka [What Have School History Textbooks Been Writing on East Asia?: A Comparison of School History Textbooks of Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan] (Tokyo: Nihon Hyoron-sha, 2004), pp. 13-38.
[9] The party later published three volumes of pamphlets entitled Pathetic Textbooks [Ureubeki Kyokasho].
[10] The “Red Purge” was carried out under the auspices of SCAP. With left-wing activism was on the rise, the government began monitoring radical union activism including the Japan Teachers Union. The purge led to the discharge of 22,000 “undesirable” citizens, and 1,200 teachers were dismissed from their schools. See, Leonard Schoppa, Education Reform in Japan (London: Routledge, 1991), p. 39.
[11] The Ministry of Education made a clear statement emphasizing the “political neutrality” of school teachers. See Christopher Hood, Japanese Education Reform: Nakasone’s Legacy (London and New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 20. In this continuum, the Hatoyama cabinet passed a law abolishing the electoral system for municipal boards of education. Masamura Kimimasa, Zusetsu Sengoshi [Post-War History: An Illustration] (Tokyo: Chikuma Shobo, 1990). pp. 164-165.
[12] Okakura Kakuzo, The Awakening of Japan (New York: Century, 1904).
[13] Prior to the flurry of apologies in the 1980s and the 1990s, Prime Minister Tanaka extended an apology which was included in the 1972 Joint Communique of the Government of Japan and the People’s Republic of China: “The Japanese side 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.” For more details, see this.
[14] Tahara Soichiro, Nihon no Senso [Japan’s War] (Tokyo: Shogakkan, 2000), p. 161.
[15] Source.
[16] Source.
[17] Source.
[18] Source.
[19] Source; source.
[20] Yoshio Sugimoto, An Introduction to Japanese Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 28-30.
[21] “‘Hoeru Daijin’ Ooinihoeru [‘The Loose-Lip Minister’ Barks Loudly],” Sekai, October, 1986. pp. 122-133.
[22] Adachi Yoshihiko, “Kodomo seinentachi ga toikakerumono: otonatachi wa ano sensokara nanio manandanoka? [The Question that Children and Youth Ask Us---‘What Have Adults Learned from the War?]’,” in Rekishi Kyoikusha Kyougikai [History Educator’s Conference] (ed.), Ajia Taiheiyo Senso kara nani o manabu ka? [What We Learn from the Asia-Pacific War?] (Tokyo: Aoki Shoten, 1994), pp. 4-24.
[23] Tawara Yoshifumi, “Document: Tsukurukai undo to wa nandattaka? [A Document: What Was the ‘Tsukuru-Kai’ Movement?]” Sekai, December, 2001, pp. 105-120.
[24] Fujioka Nobukatsu/Jiyusyugi Shikan Kenkyukai, Manga: Kyokasho ga oshienai rekishi [Manga History of Japan: What the School Textbooks Do No Teach, 3 vols] (Tokyo: Fushosha, 1998).
[25] Text is here.
[26] Cable News Network. April 14, 2005.
[27] The Japan Times, May 15, 2007.
[28] For more details see Japan Echo, Vol. 34, No. 2, (2007), p. 11.
[29] Julian Dierkes, “The Stability of Postwar Japanese History Education amid Global Changes,” in Edward Vickers and Alisa Jones (eds.), History Education and National Identity in East Asia (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), pp. 255-274; Yoshida Takashi, pp. 81-101.
[30] Tae-Yol Seo, “Urinara Sahoegwa Gyoyukgwajung Gaebaleui Munjaejumgwa Gaesunbanghyang: Jae 7 cha mit 8 cha Gyoyuk Gwajungeul Jungshimeuiro [The Problems of Korean Social Studies Education and Suggested Solutions: With a Focus on the 7th and 8th Curricular Reform],” a paper presented at the 5th Gyogwaseo Forum (April 6, 2006): Seoul, Korea.
[31] Supplementary learning materials in Korea are privatized, comprising a large market share of total books sales. Chinese textbooks after liberalization are subject to stringent screening processes. Oshiba Ryo, “National History-kara Transnational History-e [From National History To Trans-national History]: Nihon-ni okeru rekishi kyokasho mondai o jirei-toshite [Towards Japan’s Exemplary Acts],”in Hosoya Chihiro, Irie Akira,Oshiba Ryo (eds.), Pearl Harbor as Memory [Kiokuto Shite no Pearl Harbor] ( Tokyo: Mineruva Shobo, 2007), pp. 400-420.
[32] Anne F. Thurston, “Community and Isolation: Memory and Forgetting: China in Search of Itself,” in Gerrit W. Gong (ed.), Memory and History in East and Southeast Asia: Issues of Identity in International Relations (Washington, D.C.: The Center for Strategic & International Studies, 2001), pp. 149-172.
[33] Cho Satoshi, Ko Kenshuku and Ou Koshun, “Chugoku [China],” in Nakamura (ed.), pp. 39-78.
[34] Kawashima Shin, “The History Factor in Sino-Japanese Ties,” Japan Echo, Vol. 32, No. 5 (2005), p. 20.
[35] Shoji Junichiro, “Ilboneui Daeasia Jungchaekeui Yoksajuk Baegyung [The Historical Background of Japan’s Policy Towards Asia]” Gukjaehak Nonchong (Daegu, Korea: Kemyung University, Vol. 8 (February, 2004), pp. 344-355.
[36] Kawashima Shin, p. 20.
[37] Ibid., p. 20.
[38] Wu Xinbo, “Memory and Perception: The Chinese Thinking of Japan,” in Gong (ed.), Memory and History in East and Southeast Asia: Issues of Identity in International Relations (Washington, D.C.: The CSIS Press, 2001), pp. 65-85; En Iji, “Kindaika to Chugoku no rekishi kyokasho mondai [Modernization and Chinese School History Book Issues],” in Chugoku no rekishi kyokasho mondai [Chinese History Book Issues –A Record and Introspection of the ‘Hyo-Ten’ Incident] (Tokyo: Nihon Kyoho-sha, 2006), pp. 51-79.
[39] Choi Su Byon, “Hakmunjok Sadaewa Jajon [Intellectual Dependence and Self-Reliance],” Hangukin Hangukbyong [Koreans and Korean Disease] (Seoul, Korea: Ilnyum, 1987), p. 180.
[40] Korean Ministry of Education, Junghakgyo Guksa [Middle School National History] (sophomore) (Seoul: Korean Ministry of Education, 1998), pp.10-11.
[41] Guksa Pyonchan Wiwonhoe/ Gukjung Doseo Pyonchan Wiwonhoe [National History Editorial Committee and National Publication Editorial Committee], Junghakgyo Guksa [Middle School National History] (Seoul: Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources, 2007), p. 194.
[42] Ibid., p. 197.
[43] For more information on the implications and commemorations of the Kwangju uprising for nationwide democratization, see Henry Scott-Stokes and Lee Jae Eui (eds.), The Kwangju Uprising: Eyewitness Press Accounts of Korea’s Tiananmen (Armonk, NY and London: M.E. Sharpe, 2000); Linda A. Lewis, Laying Claim to the Memory of May: A Look Back at the 1980 Kwangju Uprising (Hawaii: University of Hawai’i Press and Center for Korean Studies, University of Hawai’i, 2002).
[44] Guksa Pyonchan Wiwonhoe/ Gukjung Doseo Pyonchan Wiwonhoe [National History Editorial Committee and National Publication Editorial Committee], p. 2.
[45] Ibid., p. 311; for critical assessment of the official textbook narratives, see Gyogwaseo Forum (ed.), Gyungjae Gyogwaseo, Mueutsi Munjaeinga?: [What Are the Problems of Economics Textbooks?] (Seoul: Duraesidae, 2006).
[46] See Anna M. Alonso, “The Effects of Truth: Re-presentations of the Past and the Imagining of Community,” Journal of Historical Sociology, 1988, Vol. 1, Issue 3, pp. 33-57.
[47] Park Sopu, “Korea,” in Nakamura (ed.), pp. 79-92.
[48] Interview conducted with a leading conservative academic in Korea on February 16, 2005; also see Gyogwaseo Forum, Hanguk Hyundaesaeui Huguwa Jinsil [Fiction and Truth about Contemporary Korean History: Criticisms of High School Modern and Contemporary History Textbooks] (Seoul: Duraesidae, 2004); Park Hyo Jong, Choi Mun Hyung, Kim Jae Ho and Lee Ju Young, Paeatkin Uri Yoksa Doechatki: Gyogwaseo Forumyi Haebuhan ‘Waegok’eui Jinsang [Getting Our History Back: Truths about Historical Distortion: The Reality of ‘Distortion’ Dissected by the Gyogwaseo Forum] (Seoul: Giparang, 2006).
[49] Donald Baker, “Exacerbated Politics: The Legacy of Political Trauma in South Korea,” paper in progress, 2007; see Han Yongu, Uri Yoksa [Our History] (Seoul: Kyongsewon, 2001).
[50] Okabe Tatsumi, “Historical Remembering and Forgetting in Sino-Japanese Relations,” in Gong (ed.), Memory and History in East and Southeast Asia, pp. 47-63.
[51] Nakanishi Terumasa, “China Plays Its History Cards,” Japan Echo, Vol. 32, No. 4 (2005), pp. 18-23.
[52] See Kimura Kan, “A Dangerous Current in Roh’s South Korea,” Japan Echo, Vol. 31, No. 4 (2004), pp. 44-48.
[53] Kokubun Ryosei and Liu Jie, “The Danger of China’s Disaffected Masses,” Japan Echo, Vol. 31, No. 6 (2004), pp. 51-55.
[54] See Douglas North, “A Transaction Cost Theory of Politics,” Journal of Theoretical Politics, Vol. 2, No.4 (2004), pp. 335-367.
[55] Melinda Liu, “Line of Defense,” Newsweek, October 24, 2005, pp. 26-30.
[56] See Zhu Jianrong, “The Real Reasons for the Anti-Japanese Outburst,” Japan Echo, Vol. 32, No. 4 (2005), pp. 14-17.
[57] As an example, see Ni-Chu-Kan Sangoku Kyoutsu Rekishi Kyozai Iinkai (ed.), Mirai o hiraku rekishi: Higashi Ajia sangoku no kingendaishi [Future-Oriented History: China-Japan-Korea, Three East Asian Countries’ Modern and Contemporary History] (Tokyo: Koubunken, 2005/2006).
[58] “Kawaru rekishi kyoiku: Ni-Chu-Kan-Tai saishin jijyo [Changing History Education: The Latest Situations of Japan-China-Korea-Taiwan],” Asahi Shinbun. May 28, 2007, p.13.