Gov't to review statements on wartime history, revise textbook guidelines

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  • 4

    Jimizo

    'Add forward-looking expressions'. What? 'It's a domestic matter'. Oh, really. Other countries have no business here?
    These statements are ridiculous and vague. The textbooks will very possibly follow in kind.

  • 2

    JeffLee

    The Japanese only make these apologies to placate foreigners, and thus avoid damaging their trade and diplomacy. It's a cynical act. They don't really believe in that sentiment. Japan should only issue statements that most Japanese agree with in spirit.

    And then, at least, the rest of the world will gain insight into how the Japanese REALLY view their imperialist past.

  • 5

    hatsoff

    Asked how China would react to such possible revisions, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news conference: “Japan should have a responsible attitude when it comes to the problems of history and respect the feelings of the people of Asia.

    I have to say I agree with China on this one. Abe is meddling for the sake of meddling when there are lots of other things to focus on. Abe, Aso? Bring on the clowns.

  • 4

    zenkan

    Add forward-looking expressions? Dodgy and worrying for two reasons. 1: Adding anything to previous statements smacks of "making it up as we go along". 2: Historical facts have no business being "forward-looking". That is the realm of manifestos. Strict control of textbook content is always a worry - anywhere.

  • 13

    BertieWooster

    It's started.

    Abe and his crew are going to rewrite history.

    With 9 of the 19 cabinet ministers members of the Nippon no zento to rekishi kyokasho wo kangaeru giin no kai, (Diet Member Group for Considering Japan's Future and History Textbooks), it's not surprising that this is high on the agenda.

    These people want to remove "masochistic history" (critical engagement with Japanese war crimes) from textbooks and cultivate "patriotic values" in schools. This means cutting any mention of the Nanking Massacre and comfort women out of school textbooks. They deny that Japanese troops forced thousands of Okinawan civilians to commit mass suicide, which is tantamount to Germany saying that they didn't mistreat Jews. It was this group that published Nankin no jissou (The Truth of Nanking) in 1998. This book asserts that mass killings and rapes did not take place at Nanking in 1937.

    They organised an "investigation" of the Nanking Massacre which describes films and documentaries about the tragedy as "propaganda that insults the honour and dignity of past Japanese."

    For them, the Nanking Massacre and similar war crimes simply didn't happen. They want to present Japan as a pure and blameless race and culture.

    And these are the people that are running this country.

    No wonder China is getting nervous.

    It makes me nervous too.

  • -1

    OssanAmerica

    JeffLeeJan. 30, 2013 - 07:50AM JST The Japanese only make these apologies to placate foreigners, and thus avoid damaging their trade and diplomacy. >It's a cynical act. They don't really believe in that sentiment. Japan should only issue statements that most Japanese >agree with in spirit. And then, at least, the rest of the world will gain insight into how the Japanese REALLY view their imperialist past.

    For the last 68 years no Japanese troops have killed a single foreign soldier. Something that not even Germany can say, much less China or South Korea. Japan has also resisted U.S. efforts to get them to remove the limits imposed by Article 9 all these years. That says more about how the Japanese feel about their imperial past to the whole world than you can ever imagine.

  • -1

    OssanAmerica

    BertieWoosterJan. 30, 2013 - 08:27AM JST It's started. Abe and his crew are going to rewrite history.

    It's a good thing Japan isn't a fascist one party dictatorship trying to steal all their neighbors' territory like China then.

  • 4

    serendipitous

    Agreed Ossan.

    And China telling Japan to '...pursue a path of peaceful development' is a laugh. Japan is pretty peaceful in my book and has been for almost 70 years. But NK and China shouldn't push Japan too much. Imagine the outcry if Japan starts conducting missile tests in the area.....

  • -2

    Spanki

    Here we go again on the merry-go-round-and-round-and-round.....If only it were merry!

  • 3

    JeffLee

    For the last 68 years no Japanese troops have killed a single foreign soldier.

    Why would they need to? Japan is fully integrated into a defense arrangement led by the world's most powerful military force and is an island with no national land borders. This cozy arrangement gives Japan the luxury of being Pacifist. (Well, it does allow nuclear weapons to come here, but that's supposed to be a secret, you know.)

    In addition, article 9 of the constitution bolsters enforces this arrangement, and it was written exclusively by foreigners. In fact, when Japan's early postwar leaders first saw the draft, they rejected it. The US occupation then had to say, "sorry, you've got no choice on the matter."

  • 13

    smithinjapan

    Ossan: "For the last 68 years no Japanese troops have killed a single foreign soldier."

    Doesn't make up for pretending they didn't kill 10 million and reneging on apologies made to its neighbours for attrocities Imperial Japan committed (despite you saying some are false).

    Anyway, you gotta love how this article sits directly above one about "Abe being open to economic summit with China", which is to say, once again, Abe KNOWS the nation is hurting from his fascist rhetoric and denial of atrocities, but wants have his cake and eat it too. Hopefully China tells him off, but then we know he'll just look stupefied (dumber than usual, I mean) in front of the cameras and pretend Japan is the victim. Posters on here as well will say, "Why is China so upset?" Meanwhile the ties they are trying to create with Myanmar to establish companies there will continue to fail, and the rest of the world will still be dealing with and getting rich through China as Japan slides to fourth, then fifth place in world economies. The "not intentional" deflation of the yen won't help, either.

  • 3

    Hiroicci

    “This doesn’t mean we will reject them and create something new, but it may be necessary to add forward-looking expressions,” he said.

    Oh, yes it does!

  • 4

    nedinjapan

    They can add the "Accomplishments of Unit 731" to their history books for the 'love of the country'. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731 For their forward looking policy, I suggest they stop holding Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversaries, and focus on "future" rather the the past.

  • 2

    Farmboy

    Well, maybe they could examine how other countries have handled the issue of painting a pleasant picture of current and past activities. if you look at the North Korean news website, for instance, you can see that they put a positive spin on all government actions through the heavy use of odd, vaguely military-sounding adjectives, like "glorious," and "supreme."

    On the other hand, opposing countries and leaders are really put through the adjective, noun, and verb grinder.

    For instance, a quick look today yields, "What Kim uttered is nothing but sheer sophism let loose by an anti-reunification confrontation maniac keen to realize the group's ambition through confrontation between the two differing social systems."

    Really, this would be great TOEIC preparation material in any case, and it would kind of fun to rewrite those dry textbooks with such nice, lively language. It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood...

  • 2

    Hiroicci

    Why not give the job of making history textbooks to scholars from other countries that would have far less prejudice on a nation's history (though, admittedly, there couldn't be a totally objective history textbook). The job should go to, say, the French, the Fins, the Hungarians, the Bolivians or the Kiwis.

  • 8

    cabadaje

    The Japanese only make these apologies to placate foreigners, and thus avoid damaging their trade and diplomacy. It's a cynical act. They don't really believe in that sentiment. Japan should only issue statements that most Japanese agree with in spirit.

    Either a person is sincerely sorry and apologizes, or they apologize due to demand. Refusing the apology because you believe they were insincere is ridiculous. Anyone demanding an apology waives the right to sincerity.

    To be frank, the vast majority of apologies, from the reluctant and forced "I'm sorry" of the utterly unrepentant child, to the formal and professional apology from the politician, are insincere. You cannot force sincerity. Particularly when the person apologizing is several times removed from whatever is being apologized for.

  • 0

    Pukey2

    It's a good thing Japan isn't a fascist one party dictatorship

    It sure feels like it - different party names, but mostly the same, considering LDP has been in government for the vast majority of the years since the end of the war.

    I think Japan can do what it likes, but when countries like China and Korea say 'take your business elsewhere', then Japan has no-one to blame but itself.

  • 5

    paulinusa

    This "forward-looking" business is loaded with dynamite.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    I wonder why anyone is surprised by this at all. This is what one gets when they vote revisionist politicians and nationalists into office. This is a by product of Abe-nomics. They go hand in hand.

    Japan has also resisted U.S. efforts to get them to remove the limits imposed by Article 9 all these years.

    Interesting comment seeing as how it is the US that "wrote" the constitution in the first place. There is no problem with revising it, the problem is how far it goes in any proposed revisions.

    I worry more about the children and future generations in Japan than I do about it's neighbors.

  • 2

    hidingout

    Either a person is sincerely sorry and apologizes, or they apologize due to demand. Refusing the apology because you believe they were insincere is ridiculous. Anyone demanding an apology waives the right to sincerity.

    Couldn't agree more. Personally I can't understand all the people up in arms about this issue. If, like many of the contributors I see posting above, your stance has been that a) the apologies were never tendered, or b) the apologies were insincere or in some other way not good enough .... then there is nothing to worry about.

  • -1

    marcelito

    And this is reported on the same day that Abe says there should be a top level summit between China and Japan to improve economic ties? I,m sure this "review" of historical statements and textbooks in order to "clear misunderstandings" and add "forward looking expressions" will do wonders for making any such summit a success and improving relationships with Japan ,s neighbours. Good one.

  • -3

    Disillusioned

    ** it is not the sort of review that China or South Korea would have to worry about.**

    shedding the shackles of post-war pacifism and recasting Japan’s wartime history in less apologetic tones.

    Um......OK! Are these conflicting statements, or what?

  • 2

    Goals0

    Peter Duus wrote about how the Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese textbooks deal with the war.

    The Japanese textbooks come out on top.

    http://educationinjapan.wordpress.com/edu-news/japans-teaching-on-war-doesnt-deserve-bad-press/

    The one problem is that students apparently say they don't cover that part of the textbooks.

  • 0

    Yubaru

    @Goals....the problem is that Japanese textbooks don't cover enough of the causes and Japanese participation in WWII. And even with what little they do cover overall the revisionists are attempting to gloss over the worst parts and elminate anything that makes Japan look bad.

    That is the problem, if students don't know their own history they are apt to repeat it somewhere in the future.

  • 0

    shanabelle

    Not unexpected really just some more 'Abe-moronics'......

  • 1

    CoffeeHulk

    So rather than correcting the broken system and improving education, they're just going to try and make these kids more patriotic. Thus keeping them loyal to the party. The population remains less educated but more patriotic. That's a dangerous path.

  • -1

    msmahumane@gmail.com

    It looks like the biggest problem with some Japanese politicians is that they find it hard to apologize to people they once colonized, and still think that those people are inferior to them. The Americans felt a moral obligation to apologize to their former slaves and American natives, so are the Germans to Jews, but not the Japanese to the rest of "inferior" Asians.

  • 2

    slumdog

    It looks like the biggest problem with some Japanese politicians is that they find it hard to apologize to people they once colonized, and still think that those people are inferior to them

    Not all. Many Japanese leaders have apologized and their apologies are a matter of public record.

  • -1

    wackness

    I'm sure any revisions will include the phrase 'doubleplusgood', or something similar.

  • -6

    smithinjapan

    nedinjapan: "I suggest they stop holding Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversaries, and focus on "future" rather the the past."

    Ah, but you see, in those cases they are the ACTUAL victims, not just the self-proclaimed victims as when South Korean and Chinese prostitutes 'forced themselves' on Imperial troops, so the bombings need chapters and chapters in history texts while all Japanese atrocities be deleted, lied about, relegated to bylines, or changed to 'forward looking changes'. Instead of: "The Rape of Nanking", it's, "Some bad things happened once upon a time in Asia, and Japan's welcomed presence helped stabalize the reason and bring them modern education", etc.

  • -3

    realist

    ...and so the slide back into History Denial and Fascism continues under Abe and Co. Just as expected. "We Japanese didnt really kill and rape 300,000 Chinese in Nanking". "We Japanese were victims of the Pacific War." " The Imperial Japanese Army did not have Korean and Chinese Sex Slaves" "We must get our children to love Japan above everything else.". "The kamikaze pilots were heroes." "Japan should have a nuclear bomb" What next?

  • -1

    chucky3176

    Japan's email bomb campaign in United States fails in a big backfire.

    US Senate passes a bill demanding Japan recognize its war time deployment of Korean sex slaves.

    Must watch video here. Listen to this angry senator who was clearly po'ed with Japan's propaganda campaign threatening and harassing the US senators.

    http://bcove.me/i3pzneqy

    Let's see how far Japan is willing to go to change the history to their liking, this is going to be interesting.

  • 3

    billyshears

    @smithinjapan

    "Some bad things happened once upon a time in Asia, and Japan's welcomed presence helped stabalize the reason and bring them modern education", etc.

    Just for reference, could you please tell me the name of this textbook you are quoting from and the relevant page numbers. I'd like to check it out for myself instead of merely going on hearsay. Thanks.

  • 4

    ReformedBasher

    "The kamikaze pilots were heroes."

    But they were heroes. Although some if them were in tears with fright. An American was recognized as a hero for crashing his plane into an IJN ship. If the Japanese did the same thing, suddenly they were "fanatics".

    And this is why so many Japanese are upset. Regardless of whether what they were fighting for was wrong, their armed forces fought tooth and nail for their country. But because they lost, they can't honour or mourn their dead without being slammed by China or Korea. A lot of them were just ordinary people doing the best they could.

    At the same time, I hope any revisions to History books are honest. There's nothing for the current generation of Japanese to be ashamed of in the slightest.

  • 2

    herefornow

    “The government as a whole plans to review these statements issued by past cabinets concerning historical perspective,” Shimomura said

    Why? What can possibly be gained by this?

    “This doesn’t mean we will reject them and create something new, but it may be necessary to add forward-looking expressions,” he said. “At least it is not the sort of review that China or South Korea would have to worry about. It is a domestic matter.”

    Nonsense. This is global world, if Japanese youth grow up with an unrealistic view of the country's history it can only hurt the country in the long run as it keeps history with its neighbors an issue.

  • 0

    updra

    Abe created a revised textbook in the past. Only 1% of schools use it. It has been rejected by the majority. Abe only represents a right-wing minority. He only won the election as a rejection of the opposition, not as a mandate for himself. He readily acknowledges this. Japan's history textbooks are far less biased than their neighbours'. Please look for yourself. http://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/a00703/

  • 4

    tomoki

    I think the issue is honesty. There is so much lies and dishonesty about the facts about the war. I hope the U.S., China and Korea can face the facts about the war as much as Japan should.

  • -2

    Yubaru

    There is so much lies and dishonesty about the facts about the war. I hope the U.S., China and Korea can face the facts about the war as much as Japan should.

    This is overly generalistic and would love to hear a few points where these other countries aren't facing "facts" about the war that Japan is and they aren't.

  • -2

    herefornow

    At the same time, I hope any revisions to History books are honest. There's nothing for the current generation of Japanese to be ashamed of in the slightest.

    ReformedBasher -- huh? First off, how likely do you think it is that "any revisions to History books are honest" given Abe's position on these issues and the general mood of the country? I'd say slim and none, and slim just left town. Second, while you are literally correct in saying "there's nothing for the current generation of Japanese to be ashamed of in the slightest'" since they did not commit the atrocities that Japan is now thinking about revising history regarding, if they willingly go along with that kind of white-washing, then they should be ashamed of themsleves. Hiding behind a phrase like "forward thinking" is just pure cowardice. It is basically admitting that they don't have the courage to accept the county's past, because that doesn't jive with the victim mentality they've done such a masterful job of creating over the past 70 odd years.

  • -3

    smithinjapan

    billyshears: Check out the junior highschool texts that Abe himself proudly boasted about having the sex-slave issue removed from in his first term and you'll find references to the sex-slave iss-- oh wait, you won't! I have listed various textbooks on various occasions at the behest of nigelboy and others, but many choose to subjectively forget and ask again. Just look it up anywhere, including Wikipedia sites on Abe, and you'll find a lot about it, from Abe's revisions, to his denial that Class A war criminals were criminals, to his acceptance after the US senate gave him solid proof contradicting his denial of sex slaves, etc. Here's but an example:

    "Since 1997, as the bureau chief of the 'Institute of Junior Assembly Members Who Think About the Outlook of Japan and History Education', Abe led the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform. On his official homepage[38] he questions the extent to which coercion was applied toward the Comfort Women, dismissing Korean "revisionism" as foreign interference in Japanese domestic affairs. In a Diet session on 6 October 2006, Abe revised his statement regarding comfort women, and said that he accepted the report issued in 1993 by the sitting cabinet secretary, Yōhei Kōno, where the Japanese government officially acknowledged the issue. Later in the session, Abe stated his belief that Class A war criminals are not criminals under Japan's domestic law.[39]"

    Now he's 'revising' things again -- or rather, the PRIVATE (not government) companies that compile and print the textbooks, permitted by government (and what right-winger WOULDN'T approve a textbook white-washing and trying to make Japan look good when it should teach its past and have people reflect, not deflect), are revising under his supervision. Only Japan would put its head in the sand and call it "Looking forward".

    Reformedbasher: "There's nothing for the current generation of Japanese to be ashamed of in the slightest."

    And there is nothing for them to gain by learning lies and not being told about the past. I've seen Japanese come face to face with the sex-slave issue in an exhibition in Canada and they said they had NO IDEA any of it had happened and were angry they were never told (a couple were embarrassed, but they had no reason to be). If they are complicit in hiding the truth, as with Abe and other nationalists who were never there but base history on what they think should have happened, then you are absolutely wrong and they should be as ashamed as the people who committed the atrocities in the first place.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Why can't Japan erase the atomic bombings from the history books, forget about the victims who make speeches on the subject, and just 'look forward'? I'm being sarcastic of course -- the public needs to know what happened, so we do not repeat it, and we can seek to understand how humanity could be capable of such horrors. But why the hypocrisy when it comes to Japan's wrong-doings? Why is it only then wingers say, "It was so long ago! move on already!" or worse yet deny it and wait for the victims to die so there's little or not opposition?

  • 1

    Kevin McLachlan

    The more Japan tries to whitewash their past, the more ridiculous they look in the eyes of the international community. In the same week that German chancellor Merkel states that Germans have an everlasting responsibility for their war crimes (interesting how story never made it on here), Japan announces revisions of their history textbooks and apologetic statements.

  • -1

    chucky3176

    I've even had conversation with some Japanese who had no ideal Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. It's amazing, their complete amnesia. Many Japanese will tell you in front of your face, Americans were the bad guys for dropping the atomic bomb on Japan. But say absolutely nothing about Japan's aggressions. According to Japan's history, Japan was the victim.

    I'm not surprised about Abe, Aso, and all the rest of them. They're the direct descendants of the people who were responsible for Japan's war machine. It was their fathers and their grandfathers who exploited, profited from, cheated, murdered, and destroyed other countries in Asia. After Japan's defeat, these people were never removed. They were allowed to stay and rebuild Japan's post war systems. This is the result we see today. The same people who colonized, invaded, and destroyed other nations, became leaders and educators. If Japan had been completely dismantled after their defeat, there wouldn't be this amount of historical baggage against Japan.

  • -8

    YoKoWang

    Japan is the winner of WW2 by taking over Okinawa and some other islands with only two bombs. Congratulations.

  • 1

    billyshears

    @smithinjapan in other words, you've never read the textbooks

  • -2

    Wakarimasen

    More fuss and bother will be created by this. Why on earth is this considered to be necessary? Surely modern Kids in Japan could care less?

  • -2

    Yardley

    It probably doesn't matter what the textbooks contain. At the high school I taught at for two years, every term the history teachers somehow just managed to run of time to cover WWII. Funny, that.

  • -1

    billyshears

    From the Stanford University program on international and cross-cultural education:

    "The most widely used Japanese textbooks in the mid- and late-1990s contained references to the Nanjing Massacre, anti-Japanese resistance movements in Korea, forced suicide in Okinawa, comfort women, and Unit 731 (responsible for conducting medical experiments on prisoners of war)—all issues raised in Ienaga's suits."

    As regards the attempt by a right wing group to establish a new history textbook:

    Under the Japanese system, local school authorities determine whether the new textbook is to be used in district classrooms. On August 15—the deadline for school districts to make their selections—Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi reported in The Japan Times that the new textbook had been shunned, that nearly all of Japan's school districts had rejected it. She quoted a spokesman for the civic group Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21 as saying, "We have gained nationwide support to say 'no' to the textbook. . . . it's the conscience of the Japanese public."(12) According to a Kyodo News Service survey released August 16, not a single municipal government run or state run junior high school in the country adopted The New History Textbook.

    http://spice.stanford.edu/docs/134

  • 5

    bicultural

    chuckers, there are dumb students who don't pay attention in class in every country. What's your point? My Japanese wife got above average grades. She learned all about Japan's past and in fact knew more than I did, but then again I received an American education.

  • -4

    Kyle Alpert

    Abe is serious about not hiding the "claims made against us" by "those now being controlled by the same powers from which they were once liberated". Its about adding context to the entire WW2 discussion. Japans actions ended 100s of years of Western imperialism & aggression, and now that said powers have passed their post WW2 high-points, the truth can finally be said: Japan liberated the 3rd World. "context"

  • -10

    YoKoWang

    My Japanese neighbour, 75 yr old, told me it was not bad that the young generations didn't remember the war history. She said the only way for Japan to become a strong country was through territorial expansion. "The good thing is Japan didn't lose much when the WW2 ended. After so many years people remember nothing however the fact is this country becomes bigger and bigger."

  • 1

    Mari@001

    Historically, most of the developed countries, had some bad things in the past. It is not only Japan. who cares?

  • -1

    CrisGerSan

    What i find interesting is that neither the United Kingdom, France, Holland, Germany or the United States have ever appologized for THEIR imperialistic actions, but everyone appears to feel fine about placing major blame on Japan. No one defends sad events that occur in war, but the record of other countries in war are as bad or worse. I hope Japan will indeed reaffirm modern national value and hold its head up high. Actions to support peace and mutual good in the modern time is far more effective and real than appolgoes for history that no one can change, not one tiny bit.

  • 4

    Betraythetrust!

    CrisGerSan

    As someone who grew up in the UK, i have heard many apologies about British colonial past and even more from Germnay. Maybe you do not know about these apologies but they have been made. I find being unbiased and looking at things realistically is far better than having an agenda. This will make the picture clearer.

  • 6

    technosphere

    My Japanese neighbour, 75 yr old, told me it was not bad that the young generations didn't remember the war history.

    Totally wrong.

  • 0

    Shumatsu_Samurai

    As someone who grew up in the UK, i have heard many apologies about British colonial past

    It depends who they have come from and in what capacity. I can't recall the government ever apologising unreservedly for the Empire.

    even more from Germnay.

    The Poles have accused the Germans of not apologising properly for their past actions.

    • Moderator

      Back on topic please. Comparisons with other countries are not relevant to this discussion.

  • 0

    Surf O'Holic

    My question is: What business or right do governments have in determining what content goes into textbooks? Historical facts are facts. Math is math, regardless of politics.

  • 1

    ReformedBasher

    @All those telling me those shock and horror stories about Japanese they've met who don't know about the war - so what? Most kids in my high school class have no idea what their country has done in the past either. It's only recently that any of it has made the news. By comparison, most Japanese are better informed as their news has reporting WW2 stories for years.

    I've provided a link previously to an artice that shows a lot of today's Germans have no real idea about what the Nazis did during WW2. While we are at it, please conduct a survey to prove all Italians, Romanians, and other people from former Axis powers know what their country got up to during that war. Good luck with that.

    You keep harping on about WW2 as though it was the only war ever fought and the IJA was the force to commit attorcities. It's obvious that you are biased, so all the frothing at the mouth in the world won't change anything.

    We all know Rommel and Donitz were "honourable" Germans. If anybody suggested somebody from the IJA or IJN, your heads would explode. Again, you are hopelessly biased.

  • 0

    ReformedBasher

    @herefornow

    I meant exactly what I said. I hope any changes to textbooks are honest - as in they tell the truth.

    What is your problem? Could it be that if Japan did the "right" thing, you would have nothing to complain about?

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    billyshears: "@smithinjapan in other words, you've never read the textbooks"

    Wrong, billy. In other words, you simply and subjectively choose not to see what you don't want to -- not surprising given your defense of the revisions and the revisionists themselves. I have provided you guys with links time and again, and it's not my fault you guys conveniently forget every time. It's amusing the article you post from 2001, by the way, when many of the current changes were made in 2007, like the sex-slaves being stricken from the texts entirely, and the information about forced suicides in Okinawa being altered dramatically. But hey, don't trust me: just ask me again next time for the same links as you forget about this one.

    "In 2007, former education minister Nariaki Nakayama declared he was proud that the Liberal Democratic Party 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". 2007 passage change on forced World War II suicidesJapan orders history books to change passages on forced suicides 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."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanesehistorytextbook_controversies

    It's good that most schools have rejected the most recent textbook, but why do you guys deny it exists and white-washes history? The same attitude and people that created that book are now trying to alter them again.

  • -2

    smithinjapan

    ReformedBasher: "What is your problem? Could it be that if Japan did the "right" thing, you would have nothing to complain about?"

    Explain how 'changing' an apology is in any way the 'right' thing, please. As for honesty? please! Abe is the same guy who denied sexual slavery existed then had to take back his denial and admit it after pressure from the US Senate of all places! What makes you think he's suddenly become 'honest Abe'?

  • 0

    cramp

    let them do it...i think they've been positioning for it for a long time so its gonna happen sooner or later

    sometimes you just have to throw your hands up and :soniamdisappoint:

  • -3

    avigator

    The old proverb says "the dog goes back to its vomit". Now I really know what it means. The only way to make this country reflect on its past and current actions is to alienate it by way of boycotting it products and services until it realizes the World does not equal Japan terms only.

  • -2

    avigator

    The 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake massacre of koreans, chinese and okinawans is not even known by japanese as well as foreigners. It was highly suppressed until Japan was occupied after WWII and things came to light.

  • 1

    ReformedBasher

    @Smith

    I am not talking about the past. I'm talking about now. If you want to continue to believe anything done by the Japanese government (no matter who is in power) is terrible, go right ahead. Don't forget that the original apology you're whining about being reviewed was made by a Japanese politician. But everything Japanese is evil, right?

  • -2

    ReformedBasher

    As for the "honest Abe" crack, do you think he personally makes the changes. I guess he breaks into libraries and rewrites those history books in person. What a dastardly rascal!

  • -1

    michikokada

    @Yubaru: "That is the problem, if students don't know their own history they are apt to repeat it somewhere in the future." what I worry about, as any wise Japanese would, is that the "forward-looking" education will actually be the root for future wars: it is painful to know that one's own race can commit some most inhuman crimes, but if that can save the race of the pain of wars, again, it's worth it. Imagine: Japan, China, Korea write their own textbooks, our children one day meet: Chinese and Korean are looking at "monsters", Japanese are wondering "why are they so hostile and don't trust me"? They don't know they can feel the pain and love of one another all the same...it's a shame what Japan did during the WWII, it's a deeper shame if Japan has no courage to admit the truth ( it's bloody, cruel, horrofied human hearts..but the truth), it will be genuinely a shame if any government cultivates the misunderstanding deeper and forster a future war - these people has no vision of forward-looking, they are indeed merely re-visioning of the past. @Avigator, what are you talking about??? 1923 earthquake? Why is it a massacre?

  • 1

    BernieK

    "forward-looking"

    You mean less masochistic. Yeah, I could see, in the history books, a picture of a 1937 Nanjing Massacre Japanese soldier, but without his bayonet.

  • 2

    nigelboy

    Amazing. After 70 posts, nobody bothered to read Goals0Jan. 30, 2013 - 09:58AM JST which gives a link to a third party University of Stanford summary of each country's textbooks. To summarize, Japan doesn't glorify the war while China and U.S. does. Korea just focuses on how "baad" the annexation period was despite the fact that population and life expectancy doubled. For a poster that stated," if students don't know their own history they are apt to repeat it somewhere in the future", I'd say practice what you preach in your own country because 60+ years of peace is a pretty damn good record if you ask me.

  • -2

    Kyle Alpert

    Bottom line: Japan's actions liberated the entire Sinosphere, and (indirectly) ended colonialism worldwide. Should Japan apologise to slaves impressed into war by their Western masters? Those who "lost" WW2 still managed to secure their goals of "social equality" and "self determination" worldwide. Abe doesn't need to remove anything...

  • 2

    jforce

    Read your own texts and you'll see the patriotic slant (in some cases more blatant ie. US and China) in order to give kids some pride about where they live. At the HS level there should be more honest accounts of what happened and there should be discussion, too. Now therein lies the problem ... discussion and debate in class about the past. This is non-existant (although there are spatters of teachers out there that do try). Are there history teachers qualified to talk about the past and be objective? My guess is yes, but do they have a voice? My guess is no.

  • -1

    budgie

    It's a shame international diplomacy leaves no room for telling it like it is. The US and Commonwealth should really step up to Japan and say something like "look we didn't throw away hundreds of thousands of lives slapping you down just so you can pretend you never did anything to deserve it".

  • 0

    ByronicAsian

    Okay....the textbook thing again?

    To quote several redditors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And screencaps of a Japanese History textbook.

    http://www.dongyangjing.com/disp1.cgi?zno=10038&&kno=003&&no=0024

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