Textbooks Censorship In Japan Essay

1144 words - 5 pages

Back in high school, I studied a lot of Canadian history as well as International conflicts like the World War II. I used to believe that there was only one way to tell history just like science and mathematics textbooks. However, as I read more texts in college at Cornell, I was exposed to more authors and perspectives. I found out that the focus of the historian on events could have a huge impact on the event interpreted by the reader. And the interpretations through public education sum up to form an ideology that shapes society. Therefore, the choice of authors and textbooks that are taught are extremely important.For a country like Japan with its war crimes in World War II, it is obvious that it will be extremely difficult to find a proper way to teach history that satisfy all the audiences. If Japan describes every detail of the events, the citizens will feel ashamed to have such realities of their ancestors. If Japan just describes the history that it makes the nation proud, it angers other countries that are affected throughout the wars.Although the allies defeated both Japan and Germany during World War II, they each have very different consequences. Germany and its Nazis leaders were stripped of power and were order to pay reparations as compensations. However, Japan was spared from these consequences because the United States sees Japan as an important ally for the Cold War against U.S.S.R. Furthermore, the Emperor of Japan remains in power along with influential advisors. So in a sense, Japan has continuity over it's wartime state whereas Germany's Nazis power has been completely removed. With the economical aid from the United States, Japan grew incredibly strong in the 1970's and 1980's and is a major commercial power in the world. This differentiates Japan from other neighboring Asian countries. Therefore, they were superior to other nations in the region and did not have to worry as much about their protests. Consequently until as recently as the early 1990's, Japan didn't have to pay any reparations to other South East Asia countries, and there crimes were hardly mentioned in the public textbooks. Since Japan's educational system are structured such that the entire country has textbooks written in a single voice. In 1982, Japan's ministry of education ordered Ienaga Saburo to describe the invasion of China as simply "advancing to China" as well as lightens up the discussion of colonial policy in Korea and Taiwan. This angered a lot of Asian governments because Japan is simply trying to hide the facts from its citizens.In the early 1990's, South Asia grew dramatically economically and now has a GNP in comparison with North America and Europe. As neighboring countries grew stronger, the need for trade becomes more and more important and Japan can no longer afford to lose out on the economical benefits or consequences by angering the nations. This stirs up controversy all over again in Japan, as history textbooks have become a...

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