The ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan has postponed its campaign to require schools to emphasize patriotism.
Japan’s national course of study includes lessons that instill “love of country,” but conservative politicians have been pushing to have that language written into the education law.
Although the curriculum does not dictate how teachers should meet the mandate, some school districts have called for pledges and songs of allegiance to the Japanese flag, according to Hiroshi Kamiyo, the education attaché to the Japanese Embassy in Washington.
The Tokyo metropolitan board of education, for example, reprimanded several teachers last year after they refused to sing the national anthem, which pays homage to the emperor.
Critics say such practices are reminiscent of the nationalism that fueled Japanese militarism and helped lead to World War II.
Coverage of cultural understanding and international issues in education is supported in part by the Atlantic Philanthropies.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2005 edition of Education Week