Curriculum

Foreign Exchange

May 09, 2001 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In this country, debates over textbooks have been known to shake up a few school board meetings and, in extreme cases, even incite violence. But a disagreement over new history books recently authorized for use in Japan’s junior high schools next school year has escalated into an international incident.

Government officials in South Korea and China have expressed their anger over textbooks, produced by a group of nationalist historians in Japan, that suggest Japan’s military aggression before and during World War II had a positive impact on Southeast Asia.

South Korea’s ambassador to Japan was recalled last month to meet with officials of his government over how to respond to the controversial textbooks. That country’s lawmakers voted late last month to form a task force to compel Japanese officials to address the complaints. And China’s foreign minister, Tang Jiaxun, said last month that Japan’s refusal to reject the texts had hindered bilateral relations.

The Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform produced one of the textbooks because of the “self- deprecating” tone of current Japanese history texts, according to a statement from the organization. “The Japanese are depicted as criminals on whose shoulders fate has placed the burden of atoning for their sins for generations to come,” it says.

Japanese officials agreed in January to screen that textbook, and subsequently made about 130 revisions before declaring it acceptable.

Japanese officials are defending their decision, saying the textbooks went through the appropriate review. Although the government has admitted its wartime atrocities and apologized for the suffering it caused its Asian neighbors, the government does not define specific historical perspectives or outlooks, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fakudo said in a statement last month.

“During the process of the recent authorization of textbooks, various concerns have been expressed from neighboring countries,” he said. “However, the authorization process was carried out impartially.”

— Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2001 edition of Education Week as Foreign Exchange

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum From Our Research Center Privacy, Porn, and Parents in the Room: Sex Education's Pandemic Challenges
After more than a year of instructional shifts and social isolation, students need sex education that is media-savvy and relationship-wise.
7 min read
Conceptual image of students feeling isolated, but also trying to connect.
Mary Haasdyk for Education Week
Curriculum Calls to Ban Books by Black Authors Are Increasing Amid Critical Race Theory Debates
Books about race and the experiences of Black Americans are being challenged by parents who claim they make white children feel uncomfortable.
8 min read
Fans of Angie Thomas, a Jackson, Miss., resident whose book, "The Hate U Give," has been on a national young adult best-seller list for over 80 weeks, show off their copies at a reception and book signing for the author, in Jackson on Oct. 10, 2018. Thomas' novel has crossed over to a wider audience than simply young adults. The reception honored her writing as well as the coming release of the big screen adaption of the first novel.
The young adult best-seller "The Hate U Give" was one of the top 10 most challenged books of 2020.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Curriculum District That Banned Diverse Books Reverses Its Decision After Pushback
A Pennsylvania district voted unanimously to reinstate a four-page list of resources from some of today's most acclaimed creators of color.
Tina Locurto, The York Dispatch, Pa.
3 min read
Image of books on a library shelf.
iStock/Getty
Curriculum He Taught About White Privilege and Got Fired. Now He's Fighting to Get His Job Back
Matthew Hawn is an early casualty in this year's fight over how teachers can discuss with students America's struggle with racism.
13 min read
Social studies teacher Matthew Hawn is accused of insubordination and repeated unprofessional conduct for sharing Kyla Jenèe Lacey's, 'White Privilege', poem with his Contemporary Issues class. Hawn sits on his couch inside his home on August 17, 2021.
Matthew Hawn is accused of insubordination and repeated unprofessional conduct for lessons and materials he used to teach about racism and white privilege in his Contemporary Issues class at Sullivan Central High School in Blountville, Tenn.<br/>
Caitlin Penna for Education Week