Japan’s Textbook Screening and History Textbook Controversies

The issue of history textbooks in Japan has sparked debate within the country and in neighboring countries as well. However, the understanding of actual textbook content and how textbooks are screened is often limited. This series will try to fill this knowledge gap by exploring the issue of history textbooks and their screening in Japan.

Japan’s History Textbook System: Creation, Screening, and SelectionMitani Hiroshi

The history textbooks used in Japanese schools have come under considerable criticism both within Japan and abroad. How are these texts actually created, screened, and selected for classroom use? Mitani Hiroshi, a professor at the University of Tokyo and author of history textbooks currently in use at junior high schools and high schools, explains how this process operates in practice.

Divided Memories: History Textbooks and the Wars in AsiaDaniel Sneider

Some common assumptions about history textbooks used in Japan turn out to be ill-founded. Far from inculcating patriotism, as many overseas observers assume, Japanese high school textbooks tend to dryly present a chronology of historical facts, with little interpretive narrative added. This is the finding of the Divided Memories and Reconciliation project by the author and his colleague Professor Gi-Wook Shin, involving an in-depth comparison of history textbooks used in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.

The East Asian Textbook IssueKawashima Shin

Japan has repeatedly experienced friction with its neighbors, particularly China and South Korea, over the contents of its history textbooks. Kawashima Shin, a scholar specializing in Asian diplomatic history (and a member of the Nippon.com editorial committee), puts this sticky problem in historical perspective.

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