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Japanese Extreme Rightists Press for Adoption of Distorted History Book

Japanese Extreme Rightists Press for Adoption of Distorted History Book

Posted April. 05, 2005 23:29,   


Eight companies who published history books for middle schools embarked on a campaign promoting their books, synchronous with the sanction announcement yesterday, virtually until the end of August, which is the deadline for textbook adoption.

Adoption Prospects–

“We will seize victory without failure after four years and take revenge,” Tsukurukai (Society for New History Textbooks) assured in the autumn of 2001. They did so because they were confident they would achieve a 10 percent adoption rate, but stopped short at 0.039 percent because of resistance by civic groups who were conscious of teaching correct history.

Tsukurukai says that it will be different this year. It is because they succeeded in infiltrating their influence in the education committees of each unit of local self-governments and believe that the general social atmosphere turned favorable towards them.

In fact, middle schools that adopted Fusosha’s textbook have started increasing slowly since 2001, and as of the end of 2004, the number increased to 19 schools and 1,200 students (0.1 percent) out of 12,200 schools and 1.26 million students.

Pro & Con Campaigns Started-

Tsukurukai will hold a symposium themed “Straight Japan Starts from History Books: Good-bye Anti-Japanism” in Tokyo on April 10. Through national tour lectures, it plans to appeal to patriotism and campaign to promote Fusosha’s textbook.

Judging that Asahi Shimbun and other media’s criticism was the main cause for its defeat four years ago, Tsukurukai recently sent letters to media companies saying that “do not be used by the political organizations,” and embarked on pressing them. Moreover, availing favorable influences, it was successful in passing its appeals, calling for “exclusion of interference by extremists” and “fair adoption” in the local assemblies in Nara, Ishikawa, Kanagawa, and Kumamoto prefectures.

Leading civic groups of resistance campaigns against adoption of distorted history books like “Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21” declared they would begin anti-adoption campaigns against Fusosha’s textbook yesterday. The Japan Teachers’ Union (JTU), which exerts great influence in education, also plans to actively intercept the adoption of Fusosha’s textbook, availing teachers’ authority as much as they can. In addition, it decided to thoroughly check pressure from high-profile government officials and education committees of local self-governments who are leading the history distortion.

Nonetheless, an unusual current compared with that of four years ago can be detected in Japanese society. With the breakout of Japan-Korea and Japan-China dominium issues, some in the general public tend to misunderstand Korea and China’s attacks on its history books as criticism against Japan.

Tsukurukai and jingoists’ target sequence of “trigger dominium issue” to “Korea and China’s anti-Japan demonstrations” to “fostering the Japanese people’s repulsion” to “expanding distorted history books” is partly being realized.”

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com