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Tokyo Suburb to Adopt Disputed History Textbook

Posted August. 05, 2009 07:33,   


The board of education of Yokohama, Japan, will use a disputed history textbook authored by the right-wing Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.

The board yesterday said the textbook will be used at junior high schools in eight of its 18 wards for the next two years.

The right-wing group also wrote a controversial history textbook published by Fusosha Publishing in 2004. After feuding with the publisher over the copyright and editorial policies, the group put out its new history textbook through Jiyusha Publishing House.

The new textbook got official approval in April.

Yokohama is Japan’s second-largest city and the first to adopt a controversial history textbook by either Fusosha or Jiyusha. Over the next two years, 71 junior high schools will use Jiyusha’s history textbook.

As of 2005, only 0.39 percent of Japanese schools adopted Fusosha’s textbook, but the figure will increase slightly as certain Yokohama schools plan to adopt it.

Jiyusha’s textbook is similar to Fusosha’s in that they share representative authors, content and items. Both of the textbooks also beautify Japan’s imperialism and justify its attacks on Korea.

Jiyusha’s textbook also says the ancient Korean kingdom of Gaya was founded by the Japanese, a claim long denied by both Korean and Japanese historians. It says Japan was the only nation to use its own chronological era in East Asia.

The textbook also describes the Joseon Dynasty of Korea as the Yi Dynasty, a term used by Japanese colonial scholars, and calls the Japanese attack on Joseon a “dispatch of troops.”

The Yokohama board of education adopted the textbook since its members were designated by the ultra-nationalist Hiroshi Nakata, the city’s former mayor who stepped down due to a sex scandal and failure to hold an event celebrating the port of Yokohama’s 150th anniversary.

Nakata is one of Japan’s leading right-wing activists along with Hiroshi Yamada, who heads Suginami, Tokyo`s only ward that uses distorted history textbooks. Both graduated from the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management and maintain a close relationship in seeking to strengthen their political solidarity.