Go to contents

Japanese Teachers` Union Boycotts Right-wing Textbook

Posted May. 17, 2010 07:22,   


The Yokohama branch of the Japan Teachers’ Union has reportedly boycotted middle school history textbooks adopted by the city office of education, and created its own material for teachers.

The teacher`s union branch said the textbooks made by right-wing groups contain many inaccuracies, including the Japanese government’s attempt to legitimize the country’s past aggression in Asia. Japanese nationalists are protesting the branch’s move, calling the action an attempt to use schools as venue for ideological struggle.

The Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun said Saturday that the Yokohama branch created material for use in teaching, saying the history textbook published by Jiyusha and selected by the city’s educational office “contains many inaccuracies in content.”

The new material cites textbooks published by other publishers instead of Jiyusha, plus documents developed by the branch. Called a “History Compilation,” the material was published in the April 1 edition of the branch’s official newsletter.

The history textbook published by Jiyusha was produced by the Group for Creating New History Books, an ultra right-wing group in Japan. This book is known for its extreme right-leaning stance on history like that of Fusosha textbooks.

The Yokohama branch said six parts are distorted in the Jiyusha textbook, including the Asia-Pacific War, the constitution of the Japanese empire, the Russo-Japanese War, and the social class system of the Edo period.

On Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, the branch said the Jiyusha textbook claims Japan’s colonial policy focused on the modernization of Korea and hides the forced nature of Japan’s annexation to legitimize its rule.

The branch also said the textbook carries consistently inaccurate information, including the theory that Japan ruled Korea in ancient times and the allegation of ancient Japan’s use of an independent era name.

Conservative newspapers including Sankei have blasted the union’s move, calling it a violation of the law requiring the use of history textbooks adopted by the city office of education. The education office also notified middle schools again in April 28 that they must use textbooks selected by the office “without fail.”

The Yokohama branch said, however, “(Our) history material is part of the materials available, and we are not denying the textbook itself,” claiming that conservatives` thought is “interference in labor activities by the teachers’ union.”