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'Love for Japan' marks

thomas

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Reported by Asahi:

PATRIOT GAME: Love marks

Under government guidelines, students as young as 11 are being graded on 'their love for Japan'. An elementary school student in Fukuoka brought home a report card boasting straight A's in social studies-except for one category. The lone blemish came because the student had not shown sufficient "love for Japan". The student's uncle, a lawyer of Korean ancestry, noticed an explanation on the new topic in his nephew's first-term report card.

"In addition to having feelings of love for our nation and placing importance on history and traditions of the nation, an effort is made to possess a consciousness as a Japanese living with the hope for a peaceful world,'' the explanation read.

Boiled down, it basically means students are being graded on their level of patriotism. Elementary school students at 172 public schools in 11 prefectures are now evaluated on this new category, according to a national survey of sixth-graders' report cards conducted by The Asahi Shimbun. The patriotism category is apparently in response to new curriculum guidelines introduced in the 2002 school year that included the fostering of ``feelings of love for one's country'' as an objective for sixth-grade social studies. [...]

=> http://www.asahi.com/english/national/K2003050800188.html
 
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thomas

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More on the topic:

'Love of country' curriculum hit

[...] The nonmandatory guidelines suggested that teaching patriotism would encourage children to take pride in their history and culture. But according to a recent survey by a Japanese newspaper, less than 200 of Japan's 24,000 public elementary schools are complying. Parents and citizens' groups are protesting, and a spokesman for the nation's largest teachers union said in an interview that he questioned the constitutionality of the guidelines.

=> http://www.japantimes.com/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20030513b5.htm
 

Erik

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In one way or another, just about every country is trying to get kids at an early age to be educated with their country's culture and try to establish patriotism. I think I read that in russia, laws have been passed to eliminate english words in any sort of text the government releases to stop the loss of the russian langauge? .
 

Chipi

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Well, on my opinion, loving and knowing your own country is supportable, as far as itツエs in healthy terms..
This case is a bit strange, since I donツエt think there should be a connection with beeing a succesful student and beeing a patriot. Skills in school subjects should be evaluated as school subjects, and not mess some "do you love your country enough" things into it.

Sure, every country wants to teach their children the basic knowledge of their culture and history, I think thatツエs a natural and important part of everyones general culture.
But then again, I do think there are some exaggerating countries as well...or maybe thatツエs a too generalizating word..
I canツエt help it, but sometimes I really do think that americans go with this. I know I shouldnツエt really believe everything I see in the tv etc, but quite often I see americans praising their country, placing usa as "the best country in the world". And frankly, thatツエs quite annoying..

By this I donツエt mean to be rude to _anyone_, I just wanted to make a point, that one shoudlnツエt blame just one country, and close your eyes for the others...I say this as my point of view, as an inhabitant of a fairly small country :)
 
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thomas

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As citizen of another fairly small country I have to say that "patriotism" has quite a bad connotation in Europe, due to historic events, but also due to the fact that people feel they are becoming part of a larger political entity. National symbols such as flags or anthems are not taken as serious as in the US for instance. Educating children is one thing, but I'm very sceptical about educational institutions trying to instill national pride into younger generations. That's definitely a step backwards.
 

kinjo

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Eek. That is kind of scary. Patriotism should be inspired in a child not forced and regulated. It seems to me that grading a child on an emotion would only inspire negative feelings towards the entity that is doing the grading.
 

mdchachi

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but quite often I see americans praising their country, placing usa as "the best country in the world". And frankly, thatツエs quite annoying../QUOTE]

You should keep in mind that most of them haven't been to many -- if any -- other countries and have no real basis for comparison.
 

Mandylion

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Is there an equivalent in other education systems at the elementary level? Perhaps not so blatantly as in the article, which also probably took its examples from the more extreme end of the spectrum (200 0f 24,000 schools? Hardly seems Japan is backsliding into the dark old days), but are there honestly no comparisons to be made?

As I recall, US history for me at that age was about how cool all that founding fathers, pioneer spirit, capitalism stuff was supposed to be. And you bet we got graded on it. It wasn’t as blatant as subjective evaluation by our teachers as to what degree we ツ“lovedツ” America, but out little reports and presentations had to be to grade level. It was not a question of how closely we toed the line in our remarks partly because at that age we didn’t know there was a line to step away from. The teacherツ’s comments in the article amount to just about the same thing. I probably was told the same in my classes. In short, despite the differences in dissemination, my education was just as political as at the schools mentioned, though in different ways (I went to public school too). Anyone else out there either blatantly or subversively weaned on institutionalized patriotism?

IMHO I don’t have any real problem with the idea of teaching patriotism as long as it is done in a sensitive, inclusive way, while recognizing the value of other cultures, and avoiding the fascist / racist overtones of pre-WWII Japanese education. The concept of grading expressions of patriotism is ridiculous, however, and the quality of a studentツ’s interaction in class, not its nature or viewpoint, is what is important. As long as the schools stick with the 37 year old teacherツ’s conceptualization of the new directive ツ’ ツ”feelings of love for one's nation'' could be fostered through research into the history and traditions of Japan, and that such love was similar to the love of the community and region where one was raised,ツ” ツ’ I’m not really worried.
 

kinjo

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Originally posted by mdchachi
but quite often I see americans praising their country, placing usa as "the best country in the world". And frankly, thatツエs quite annoying../QUOTE]

You should keep in mind that most of them haven't been to many -- if any -- other countries and have no real basis for comparison.

That is true.
AND, imagine how annoying it is to people who LIVE in the U.S. and are confronted with that attitude very frequently. What with 9/11 and the Iraq war, Americans are bombarded with patriotic programming media and imagery, and because most of us are NOT what our media portrays us as being, the trivialization that patriotic excess brings is beginning to draw wider attention. Imagine being forced to associate your country's flag with a mud-spattered sticker in the back window of a pickup truck that also flies a confederate flag and sports a full gun-rack.
:(
 

johnny

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Grades depending on your level of love for your country is going too far.

On the other hand, it's important to not go too far in the other direction, too. I feel it's gone too far in Sweden - in many schools, you're not allowed to sing the Swedish national anthem, and you can't use the Swedish flag.

That makes things like this seem... well, stupid, but _human_.
 

babar-san

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GaijinGirl said:
Originally posted by mdchachi


Imagine being forced to associate your country's flag with a mud-spattered sticker in the back window of a pickup truck that also flies a confederate flag and sports a full gun-rack.
:(


i havnt seen one of those in a long time, and i live in tennessee.
 
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