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Read a Japanese History Textbook!

Do Japanese textbooks “gloss over“ Japan's role in WWII?

  • Yes, they do a horrible job of teaching about Japan in WWII.

    Votes: 24 68.6%
  • Yes, but it’s not so bad.

    Votes: 2 5.7%
  • I don't know.

    Votes: 6 17.1%
  • No, they don’t.

    Votes: 3 8.6%
  • No, they do an excellent job of teaching about Japan in WWII.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    35

PaulTB

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Dream Time said:
the contents in the new revisionist Japanese history textbook are extremely misleading
http://www.tsukurukai.com/05_rekisi_text/rekisitext_index.html

Nice link. The introduction is interesting - I shall quote a bit ...

ジョージ・ワシントンは、 アメリカがイギリスから独立戦争(1775~1783) で独立を勝ちえたときの総司令官であり、 合衆国の初代大統領であった。 アメリカにとっては建国の偉人である。 しかし戦争に敗れてアメリカという植民地を失ったイギリスにとっては、 必ずしも偉人ではない。 イギリスの歴史教科書には、 今でもワシントンの名前が書かれていない*ものや、 独立軍が反乱軍として扱われているものもある。

* Even now, George [Washington]'s name is not mentioned in English history textbooks.

('scuse the language) I've got to call bullshit on that one. I admit I don't have any history textbooks around and it wasn't my best subject, but I can't believe that's the case. I hope some fellow countryman has the chance to check that out.

The introduction as a whole reads very much as an educated excuse for the book to follow.

[EDIT] It appears what is covered in GCSE and A level history is highly variable - not quite sure how it works - but certainly books for A level history do more than mention his name.

As for GCSE, I came across this random blog bit ...

I dropped history at 14 cos it was so boring, learning about the American war of independence. They didn't teach us a thing about either of the world wars (and it was in fact Blackadder that taught me that the first world war was fought in trenches, not with swords) and the GCSE course was about the spinning jenny and other such nonsense.
 
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shiroma

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教科書検定

Maciamo said:
One of them was 早わかり日本史, which is described as a best-seller, but I don't know if it is among the approved textbooks used at school.
People who can't tell government-approved textbooks from "for dummies" ones might not have ever thought about checking out the list.
 

Elizabeth

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Dream Time said:
the contents in the new revisionist Japanese history textbook are extremely misleading
http://www.tsukurukai.com/05_rekisi_text/rekisitext_index.html

for example
Chapter 5, page 270, Sino-Japanese war

1937(昭和12)年7月7日夜,北京郊外の盧溝橋で,演 習していた日本軍に向けて何者かが発砲する事件がおこ った。翌朝には,中国の国民党軍との間で戦闘状態にな った(盧溝橋事件)。現地解決がはかられたが,やがて 日本側も大規模な派兵を命じ,国民党政府もただちに動 員令を発した。以後8年間にわたって日中戦争が継続し た。
translation: on the night of July 7th 1937, at the Lugou Bridge in Beijing. Someone fired shots at the Japanese army. The next morning, the Japanese army was in war with the Chinese Nationalist army. (Lugou Bridge Incident) Although they wanted to solve the matter at the place, Japan dispatched troops on a large scale. The Nationalist government immediately issued the mobilization order. Hereafter entered the 8-year long Sino-Japanese war.


the truth:
the Japanese army was illegally stationing in China. Of course, the Chinese army had to defend the land. Also, before the July 7th of 1937, the Japanese soldiers had fired guns. there is no evidence to indicate the Chinese soldiers fired guns first.
The world history text I referred to earlier puts the course of events very ambiguously, like this :

日本はこのような事態を過小評価し、
軍部は華北の支配を狙ったため、1937年
七月の盧溝橋事件を機に侵略を拡大した。


Japanese forces had underestimated the situation, but with the goal of control over North China, took advantage of the opportunity at Lugou Bridge (without ever explaining what that was) in July 1937 to expand their invasion.
 

mad pierrot

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Sorry it took me so long to get back again.

I know I said I’d post this last week but I got swamped with work, and then took off on a short trip. Here it is. I know they have been using this particular text in Junior High Schools in Hidaka-gun, Wakayama-ken since it’s a publication about 3 years ago. When I asked a school history teacher if they use any other texts he said no. Interestingly, a second-year JHS student came up to me the other day and told me he thinks the Nan King massacre never happened, even though it’s taught in the books. I’m also attaching some more random pages of if anyone’s interested. Has anyone got there hands on a Tokyo high school text yet?

summer 2005 046.jpg


summer 2005 048.jpg


summer 2005 051.jpg


summer 2005 052.jpg
 

shiroma

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新しい歴史教科書

名無し said:
Hope this thread to grow toward whatever directions, the English translation of the one by Fusosha is coming soon too.
It's available now (see attachment)

I personally want to see that MEXT disapproves the textbook next time. Fusosha sues the government for the violations of the Constitution article 21 23 and 26, just like what Saburo Ienaga did in the 1970s. That would entertain people for at least three decades easily, as the case goes up to the supreme court. Fusosha could sell copies as the non-textbook publication meanwhile.
 

Attachments

  • English.pdf
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mad pierrot

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Thanks for the link!

Good idea. Think of all the fat cash he could rake in....

:p


----------------------------------------------
edit*

That's quite the interesting text you have there. I can't say I like what I've read so far. Any other member's thoughts?
 

lexico

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Dream Time said:
makes any Japanese history textbook mention about the 'hundred people cut'?

The Japanese soldiers turned killing into a sport. The contest was to determine who could kill the fastest and be the first to reach one hundred people.

this was actually was the first-page headline news of Yomiuri Daily newspaper, there is an image of this news report somewhere on the internet, I lost the link, and I don't want to look at the picture again.
source: Wikipedia "Nanjing Massacre" (This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. This applies worldwide.)

"This news was originally reported by a Japanese newspaper called Tokyo Nichi Nichi Shimbun 東京日日新聞 on Dec 13th, 1937."

Wikipedia summary: "Two Japanese sublieutenants, Mukai Toshiaki and Noda Takeshi said to be competing with each other to see who could kill one hundred Chinese first. The bold headline said, "Contest to Kill First 100 Chinese with Sword Extended When Both Fighters Exceed Mark--Mukai Scores 106 and Noda 105."

Transcription & translation: can someone please help with deciphering some illegible characters? And perhaps a literal translation also?

昭和十二年十二月十三日 月曜日
line 1 百人斬り“超記錄”
line 2 向井106--105野田
line 3 兩少尉さらに延長戰
line 4-1 [紫金山麓にて十二日淺海,鈴木兩特派員][南京入りまで"百人斬り競爭"]
line 5-1 といふ..戰爭....じぬ
line 6-1
line 7-1
line 4-2
line 5-2
line 6-2
line 7-2
[photo]
line 8 “百人斬り競爭”の兩將校 (右)野田巖少尉(左)向井敏明少尉
line 9 =常州にて佐..(..)特派員..

Is the article fully reproduced here, or is there more text? Does any other newspaper or publication report on this or similar killing competitions at 紫金山, or elsewhere in & around Nanjing? What is the social context of the competition; a medal from the Emperor? To win honour, fame, and respect among the Japanese citizenry? How did the Japanese readers respond to this kind of "feats of valour"? The emperor, the military, civilians? Religious groups? Political groups? Women? School children? How do modern Japanese feel about this article that appeared in the dailies for everyone to read and admire? What do the Japanese think a non-Chinese would think about this? What do the Japanese think a Chinese who is not an immediate victim would think about this? What do the Japanese expect from a Chinese who is blood-related to the Nanjing Massacre's immediate victims?

Are you telling me that the average Japanese never heard of this news that made it a Monday headline in the Tokyo dailies, Dec. 13, 1937? That is another bad attempt at falsifying, wouldn't you agree?
 
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Tonysoong

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Tim33 said:
They do tend to gloss over it however.

I learnt about world war 2 in my history lessons, however we mainly focused on one area rather then every bit of the war. We mainly focused on the bombing raids taken place over london, rationing and some about concentration camps.

However this was not the whole of world war 2 and schools can not possibly cover the whole area of world war 2, war areas schools focus on is up to the Japanese government and teachers not the chinese government.

In English history classes we never learnt about the Dresden incident.

There are areas we Chinese want the Japanese history textbooks to cover, just like such areas as the bombing raids taken place over london, rationing and some about concentration camps, which you westerners want German textbooks to cover. Besides, the Japanese digging into those concealed historical facts may also help themselves to rebuild their own reputation among the neighboring nations.

Let's just hope Digging into such historical details, both on the Chinese part and on the Japanese part, will help enhance mutual understanding and respect and mitigate animocity. That's the way it has to be. Right?
 

sabro

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I had to vote "I don't know." I have not had the chance to read a Japanese history text book. As bad as American History text books are, I hear Japanese textbooks are worse. I have also run into people from Japan, including relatives who seem quite surprised when they hear about World War II from our perspective.

By the way, (for Anthroquonine) Auschwitz was the site for war crimes and people were convicted and hanged for them. Google it and you can find out all about it. The Nurenburg charge was not "ethnic cleansing" but "crimes against humanity."

You can't compare the internment of Japanese-Americans to what happened to Jews under the Nazi's. (My mother was in a camp in Arizona) Certainly it was an injustice, and the US government has appologized and has given a token payment of redress. But it was no where near the scale and inhumanity of what happened in Europe. The US fortunately had no death camps.
 

shiroma

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lexico said:
Dream Time said:
makes any Japanese history textbook mention about the 'hundred people cut'?
That is another bad attempt at falsifying, wouldn't you agree?
It is just some people do not blindly believe everything CCP says. The link mentioned in a post before has sentences that read,
Wakabayashi, for instance, has recently published a paper on the competition between two Japanese officers to see who could first kill (decapitate) a hundred Chinese with their swords (Wakabayashi 2000). This competition has become a major part of Nanjing's myth in both the English and Chinese language literature but is clearly false. Wakabayashi's paper is the best piece of academic research on this competition in any language and demonstrates the advantages of having professional historians outside Japan research and publish on Nanjing.
Understandably, highly questionable "facts" like that are not on the textbooks.
 

Tonysoong

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mad pierrot said:
Let's not judge all the people of Japan for the inadequacies of their school books. Instead, let's find out who's writing them and criticize them!

Good point.

Many people have difficulty understanding the radicalism of the Chinese in protesting against glossing over Japanese WW2 atrocities in certain history textbooks in Japan, abusing them as uneducated or something. I am not here to comment on that. I just hope that a reasonable matter-of-fact perspective of our Japanese friends would serve to narrow the information gap between us.

I can't survey Japanese history text-books as I do not know the Japanese language, but i do notice that many historical facts that still sound unbelieveably shocking to many posters here are accepted as self-evident here in China. Please don;t once again abuse the Chinese as having been indoctrinated against the Japanese. Average Chinese are just as kind-hearted, forgiving and good-willed as any other nation. But they are also as sensitive of their human dignity being ignored as any one of you .
 

lexico

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名無し said:
It is just some people do not blindly believe everything CCP says. The link mentioned in a post before has sentences that read, It is understandable that highly questionable "facts" like that are not on the textbooks.

You expect people to believe that? I don't have access to the original article, so it's hard to judge from a cryptic abstract only. Fine for now. Given that Wakabayashi did a trustworthy job, the remainder of my questions still hold valid, wouldn't you agree? If they were indeed propaganda, how did the readers respond, and why do some Japanese claim they've never heard of the 'news' about the killings? Please remember these questions have nothing to do with whether they were propaganda or not for the simple reason that ordinary people do not make such a distinction as a scholar as Wakabaysahi could.

Questions for 名無し:

1. How did the Japanese readers respond to this kind of "feats of valour" ? The emperor, the military, civilians? Religious groups? Political groups? Women? School children?

2. How do modern Japanese feel about this article that appeared in the dailies for everyone to read and admire?

3. What do the Japanese think a non-Chinese would think about this?

4. What do the Japanese think a Chinese who is not an immediate victim would think about this?

5. What do the Japanese expect from a Chinese who is blood-related to the immediate victims of the Nanjing Massacre?

6. Are you telling me that the average Japanese never heard of this news that made it a Monday headline in the Tokyo dailies, Dec. 13, 1937?

Please be sensitive enough to answer my legitimate questions, 名無し.

Please read the following passage that concludes, after accepting the study result of Wakabayashi, "The Nanking 100-Man Killing Contest Debate," that "the sheer quantity, wide variety and high quality of evidence available today that attests to the massacre makes it more difficult than ever for anyone with intellectual integrity to dismiss or minimize it."

Japanese Views of the Second Sino-Japanese War-- Through the lens of the Nanjing Massacre and Events Connected with It
http://www3.la.psu.edu/textbooks/MJ/war_views.htm

The Nanjing Massacre and smaller-scale events like it raise troubling issues about human behaviour at its worst, and, understandably, many in Japan would tend to shy away from a close examination of it. But many Japanese scholars have risen to the challenge of confronting these difficult issues. As a result, our understanding of the Nanjing Massacre and related events continues to evolve. For example, one incident often cited by Honda and other early researchers as symbolic of the massacre as a whole--an alleged 100-man killing contest between two Japanese officers--we now know almost certainly did not happen. (See Wakabayashi, "The Nanking 100-Man Killing Contest Debate: War Guilt Amid Fabricated Illusions, 1971-75," The Journal of Japanese Studies, 26:2 [Summer 2000], pp. 307-340.) While this particular finding might encourage the members of the denial faction, the sheer quantity, wide variety and high quality of evidence available today attest to the massacre make it more difficult than ever for anyone with intellectual integrity to dismiss or minimize it.
 
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sabro

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Lexico: I got about half way through the links- It seems like you have to do a lot of mental gymanastics to believe that nothing happened in Nanking:

Japanese Views of the Second Sino-Japanese War--

Through the lens of the Nanjing Massacre and Events Connected with It

I couldn't keep going- the material was just too overwhelming. Account after account of inhumanity and barbarism, the numbers and photos- the evidence seems insurmountable. I am surprised so many revisionists try to deny what happened there.
 

Tonysoong

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sabro said:
Lexico: I got about half way through the links- It seems like you have to do a lot of mental gymanastics to believe that nothing happened in Nanking:

Japanese Views of the Second Sino-Japanese War--

Through the lens of the Nanjing Massacre and Events Connected with It

I couldn't keep going- the material was just too overwhelming. Account after account of inhumanity and barbarism, the numbers and photos- the evidence seems insurmountable. I am surprised so many revisionists try to deny what happened there.

No wonder, sabro.

They are not revisionists. They are just futily endeavoring to make people believe that they don't seem to believe what they do actually believe, as they are just too alergic about being titledi "nhumanity" and "barbarism". They pretend to be ignorant for their vain pride.
 

lexico

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Criticism implies hope...

Thanks, Sabro, but I think it's the people who put in the hard workers who deserve the encouragement. And new evidence is surfacing almost every year somewhere, in Japan, Britain, Germany, the US... and of course China all verifiable.

名無し, I do not know if you have any relatives in Japan. You may not believe me, but your participation has been quite important in my education. Here's another reason that your participation is important. Please let me pass along one account by Toi Toshio 士井敏邦, told by Takahashi Tetsuya 高橋哲哉.

"In Feb. 1997, Kang Dok'kyong 姜德景, who was victimized as a 'comfort woman' by the Imperial Japanese Army, passed away. She was the most vocal of the victims like her."

Having suffered psychological trauma, she had undergone extensive therapy. She had found some consolation in painting which allowed her to express her inner experiences and recurring nightmares.

"In one of her works titled 'Punish the Responsible !' a Choson (Korean) girl cuts thru the Hinomaru with a knife; from the cut emerges blood. This would be a shocking sight to a Japanese. With such vigour had she criticized the Japanese government."

"On her death bed, she held Toi Toshio's hand, a Japanese journalist, and said, 'If the Japanese people do not know the truth, let me go to Japan once more to tell them my story. Please get me my passport.'"

"'I want to go to Japan'--these were among her last words. To me, this was an appeal to the Japanese people. Her accusations were fierce, but her accusations were also appeals."

"When I heard those words, I felt 'responsibility as a Japanese,' and paradoxically felt a glimmer of hope for salvation. 'Salvation' may sound exaggerated, but doesn't the fact that there still is someone calling out to the Japanese open up the possibility of salvation? To call out to someone also implies the will to establish a relationship, and to confirm that relationship. There is a feeling of trust, at least a desire to establish trust in that person. If that will and hope were gone, if she had already despaired, then there would not have been those appeals. That she had not given up till her last moment means there is still hope for the Japanese people."
 
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sabro

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That is amazing. Another reason why History is important.

I do have relatives in Japan, but I am not in contact with them.
 

pipokun

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To Mexico

This is from an ongoing civil lawsuit regarding the article you mentioned here, the article's family vs Katsuichi Honda, Asahi and Mainichi Newspapers. Mr Honda is the famous left Japanese journalist even among Korean and Chinese people, I suppose.
And he argues...
"since the feeling of family sorely missing one's dead fades away as time goes by, no human right infringement does exist against the family after 60 yrs.
And it is nothing but a historical dispute whether the incident existed or not, so it does not violate any human right/respect violation against the family."

This thread is about the textbook, I know. But one of the reasons that make something about WWII complicated in Japan is the existence of socialism/communism dinosaurs in Japan. And the Japanese teacher's Union plays a great role. Both parties, right or left, try to use WWII as their political tools.
You can find phrases like the below in Japan even in this century, though the words are not from the Union.
Down with Imperialism!
Down with Stalinism!
Workers of the World, Unite!
 

bossel

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What about the new joint Chinese/Korean/Japanese textbook? Will it help?
From the starting edition in Japan, only numbering 20000, probably not much (the editions in China are expected to reach millions). But I think it's a beginning.

http://www.japan-press.co.jp/2433/wwii3.html
http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/nation/200505/kt2005052622492411990.htm


Interesting that the historians could not come to conclusions on some issues. E.g. regarding Nanjing, they included both the number of 200,000 & of 340,000. Probably the easiest way.
 

lexico

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bossel said:
What about the new joint Chinese/Korean/Japanese textbook ? Will it help ?
From the starting edition in Japan, only numbering 20000, probably not much (the editions in China are expected to reach millions). But I think, it's a beginning.
Yes, absolutely ! To pour in some of the best scholars and their research, what could be better for now ?
Interesting that the historians could not come to final conclusions on some issues. Eg. regarding Nanjing they simply included both the number of 200,000 & of 340,000. Probably the easiest way.
Yes, and I think that's how academic people deal with uncertainties, not to maliciously muddy the waters, but to leave breathing room for more objective studies. We might have some people object, but I'm sure they too can be gracious enough because either truth will come out eventually or it can never be known beyond doubt.
Japan Press Weekly said:
Obinata Sumio, professor at Waseda University, said, "Sharing a common view on East Asian history should be a requisite for developing a peaceful future for the region. We hope that this book is read by as many students as possible."
...
The committee's project for writing a common history book began in March 2002 following the publication of the "New History Textbook" by the right-wing group called Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.

Kasahara Tokuji, professor at Tsuru University, said, "The co-editing is the first step for us to overcome our historical views which tend to be biased by national interests. We want to continually revise the book."
Sina English said:
focuses on the three countries' modern history, publishers said.

More than 60 pages deal with Japan's invasion of China and the Korean peninsula. It describes Japanese atrocities, including mass sex slavery. The book also calls Japanese citizens both offenders and victims of war.

The book proves that "it is possible to form a common conception of history among the three nations while respecting each country's own conception of history," the scholars who published the work said in a statement.

"We hope our desire for peace and mutual respect, contained in each sentence of this book, can spread through this book," they said.
Thanks for sharing this amazing news, Bossel ! I fully agree with every remark made in the articles; even better, they plan to continue revising to reflect history with ever increasing accuracy. I only hope that all three governments (and hopefully N.Korea also) endorse the new textbook with enthusiasm and not obstruct/terrorize this well-meant effort for some difference they may find with their home-grown, nationalistic versions. Perhaps it will take several years for the textbook to be adopted in many junior high schools and another 20 years for the shared historical views to become mainstream in the three (4) countries ? :)]
The Korea Times said:
Publication of the textbook entitled ``History That Opens the Future,’’ was initiated in March 2002 at an East Asia peace forum on history in Nanjing, China.
It is noteworthy that the movement got started in Nanjing Peace Forum in 2002. Perhaps the time will come when Taiwan and China can also peacefully share a common history that tore the two apart. Maybe it's unnecessary; I really don't know how the two groups across the strait feel about it.
 
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bossel

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You're even more optimistic about this than I am, Lexico! 😲

lexico said:
Yes, and I think that's how academic people deal with uncertainties, not to maliciously muddy the waters, but to leave breathing room for more objective studies.
I agree, but I also see the danger of watering down such textbooks to the lowest common denominator. In the case of Nanjing, it is simply like that, we have a number of varying estimates.

But what about shared history books between Korea & China? I'm afraid that they will simply leave out those parts that one party for nationalistic reasons doesn't like.

It's a good start though, as I said. We will see what comes of it.
 

lexico

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bossel said:
You're even more optimistic about this than I am, Lexico! 😲
Well, I'm no professional historian.
But I didn't know you were 'that' optimistic, Bossel !
And I'm only optimistic in principle--there'll be plenty of details to foam over. ;-)
Still the possibiliy of not having to bother with the bare minimum basics (a lot of it) is great relief !
No more futile arguments that never gets us anywhere.
I agree, but I also see the danger of watering down such textbooks to the lowest common denominator.
Yes, the books might just have gotten slimmer due to that. I also recall finding most history text books more concentrating on story telling rather than giving a wealth of material to digest and analyze. Both are important, but having only a few pages for each topic is so vastly simplifying and unexciting for the young minds.

Having multiple views, historiography, critical reading, and original documents included in the history curriculum would be much appreciated. One area where improvement is sorely needed is critical history of history telling; if many histories are distorted, then the students must know how to survive the distoritions and come out unscated by propaganda of all sorts. Do you think that is something that can be taught in junior hihg school history classes ?

We used to learn how 'nationalism' was necessary; if the imperialist-colonialist view is given its proper place in the back seat of 19-20th century historical writing, then the hypersensitive and skewed nationalist views can also shake free of the shackle of having to counter imperialist-colonialist ideas, naturally allowing for objective historical reasoning.

It would help to include selective bibliographies, references, and questions for each section for essay writing, and to have students engage in critical reading and debate.
In the case of Nanjing, it is simply like that, we have a number of varying estimates.
That could be another area where historical thinking can be encouraged for the junior high student instead of feeding the authoritative word out of the professional historian's mouth. Give them the facts and evidence, and let them draw a conclusion. Is that too dangerous ? Not having access to key documents and other kinds of evidence while being fed disinformation were the major culprits I think.
But what about shared history books between Korea & China? I'm afraid that they will simply leave out those parts that one party for nationalistic reasons doesn't like.
That's very much like putting a disagreeable member on ignore. I hope that nationalist historians be given less credit and cease to be mainstream; there should be a declaration of freedom from extreme propagandist histories.
It's a good start though, as I said. We will see what comes of it.
Absolutely.
 
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lexico

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Broken link to "Japanese Views 2nd Sino-Japanese War" fixed

lexico said:
Please read the following passage that concludes, after accepting the study result of Wakabayashi, "The Nanking 100-Man Killing Contest Debate," that "the sheer quantity, wide variety and high quality of evidence available today that attests to the massacre makes it more difficult than ever for anyone with intellectual integrity to dismiss or minimize it."

The site has been moved onto a private server here:

Japanese Views of the Second Sino-Japanese War-- Through the lens of the Nanjing Massacre and Events Connected with It
http://www.east-asian-history.net/textbooks/MJ/war_views.htm

Above page with extensive, informative links was built as part of
Making Japan: Modern Japanese History at Penn. State Univ. by Gregory Smits.
http://www.east-asian-history.net/textbooks/MJ/index.htm

Other material in topics of histories of Japan and China to be found at main page East Asian History Textbooks, Gregory Smits.
 
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lexico

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Japanese Court Upholds IMTFE Ruling on 100-Man Killing Contest

The relatives of two officers Mukai Toshiaki and Noda Takeshi have claimed that the two were innocently charged, condemned, and executed when the evidence of their alleged crimes was "fabricated" by Japanese journalists for two newspapers. The court ruled in favour of the original rulings of the International Military Tribunal of the Far East; they are guilty of the alleged murders. Although there might have been some exaggeration in the news report, that does not amount to a technical failure of the prosecution.


Chris Hogg
Tuesday, 23 August 2005
BBC News, Tokyo
BBC News said:
A Japanese court has rejected a claim that journalists made up the story of a killing competition carried out by Japan's army in China in 1937.

It is a rare legal victory for the critics of Japan's wartime past.

The relatives of two officers, accused of taking part in a race to decapitate Chinese soldiers, had sued for damages, claiming the report was fabricated.

Japan and China dispute the scale of murder, rape and looting during Japan's wartime occupation of parts of China.

As Japan's Imperial Army approached the Chinese city of Nanjing in 1937, war correspondents sent back home morale-boosting reports which were published in national newspapers.

One described the exploits of two officers who were said to have staged a competition to be the first to behead 100 Chinese soldiers.

The two men were later executed by the Chinese government.

'Not proven'

Two years ago, though, their relatives lodged a claim for $330,000 (36m yen) in damages from two newspapers - one, whose forerunner published the story in 1937, and another which carried an article repeating the allegations in 1971.

The families claimed the stories were false because they had not been proved. Now Tokyo's district court has rejected their suit.

The officers had admitted they raced to kill 100 people, the judge said.

Although the original article included some false elements and exaggeration since a final historical assessment of the contest has not been made, it is difficult to say it was fiction, he added.

The journalist who wrote the follow-up article in the 1970s claimed the case had been brought by those trying to deny the Nanjing massacre.

It is an event still disputed by scholars in Japan and China and continues to cause difficulties between the two countries more than half a century after it happened.

More related articles and links in Wikipedia Nanking Massacre
Bob Wakabayashi on Nanking 100-Man Killing Contest Debate: 1971-75
 
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