For a country with a complicated history like Japan, the subject will sure be a controversial one to tackle especially in the realm of education. Maybe this is why Japanese history is not a required subject in high school and only 60% of all Japanese high school students have formal knowledge of it. This may be set to change as the government is planning to make Japanese history a required subject contained in its new high school curriculum.
At the beginning of the week, it was made known that the Japanese central government was reviewing whether or not Japanese history should be made obligatory in high schools. At present, Japanese history is an elective course. The government, citing globalization and the increasing numbers of Japanese citizens working abroad as a reason, said that the Japanese educational system should cultivate a citizenry that has learned and understood Japan’s history. Hakubun Shimomura, Japan’s Minister for Education, has revealed that as early as this summer, the Central Council for Education will be reviewing the government-set school curriculum on subjects that can be revised. After the revision, it is possible that Japanese history will become a required subject for high school students as early as 2019.
This is a curious move for the Japanese government led by the hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and it might be impossible for the public to look at this action as without any political motivation. Japan’s history and the facts that go into the history books have always been controversial topics, with some of the war-related points being criticized by neighbors China and South Korea. And with Abe set to push for the revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution, this move can be seen as a deliberate attempt to forward the administration’s extreme right tendencies.
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