Reconstruction of Nationalism, 1964-1972
In 1960, there was major opposition in Japan to the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States. At that time, "attachment to the home country" was emphasized by both the parties of the right-wing and left-wing, each from their own position. With this movement as the context, the Ministry of Education began to exercise formal control over textbook content to affirm the "attachment." Special Assistants for social studies textbooks in the Ministry of Education declared their "policies for censoring of textbooks" in 1964. Jiro Murao first described his opinion in the May 1964 edition of Board of Education Monthly Report as follows:
The Russo-Japanese War was a large war which Japan fought at the risk of the ruin of the destiny of a nation. After World War II, the tendency, which defines this war as a war of aggression, prevailed for some time. However, recently the theories assuming it to be a defensive war are becoming powerful. Even if there are still some theories by which this is assumed to be an aggressive war, the loyalty, bravery, and the order of people who had died in the battlefield were the objects of praise from people all over the world at that time. It is truly odd that children today grow up not knowing about such people and only Diplomat Jutaro Komura from the Russo-Japanese War is memorized by children.... What character should be taught and how to teach history education in the sixth grade of elementary schools is left to the originality of each textbook author. But what I strongly expect concerning the textbooks which would be renewed in the future is that only the textbooks, in which the people's independent standpoints can be correctly acquired, will be published.47）
Moreover, Special Assistant Minoru Watabe presented his 'Hope on the History Textbooks' in the July 1964 edition of Materials for Elementary Education:
Concerning the history education in the sixth grade of the elementary schools, I think the following is important for instance: ... I want to emphasize that the Constitution of The Great Japan Empire of our country was enacted, going ahead of other Asian nations. The Russo-Japanese War was an historical, serious event for our country. I think it is necessary to give names such as the battle of Lu Shun, the battle of Fong Tian, and the battle of the Sea of Japan during the Russo-Japanese War etc. Moreover, it is necessary to take up in textbooks General Maresuke Nogi and General Heihachiro Togo and others as important historical actors.48）
Thus, in 1964, the change in the plan concerning the textbook authorization, which had been affected by the start of strong conservative government by the Liberal Democratic Party under the 1955 System, was open to the public all at once. Also, the Central Education Council announced a report named "The Expected Image of Humanity" in 1966. The from the report asserted that:
The defeat in World War II brought an important revolution to the nation and the society in Japan and the way of thinking among Japanese people. Especially, the miserable reality caused by the defeat produced Japanese misunderstanding as if Japan's past and Japanese ideal ways were mistakes entirely. As a result, the history of Japan and Japanese national character were disregarded there.49）
Now, the primary nationalism which
arose from "attachment to the home country"
among people was elaborated into the official
nationalism, by which one's own nation is
distinguished from another, and its unification,
independence, and development are promoted,
even in postwar Japan. The nationalism from
below came to be managed by the nationalism
from above in this case.
In censoring opinions on textbooks by the Ministry of Education expressed at the same time of the announcement of "The Expected Image of Humanity," their opinions were as follows:50） "Replace the word 'the Pacific War' with 'the Great East-Asian War,'" "It is unnecessary for children to reflect on the war. Cut it down," "Do not write 'aggression' against China because it is a textbook of Japan," "Write that it is necessary to win peace by power," "Peace movements are political plots by some political groups."
Additionally, some opinions such as "[The conclusion of World War II was] not an unconditional surrender because there was a condition like the Potsdam Declaration. Review this fact and rewrite it,"51） were based on the desire to emphasize the continuance of "sovereignty" which was a main element of a nation-state. The logic, which the Ministry of Education had adopted here, was that it was not "unconditional surrender" because Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration as a "condition," by which "unconditional surrender" was recommended, when Japan surrendered. Because of this opinion, the term "unconditional surrender" was rewritten to "surrender" in World History of Yamakawa Publishing in all editions after 1973.
|The Surrender of Japan|
|1951||(298) Japan decided the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration at the Presence Conference on the 10th, and surrendered unconditionally on the 15th. Now, totalitarianism completely surrendered to democracy.|
|1964a||(310) Japan decided the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration at the Presence Conference on August 10, surrendered to the Allies unconditionally on August 15, and World War II was concluded here. Thus, the war ended as a complete victory over the totalitarian countries by the democratic countries.|
|1973||(322) Japanese side decided the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration at the Presence Conference on the 10th, and surrendered on the 15th.|
In addition, strict guidance was provided about the continuance of not only "sovereignty" but also "territory" at this time. The censoring opinions against the descriptions for the northern territories are the representative. In 1966, the instruction was given to "Rewrite the expression of 'the issue of possession of South Chishima Islands' to the 'Northern Territories Issue.'"52） Here, the question of territorial boundaries, which is one of main elements of a nation-state, is prominent. The following censoring opinions were given in 1967: "Etorofu Island and Kunashiri Island are inside Japanese territory[, although they have been occupied by Russia since the end of the war]. Classify them clearly in the map,"53） "Etorofu Island, Kunashiri Island, South Sakhalin, Okinawa, and Ogasawara must be clearly described as the original Japanese territories in the map."54） Insisting on the validity of territorial boundaries is one of the bases of nationalism. In the censoring opinions at this time, it is remarkable that they assumed that South Sakhalin was also one of the "original Japanese territories," because ordinary Japanese people usually thought that this area had belonged to Russia. In this case, the Ministry of Education insisted too large "original Japanese territories." The "Territory problem" which Japan had with the Soviet Union in 1964 was resulted in the history textbooks in this way. It became a way for the people to imagine the "territory" of their home country.
These references to "territory"
were connected with detailed explanations
about the action of the Soviet Union at the
end of World War II. Different from the time
when both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. intervened
in Japanese policy under the Potsdam system,
the appearance of these censoring opinions
were caused by Japan's integration into the
American camp under the Cold War structure:
"Point out that the Soviet Union broke
the Japanese-Soviet Neutral Treaty,"55）
"Describe the Japanese-Soviet Neutral
Treaty,"56） "The Soviet Union had advanced to Sakhalin.
Specify the reason why the Soviet Union declared
war on Finland. Can the Soviet Union be called
a democratic country of the Allies?"57）
The Soviet Union was thought to be one of
of the Allies" in the 1950s. However,
the Soviet Union was
distinguished from the democratic nations
Concerning the "aggression" of Japan on the continent, the following ideas began to appear: "The word 'aggression' is not suitable from the standpoint of Japan. Rewrite the expression because this is a Japanese textbook. The expression that Japan advanced to Korea is one-sided. The other side should also have some responsibility. Describe it."58） Moreover, concerning the Japanese occupation of the continent, the following guidelines were offered: "Include that Japan constructed the chemical fertilizer factories in Hungnam and the power plants in Supung [in Korea],"59） "Add that the iron industry of China was built under the rule of Japan, so that pupils feel the sense of familiarity for the land. Writing that Japan was ruling Korea is not suitable."60） The following expressions were added to the textbooks because of such recommendations: the victory of Japan against Russia "gave a big stimulus to Asian nations" and "stimulated various races under the rule of European and American powers," or "the Japanese army expelled the European and American powers from Southeast Asia during the war" urged Asian nations to be independent. These ethnocentric revisions of historical knowledge appeared after the 1964 version.
|Aftereffect of victory of Japan in the Russo-Japanese War|
|1964a||(266) When newly-born Japan achieved victory over a large country like Russia, it gave a big stimulus to Asian nations which were under colonial rule, and played a role in permitting race feelings in Asia to develop. On the other hand, conditions in defeated Russia deteriorated further, and the country moved toward revolution.|
|1964b||(293) The influence, which the victory of Japan had produced on Asian various races, was not small. Therefore, racial awakening was seen in various places.|
|1973||(288) The influence, which the victory of Japan had produced on Asian various races, was large. Therefore, racial awakening was seen in various places.|
One may say that the activities of Japan in Asia waged under the slogan
of colonial emancipation --despite the vast inconsistencies between Japanese
words and actions later during the Fifteen Year War-- became a factor in
demolishing the foundation of the European system of colonialism. However,
it is sociologically important that such information appeared for the first
time in the 1964 version of textbooks in Japan. We can notice that the
tendency to distinguish the home country from other countries and to esteem one's own country especially began to be expressed at this time.
The so-called "democratic period in the postwar period" up until the mid-1950s partly can be called "the time when Japanese nationalism collapsed," as Shiro Baba said. However, postwar Japan made a comeback to an independent nation-state by the San Francisco Peace Treaty. As a result, descriptions not based on nationalism came to be withdrawn from the 1957 version of history textbooks. In that sense, it can be said that the declaration that "the 'postwar period' has already ended" in the Japanese government's white paper in 1956 hit the mark. In addition, after the 1960s, the nationalism expressed in the textbooks was controlled officially. We can point out a revival of official nationalism from above in textbooks since the 1964 version. The tendency develops further in the 1973 version.
|Comments on photographs of "soldiers of the Powers which participated in the Yihetuan Rebellion"|
|1957||(249) [Sketch] The united army is chasing the Yihetuan, approaching a suburb of Tienchin.|
|1964a||(264) [Photograph] Soldiers of the united army which repressed the war of Yihetuan. The mustering of the armies of the Powers which sent troops to repress the Yihetuan Rebellion. The shortest one is a Japanese soldier, and fought most bravely than any other countries' soldiers in this war.|
|1973||(287) [Photograph] Soldiers of the united army which repressed the Yihetuan Rebellion. The mustering of the armies of the Powers which sent troops to repress of Yihetuan. Great Britain, the United States, Russia, India, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and Japan from the left. It is said that Japanese soldiers fought most bravely than any other countries' soldiers.|
|1983b||(284) [Photograph] Soldiers of the united armies who were dispatched jointly to the Yihetuan Rebellion.|
|1994||(274) [Photograph] Soldiers of the united armies who were dispatched to the Yihetuan Rebellion. Soldiers from Great Britain, the United States, Russia, British-territory-India, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and Japan from the left.|
What are excerpted here are the comments on the photographs of the Powers'
soldiers fixed to the line, who were dispatched to the Chinese continent
at the Yihetuan Rebellion [the Boxer Rebellion]. The description "Japanese
soldiers fought most bravely than any other countries' soldiers,"
which glorified Japan, appeared in the 1964 version for the first time.
So, it can be said that World History of Yamakawa Publishing became a textbook "for Japanese" here
at this point. Also, in the 1973 version, a negative phrase for Japan "the
shortest one is a Japanese soldiers" was deleted. This ethnocentric
tendency remained in this textbook until the 1983 version would be published.
The Start of Trials Brought by Professor Ienaga to Protest the Ethnocentric Educational Policy
On the other hand, legal validity of textbook screening system was questioned in the mid-1960s. Textbook lawsuits by Saburo Ienaga, a history scholar, became the chance of this movement. As we have already seen, Ienaga had written the history textbook entitled New Japanese History for high school education published from Sanseido since 1952. However, he had been compelled by the Ministry of Education to revise his textbook over and over since the end of the 1950s. Ienaga insisted that the correction demanded by the Ministry of Education violated freedom of expression, academic freedom, and freedom of education. He filed suit and appealed for compensation for damages on June 12, 1965, because he "received emotional distress." The following is an example of the effects of such censoring opinions that this filing suit made public:61）
[Original text] The war was glorified as the "Holy War", and all the defeats of Japanese army and atrocities in the battlefields were concealed. Therefore, the majority of Japanese people could not learn the truth. The people were in the circumstances where they could do nothing but silently cooperate in the rash war.
[Censoring opinion] If you write "atrocity by the Japanese military," and if the assault by Soviet army is not included in your text, it is one-sided. Also, the U.S.'s too. Historical evaluation has not yet not decided about recent events like World War II. Therefore, it is preferable for textbooks to describe the events as objectively as possible, taking a careful attitude. It is not appropriate to evaluate them with the description, "the rash war."
[Sample book] All sentences deleted.
The first decision on the Ienaga's
lawsuit was given at the Tokyo District Court
on July 17, 1970. In the decision, it was
assumed that the content of authorization
was unconstitutional, and the Ministry of
Education lost the suit. In the field of
the history education in 1970 where the official
nationalism had already become the main current,
this decision revived the basic idea of the
"postwar democratic" education
before 1956. However, Chief Judge Sugimoto,
who had delivered the decision, was demoted
to a trifling job by later personnel changes.
This fact symbolizes the continuing power
of postwar Japanese nationalism.
Still, it was important that many of the standards of judgements of textbook authorization, which had not been made public so far, were clarified during the process of this trial. These standards had not been conveyed to the writers and the publishers of the textbooks until then. Thus, the realities of authorization by the Ministry of Education appeared on a public stage, and the part of the censor became visible. The movements based on democracy and pacifism, such as the Ienaga's lawsuit, would succeed after the mid-1980s, when a new generation of Japanese people would become the majority of the nation.