The Peak of Postwar Japanese Nationalism, 1973-1982
It can be said that the decision in 1970 on the Ienaga's lawsuit was an exceptional event, because Japanese nationalism initiated by the administration did not change basically even in the 1970s. For example, the guideline to "Change 'unconditional surrender' to 'surrender'" was gradually strengthened, and the idea had spread among people.
From 1978 to 1979, there occurred the "controversy on unconditional surrender," which Jun Eto and other political commentators unfolded in magazines and newspapers such as Gunzou, Sankei Shimbun, and Shokun!. Eto reexamined the newspaper articles from the time of the defeat, and insisted that "not only Japanese people but also critics from the U.S. had recognized that the surrender of Japan was not unconditional surrender. The surrender of Japan were completely different from those of Germany which had surrendered unconditionally, and the situation under the occupation was different."62） Eto argued that the end of the war happened as a result of Japan's "conditional" surrender, and what happened after that was just the "security occupation."
After this controversy, the textbooks of Yamakawa Publishing also changed the description concerning "surrender." Thus, the old-fashioned nationalistic thought reasserted its influence concerning the contents of the textbooks inside Japan.
However, at the same time, the historical understanding among Japanese people began to be questioned outside Japan. There was an increase in popular anti-Japan movements in Southeast Asia. The San Francisco Peace Treaty, which was concluded in 1951 and effectuated in 1952, left the problems between Japan and many Asian nations unsettled because it was a peacemaking only between Japan and the West. Afterwards, though compensation negotiations were concluded with each Asian countries (with Burma in 1954, with the Philippines in 1956, with Indonesia in 1958, with south Vietnam in 1959, with South Korea in 1965, and with Malaysia in 1967), these were discussions about national compensation between governments of both sides. What was agreed through these discussions was the gratuitous assistance and economic cooperation in exchange for the abandonment of the claims on war compensation. The compensations to individual victims were left to the governments of each country. Dissatisfaction among individuals in Asia was held down by the authoritarian ruling system in Asian nations which supported the anti-communist alliance in the Cold War structure.63）
A typical case where the dissatisfaction exploded all at once was, for instance, the "Anti-Japan Riot" which broke out in Jakarta when Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka visited there on January 15, 1974. These kind of movements were a surprise for ordinary Japanese people who had been taught about the distinguished services of Japan to Asian nations. The lack of sensitivity among Japanese people to such movements had been inculcated by the education in the postwar days, whose policy was changed after 1957 under the Cold War structure.64）
In addition, there was a change domestically. The U.S. policy toward Vietnam became a big obstacle to intellectual exchange between Japan and the U.S. Information about tragedies in Vietnam informed the academic atmosphere in which Japanese social scientists reflected on Japan's former imperialism.65） That is, the anti-Vietnam War movement created the atmosphere in which the sins of the U.S. military were identified with the sins of the former Japanese military. It also was an opportunity to reflect on the economic invasion by Japanese companies in other Asian areas in the postwar period.
In such an atmosphere, new historical terms were to appear on textbooks to enrich the descriptions of Asian history. Of course, the Ministry of Education did not easily allow this tendency. For instance, some textbook authors tried to write in more detail about Hong Kyongrae, a leader of a rebellion in Korea in 1811, to explain Korean history in the early 19th century. But the Ministry of Education said there was "No need to teach about Hong Kyongrae in Korean history in Japanese education."66） However, "Hong Kyongrae" was going to appear on World History for high school education published by Yamakawa Publishing after the 1994 version, as will be shown later, because this information is important to understand the circumstances of east Asia in the 19th century. The conditions under which multi-national viewpoints would be accepted began to be arranged, by efforts from the inside and outside Japan, in the age of internationalism after the late 1970s.
It is needless to say that this caused revisions of the image of history on the relations among China, Korea, and Japan, too. Many historians began to write about the "Nanking Massacre" in their textbooks in the mid-1970s. Against this movement, the Ministry of Education issued censoring opinions mainly from a standpoint which denied "systematic slaughter:"
[Original text] After having occupied Nanking, the Japanese army murdered numerous Chinese soldiers and civilians. This is called the Nanking Atrocity.
[Censoring opinion] It can be read that the army systematically slaughtered Chinese immediately after the occupation. Neither the time of its occurrence nor the organization of the slaughter have been determined academically yet.
[Sample book] The Japanese army occupied Nanking fanatically, defeating the violent resistance of the Chinese army, and murdered numerous Chinese soldiers and civilians. This is called the Nanking Atrocity.67）
In this case, the phrase "fanatically,
defeating the violent resistance of the Chinese
army" was added to the sample book.
That is, this text connotes that the victims
of the massacre included not only Chinese
soldiers and civilians killed after the occupation,
but also the "violent resistance"
during the battle. This change reduces tragic
impression of the slaughter.
The descriptions concerning Korea were more complicated. Though historical studies to try to describe Korean history more objectively had increased, the Ministry of Education understood that the condition of Korea (and Taiwan) before World War II was different from those of other Asian regions. The reason was that Korea had been included in the "Great Japan Empire" for 35 years after the annexation in 1910. The Ministry of Education at this time treated Korean people as "Japanese," and tried to think of Korean people as being different from other East Asians. For instance:
[Original text] Korean people and Chinese people who had been forcibly brought to Japan were compelled to do severe works.
[Censoring opinion] At that time, Korean people were Japanese. They are not the same as Chinese people.
[Sample book] People from Korea and Chinese people who had been forcibly brought to Japanese mainland were compelled to do severe works.68）
[Original text] Japan brought Korean people and Chinese people to Japanese mainland by force, and forced them to overwork in the mines etc. (At least 600,000 or more Korean people and about 50,000 Chinese people were forcibly brought from 1939 to 1945). The assimilationist policy into Japanese was promoted in Korea and Taiwan. ("Soshi-kaimei [Changing names into the Japanese style]," establishing the Shinto shrines, and visiting shrines were required in Korea. By these policies, Korean people's racial originality was denied, people were forced to speak the Japanese language, and their names were forcibly changed into the Japanese style.)
[Censoring opinion] Distinguish Korean people from Chinese people. Korea was a Japanese territory at that time. People from Korea were not brought forcibly, because the National Mobilization Order was applied to them.69）
The Ministry of Education used the strange logic here that the bringing was not forcible because "Korean people were Japanese at that time." The Ministry of Education in the postwar days followed the prewar Japanese Government's bureaucratic assumption that Korean people were not brought "forcibly," if the "National Mobilization Order" was applied to them:
[Original text] The Japan-China war broke out in 1937.... About 700,000 Korean people were forcibly brought to Japan after the next year. They were compelled to do slave-like labor, where human rights were completely disregarded, along with Chinese people who were brought as captives of the Japan-China war.
[Censoring opinion] "Korean people were forcibly brought to Japan" might be so in reality. However, because Korean people at that time were considered to be Japanese, it was not forcible. Why don't you write "by the National Mobilization Order." Moreover, "slave-like labor where human rights were completely disregarded" might have been so in many cases, but it is necessary to examine whether or not all cases were so.70）
Here the Ministry of Education intentionally
expanded the concept of "Japanese,"
and applied the concept to "Korean people."
By doing so, the Ministry of Education tried
to insist on the legitimacy of prewar Japanese
behavior. It can be understood that the postwar
Japanese Government is consistent with the
government at the prewar days from this respect.
The "official nationalism" is the
nationalism from above to insist on the legitimacy
of a nation, looking back to the past. It
can be said that this example is its typical
However, this kind of government-fostered nationalistic view of history began to be the object of the mutual monitoring by other nation-states. As we will see next, the "image of the world" among Japanese people expressed in the textbooks would come to be questioned in the international community after 1982. It was the "Aggression-Advancement" debate in 1982 that led the change. The Ministry of Education prepared the basis of this debate by giving censoring opinions against the word "aggression" from the latter half of the 1970s to 1981. The following opinion was given in 1980.
[Original Text] "aggression"
[Censoring opinion] We want you to use "invasion," "trespass," or "advancement." "Aggression" contains the value judgment of badness.71）
As Anthony Giddens pointed out, the
nation-states are the systems which monitor
themselves mutually.72） The monitoring reaches inside and outside
of the border, and brings information for
the people to imagine the boundary of their
community. Though Japan as a nation-state
invented the image "advancement to the
continent" as the material by which
Japanese people imagine their home country,
China and South Korea as nation-states began
to object to the Japanese image, because
the materials are also necessary for those
two nation-states to imagine the past. That
the word "advancement" became the
focus of the confrontation means that the
international mutual monitoring started operating
in East Asia under the globalization of human