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Title: Building Identity from WWII: A Study on Japanese History Textbooks
Authors: 練鴻慶
Lian, Hong-Qing
Cachia, Philippe
Contributors: 亞太研究英語博士學位學程
Keywords: WWII;Japan;textbook;Japanese identity
Date: 2010-03-09
Issue Date: 2015-12-29 16:49:20 (UTC+8)
Abstract: This study examines to what extent the Japanese history textbooks shape the collective identity in Japan. Japanese history textbooks have been the subject of debate over the recent years. Since school textbooks could serve as a critical factor in the construction of collective identity (i.e. sense of belonging to one distinct community), this study, by reviewing the controversial WWII descriptions, maps the correlation between identity and textbook content. After defining key components of Japanese identity, using reference works such as The Chrysanthemum and the Sword by Ruth Benedict, the authors examine how WWII is presented in mainstream history textbooks in today’s secondary education in Japan. Our method includes reviewing the story line, giving particular attention to the beginning and end of war as well as key events such as Pearl-Harbor, Nanking Massacre, and Atomic bombing. Our study also follows but is not limited to a few guiding questions regarding the responsibility of Japan in WWII, its interaction with involved countries, and the more general lessons of war. We also consider what supportive illustrations are used, what perspectives are taken (or omitted), and what messages are communicated. In the examination process, manifest and latent Japanese values are highlighted. In the last section, the authors conclude by relating their findings on textbooks to the popular representations of Japanese identity. It is expected that history textbooks participate in contemporary self-image construction of unique “Japaneseness”. It however seems that the school textbooks could represent WWII more as a mix of heterogeneous and contradictory memories which would encourage children to appreciate the multiple facets of history. Considering the complexity of the subject, the study invites more inter-disciplinary work on Japanese collective identity constitution with regard to history understanding.
Relation: 亞太研究英語博士學位學程學術研討會:崛起中的亞太區域:合作的機會與挑戰
主辦單位:國立政治大學亞太研究英語博士學位學程, 國立中興大學國際政治研究所
Data Type: conference
Appears in Collections:[2010亞太研究英語博士學位學程學術研討會] 會議論文

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