Thursday, April 07, 2005

Is It Revisionist History, Or Mass Denial Of Responsibility?

For many years, the Japanese school system has been accused of "glossing over" Japan's role in the Second World War. From the latest installment of this long-running controversy:

Fueling an international dispute over wartime history, Japan's government approved a new public school textbook Tuesday that China and South Korea immediately denounced as "poison" for whitewashing Japan's World War II atrocities.

The history book immediately was assailed by critics in Japan, China and South Korea, who accused the authors of glossing over such crimes as the forced wartime prostitution of thousands of Asian women by the Japanese military, justifying Tokyo's military expansion and using wartime propaganda terminology, such as calling World War II the "Great Asia War."

"The Republic of Korea expresses regret over the fact that some of the 2006 Japanese middle school textbooks ... still contain content that justifies and glorifies wrongs committed in the past," the South Korean Embassy in Japan said in a statement.

Japan colonized South Korea from 1910 until 1945, and many Koreans still harbor deep resentment against Tokyo.

China's Foreign Ministry called the book "a poison for Japan's younger generations" and summoned Japan's ambassador to Beijing, Koreshige Anami, to voice disapproval. A Chinese trade group representing chain stores called on its members to stop selling Japanese products in protest.

"The Chinese government expresses indignation toward the Japanese government for approving the revised textbook in spite of China's strong representations on many occasions," ministry official Qiao Zonghuai said in a statement.

We find the Chinese Government's objections to the textbook more than a little ironic. And we are more than a little curious to know how Chinese school textbooks examine the brutal suppression of China's pro-democracy movement and the massacre of unarmed students in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in the summer of 1989.
View the latest edition of The Carnival Of Education here.

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