Using Education to Make Japan Great Again?

Professor Yuki Honda, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Education

Professor Yuki Honda, a sociologist at University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Education, is concerned about the rise of state-sponsored authoritarianism within Japan’s compulsory education system. Patriotism is taught under the current National Curriculum. A revised National Curriculum, to be rolled out over the next few years, will put schoolchildren under even greater pressure to contribute to the nation in ways not seen since the Second World War and before. “The objective is not to realize student potential, but to exploit people to make Japan great again,” she says.

Honda worries Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to revive the spirit of the Imperial Rescript on Education (kyōikuchokugo). The Imperial Rescript is a 315-word education edict issued by Emperor Meiji in 1890 to help unify the then diverse peoples of Japan. Memorized by students, it promoted loyalty, filial piety and patriotism among schoolchildren. “Should emergency arise, offer yourselves courageously to the State; and thus guard and maintain the prosperity of Our Imperial Throne coeval with heaven and earth,” it advises. Imperial-war leaders co-opted the mantra to marshal youth towards the militarism of WWII.

Drawing a picture of three concentric rings, Honda points to a bulls-eye ultranationalist core representing…. click to read the full article at The Diplomat

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