TOKYO: Japanese nationalists gathered outside Japan’s Ministry of Education on Feb 19. to protest the ministry’s selection of history textbooks. Japanese textbook controversies have been an issue both domestically and internationally, particularly with countries that were occupied by Japanese forces before and during World War II.
“It is shameful to educate Japanese children with textbooks that contain wrong information,” exclaimed a woman protestor using a loudspeaker. “They will grow up disliking their own country.”
Japan’s School Education Law requires schools to use textbooks authorized by the Ministry of Education. Critics, mostly from countries occupied by Japan, claim the government textbook authorization system has been used to reject textbooks that depict Imperial Japan in a negative light.
Textbooks are often criticized for either mentioning or not addressing war issues such as the “Nanjing Massacre” in China and the “comfort women” issue, which is particularly sensitive in Korea. Friday’s demonstrators were protesting about the inclusion of such issues in the textbooks.
“I came to appeal to the Education Ministry against the wrong information in Japanese textbooks, especially about our military and the issue of the so-called comfort women,” a male protester told Arab News Japan.
The protestors distributed flyers to passersby with statements like, “Ministry of Education in Japan, how long are you going to humiliate Japan?”
The lingering wartime issues show how the three Asian giants, China, Korea and Japan, still have long way to go to heal the pain caused by historical disputes.