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Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform

Member of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform putting up a banner reading "(Teach) the kids the correct history" in front of Yasukuni Jinja

Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform (新しい歴史教科書をつくる会 Atarashii Rekishi Kyōkasho o Tsukuru Kai) is a group founded in December 1996[1] to promote a nationalistic view of Japanese history.


  • Productions and views 1
  • Public reception 2
    • New History Textbook 2005 version 2.1
  • Notable members 3
    • Shinzō Abe 3.1
    • Shiro Takahashi 3.2
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6
    • Translated excerpts from the textbook 6.1
    • Translation project 6.2

Productions and views

The group was responsible for authoring a history textbook published from Fusōsha (扶桑社), which was heavily criticised by China, South Korea, and many Western historians for not including full accounts of or downplaying Imperial Japanese war crimes during World War II, such as the Nanjing Massacre (南京大虐殺) being euphemistically labelled as "Nanjing Incident" (南京事件) and the policy of utilizing "comfort women" (慰安婦).

The textbook also highlights Japan's claim to the Liancourt Rocks, which Japan calls Takeshima and which South Korea calls Dokdo; as well as the Senkaku Islands, called Diaoyu in Chinese, which are administered by Japan and claimed by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The Japan Policy Institute (日本政策研究センター, not to be confused with the JPRI based in San Francisco) has published a pamphlet entitled "Questionable points of Chinese and Korean textbooks" (ここがおかしい中国・韓国歴史教科書). The institute accuses neighboring Asian nations' textbooks of containing anti-Japanese propaganda, and encouraged people to compare the textbooks.

Public reception

The textbook, published as a trade book in Japan in June 2001, sold six hundred thousand copies by June 2004.[2] Despite commercial success, the book was taken up by only a handful of schools, most of which are privately run and located in a comparatively small geographic area of Tokyo.[3]

New History Textbook 2005 version

Translated by Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.[4]

  1. Nanjing Massacre:
    "In August 1937, two Japanese soldiers, one an officer, were shot to death in Shanghai (the hub of foreign interests). After this incident, the hostilities between Japan and China escalated. Japanese military officials thought Chiang Kai-shek would surrender if they captured Nanking, the Nationalist capital; they occupied that city in December. *But Chiang Kai-shek had moved his capital to the remote city of Chongqing. The conflict continued. Note *At this time, many Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed or wounded by Japanese troops (the Nanking Incident). Documentary evidence has raised doubts about the actual number of victims claimed by the incident. The debate continues even today" (p. 49).
  2. Marco Polo Bridge Incident:
    “On July 7, 1937, shots were fired at Japanese soldiers while they were engaged in maneuvers near Marco Polo Bridge (located outside Beijing). By the next day, this incident (the Marco Polo Bridge Incident) had escalated into hostilities with Chinese troops. The incident was of relatively small magnitude, and efforts were made to resolve it locally. But Japan decided to send a large number of troops to China when the Nationalist government issued an emergency mobilization order. These events marked the beginning of a war that lasted for eight long years" (p. 49).
  3. Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere:
    "The war inflicted a huge amount of devastation and suffering on the peoples of Asia, where it was fought. The casualties (both military and civilian) attributable to Japanese invasions were particularly high in China. Each time the Japanese occupied a Southeast Asian nation, they set up a military administration. Leaders of local independence movements cooperated with those military administrations so that they could liberate their countries from the yoke of the Western powers. But when the Japanese insisted that local populations learn the Japanese language and worship at Shinto shrines, they met with resistance. Anti-Japanese elements who aligned themselves with the Allies engaged in guerrilla warfare, which Japanese troops dealt with severely. Many people, civilians included, were killed during these confrontations. When the fortunes of war turned against Japan and food supplies ran short, the Japanese often forced the local population to do back-breaking work. After the war was over, Japan paid reparations to those nations. Then Japan was accused of promoting the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere philosophy to justify the war and occupation of Asia. Later, after Japan was defeated and Japanese troops had withdrawn from Asia, all these former colonies achieved independence through their own efforts during the next dozen years. Some Japanese soldiers remained in Asia and participated in the various struggles for independence. The initial goal of Japan’s southward advance was to obtain resources, but it also served to spur on nascent independence movements in Asia" (p. 54)
  4. Japanese Actions Inspire the Peoples of Asia:
    "Japanese soldiers drove out the forces of Western Europe, which had colonized the nations of Asia for many years. They surprised us, because we didn’t think we could possibly beat the white man, and they inspired us with confidence. They awakened us from our long slumber, and convinced us to make the nation of our ancestors our own nation once again. We cheered the Japanese soldiers as they marched through the Malay Peninsula. When we saw the defeated British troops fleeing, we felt an excitement we had never experienced before. (Excerpt from the writings of Raja Dato Nong Chik, leader of the Malaysian independence movement and former member of the Malaysian House of Representatives)" (p. 54)

Notable members

Shinzō Abe

In 1997, Shinzō Abe led the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, and founded the Institute of Junior Assembly Members Who Think About the Outlook of Japan and History Education.[5]

Shiro Takahashi

One of the authors of the text, Shiro Takahashi, a Meisei University professor and former deputy chairman of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, was hired by the Saitama Prefecture Board of Education in December 2004 while still serving as a member of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.

See also


  1. ^ Carolin Rose: The Battle for Hearts and Minds. Patriotic Education in Japan in the 1990s and Beyond. In: Naoko Shimazu (editor): Nationalisms in Japan. Routledge 2006.
  2. ^ ] (Asahi Shimbun, July 20, 2004 )
  3. ^ 0.03% of junior high students to use disputed textbook (Kyodo, August 20, 2001 )
  4. ^ New History Textbook (Chapter 4 & 5) 2005 version May, 2005
  5. ^ "Shinzo Abe And The Return Of Japanese Nationalism - A View From Beijing" - May 13, 2013

External links

  • ERIC Digest summary (English)
  • Japan Times article – April 6, 2005 (English)
  • Official website (Japanese)
  • Fuso Publishing Inc. – Official website of the textbook's publisher. (Japanese)
  • Sankei Web news article – April 16, 2005 (Japanese)

Translated excerpts from the textbook

  • English translation
  • Simplified Chinese translation (簡体字)
  • Traditional Chinese translation (繁體字)
  • Korean translation

Translation project

  • Translation project home (Japanese)
    • Chinese translation project
    • Korean translation project
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