Japan's Right-wing textbook is teaching material by negative example: Comment

Japan's textbook examination and approval work which takes place once every four years came to an end on April 5, the Ministry of Education and Science announced the adoption of eight versions of history textbook for junior middle schools. What makes people feel indignant is that the "new history textbook"which is supported by Right-wing forces, edited and written and sent to the relevant department for examination by the "new history textbook compilation committee", and which distorts historical facts was also unexpectedly adopted. If this Right-wing textbook had any value of existence, then the value is that it can serve as a teaching material by negative example.

Photo:Japan's new history textbook distorts history.
Japan's new history textbook distorts history.
The motive of concocting this negative teaching material is so-called criticizing the "historical conception of self-maltreatment". The compilation committee members went so far as to declare: "In the unending postwar waves of a historical conception of self-maltreatment, some people still have blind faith in the judgment made in the Tokyo trial and ascribe the reason and responsibility for the war to Japan, etc. With regard to textbook that to different degrees dares to record historical facts, they wantonly attack it as "a historical conception of maltreatment" and "anti-Japan education". While the principle for the so-called "correct history" they wrote is aimed to let Japanese "feel proud", to discard things disadvantageous to themselves from voluminous materials and find out things to their benefit". With a twisted psychology and under a morbid editing principle, the things they concocted are definitely be fake and shoddy "products" full of deception and distortion of contents.

Photo:Samples of textbooks compiled by the Right wing. Such history-distortion textbooks openly fan up anti-China sentiments among Japanese youngsters.
Samples of textbooks compiled by the Right wing. Such history-distortion textbooks openly fan up anti-China sentiments among Japanese youngsters.
Japan's Right-wing textbook which beautifies aggression, distorts historical facts, and escapes scot-free is a provocation to human justice and intuitive knowledge, seriously hurting the feelings of the people of all the victimized countries and poisoning the minds of Japanese youngsters. This naturally meets with strong condemnations from the people of all victimized Asian countries, including the Chinese people. Japanese Right-wing forces allege their neighbors' legitimate concerns and voices of justice as "interference in internal affairs".True, how to edit ordinary textbooks, how to examine and approve these textbooks and how to educate the youths are indeed matters of the Japanese themselves. But these Japanese textbooks are not ordinary books, they involve accounts on the neighboring Asian countries, and involve the concealment and adulteration of the historical facts about Japanese militarist expansionism. Obviously, this has gone beyond the scope of Japan's internal affairs, it concerns Japan's relations with neighboring countries and concerns harm to or respect for the feelings of the people of neighboring countries. On November 1982 when the Japanese Ministry of Education conducted revisions of the standard for examination of books to be used in schools, it laid down the additional stipulations on "clauses concerning neighboring countries", that is, "While handling contemporary historical matters between Japan and various Asian neighboring countries, necessary consideration should be given based on international understanding and international coordination". After an interval of 20-odd years, could it be that the Japanese government has forgotten all these contents? The manifestation of reality makes people feel that nowadays the Japanese government's "international sense conception" seems to have become very different from before, and have increasingly changed to a style of "talking to itself", giving no thought to its neighbors.

Photo:Representatives of Japanese civic groups hold a press conference in Tokyo April 5, 2005. Sixteen Japanese civic groups held the press conference to protest against a new edition of school textbook, approved by Japan's Ministry of Education on Tuesday.
Representatives of Japanese civic groups hold a press conference in Tokyo April 5, 2005. Sixteen Japanese civic groups held the press conference to protest against a new edition of school textbook, approved by Japan's Ministry of Education on Tuesday.
The essence of the textbook issue is whether or not Japan can correctly understand and treat Japanese history of militarist aggression and whether or not it can educate the younger generation with a correct conception of history. People are not in the least surprised at Japanese Right-wingers' act of recklessly distorting history and constantly calling back the spirit of Japanese militarists. The big step back taken by the Japanese government cannot but has aroused people's vigilance. It is totally untenable for the Japanese government to absolve itself of the responsibility under the excuse of the "particularity" of the system of examining and approving textbooks. In this regard, Germany serves as a clearest mirror. Germany institutes a federal system, education is placed under the responsibility of various federal states, and so there is not a unified textbook there. Due to factors such as the category of middle schools and the period of schooling, Germany has a variety of history textbooks. But this does not mean that one can conduct history education in whatever way one wishes. A joint conference of German education minister issued a special government decree, which stressed that all types of middle schools must give detailed account to the history phase of Nazi During WWII, the puppet Vichy regime worked hand in glove with Adolf Hitler in wantonly persecuting the Jews. French history textbook does not in the least cover up this phase of inglorious history. In comparison, the Japanese government's formulation about the issue of history textbook is only a pale and weak sophistry.

Photo:Textbook rekindles public uproar in S. Korea
Textbook rekindles public uproar in S. Korea
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the victory of the world Anti-Fascist War as well as the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, it is also the 60th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. It is well known that Japan and Germany as the Axis member countries in those years are now both economic powers, but the international community's reaction to them are vastly different, one of the main reasons is that the two countries'attitudes toward that phase history of aggression are diametrically different. Negative teaching material such as the Right-wing textbook, and such teacher by negative example as the Right-wing textbook editor will not win pride, trust and respect for Japan, they can only bring doubt, query and indignation to Japan. The Japanese government's act of connivance is only adding a more ugly touch to this type of negative teaching material. As we look at the recent trends of Japan's relations with its neighboring countries, we don't know in what position Japan will place itself in Asia in the future. This deserves deep thought from the Japanese governors.

The above commentary is published on the front page of People's Daily Overseas Edition, April 6, and translated by People's Daily Online

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