Japan has strengthened distortion technology related to history in elementary school textbooks. In all elementary school textbooks used next year, the claim that “Dokdo (Takeshima) is a Japanese territory”, which has been published since 2019, has been maintained, and some textbooks have added specific content that “Korea has been occupying illegally for about 70. years.” In the issue of conscription and comfort women, it reflected the historical revisionist view that there was no coercion, and weakened the history of Japan’s completeness from the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592 to forced labor.
Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology held a screening committee on the 28th and announced the results of 149 elementary school textbooks containing this content.
“Dokdo is the territory of Japan” in every elementary school textbook
According to the Sankei Shimbun, from next year, education on Japanese territory will be strengthened in social studies subjects in elementary schools. Social studies textbooks for grade 5 and 6 include Dokdo and the four islands of the South Kuril Islands (Northern Territories in Japanese): Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai, north of Hokkaido, Japan, which get effectively controlled by Russia, and China and Japan, which are effectively controlled by Japan The Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu Islands in Chinese), a disputed territory between Japan and China, were designated as indigenous territories Japan.
Starting with elementary school textbooks in 2019, followed by middle school in 2020, and all high school textbooks last year, the claim that ‘Dokdo is Japanese territory’ was reinforced in all elementary school textbooks. The Board of the Approval Council ordered that the expression of territorial claim should be stated more clearly because there was concern that children could be misunderstood by the expression ‘Japanese territory’ alone.
According to Yonhap News Agency and the Ministry of Education, Tokyo Books replaced “Japan is protesting because it is occupied by Korea” among the descriptions related to Dokdo in its map textbooks with “Japan is protesting because of its being ‘illegally’ occupied by Korea. ” In addition, the publisher changed the phrase “Korea is illegally occupying” in social studies textbooks to “Korea has been illegally occupied for about 70 years ago.”
Japanese Literature Publishing added an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial waters to Japanese maps that include Dokdo in a grade 5 social studies textbook, visually marking Dokdo as Japanese territory. If you look at the map, there’s a good chance you’ll have a historically incorrect perception that Korea claimed ownership of Dokdo by occupying it in modern times.
From the Imjin War to Japanese conscription… The history of the crime was weakened
As a result of this inspection of textbooks, it was found that Japan has greatly weakened its history as an aggressor from the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592 to the period of Japanese colonial rule. Among 149 textbooks, 12 social studies textbooks for 3rd to 6th grade pupils and 2 guidance textbooks for 3rd to 6th graders in elementary schools added ‘support’ to the content related to conscription to weaken the coercion. Added content to give the perception that many Koreans voluntarily participated in the Japanese army during Japan’s colonial period.
Tokyo Books, the No. 1 share of social studies textbooks for elementary schools, changed the current phrase “Korean males were drafted as soldiers of the Japanese army” in their 6th grade social studies textbooks to “Korean males joined the Japanese army as soldiers and their draft later.” he did The description of the picture next to the column was changed from ‘Joseon youth who became soldiers’ to ‘Joseon youth who became soldiers by volunteering’.
Education Publishing’s 6th grade social studies textbook, which came in second in terms of market share, also removed ‘conscripted’ from the description of “I was drafted as a Japanese soldier and sent to the battlefield” and replaced i “I was sent to the battlefield as a Japanese soldier.” Tokyo Books and Education Publishing removed the phrase “conscription” from the new textbook, changed the description to say it was only done at a certain time, and added the word “support.”
Regarding forced labour, content was added that weakened ‘forcing’, but the content did not change significantly. Tokyo Books replaced “brought” with “mobilized” in the phrase “a large number of Koreans and Chinese were forcibly brought in.”
Tokyo Books used the words ‘forced’ and ‘mobilised’, but other textbooks did not use such expressions at all. Regarding forced labor, Education Publishing maintained its description of forced labor, saying, “To make up for the lack of labor in Korea, many people from Joseon and China were brought to Japan and forced to do hard labor in mines. “
The fact that Japan has historically been an aggressor has been exposed or greatly minimized in textbooks. Nippon Literature Publishing removed a column detailing the 100th anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake from its 6th grade social studies textbook. The content that “many Koreans were killed due to the spread of false rumors such as ‘Koreans poisoned the well'” disappeared, and related content was significantly reduced.
Among the new social studies textbooks, there were books that minimized Korea’s influence on Japan in ancient history and omitted the part about the damage to Joseon from the description of Japan’s invasion of Korea in 1592. On the other hand, Nippon Mungyo Publishing had some improvements in technology related to Korea, such as adding the content that “people who opposed Japanese rule are conducting fierce resistance movements in various places” in the process of Japan’s forced annexation of the Korean Peninsula.
Meanwhile, Japanese elementary school textbooks do not contain descriptions of comfort women for the Japanese military, while middle and high school textbooks contain content related to comfort women.
Review the expression of history in textbooks according to the government’s opinion
The distortion of Japanese history textbooks began in earnest in 2008 and intensified over the past 10 years since the launch of Shinzo Abe’s second administration in 2012. In the March 2008 revision of the guide for middle school study guides, a guide was included to “address the differences between Korean and Japanese claim to Dokdo.” In the 2010 elementary school textbook test results, it was announced that all five 5th grade social classes described Dokdo as Japanese territory.
In particular, in 2014, the Shinzo Abe administration changed the standards for approving textbooks, saying, “If there is a unified view from the government, it will be written based on that” in relation to modern and contemporary history.
In fact, this year, Nippon Literature Publishing used the current phrase ‘Japanese territory’ when writing Dokdo as ‘Takeshima’ in the grade 6 social studies textbook test application, but during the test process, ‘there is concern that children will misunderstand it . Japanese territory. Having been identified as an expression with a special meaning, it passed the test only after being corrected to “Japan’s native territory.” Japanese government policy to use the phrase ‘indigenous’ in textbooks was applied in the sense that Dokdo ‘never belonged to another country’ has been applied.
In April 2021, the Japanese government decided in a cabinet meeting that it was appropriate to use the term ‘comfort women’ simply because the term ‘comfort women’ could cause a misunderstanding that the Japanese military was involved. In addition, regarding the case of taking workers from the Korean Peninsula and forcing them to work during the Japanese colonial period, it was decided that it was appropriate to use the term ‘conscription’, noting that it was not appropriate to express it as ‘Conscription’. compulsory mobilisation’ or ‘training’.
Since there is no way that a technology that differs from the government’s position will pass the certification process, there are comments that textbook makers and writers do not use expressions that go against government policy at all. In the end, it seems that the distortion of textbook history will continue unless the standards for textbook qualification, which should reflect the government’s position, change.