"New high school draft curriculum avoids islets row"

The following is an excerpt from a December 23, 2008 article in The Japan Times entitled "New high school draft curriculum avoids islets row":

A draft revision of the education ministry's curriculum guidelines for high schools released Monday does not specifically mention the Takeshima islets disputed with South Korea.

This follows the tussle between Tokyo and Seoul earlier this year over a reference to the territory in a similar document for junior high schools.

The draft covering high school geography classes remains unchanged from the current document in terms of guiding teachers to "touch on Japan's territorial issues" but without giving specific examples of such problems.
Meanwhile, Korean geography books continue to claim very clearly that "Dokdo" (Takeshima) is Korean territory.

Also, here is another excerpt from the article that confuses me:

The draft seeks provisions that enable students to review the contents of compulsory education, which cover elementary and junior high school years, in light of the diversification among students who go on to attend high school, owing to a 98 percent advancement rate.

The ministry gave up on an earlier plan to make Japanese history compulsory in the geography and history section, while keeping world history as a compulsory class.
World History will be compulsory, but not Japanese History? If true, then doesn't Japan's Education Ministry have its priorities backwards? Can someone please explain to me what is going on in Japanese education?

By the way, Korea is also being relatively quiet about the Dokdo issue, but that will almost certainly change sometime around Takeshima Day.


  1.   学習指導要領(curriculum guidelines)は、元来、教育で教えるべき基本的な事項を定めるものであり、例えば「領土問題を教えること」というように包括的に定められます。領土問題の一つであるTakeshima Issueを学習指導要領に定めるということは考えられません。他の領土問題についても書いてありません。



     학습 지도 요령(curriculum guidelines)은, 원래, 교육에 있어 가르쳐야 할 기본적인 사항을 정하는 것입니다. 예를 들면「영토 문제를 가르치는 것 」이라고 포괄적으로 정해집니다. 영토 문제의 하나인 Takeshima Issue를 학습 지도 요령에 정하는 것은 생각할 수 없습니다. 다른 영토 문제에 대해서도 써 있지 않습니다.

      하나 하나의 영토 문제를 어떻게 취급해야할 것인가에 대해서는, 학습 지도 요령이 결정된 후에 작성되는 학습 지도 요령 해설서에 쓰여지게 됩니다. 그 때 어떻게 쓰는지에 따라서 문부 과학성의 자세를 알 수 있습니다.

    금년 7월, 중학교 학습 지도 요령 해설서에는 러시아와의 영토 문제와 Takeshima 문제가 쓰여졌습니다. 이번, 고등학교 학습 지도 요령 해설서에도 똑같이 쓰지 않으면 모순되게 됩니다.

  2. Gerry,

    When I was a high school student (although it was a long time ago), we can select either world history or Japanese history.

    Recently, there are opinions that Japanese history should be in the list of compulsory subjects etc. Although it was withdrawn this time, the current is for the subject to be compulsory. So don't worry...

  3. As to dropping the Takeshima issue from the guideline, I think it is based on Japanese way of consideration - 遠慮 for Korean government.

    The Secret Pact I posted before was also based on the same sentiment. It was for President Park in the 1960's and it was for President Li today.

    If President Park admitted that Takeshima was Japan's territory, students' demonstaration against jin-il'pa 親日派 would be explosive and Park's government would not last long.
    So Japanese government conceded and decided not to refer to the Takeshima issue.

    Not referring to Takeshima in the guidline is based on the same reason - Japanese government doesn't want to annoy Li's government.

  4. Merry Christmas to everyone.

    It seems strange to me that Japanese History would be an elective subject in middle school and high school. In the US, US History is a required subject.

    Maybe, that is why Japanese are so passive and indifferent when it comes to Takeshima and other historical issues.

  5. Gerry, I think you are right. However this was due to the self-torture-view of history 自虐史観, which was made by GHQ (mainly USA) and by the left wing teachers after the WWII.

    They thought (or made to think) that Japan did very wrong things and they were (made to be) ashamed of their own history. They became reluctant to teach Japanese history, especially about modern history - sometimes they stopped to teach beyond the restoration of Meiji.

    But I think this view of history was not righteous one, they should teach every thing what they did and what they didn't. And as you say, they should teach the history to every student.

  6. Every high school Geography books amd maps cleary depict Takeshima as Japanese territory. It's just a matter if they teach the issue as a solo subject or not. And as chaamiey said, it is just a guideline (学習指導要領), not a handbook(学習指導要領解説書). The Japan Times always misleads its readers.

    Kids learn Japanese history in primary school and both Japanese History and World History are compulsory in middle school (Junior High Schol : age 13-15, 7-9th grade in U.S.), too.

    This is just a guidelines and it depends on each high school which(Japanese history/ Geography) they choose as a elective. But as far as I know, most high school require students study Japanese History. In most high school (age 16-18, 10-12th grade in U.S.), which is not compulsory education, basic World History, basic Japanese History and Politics/Economy(政治経済) are compulsory, but Geography, Ethics(倫理) and Modern Social Studies(現代社会) are optional.

    This is the curriculum of Waseda Univ. Senior High School.

    It's quite different from what we know. I took World History and Geography, not Japanese History in high school.

  7. I should correct my comment above.



     중학교 학습 지도 요령에는, 「북방 영토가 우리 나라의 고유 영토인 것 등 우리 나라의 영역을 둘러싼 문제에도 주목시키도록 하는 것.」라고 러시아와의 영토 문제가 기술되고 있다. Takeshima 문제는 기재되지 않았다.
    그러나, 금년 7월, 중학교 학습 지도 요령 해설서에 러시아와의 영토 문제와 Takeshima 문제가 기재되었다.

      한편, 고등학교 학습 지도 요령에는 개별 영토 문제의 기술은 없다. 이번 개정에서도 기재되지 않는다. 그것이 학습 지도 요령 해설서에 기재될지 어떨지는 향후 검토되지만, 중학교 학습 지도 요령 해설서와 같이 쓰지 않으면 모순된다.

  8. Clearly, Japan should teach its glorious history and obsession errr i mean possession of Dokdo to its high school students. The next step would be another bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  9. dokdo-korea,

    Of course, the truth should be taught including the facts that Rhee Syngman stole Japan's island and killed Japanese fishermen, and that Korea had still no evidence to show that they owned the island.
    USA advised Rhee to give the island back to Japan but he rejected.


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