22 November 2005

Tokyo Teacher Punished Over War History

I've refused to be alarmed about reports over resurgent Japanese nationalism, especially in light of the full-throttle nationalism of Japan's nearest neighbors, but a story in the Christian Science Monitor on 22 November 2005 really does raise my hackles.
TOKYO – Miyako Masuda is a 23-year veteran of public schools here. Like many Japanese history teachers of her generation, she dislikes new textbooks that frame Japan as the victim in World War II. It bothers her that books claiming America caused the war are now adopted by an entire city ward. In fact, Masuda disapproves of the whole nationalist direction of Tokyo public schools.

Yet until last year, Masuda, who calls herself "pretty ordinary," rarely went out of her way to disagree. Few teachers do.

But when a Tokyo city councilman in an official meeting said "Japan never invaded Korea," her history class sent an apology to Korean President Roh Moo-hyan [sic] - an action that sparked her removal from her classroom.

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