Saaler discusses controversies over the history textbooks used in Japanese schools, and how they relate to post-war Japanese politics and society. The main debates since the 1990s focus on the attempts by conservative circles to re-nationalise history textbooks, and the subsequent reactions by civil society organisations. This process, ongoing since the 1960s, became increasingly internationalised as a result of the Neighbouring Nations Clause, which saw the inclusion into textbooks of controversial chapters of Japan’s wartime past, such as the Nanjing massacre, Unit 731, and the so-called ‘military comfort women’. The attempts of the Tsukuru-Kai group to reframe the Asia-Pacific War along chauvinist lines have so far met with widespread resistance. Discussions about the extent to which textbooks should deal with the nation’s war crimes continue.

Further Reading

  1. Hayashi, F. Daitōa sensō kōtei-ron [An Affirmation of the Greater East Asian War]. Tokyo: Banchō Shobō, 1997.Google Scholar
  2. Hein, L., and M. Selden, eds. Censoring History. Citizenship and Memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2000.Google Scholar
  3. Nozaki, Y. War Memory, Nationalism, and Education in Postwar Japan, 1945–2007: the Japanese History Textbook Controversy and Ienaga Saburo’s Court Challenges. London: Routledge, 2008.Google Scholar
  4. Richter, S., ed. Contested Views of a Common Past: Revisions of History in Contemporary East Asia. Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2008.Google Scholar
  5. Richter, S., and W. Höpken, eds. Vergangenheit im Gesellschaftskonflikt: ein Historikerstreit in Japan. Cologne: Böhlau, 2003.Google Scholar
  6. Seaton, P. Japan’s Contested War Memories. London: Routledge, 2009.Google Scholar
  7. Seraphim, F. War Memory and Social Politics in Japan, 19452005. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2006.Google Scholar
  8. Shin, G.-W., and D. Sneider, eds. History Textbooks and the Wars in Asia. Divided Memories. New York and London: Routledge, 2011.Google Scholar
  9. Tawara, Y. Abunai Kyōkasho. ‘Sensō dekiru Kuni’ o mezasu ‘Tsukuru-kai’ no Jittai [A dangerous textbook: The truth about the ‘Tsukuru-kai’ and the ‘war-capable nation’ it aims to create]. Tokyo: Gakushū no tomo-sha, 2001.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sven Saaler
    • 1
  1. 1.Modern History and History DidacticsSapienza University of RomeRomaItaly

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