Hart, Dennis. “Creating the Nationla Other: Opposing Images of Nationalism in South and North Korean Education.” Korean Studies 23 (1999): 68-81.
This article discusses on Korea’s transition from Japanese colonial rule to become an independent nation with its own traditional characteristics. The process involved changing the Japanese traditions and introducing the Korean ones to differentiate itself from Japan. It provides a clear illustration of how the different regimes have contributed towards defining the Korean identity. The two regimes have concentrated on creating an identity for Koreans and continuity of their culture through education. There is extensive discussion on how the publication made for children are meant to convince them on how brutal the Japanese rule was. This is made to make them understand that colonialism brought a lot of suffering and encourage them to embrace their new found culture that is independent. Although the stories are meant to portray the national other as unjust, violent and oppressing: the author argues that these stories may encourage fear and outrage. The two regimes work to outdo each other and each prefers to borrow ideas from foreign nations to working with the other.
Hilton, Isabel. China and Japan: a textbook Argument. 19 April 2005. http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-china/article_2440.jsp
The article has focused on the irony created by the textbooks in China and Japan. While the Chines concentrate of discussing on the Japanese rule, Japanese textbooks have a lot of omissions. The author has shown how China and South Korea have pushed Japan to publish books with more information on colonialism and this has encouraged them to be more honest. The author introduces the issue of the unpredictable friendship between Japan and China which is influenced by diplomatic relationships. Chinese books focus more on what the Japanese have left out than their own history. This lures students away from learning the country’s history and future expectations. According to the author these books serve to create animosity towards Japan other than teaching history. The author considers the disorder between the two nations as self made by China. It may have a lasting impact since the negative influence is passed on to students and the upcoming generations.
Bo, Kim S. “History Textbooks of Korea and Japan: A Comparison.” Korea Focus 10.3 (2002): 121-140.
The author illustrates how negative publications given to students in Japan and Korea have negatively affected the promotion of peace in East Asia. The Japanese have distorted Korean history; the books are on a cold war perspective. They don’t mention the positive attributes resulting from the country’s relations with Korea. Instead, the text books concentrate on the post war reforms. On the other hand, Korean text books blame the war and its effects on Japan. They ignore the causes of the war and the effects on the international community. The author finds the presentations of the two forms of publications very different. He concludes that the Japanese textbooks are biased on the post war reforms and ignores the Korea perception in the post war period. But the author acknowledges that the Japanese textbooks have an international perspective which is lacking in the Korean ones. The Korean ones are critical and influenced by cold war.
Loewen, James W. “The Vietnam War in High School American History,” in Ibid., 150-172.
The author challenges the Americans on the reliance of textbooks to learn history. He observes that the textbooks do not provide adequate knowledge on the controversial issues that arose as a result of the Vietnam War. For example he notes that the authors of the textbooks ignore the issues, acts, words and images that clearly define the movement opposing this war. According to the author, the textbooks to not give a proper insight as to why the Americans were against the war. They simply describe the war. He blames lack of interest in learning history to the inadequate coverage on history subjects by textbook authors. The textbooks have concentrated on discussing why the war took place but do not look at the period before the war to ex-plain the vents following this war. The textbook authors’ coverage on the topic is shallow and does not give quality readings to the students and teachers who rely solely on them. The author disagrees with the attention that has been given to the 1812 war which only lasted half the period of the Vietnam one.
Hein, Laura. 2000. Censoring history: citizenship and memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States. Armonk, NY [u.a.]: Sharpe.
The author recognizes the influence that textbooks have on the general knowledge of history. The author argues that the content of these textbooks should consider the effects that they might cause on international relations. This is because books are being criticized internationally and response to this criticism is also expected. Unlike Japan and Germany, American textbooks do not consider the foreign readers. The author encourages authors of the textbooks to respond to international criticism and discuss war at length. For instance, the issue of cold war has been addressed. The vents of the post war period have promoted good trade relations and nations have grown economically and in technology. The author expects that the textbooks to identify the issues that resulted in the war, discuss the war as well as the post war developments. The history of brutality and the aggression led by states are some of the information that is yet to be produced in the American textbooks. These books have deliberately avoided the issues before the war in an effort to hide their defeat.
Torpey, John C. 2003. Politics and the past: on repairing historical injustices. Lanham, Md. [u.a.]: Rowman & Littlefield.
This book recognizes the importance of learning the effects of past crimes on the victims. This knowledge enhances international integration in the present. When the present generation is knowledgeable on past events and how they affected nations. The possibility of restoring peace and building one global village is created. When the people rewriting the historical narratives have a mutual agreement that they are all affected by the history, they build a collective memory which promotes reconciliation and restoration of peace. The author argues that reparation claims are defined by the nature of abuse, whether at an individual level or towards a group of individuals. The author agrees that the past can only be judged by studying it to make sense out of it. For example the author uses the example of textbooks that tell the state of the twentieth century relations. They highlight what nations have gone through in the past in an effort to establish a collective future. The author advocates for new literature standards which narrate the history and give the nation’s a collective identity.
Various authors have identified the need to study history as way of building positive international relations (Torpey 5). Text book authors for high school students have narrated the war events but have avoided the topic on the issues that caused these wars. The authors agree that there is a need to encourage students to learn history on an international perspective (Hart 74). This essay will discuss on the key themes discussed by the authors, their linkages and tensions that are evident in their works.
The authors have expressed their concern for in adequate information that has been passed to the young generations concerning their history. Hart (74), argues that the textbook lessons provided to Koreans between the age of twenty and forty do not fully explain the beliefs that the country holds. This is because the textbooks provided are part of the nationalist image created by the government. Another observation by Hein (22) is that very few School texts in America have engaged the Vietnamese perspective in regards to the war. She argues that the Vietnamese society has been ignored, the history of the brutality that they faced in not addressed in their text books. Loewen (152), has also observed that most of the old History text books in America are just the usual narrative style that does not provide the students with insights on the wars experienced. Hilton (1), notes that there is a lot of in accuracy in the Japanese text books. They are distorted and omit a lot of historical information.
The issue of global integration has also been addressed by the authors. For instance, Torpey (21) recognizes the study of brutality caused by slavery and colonialism as a way of forming a collective history in which nations can reconcile. Reconciliation results in a common goal of building peace in future. (Hein 19) identifies economic in equality as a hindrance to national integration. She gives the example of Japan taking two thirds of Asia’s GNP. Bo (131), discusses on the efforts put by Japan to promote good relations with Asian countries. The end of cold war is viewed as an elevation to Japan’s international standing.
The authors do not agree on the impacts of the historical information on the students. Hart (82-83), is for the view that the stories on brutality and colonialism are likely to instill fear and outrage in young children. On the other hand, Loewen (155) encourages visual images in describing war. This is meant to help the students picture the extent at which the war affected the victims. Bo (122), argues that school text books should be revised to ensure that they promote peace, democracy and human rights. This implies that the ugly war scenes should be discouraged.
The authors have focused on promoting the knowledge of history among the young generation. History is what creates a sense of belonging and responsibility for a person’s nation. Through learning history, the young generation can form a collective past through which the future can be approached. However, the amount of information and illustration concerning the war events is not precise. While some authors argue that students should be supplied with as much information as possible, others think it is best to limit this information to encourage reconciliation. There is a need for international literature standards which will define the historical information which can be passed to the current generation.
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