I. Annotated Bibliography
a. Hart, Dennis. “Creating the National Other: Opposing Images of Nationalism in South and North Korean Education.” Korean Studies 23 (1999): 68-81.
b. Hilton, Isabel. China and Japan: a textbook Argument. 19 April 2005. http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-china/article_2440.jsp
c. Bo, Kim S. “History Textbooks of Korea and Japan: A Comparison.” Korea Focus 10.3 (2002): 121-140.
d. Loewen, James W. “The Vietnam War in High School American History,” in Ibid., 150-172.
e. Hein, Laura. Censoring history: citizenship and memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States. Armonk, NY [u.a.]: Sharpe, 2000.
f. Torpey, John C. Politics and the past: on repairing historical injustices. Lanham, Md. [U.a.]: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
II. Historiography Essay
b. Key Themes
Hart, Dennis. “Creating the National Other: Opposing Images of Nationalism in South and North Korean Education.” Korean Studies 23 (1999): 68-81.
This article discusses 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 aspects. 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 the brutality of the former Japanese rule. This is done 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 Japanese 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.
Hilton, Isabel. China and Japan: a textbook Argument. 19 April 2005. http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-china/article_2440.jsp
The article focuses on the irony created by the textbooks in China and Japan. While the Chinese concentrate on discussing 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 considerable information on colonialism, and this has encouraged them to be more honest. Chinese books focus more on what the Japanese had left out than their own history. This lure 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 a distorted Korean history. Most books are on a cold war perspective. They do not mention the positive attributes resulting from the country’s relations with Korea. Instead, the textbooks concentrate on the post war reforms. On the other hand, Korean textbooks 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 based on the post war reforms and ignores the Korea perception in the post war period. However, the author acknowledges that the Japanese textbooks have an international perspective, which is lacking in the Korean ones. The Korean books are critical and have been influenced by the 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 text books 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 do 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 of history subjects by textbook authors. The textbooks have concentrated on discussing why the war happened. Nonetheless, they do not look at the period before the war to explain 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. Censoring history: citizenship and memory in Japan, Germany, and the United States. Armonk, NY [u.a.]: Sharpe, 2000.
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. In this case, 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 the war at length. For instance, the issue of the Cold War has been addressed. The events 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 postwar 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. Politics and the past: on repairing historical injustices. Lanham, Md. [U.a.]: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
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 people rewriting the historical narratives have a mutual agreement that they are all affected by the history, they build a collective memory that promotes reconciliation and restoration of peace. The author argues that reparation claims are defined by the nature of abuse. This is 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 that narrate the history and give the nation’s a collective identity.
Various authors have identified the need to study history as a way of building positive international relations . Textbook authors for high school students have narrated the war events. However, they 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. They propose that the quality and the amount of information provided to history students should be enhanced. Although, the authors do not agree on the best approach for teaching history, they acknowledge that the study of history promotes global intergrationand nationalism.
The authors have expressed their concern for inadequate information that has been passed to younger generations concerning their history. Hart 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 . In this case, the textbooks provided are part of the nationalist image created by the government. Another observation by Hein 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 has also observed that most of the old history textbooks in America are just the usual narrative style that does not provide students with insights on the wars experienced . Hilton noted that there are numerous inaccuracies in the Japanese textbooks. 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 recognized 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 the future. Hen identified economic inequality as a hindrance to national integration . She gives the example of Japan taking two thirds of Asia’s GNP. Bo discussed on the efforts established by Japan to promote good relations with Asian countries. The end of the Cold War is viewed as an elevation to Japan’s international standing .
National identity has been emphasized by the authors; Hart explains how Korea is establishing a modern nation by including the study of history and politics in the education system. For instance, Korea is concerned about transmitting and maintaining the nation and culture through the introduction of a formal education system. Hilton also discussed on how Japan embarked on reviving its nationalist sentiment by acknowledging the effects of the second world war in one aothorised textbook. Loewen challenges the American education system to encourage students to learn history. He states that studying the Vietnam war will help students respond to the ongoing political debates intelligently. This helps them understand their country better and promote nationalism.
The authors do not agree on the impacts of the historical information on the students. Hart is of the view that the stories of brutality and colonialism are likely to instill fear and outrage in young children . On the other hand, Loewen encourages visual images in describing war . This is meant to help the students picture the extent at which the war affected the victims. School textbooks 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 younger 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.