Sunday, April 17, 2005

Opinion_What are revised in the New History Book?

In a class, a professor asked the journalism-in-training students: Have you had a clear idea about what are revised in the New History Textbook which is approved by the Ministry of Education in Japan in April? Or have you read that in the newspaper?

Most of the answers are "no" or "not yet". Why? Isn't newspaper or other media good at comparision between the original one(in fact, it is a draft) and rivised one? Why not this time?

Because most reporters couldn't read Japanese? or they assume the readers have already known the materials? or they are too lazy?

After some research on the topic, it is true that not much comparision or even provision of the words from the textbook is provided. Here is some excerpts from a Japanese website. Hope could make myself clear first before talking about it.

124 descriptions of the draft are revised this time, in line with instructions by the government's Textbook Authorization Research Council's. The number of revisions in 2001 was 137. (The revisions on the history textbook is conducted per four year)

five of those Revisions( I will try to find more):
(1) a side-note referring to the 1937 Nanjing Massacre that stated it as a fact, but only as an "incident."

(2) Draft: " the Tokyo Tribunal recognized the Imperial Japanese Army killed a great number of Chinese people."
Revised version:" . . . a great number of Chinese soldiers and civilians were killed and wounded by the Imperial Japanese Army."

(3) History textbooks no longer mention ianfu (comfort women) -- a controversial term that refers to women who were forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers during World War II. Some texts use roundabout expressions, such as "those who were sent to comfort facilities."

(4) Draft: Japan has been involved in a dispute with China and Taiwan over the ownership of the Japan-controlled Senkaku islets in the East China Sea, known as Diaoyu in China, and with Seoul over Takeshima, a group of South Korea-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan known as Tok-do in South Korea.
Revised version: although the two disputed islands belong to Japan, China has insisted that it owns Senkaku and South Korea is "illegally occupying" Takeshima.

(5) Koreans who were "forced" ( 'kyousei renkou' ) to work in Japan during the war are changed to they were "brought to Japan."

Source: English) English) Chinese, a brief introuduction about the history textbook controversial since the end of the WWII)

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