Globalization in Japan: The Case of Moral Education

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferencebidrag i proceedingsForskningfagfællebedømt

Abstract for Nichibunken Copenhagen Symposium August 2012

Globalization in Japan – the case of moral education.
日本とグローバル化 - 道徳教育の件
Marie H. Roesgaard, Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen.

This paper attempts to trace the history of global influence on Japanese education by using moral education as a case. Moral education, known as shūshin before World War II, has been prominent in Japanese education since its formalization in Meiji times. From Meiji on shûshin underwent various changes, reflected in the textbooks of different periods. 1903-1909 was a mix of Confucian and Western tradition, where Western moral models were presented side by side with the Japanese. In 1910 – 1917 familism and Emperor worship dominated, moral models were all Japanese; in 1918 – 1932 a mix of the two previous periods existed, with child centred approaches, pacifism and an international outlook (the Taishō democracy) existing along with essentially fascist ideas. In 1933 – 1940 kokutai policy began to be established, ultra-nationalism, loyalty and patriotism were therefore central issues of textbooks. From 1941, based on Kokutai no Hongi, Emperor worship became the basis of shūshin teaching and teaching materials. After WW2 it was commonly accepted by most of the establishment that shūshin or moral education had indeed played a role in twisting Japanese thinking. Moral education accordingly was taken out of the curriculum for some time after the Second World War. It was reinstated in the school curriculum in 1958, but this time without authorized textbooks or exams. This has meant that moral education at some schools has been a neglected subject, at others, where teachers have had a specific interest, it has become an important part of the curriculum and a fertile field of development and discourse on morality, values and identity.
I propose seeing the contents of moral education as a reaction to the challenges of globalization, as a reaction to the risks experienced in modern globalized society and to the anxiety born out of the challenges, ‘real’ or ‘imagined,’ perceived to be posed by globalization. I would suggest that a productive point of departure would be to look at initiatives concerning moral education as ‘gate-keeping’, where those in a position of influence try to safeguard what is considered basic and inalienable in Japanese culture and morality, while also adjusting to those of the global currents that cannot be ignored. Further, I would suggest that global, or at least Western, influence is not a new thing in regard to moral education in Japan. The paper will provide an historical overview of the development of moral education since Meiji times and focus on the use of the ‘great persons approach’, the use of moral icons for the pupils to emulate. In particular the recent publications from the Ministry of Education (MEXT) Kokoro no Nôto will be studied for their use of moral icons, human as well as abstract.
Bidragets oversatte titelGlobalisering i Japan: Undervisning i moral som case
TitelRethinking ”Japanese Studies” from Practices in the Nordic Region : Overseas symposium in Copenhagen 2012
RedaktørerJianhui Liu, Mayuko Sano
Antal sider17
ForlagInternational Research Center for Japanese Studies
StatusUdgivet - 2014
BegivenhedOverseas Symposium of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies - University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Danmark
Varighed: 22 aug. 201224 aug. 2012
Konferencens nummer: 19


KonferenceOverseas Symposium of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies
LokationUniversity of Copenhagen
NavnOverseas symposium

ID: 135275266