Japanese History To Become Compulsory In High Schools

Meiji Constitution promulgation by Toyohara Chikanobu

Meiji Constitution promulgation by Toyohara Chikanobu

History textbooks have been a source of controversy in Japan since the early postwar years, but despite this, Japanese history is not been a compulsory subject in Japanese high schools. In fact, around 40% of high school students graduate without ever having studied it formally.

Now, the government is planning to make Japanese history a required subject as part of the government-authored school curriculum for high school students. Responses to this seem to have largely attracted attention from those with more left-wing views, who emphasise the importance of students having a thorough understanding of Japan’s modern history, devoid of government agenda.

From Yomiuri.co.jp:

Government Reviews Whether Japanese History Should Be Compulsory In High Schools, Central Council For Education To Be Consulted

On January 5 it was revealed that the government was reviewing whether Japanese history should be made obligatory in high schools.

At present, Japanese history is an elective course, however, as the number of Japanese people active overseas increases, the government has judged that they ought to cultivate human resources so that these people have learned and understand sufficiently the history of their own country. The Minister for Education has said that as early as this summer, the Central Council for Education will be consulted over how the government-set school curriculum can be revised. After a review of textbooks, Japanese history will become a compulsory subject from as early as 2019.

The subject “Society” was split into “Geography and History” and “Citizenship” under a revision of the school curriculum in 1989, and world history then became a compulsory subject as part of “Geography and History”, while students had a choice between geography or Japanese history. Even prior to the 1989 revision Japanese history, world history, and geography had been elective subjects; however, as a result of prioritising “a response to internationalisation”, the tendency spread to disregard Japanese history in schools. According to the Ministry of Education, it is taken that 30 – 40% of high school students graduate without having studied Japanese history.

Comments from Twitter:


Yeah…the idea itself is good, but when you think of the pressure to follow…


I was what you’d call a science major, but I really loved Japanese history and world history, so I studied it myself, systematically. Still, why do I kinda feel as though making Japanese history compulsory is a bit dubious? Can’t they just have a class called “History” that covers Japanese history and world history?


And then we’re just going to have an issue of the recognition of history in textbooks (´_ゝ`)


Well, I’m against this, but if they’re going ahead with it anyway, I really want them to do the period after the Meiji Restoration (1868) properly.


So they’re still saying they’re gonna review it, huh? They should make Japanese history and world history compulsory. And there’d be no point in it if they didn’t simplify ancient history and give modern history plenty of time.


Isn’t this just an opportunity for the government to impose historical descriptions that agree with their opinion, to try to make Japanese history into “This is the land of the gods with the Emperor at its centre”?


I guess it wouldn’t be very good if they use the textbooks they’ve got right now…


AGREED!! They really should do this as soon as possible. RT


I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know this until now, but it’s weird that only world history is compulsory. Still, even in Japanese history, if the kids are just blindly memorising stuff then making it compulsory is pointless.

Kazuhito Takeuchi:

I slept through pretty much all my classes. But these days I have the confidence that I could take classes and be interested in them w. I kinda regret not being interested in studying Japanese history.


It’s true that it’s embarrassing not to know the history of your own country. At the same time, they should also consider how Japan is being taught about in other countries. It’s important that the government nurtures a view of history that is fair and unbiased.


So they’re going to make the history of a country that can’t face its own history compulsory in its high schools?! wwwwww


I think they should definitely do this, but I don’t want them to do it if they’re just going write off Japanese modern history in one word by saying “Japan is bad for being at war”.


It’s because the teachers teaching history are anti-Japan…so first of all they need to do something about those people.


Just teach them modern Japanese history. They don’t need none of that Yayoi and Jomon stuff.


Aren’t there any of you lot out there who are going to say that this is the right-wing shift they’d been expecting…?

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