EDITORIAL: High School Students Should Receive Better Education in Japanese History

Article excerpt

To cultivate their identity as Japanese, students should receive an adequate education in Japanese history.

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Hakubun Shimomura announced that his ministry will study the possibility of making Japanese history a compulsory subject at high schools. By referring the idea to the Central Council for Education for deliberation, the minister hopes to realize the idea in five or six years' time.

For mapping out the future of Japan, it is essential for young people to study Japanese history. It is also important for them to be able to exhibit pride in the history of their own country. Making Japanese history compulsory at high schools is reasonable.

As globalization advances, there will be more opportunities for Japanese to talk about their country's culture and other things abroad.

The idea of making the subject compulsory at high schools indicates a sense of crisis over the lack of education required to produce internationally minded people.

When school teaching guidelines were revised in 1989, social studies at high schools were divided into "geography and history" and "civics." When studying "geography and history," world history is compulsory. In addition, a student has to choose either Japanese history or geography as an elective subject.

As a result, 30 percent to 40 percent of high school students in Japan are believed to graduate from high school without a sufficient grounding in Japanese history.

Although students are supposed to have studied the basics of Japanese history in primary and middle schools, it is problematic that many students have no opportunity to deepen their knowledge of Japanese history in high school.

Many problems remain

Making Japanese history a compulsory high school subject has been urged by local governments and other entities. …