Development Education in Japan: A Comparative Analysis of the Contexts for Its Emergence, and Its Introduction into the Japanese School System

By Yuri Ishii | Go to book overview

Introduction

In the post-1945 world, the international community has recognized the potential of education as a peace promoter. As UNESCO's Associated Schools Project indicates, there has been a tendency in many countries to teach international issues in schools. After the birth of a number of newly independent countries in the 1960s, a range of ethical and moral responsibilities, especially those of rich industrialized nations to poor economically developing nations, has been spelled out in the international arena.

The focus of this book is development education as one such type of education. There are various interpretations of what development education means. In this book, the term is used to mean education that was generated and introduced into schools in some European countries and Canada in the 1970s as a means of raising the awareness of developing countries and their problems.

However, not all industrialized countries were enthusiastic about raising awareness of ethical and moral responsibilities. There were active promoters and reluctant ones. Japan belongs to the latter. Despite the fact that development education was introduced in Japan at the end of the 1970s and has been promoted by some nongovernmental organization (NGO) workers and educationists since then, its expansion in school education has remained rather modest even in the 1990s.

Why development education emerged in Japan in the 1980s, ten years after the earliest attempts in other countries, why the early initiatives in Japan did not come to influence the school curriculum widely, and why, despite little change in the national curriculum, development education was introduced in some schools are the three main themes of this study.

In order to investigate the first theme, a tentative working theory of the gen-

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