Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The View from Here - China and Japan - Why Tension in East Asia Is Far from History: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The View from Here - China and Japan - Why Tension in East Asia Is Far from History: News

Article excerpt

The row over a handful of islets between China and Japan reached a new low recently when China threatened to pull the trigger on Japanese warships and planes patrolling the islands. Educational exchange visits have been scrapped and an unofficial boycott of Japanese goods is in place in China, where last year Japanese businesses were set on fire.

Curiously, both sides blame one another's education system, saying that biased history textbooks and education are the root cause of the hostility that threatens to explode after more than 50 years of peace between the two nations.

Japan's newly elected conservative nationalist prime minister, Shinzo Abe, is accusing what he called China's jingoistic school curriculum of fostering "anti-Japanese" feelings. "What is unfortunate," Abe said, "is that in the case of China, teaching patriotism (is equivalent to) teaching anti-Japanese sentiment. In other words, their education policy of teaching patriotism has become even more pronounced as they started the 'reform and opening' policy."

Meanwhile, China's long charge sheet lists "Japanese nationalistic education", "distorted lies" about the Second World War in textbooks and Japan's perceived step to the right as responsible for the latest confrontation.

Korea and China have long been in dispute with Japan over what they see as distortions and creeping revisionism in textbooks concerning Japan's conduct in the Second World War and its territorial claims. Japan in turn claims that its neighbours' education on Japan and the war is twisted. …

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