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A textbook for everyone (to disagree on)

Previously, I've posted about China's anger at certain Japanese history textbooks. And, I've also noted that Japan isn't too happy with China's textbooks, either.

Last Friday, Kyodo News reported on a potential step forward out of this dilemma — a pan-Asian history textbook written by scholars from China, Korea, and Japan:

Scholars and civic organizations from Japan, China and South Korea have published a history textbook based on a common recognition of the past history of their countries, a joint committee for the publication said Thursday.

In a news conference held to announce the publication of "History to Open the Future," the committee said their work began in March in 2002 in the Chinese city of Nanjing. The textbook for middle school students, written in Japanese, Chinese and Korean, was completed after 11 international conferences. The committee has decided to publish such a history textbook to counter some Japanese history textbooks that critics say whitewash Japan's militaristic past.
Sounds good, but (via Simon World) Angry Chinese Blogger notes that the new book may face a chilly reception in the countries where it is meant to be used. First, Japanese nationalists will probably oppose it:
While the production of the unified text book, and the cooperation behind it, have been broadly hailed as a landmark in regional educational cooperation, some observers have expressed concern that the perception may arise, or be deliberately seeded, that the book’s production committee may have been "infiltrated" by liberal Japanese scholars who harbour staunch pro-pacifism/anti-militarism agendas.

...There is a realistic fear that the unified text book may give rise to a number of right wing books aiming at ‘refuting’ its content. Any of which could easily further inflame Sino-Japanese tensions.
And it doesn't look like China's going to use it, at least not without making some key revisions:
While the unified history text book has been translated into Chinese using internationally accepted standards for translation, and its existence has been acknowledged in the Chinese media, it is not yet clear whether Beijing will officially recognize the account of the Sino-Japanese portion of the text because the book diverges from the Chinese state line in many areas, and directly contradicts it in others.

Because of these contradictions, and more moderate tone towards the Japanese invasion and occupation of China than is usual in Chinese text books, it thought unlikely by some that the unified text book will be used in an unaltered form for mainstream education in China.
But other than that, problem solved!


Anonymous said...

Nationalism discourages, even cripples, geopolitical reciprocity. In that sense, it's immoral. 

Posted by bunkerbuster

Anonymous said...

If it finds a way to anger both sides, then it's probably a decent compromise! Both nations need to be a little more honest with their past problems. 

Posted by Greg



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