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Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University

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History and Education 2017

This course is now finished.

Welcome to the homepage for my class in the Graduate School of Education, “History and Education”, spring term 2017. We discuss how World War II history is treated in a variety of educational materials in Japan and abroad.


Photo: The sections on the war in a history textbook from Singapore.



Syllabus and Course Outline

Course Objectives:
1) To consider the role of war history and history education in the creation of historical consciousness in Japan and other countries.
2) To practice paper writing in English. Instructions on how to write an academic paper (citations, bibliographies etc) are in the video series Academic Writing.
3) To build confidence in using English-language literature in preparation for MA thesis writing.

1) To read history textbooks, educational materials and museum websites (mainly in English) and to discuss their representations of history.
2) To write a short academic paper (1000 words in English) on a topic related to history textbooks or war museum exhibits. Particular attention will be paid to citation style and the bibliography.

Week 1 (10 April): Course Introduction

Let’s read these materials on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: Japan’s School Textbook Examination ProcedureHow a Textbook Becomes Part of a School CurriculumObjective of Textbook ExaminationTextbook Examination Procedure and discuss the characteristics of the Japanese textbook screening system. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the system?

Homework: Look at this website showing the junior high school textbooks currently available for use in Japan. Prepare some comments and analysis for next time. Plus, read the photocopies provided and we will discuss the textbook content next time.

Week 2 (17 April): Textbook 1 (Tokyo Shoseki)

Dicsussing the Tokyo Shoseki Textbook and sections from the textbooks currently available in schools.

Homework: Read the sections from the textbook produced by the Atarashii Rekishi Kyokasho wo Tsukurukai in 2001. See also the group’s website here.

Week 3 (24 April): Textbook 2 (Fusosha)

Discussing the controversial textbook produced by the Tsukurukai in 2001.

Homework: Read the sections from the Okinawan textbook.

Week 4 (1 May): Textbook 3 (Okinawan school textbook)

Discussing the textbook produced in Okinawa.

Homework: Prepare a research plan for your end of term paper. The plan should include: 1) A provisional title, 2) A summary of the aims of the research, and 3) Some of the sources you plan to use. You will have 10 minutes each in class next week to explain your plan and get feedback from your teacher and classmates. Please come prepared!

Your end of term report must be written in English and use proper academic citations. For instructions on how to use citations in English, please watch the Academic Writing video series carefully.

Week 5 (8 May): Deciding research topics

Students give presentations about their proposed research topics and receive advice about how to undertake the project.

Homework: From next time we are thinking about the role of museums in history education. We start with Japan’s most visited war museum: the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Please visit the website, print out one or two webpages and bring copies to class next time. Prepare a short presentation: 1) Why did you choose this page? 2) What does it tell us about Japanese views of history? 3) What kind of education do children receive if they see this type of page/exhibit?

Week 6 (15 May): Hiroshima

Today we discussed the Hiroshima Museum.

Homework: Find materials from the website of Yushukan at Yasukuni Shrine. Again, make a short presentation like you did this week.

Week 7 (22 May): Yushukan

We discussed the Yushukan Museum at Yasukuni Shrine.

Homework: Find materials from the website of Peace Osaka. Again, make a short presentation in class.

Week 8 (29 May): Peace Osaka

Today we discussed Peace Osaka.

Homework: Prepare a research-in-progress report about your project for the term paper.

Week 9 (5 June): Research in progress presentation

Make a presentation about your research project. Describe your progress (what you have done so far, what you still have to do) and present some initial research findings. Each person has about 20 minutes for their presentation plus Q&A.

Homework: Read the American teaching materials and prepare comments for next time.

Week 10 (12 June): US educational materials

This week we discuss the extracts from the US teaching materials.

Homework: Read the UK educational materials.

Week 11 (19 June): UK educational materials

This week we discuss the extracts from the UK teaching materials.

Homework: Read the Filipino educational materials.

Week 12 (26 June): Filipino educational materials

This week we discuss the extracts from the Filipino teaching materials.

Homework: Submit by email a full draft of your term paper by 12:00 noon on Friday (30 June). You will receive comments on it during the class on 3 July.

Week 13 (3 July): Academic writing clinic

We will go through your essays and discuss points for improvement.

Week 14 (10 July): History Textbooks in China

Reading and discussing the book chapter “Changing views of the Anti-Japanese War in Chinese high school history textbooks” by Caroline Rose, in Paul Morris, Naoko Shimazu and Edward Vickers (eds 2013) Imagining Japan in Post-War East Asia: Identity politics, schooling and popular culture, Routledge.

Week 15 (24 July): Conclusions, Submission of assignment

Submit final term papers. Summing up.

Students will be assessed on their attendance and participation in class debate (50%), and on their 1000 word research paper (submitted in week 15) (50%).

Reading List

Materials are made available here or distributed in class.