Examples of Concealment of Historical Facts through the Textbook Screening System 


During the Pacific War, Japan invaded Asian and Pacific countries. It is recognized that nationalistic and militaristic education during the pre-war period had bred and nurtured militarism and racial supremacy. At the core of such education were nationalized textbooks, with the government controlling the content of education. After the war, this pre-war nationalized textbook system was abolished, and Japanese education was to have been based on the post-war Constitution which guaranteed the freedom of education and expression.

In order to prevent such wars from happening again, it is very important to teach Japanese children through textbooks the real nature of war and in particular, the facts of Japanese aggression during the Pacific War. Only through such education will Japanese students have a common recognition of history with other Asian-Pacific peoples and deepen their mutual understanding. Unfortunately, the current textbook screening system introduced in post-war Japan has been used by the government to censor negative aspects of Japan’s past in history textbooks. As Professor Saburo Ienaga argues, the textbook screening system violates freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution.
Professor Ienaga’s textbook manuscript  Screening comment by the Ministry of Education  Professor Ienaga’s assertion


Use of the term "aggression"

 " In China, the Nationalist Government and the Communist Party took advantage of the Hsian Incident to form a united front against Japan and asserted a firm stance calling for the restoration of China’s sovereignty and the overthrow of Japanese aggression. " 

"Aggression" is a term that contains negative ethical connotations. In the education of the citizens of the next generation it is not desirable to use a term with such negative implications to describe the acts of their own country. Therefore an expression such as "military advance" for example, should be used.  The aggression by the Japanese Army is an indisputable historical fact. Japan’s war with China can be described as a war of aggression according to the spirit of international law. The screening authorities tried to force the author to revise the description in order to conceal from students the negative aspects of Japanese history—the aggression of the Japanese Army in China. Moreover, they attempted to force the inclusion of distorted descriptions of the war in the textbook. 
Nanking Massacre

 " Immediately after the occupation of Nanking, the Japanese army killed numerous Chinese soldiers and citizens. This incident came to be known as the Nanking Massacre. " 

Readers might interpret this description as meaning that the Japanese Army unilaterally massacred Chinese immediately after the occupation. This passage should be revised so that it is not interpreted in such a way.  The facts of the Nanking Massacre by the Japanese military forces were made known through news reports just after the incident and through documents submitted during the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Since then, more detailed facts have become widely known among the Japanese people. 

 " When the Japanese Army occupied Nanking, they murdered large numbers of Chinese soldiers and civilians and many of the Japanese officers and soldiers violated Chinese women. This incident came to be known as the Nanking Massacre. " 

Delete the passage referring to rape by Japanese troops. As it is common throughout the world for troops to rape women during war it is not appropriate to refer only to the acts of the Japanese Army. Too much emphasis is placed on specific incidents.  The nature of war and the character of the Japanese Army were reflected in the acts of rape by the Japanese Army. Study of such incidents will help students understand more profoundly the intrinsic nature of wars and armies. 
Unit 731

 " A unit specializing in bacteriological warfare called the 731 Unit was stationed on the outskirts of Harbin and until the Soviet Union entered the war, this unit engaged in such atrocious acts as murdering several thousand Chinese and other non-Japanese by using them in biological experiments. " 

Delete entire passage. No credible scholarly research exists concerning Unit 731. It is still premature, therefore, to take up this matter in a school textbook.  The historical facts concerning Unit 731 have been collaborated by innumerable records and documents. By demanding the deletion of this passage the government is trying to conceal, in academic studies, the truth about criminal activities. 
Example from another author’s textbook: 

March 1 Movement (1919)

 " ..more than 7,000 Koreans were killed and large numbers of churches burned down in a wave of oppression by the Japanese army and police.. " 

Under the screening system, this passage was rewritten as "..the army and the police strictly suppressed uprisings. "The passage was rewritten in such a way as to deliberately obscure the agent and the facts of the oppression.  N.A.