[EDITORIALS]Lessons in Textbook Turmoil

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[EDITORIALS]Lessons in Textbook Turmoil

It has been found that the percentage of Japanese middle schools adopting the controversial, right-wing Japanese history textbooks did not even reach 0.1 percent. According to the final tally on Wednesday, the textbooks published by the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform were adopted by only 12 middle schools, six special public middle schools and six private middle schools. Considering that there are 12,209 middle schools in Japan, the adoption rate is actually close to zero. The reform society, which aimed to achieve the adoption rate of 10 percent, surely must feel utterly crushed.

We consider this to be a victory for Japanese parents and civic groups. More than 500,000 volumes were sold at bookstores, but they were ignored as textbooks by schools. This shows us that the Japanese public possesses a mature sense of judgment and that they won't simply hand down a distorted historical perception to the minds of younger generations that will lead the country in the future. That is why the actions of Japanese politicians appear hypocritical and pathetic. They say they regret their past when at the same time they visit and kneel down in front of Yasukuni Shrine that symbolizes the country's militarism and nationalism. It is ridiculous for Japanese to think that paying homage to the shrine was fine since the history textbook issues were solved for the time being.

The textbook matter has continued for more than a year, and there have been some problems on our side as well. The government tied its own hands by using up all their strategies and spitting out unnecessary words, while the public did not control their emotions. Maybe these actions contributed to the low adoption rates, but they were far from being calm responses.

It is sad that private level exchanges between the two countries have cooled down. It is Japanese grassroots civic groups that actually made the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform useless. In order to prepare for similar incidents, exchanges with such civic groups should be encouraged and activated. Through the history textbook incident, we should remember once again that the point is to "know about Japan," not to "hate Japan."

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