Japan’s intentional amnesia

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Japan’s intentional amnesia

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Hakubun Shimomura, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, said Wednesday that the government will revise the current textbook evaluation system, designed to take into account its Asian neighbors such as Korea and China, which were victims of Japan’s wartime crimes.

“It is necessary to include the historical views in the textbooks so that children can feel it is great to be born in Japan,” Shimomura said before the Japanese legislature. “It is extremely important to define our identity as Japanese citizens with pride.” Abe went a step further. “It is natural to feel proud through textbooks,” he said. “Without that, students cannot feel confident about themselves.”

This seems a wrongful idea to glorify the past by hiding embarrassing events, while beautifying wartime aggressions, instead of teaching history to Japanese children objectively. It should actually make them feel shameful, rather than making them feel proud to be born as Japanese. Covering up the historical facts that are still vividly remembered by its neighbors while selectively remembering its past is like intentional amnesia. A country with pride and self-confidence will never insist on trying to distort its past to redefine the identity of its ancestors. Oblivious of its own history, Japan is sure to repeat the same mistake to other countries.

For Japan to become a confident, proud nation, it must educate its youngsters about historical facts, including its shameful past, and make sure that they will never repeat the same horrible actions.

Only when youngsters receive proper historical education and learn a lesson from the past can Japan become a respected member of the international community. That is the only way to make Japanese youngsters feel proud to be Japanese.

Abe must seriously contemplate why Germany is receiving respect from the international community for its endless efforts to repent for its past aggressions and to stop the recurrence of the same event through a thorough historical education of its youngsters.

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