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Nationalism at Japanese Kindergarten

Friday, September 1, 2006 Posted: 09:30 PM JST

(Asahi Shimbun) - At a kindergarten in Osaka Prefecture, 23 young voices ring out in unison. The teacher reads a line of verse, and the children echo it, obediently reciting the archaic Japanese.

Three generations ago, this would have been a familiar scene. The text the children are reciting is the Imperial Rescript on Education, the Meiji Era (1868-1912) edict that became one of wartime Japan's most potent symbols of nationalism.

The formal reading of the rescript was forbidden during the Allied occupation as part of efforts to restore democracy. The edict had come to be reviled as a method of thought control for Japan's youngest and most malleable minds.

But recently, the rescript has been experiencing a creeping resurgence. Read article

Keywords: national_news

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2 comments so far post your own

1 | At 06:07am on Oct 18 2006, timt. wrote:
that sucks. hope this kinda crap dosn't spread too much. when i go back to tokyo, is it a bad idea to give the finger to some of those right wingers in there black trucks?
2 | At 06:44am on Oct 18 2006, Kjeld Duits wrote:
You would just confirm their stereotypes and increase their dislike of foreigners that way, timt. Probably better to make them like you.
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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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