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
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