Japanese Schools: Tradition and Change

Figure 1.--The Japanese chose a kind of military uniform based on Prussian cadet uniforms for boys as they began to build a modern education system. It became the standard uniform at secondary schools. The cadet uniform was also worn at priary schools, although since World War II, most primary schools have adopted other uniforms. Some private and public schools have continued the trditional cadet unifrms as we see here,

Japan as a country has a fascinating mixture of tradition and ulta modern technological change. Confronting modernity began with Commodore Perry and his Black Ships (1853) and then the Mejii Restoration (1867). The country's schools are also an interesting mixture. As part of the Mejii reforms, Japan began building a modern school system. Education authorities chose uniforms basdon the great military powers of the day. Boys wore a kind of Prussian cadet uniform and girls wore a uniform based on that of the BRItish RoyalNavy. Many schools are tradition bound despite the fact that the country's left wing teacher's union is very influential. Teaching method are traditional and include extenive wrote learning. Left wing influence has had little impact on the traditional role of the teacher as an authoraitarian figure. Japan must have been the only country in the world that because of the association with militarism did not for years fly the flag or sing the national anthem Kimigayo at schools. Even after being ordered by the Ministry of Education to include the flag and anthem in graduation and other ceremonies, the left-wing teacher's unions resisted. Yet school children were usually taught a version of history that portrayed the country as a victim of World War II rather than a perpetrator of terrible attrocities. Only at the end of the century has flying the flag and singing the national anthem began to become common place at Japanese schools.


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Created: 5:53 AM 4/19/2013
Last updated: 5:54 AM 4/19/2013