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ASCJ Executive Committee

Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181

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Summer 2000 ASCJ Conference Details

6. Problems in Introducing Educational Reform and Democratic Content and Practices during the Allied Occupation of Japan (Room 207)

Chair: Harry Wray, Nanzan University

1) Harry Wray, Nanzan University. "Teacher Education Reform During the Allied Occupation of Japan"

2) Gary Tsuchimochi. "A Study on the Introduction of 'General Education' in Postwar Japanese 

3) Reiko Yamamoto, Meisei University. "Educational Purge Policy During the Allied Occupation"

4) Fumiyo Nakagawa, Miyagawa Junior High School. "Teacher Education Reform During the Allied Occupation of Japan"

Discussant: Toshio Nishi, Reitaku University

Abstract: The three papers of this panel demonstrate the strong commitment of Washington, D.C., SCAP, and the United States Education Mission to Japan in the first three years of the Occupation to democratic content and practices in terms of policy, content, and practice. The Americans wanted to emphasize that democracy is not just a set of beliefs to be learned, but a system that can only achieve its goals by processes and procedures at all levels of education and by all particpants' (teachers, administrators, education officials, and students) practices that are fair, just, and value individual dignity and humanity. At the same time two of the three papers demonstrate that the  enormous speed with which these education reforms occurred sometimes resulted in the Japanese side not fully comprehending and the American side inadequately implementing and supervising those democratic concepts and practices. In short, they were compromised by urgency.

Paper 1.  Gary Tsuchimochi.  "A Study on the Introduction of "General Education" in Postwar Japanese University: Particular Emphasis on the Report of the U. S. Education Mission to Japan."

     The remarkable characteristics of curricula in the new, postwar-university system are subject courses and their credits of the "General Education" that were regulated by the University Standards of 1947. In 1950, a year after the emergence of the new-university system, the Ministry of Education prepared a report, "The Development of Education Reform in Japan," for the Second United States Education Mission to Japan. In Chapter 4, "Higher Education Reform," it stated that "General Education" was a remarkable feature of the new system. It noted, however, that in spite of the efforts to comprehend "General Education," it was still difficult to maintain the new system effectively.

  In this paper, I question and examine why general education did not fully function in the new university system by focusing on the March 30, 1946 Report of the U. S. Education Mission to Japan. It may be concluded that the "General Education" system within the new university system was too urgently redesigned by combining the old Japanese system and the American system without a thorough understanding of the meaning of "liberalization of the curricula" in the general education system that had been recommended by the Report of the U. S. Education Mission.

Paper 2.  Reiko Yamamoto, Meisei University.  "Educational Purge Policy during the American Occupation of Japan."                         

        This paper deals with American Occupation Education Policy on Japan by focusing on the educational purge of Japanese educators and education officials that was required by the October 22 and 30 directives of the Supreme Commander for Allied Powers (SCAP). Japanese educational histories, particularly local educational histories of each prefecture, have described the educational purge as the most severe punitive policy forced by SCAP. In addition, it is often considered to have contributed to great confusion among teachers all over Japan.

        The opening to the public of American Occupation documents since the 1980's, however, has disclosed a sincere, determined American policy to instruct and to enlighten teachers and education authorities in democratic values and practices by the actual procedures they adopted in carrying out the education purge.

        My paper will briefly delineate the specific background of the purge policy, discuss the screening system developed by the CIE, and highlight the actual viewpoints adopted by its officers in interpreting the screening directives to ensure that the purging process practiced fair American democratic procedures. Furthermore, I will show through the implementation of the education purge what kind of educators and officials the CIE really intended to purge for the purpose of democratizing Japanese education.

 Paper 3.  Harry Wray, Nanzan University and Nakagawa Fumiyo, Miyagawa Junior High School.  "Teacher Education Reform During the Allied Occupation of Japan."

      Robert King Hall, de facto chief of the Education Subsection, Civil Information and Education Section (CIE), October-November 1945, Joseph Trainor, Deputy Chief of the Education Division, CIE, SCAP, and the report of first United States Education Mission to Japan, 30 March 1946, considered teacher education reform among the top three priorities for education reform during the Allied Occupation of Japan. All three agreed that the Japanese were well trained, well-informed in the subject matter they were to teach, and skilled in transmitting that material. They were also unanimous in their belief that these qualities were not adequate for teaching democracy and the democratic process, developing a sense of "self-direction, stimulating curiosity and originality, cultivating individual differences, nurturing the individual, fostering social participation and active citizenship, and encouraging themselves and their students to think for themselves.

         In our paper we propose first to show briefly how the Education Division of the CIE in general worked to reeducate teachers in the first year of the Occupation. Our second, and much more specific goal is to examine what the Americans attempted to achieve in the professional preparation of new teachers, particularly at the old normal (teacher training) schools and in the new four year universities. To accomplish these objectives we will examine both Japanese and SCAP primary sources to gain an appreciation and understanding of how contemporary Education Division staff interacted with Ministry of Education officials, the blue-ribbon Japan Education Reform  Committee, and normal school and new university administrators and faculty.

        Our paper seeks objective answers to five questions. First, who were the key actors from the Japanese and American sides? Second, how much force did the Education Division apply to achieve the desired teacher reform? How valid is the argument of the principal American practitioners that they did not use coercion at all, or only very little? Third, how much did the Japanese willingly accept reeducation in the new democratic content and methodology? Were there roots and Japanese support for these reforms, or were most Japanese opposed to them? How much were Japanese at odds with the Americans over the extent and speed of the reform of teachers' professional preparation? For example did the speed with which teacher education reform was carried out result in insufficient comprehension of the American objectives and compromise the actual reform content? Fourth, was there conflict within the Education Division over the content and methodology of the new education that the United States Education Mission to Japan recommended and the Education Division favored? Fifth, we will try to answer briefly how well the Education Division succeeded in its objectives by examining what happened to the reforms in post-Occupation Japan.