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Thanks for all your comments on this difficult topic. It looks as though things are starting to calm down a bit now, but a lot of damage has been done to Japanese companies who are operating in China. I can’t imagine that any Chinese person would dare to buy a Japanese car at the moment for fear of being attacked, so this could continue to have serious consequences for Japan even after all of the fuss has died down.

Many Japanese people seem to believe that Chinese and Korean people have been “brainwashed” by their governments into hating Japan. There is probably an element of truth in this, but it is important to think about the situation here in Japan as well. Many people, including Japanese historians, have complained about the use of school textbooks that give only a very narrow viewpoint of events leading up to World War II. The reason that protests in China peaked on Tuesday this week was that it was the anniversary of an incident in 1931 where the Japanese army attacked a Japanese railway in order to give them an excuse to invade China. This is still a huge issue for Chinese people, but I wonder how many Japanese people have ever even heard of it.

I know that these things happened a long time ago, but can you imagine how you would feel if the Chinese army had invaded your country, killed and/or raped your grandparents, and made them all learn Chinese instead of Japanese? (I’m not saying whether this happened or not because I don’t know, but that is what Chinese people and Western people are taught in history classes.) And can you further imagine how you would feel if there was a Chinese politician now saying that it wasn’t really as bad as all that, and anyway, China was a victim too? How would you feel about Chinese people if the politician saying that was one of the most popular in China? I think you would naturally assume that what he was saying reflected the views of the general population. Anyway, I’m not saying that the Chinese are correct to hold these opinions, just that it is not difficult to understand why they do.

I think everyone knows that the Chinese government has stirred up these feelings and organised the demonstrations, but I can’t help thinking that the situation is not helped by Japanese people not really understanding why their country is so hated in the first place. Anyway, I hope this all turns out to be a storm in a teacup and that some kind of resolution can be reached regarding the islands.

Here is some feedback on your comments.

Sorry, this is not related with the topic…
Sorry, this is nothing to do with the topic…

I understand that other countries are watching carefully what actions we will take.
I understand that other countries are watching us carefully to see what we will do.

As far as I know, lots of countries the U.S. “helped” are still in chaos.
LOL. Very true! Actually, that is a very good example of how to use “quotation marks.”

I am worried about the situation between Japan and China very much.
I am very worried about…

I don’t want to say something patronizing, but I feel they are a bit ungrateful too much.
I don’t want to seem patronizing, but I feel they are a bit ungrateful.

I heard that some of the rioters didn’t know even where the Senkaku Island are.
That’s true, although I don’t think a lot of Japanese people knew either, yet they still supported Ishihara and his plan to buy them.

The Japanese Government should do now is show the stance “a wait-and see approach” calmly and appeal Japan’s stance and the situation firmly toward not only to China but also to the world.
The Japanese government should take a “wait-and-see” approach and make Japan’s case for ownership of the islands not only to China, but also to the world.

I read the article what you had mentioned in yesterday’s newspaper.
I read the article you mentioned.

As other members said,this demonstration has lots of causes to be bigger and worse than before.
As some of the other commenters said, there are many reasons why these demonstrations are bigger and worse than previous ones.

Do they know that their government is maneuvering them??
Probably not, but all governments do this, including Japan. How many Japanese people even knew about these islands before Ishihara started making a lot of noise about them? He knew what kind of response it would draw from China, and he knew the affect that would have on Japanese public opinion. He has basically succeeded in getting the Japanese public behind his nationalist agenda. He is certainly a very clever politician.

I hope it will be possible, but it’s not easy to have a good relationship with people who hate us.
That’s true, but the first step is to make sure all Japanese people understand why Chinese people hate them.

I’m afraid I don’t have much knowledge to give my opinion about this matter.
I’m afraid I don’t know enough to give my opinion about this matter.

Some stupid Japanese threw stones to three Chinese restaurants in Japan.
threw stones at

I heard that suits at the international court between…
I hear that cases at the international court between…

This is not a child fight, right?
I’m afraid it’s very similar!

I heard from my mother that she cared a bit where to live when my brother started school.
My mother told me that she thought a bit about where to live when… (A-Z: hear from)

I think some countries will not listen to the things what the international court decides.
I think there are some countries who would not abide by the international court’s rulings.

By the way, today I found on the internet that Japan War-Bereaved Assosiation is a big supporter of the Liberal Democratic Party.
I didn’t know that, but I’m not surprised.

I mean, do they know about the good things what Japanese did for China???
Probably not. What people know tends to depend on what they were taught at school, and in China as in Japan, that is carefully controlled by the government.

I’m glad to hear that you seem chose a good kindergarten.
I’m glad to hear that you seem to have found a good kindergarten. (A-Z: seem)

That’s all for now. If any of you live in Gifu, I will be presenting at a conference here on Sunday. You can read about it in the “news” on the home page.

Have a great weekend.

58 Comments

  1. YU on 2012年09月21日 at 19:28

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback!

    > it was the anniversary of an incident in 1931 where the Japanese army attacked a Japanese railway in order to give them an excuse to invade China. This is still a huge issue for Chinese people, but I wonder how many Japanese people have ever even heard of it.

    I can’t remember if I learned about the incident(柳条湖事件/Liutiaohu Incident) at school, but I guess almost all Japanese have heard of 満州事変(Manchurian Incident).

    > I’m not saying whether this happened or not because I don’t know, but that is what Chinese people and Western people are taught in history classes.

    Actually, I was very shocked knowing many historical facts that we were not taught at school when I studied Japanology in Germany.

    By the way, it seemed that German students are taught everything what they have done in the past just as it was. I’m not saying that is an admirable thing, but at least they are doing better than Japan in their history education.

    > He has basically succeeded in getting the Japanese public behind his nationalist agenda. He is certainly a very clever politician.

    Indeed, I have to admit it.
    Hashimoto and Ishihara are good friends.
    Hashimoto respects Ishihara as a politician very much.

    As you all know, the other day, Hashimoto set up a new political party(日本維新の会) and became the party leader. According to the latest polls, it seems that his new party is already supported the most. (LDP 2nd, DPJ 3rd)
    Although he still says, “I’m not going to stand for next general election.”, but who knows, he might change his mind anytime. And he could become the Japanese Prime Minister! Many politicians of LDP and DPJ already left their parties and joined Hashimoto’s party.
    I just hope Japanese people will not vote for the 日本維新の会 just because Hashimoto looks strong and he could change Japan. Of course, you can vote for anyone, though.

    > If any of you live in Gifu, I will be presenting at a conference here on Sunday

    Good luck with your presentation!

    Hi Biwa, Tomo, Fumie and all other mama members,

    I had a look at the “news” David mentioned and remembered this…

    I’m interested in teaching English to my son and other small children. As I mentioned before, actually I sometimes teach other kids from my son’s English club.

    I have some questions for you.

    1. Do your children like English?

    2. How did they learn English first?

    3. Many mom friends of mine told me that their children gradually lost their interest in English after starting kindergarten.(Boys, especially)
    How about your children?

    4. Why do you think they lose interest suddenly?

    Have a nice weekend, all !!
    See you!



  2. Fumie on 2012年09月22日 at 00:13

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    It is a tough topic but I felt somewhat your passion of letting us(Japanese people) aware why Senkaku problem(territory conflict) provoked Chinese people’s hatred towards Japan. I think I realized some important things from your comment.

    >Many people, including Japanese historians, have complained about the use of school textbooks that give only a very narrow viewpoint of events leading up to World War II.
    >~, but I can’t help thinking that the situation is not helped by Japanese people not really understanding why their country is so hated in the first place.
    >~but the first step is to make sure all Japanese people understand why Chinese people hate them.
    > What people know tends to depend on what they were taught at school, and in China as in Japan, that is carefully controlled by the government.

    I might do the same things as Chinese people did this time if China had done to Japan what Japan did during war.
    I know it’s not easy but I hope Japan and China will resolve this problem.
    Good luck with your presentation!

    Fumie



  3. Fumie on 2012年09月22日 at 00:36

    Hi YU,

    Let me answer your questions.
    1. Do your children like English?
    Unfortunatelly, they don’t.

    2. How did they learn English first?
    I tried to teach them English when they were little. I played Karuta-tori with them.(I wrote English words and drew pictures from A-Z), sung English songs and let them watch English videos.

    3. Many mom friends of mine told me that their children gradually lost their interest in English after starting kindergarten.(Boys, especially)
    How about your children?
    That’s what had happened to my children. They lost interest in English about that age. They started to switch the sound to Japanese when they watched animes.

    4. Why do you think they lose interest suddenly?
    Maybe, Japanse is easier. I failed to lead my children become bilingual.

    Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

    Fumie



  4. Anne on 2012年09月22日 at 05:54

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback.
    This week’s topic was really tough and thank you for letting us consider from China’s side. However,sadly, I’m afraid I can’t be in the same circle with you as far as this issue concerned even though I understand why people in China react this way.
    There have been incidents that China’s fishing boats close to Senkaku Islands,and China is going to create fiats accomplishments of Senkaku Islands to the world by doing so. I wonder if what Ishihara did is fault, how Japan should make Japan’s case for ownership of the islands to the world under these circumstances. I’m wondering now what nation’s interest and diplomacy mean.

    >That’s true, although I don’t think a lot of Japanese people knew either, yet they still supported Ishihara and his plan to buy them.
    —Yes, that’s true.

    >The Japanese government should take a “wait-and-see” approach and make Japan’s case for ownership of the islands not only to China, but also to the world.—take..approach/make…for
    I see. But it’s difficult for me to write this way.

    >He knew what kind of response it would draw from China,
    >He is certainly a very clever politician.
    —I agree with you.

    Hi YU,
    >I just hope Japanese people will not vote for the 日本維新の会 just because Hashimoto looks strong and he could change Japan
    —Yes, indeed! It’s very dangerous and stupid to choose Diet members just because he/she belongs to this new party. Not everyone deserve to be elected.

    Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

    Anne

    PS. David, good luck with the presentation!



  5. David Barker on 2012年09月22日 at 09:38

    I think it’s Tomo’s birthday today, isn’t it? Happy birthday Tomo. Hope you have a great day.



  6. Anne on 2012年09月22日 at 10:04

    Hi Tomo,

    Happy Birthday,Tomo♪♪

    Many happy returns!
    And hope you’ll have a great day with your family.

    Anne



  7. YU on 2012年09月22日 at 10:14

    Hi Anne,

    Last night I heard on TV news that the attitude of China suddenly softened since yesterday as soon as influential polititians of the U.S. declared that they support Japan’s opinion about the territory issue of the Senkaku islands.

    Yesterday China’s next leader 習近平 (Xi Jinping) remarked at ASEAN Expo which is held in China, “China would settle the disputes over land and territorial waters with surrounding countries by PEACEFUL means.” He even said, “China would not insist hegemony over those land and waters for ever”.

    http://sankei.jp.msn.com/world/news/120921/erp12092115300002-n1.htm

    However, China’s ships are still sailing around the Senkaku islands. I heard that he(Xi Jinping) can’t stop it because he needs Chinese public for his next government. I mean, he has to show that “China is not weak-kneed” to get support from Chinese public, although he determined that it would not be in its best interest to make enemies of the U.S., Japan and international society, both diplomatically and economically.

    >I wonder if what Ishihara did is fault, how Japan should make Japan’s case for ownership of the islands to the world under these circumstances. I’m wondering now what nation’s interest and diplomacy mean.

    I don’t say what he did was right or wrong, but I wonder how could “an individual” like Ishihara poke his nose into deplomatic matters between nations in the first place. I know he is the Governor of Tokyo, though.
    If I remember correctly, it was still just his personal plan Tokyo to purchase the Senkaku islands when he announced it in the U.S. this spring. It had even not been discussed at the Tokyo metropolitan assembly at the point.



  8. Biwa on 2012年09月22日 at 10:47

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for your feedback, David!
    It’s really difficult for me to express what I want to in English!

    I’d also like to tell you that we did learn about the “柳条湖事件”and the “満州事変” and other things.
    I happen to keep my history textbooks which I used in school days(!) and they have explanations for these incidents. My sons(17 and 15 years old) knew about these things, too.
    I mean, I’m not trying to say that you’re wrong(of course not!) but that it’s really sad to know that not only the Chinese but the Westerners also think that Japanese are taught only a narrow aspect of the War.
    During school days, we had to read at least one book related to the War, and we had to write a book report as a summer homework.
    In history class, we were taught that we really have to be proud of our war-renouncing constitution and things like that.
    We have lots of War related TV programs every summer, too.

    I’d just like to say to the people around the world not to take those few extreme or crazy opinions as our entire way of thinking.

    Probably, we’ll have to try harder to let the world know that we do care about the things that happened in the past, and also act like that.

    Anyway, thank you for giving us the chance to think about these things!

    Good luck on your presentation!



  9. YU on 2012年09月22日 at 10:53

    Hi Tomo,

    Congratulations on your birthday!
    Wishing you a wonderful birthday!! 🙂

    Hi Fumie,

    Thank you for your reply.

    > I played Karuta-tori with them.(I wrote English words and drew pictures from A-Z), sung English songs and let them watch English videos.

    That’s almost the same what I try with my son now.
    At the moment he still says, “英語大好き!”, but I wonder if there was anything wrong with those methods you tried…

    > That’s what had happened to my children. They lost interest in English about that age. They started to switch the sound to Japanese when they watched animes.

    That’s exactly the same as the son of a friend of mine from my English club. She has two kids, 5(boy) and 3(girl). She’s been always trying to talk with them in English as much as possible.
    Her daughter still enjoys talking in English with her mom, but her son started rejecting it soon after entering kindergarten. Now he even says like this, “え?え?何言ってるんだか全然分からないんだけど” when his mother talks to him in English. I don’t think he really doesn’t understand what his mother says, though…
    By the way, the mother is almost bilingual.
    (英検1級、翻訳業、英検のスピーキングテストの試験官もしているくらい)

    > Maybe, Japanse is easier. I failed to lead my children become bilingual.

    I don’t hope my son will reach that high level, but at least I don’t want him to hate English in the future.
    I guess children may realize “English is not so important to lead the 幼稚園生活 when they start kindergarten. And as you say, Japanese comes to be easier for them, because their life is surrounded by Japanese language…

    See you !



  10. David Barker on 2012年09月22日 at 10:56

    Hi Biwa,

    Thanks for your interesting comment. I have never actually seen any Japanese history textbooks, so I have no idea what is in them other than what I have been told. To be honest, I’m quite surprised to hear that you were taught about those incidents. Were you also taught that the Japanese army committed atrocities in China? Were you taught about the use of “comfort women” from Korea and China by the Japanese army?

    Anyway, I do know that there have been many arguments about these textbooks in the past. I also know that some Japanese historians have argued that the books do not give an accurate representation of what happened. Having read your comment, I just wonder why this issue has become such a big problem. Anyway, as I said in my feedback, if the rest of the world thinks that most Japanese people hold the same opinions as Ishihara and other nationalist politicians, it is going to be difficult for Japan to have good relations with other Asian countries.

    I’m going to Google “Japanese history textbooks” and see what else I can learn about this topic.



  11. David Barker on 2012年09月22日 at 11:01

    Hi again,

    I found a whole page about this topic on Wikipedia. I also found one section that answers my questions about “comfort women.”

    In 2007, former education minister Nariaki Nakayama declared he was proud that the Liberal Democratic Party had succeeded in getting references to “wartime sex slaves” struck from most authorized history texts for junior high schools. “Our campaign worked, and people outside government also started raising their voices.”[19] He also declared that he agreed with an e-mail sent to him saying that the “victimized women in Asia should be proud of being comfort women”.



  12. David Barker on 2012年09月22日 at 11:03

    Here is the link, if anyone is interested. Some of it is quite shocking.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_history_textbook_controversies



  13. David Barker on 2012年09月22日 at 11:10

    Here is another interesting bit.

    Reflecting Japanese tendency towards self-favoring historical revisionism, historian Stephen Ambrose noted that “The Japanese presentation of the war to its children runs something like this: ‘One day, for no reason we ever understood, the Americans started dropping atomic bombs on us.'”

    As I said before, I am not a historian, and I have no idea whether this perception is accurate or not. However, what I was trying to explain is that this is the perception of Japan that is commonly held in the West and in other Asian countries. I think it is very important for Japanese people to understand how others see Japan and why there is so much bad feeling towards them in other countries.



  14. YU on 2012年09月22日 at 11:31

    Hi Biwa,

    > I’d also like to tell you that we did learn about the “柳条湖事件”and the “満州事変” and other things.

    I’m glad to know that students today learn about them at school.
    However, I’m afraid, I bet you that in reality almost all Japanese people(except older generation) would just show puzzled face if they were interviewed on the street, “Could you please explain what incidents they are?”.
    And I think that is why many Japanese people can’t understand why Chinese have anti-Japan feeling even today.

    I’m interested in what is written in history textbooks of today. I think it doesn’t really matter whether those incidents are written on them, but it does matter how deeply they are explained, how seriously teachers teach about them at school.

    I’m not taking the side of Chinese people’s or Westerner’s. Please don’t take me wrong, but I like Japan very much! 🙂



  15. YU on 2012年09月22日 at 11:40

    Hi David,

    Again, I found your comments when I posted mine!!

    > I also know that some Japanese historians have argued that the books do not give an accurate representation of what happened. Having read your comment, I just wonder why this issue has become such a big problem.

    I wonder too.

    >I think it is very important for Japanese people to understand how others see Japan and why there is so much bad feeling towards them in other countries.

    I agree.



  16. Lily on 2012年09月22日 at 12:28

    Happy Birthday, Tomo!!♪♪ Have a wonderful day! 🙂



  17. Biwa on 2012年09月22日 at 13:40

    Hi David,

    I’m not sure if we had the word,comfort women, in our textbooks, but we learned about it.
    I read the Wikipedia, too.
    Again, I’m surprised that the Japanese page is not a translation of the English one. (Lots of new things for me!)

    I couldn’t find the Nariaki Nakayama words in the Japanese page. And I couln’t find the study done in Stanford University in the English page. I just took a quick look so I might have missed it, though.
    The study was a kind of comparing between the textbooks of Japan, Korea and China.
    They say that the Japanese ones are written with no feelings, the Korean one is interested in only what Japan did to them and the Chinese ones are too much politicised.
    It also says that in Korea, ther is only one textbook which is assigned by the government. This means the all of the Koreans learn exactly the same thing at school. In China, they have several choices but are assigned by the government, too.
    In Japan, we have a lot of choices of textbooks but are also screened by the government.

    I think the problem is that the quantity written in our textbooks is not enough for the Chinese or the Koreans. Also, they take it very cold-hearted when they read the so detached-tone textbooks.
    But do history textbooks have to be so emotional?

    Also, many of our history teachers used a lot of refference handouts in class. This means the quantity written in our textbooks is not everything we learn. We learn from “Austoralophitequs” to “Einstein” in just a 1.5cm-thick textbook!
    I wonder how thick a history textbook is in other countries.



  18. Biwa on 2012年09月22日 at 13:55

    Hi YU,

    >I’m interested in what is written in history textbooks of today. I think it doesn’t really matter whether those incidents are written on them, but it does matter how deeply they are explained, how seriously teachers teach about them at school.

    I totally agree with you!

    And for your questions,
    1. Luckily, they still like English!

    2. I began teaching them when they were 5 years old.I taught them with some of their park-friends.(公園友達)

    3.4. I’m not sure but maybe it’s because they begin to learn lots of things at school, and find it easier to talk in Japanese. Maybe inviting his school mates to your class and letting them learn English together might work.



  19. Gussan on 2012年09月22日 at 14:26

    Hi everyone,

    You’ve talked about a difficult thing in English seriously. That’s interesting.

    I’m not a specialist of the history between Japan and China. However, in my opinion, Mr. Ishihara’s action was not wrong, I think. Around Senkaku Islands is in Japanese territory. At this point I have to believe Japanese Government’s view. I think the cause of the incident was made by a Chinese fishing boat. I suppose Mr. Ishihara is a little too patriotic, so he could not bear the weak attitude of Japanese Government. That was why he tried to buy them.

    Talking about the demo in the mainland in China, I was surprised many young people committed crimes. I think demonstrating is acceptable, but breaking shops or cars ,and hurting Japanese people are crimes.

    I realized Japanese people have to pay more attentions to them because they might be educated to be possible to become such violent people. Concerning their attitudes, I cannot help but saying it is difficult for Japanese people to create good relationships with them.

    I’m sorry to say that at the end.
    Happy birthday, Tomo.

    See ya,



  20. YU on 2012年09月22日 at 14:55

    Hi Biwa,

    > I’m surprised that the Japanese page is not a translation of the English one.

    But Wikipedia is always like that.
    Lots of people all over the world correct and revise the articles all the time.
    For example, some Japanese films are explained very precisely in Japanese language, but in other languages, they are not really explained much.

    > I think the problem is that the quantity written in our textbooks is not enough for the Chinese or the Koreans.

    I don’t think it is a matter of quantity, I’m afraid, but it is a matter of accuracy of the content.

    > Also, they take it very cold-hearted when they read the so detached-tone textbooks.
    But do history textbooks have to be so emotional?

    I don’t think they expect such things from us, but I think they would be satisfied only if we described the facts accurately.

    However, as you say, I think their textbooks are fairly problematic too.
    To tell the truth, I didn’t know that we have a lot of choice in school textbooks until recently.
    When I was in school, I knew only my textbooks, and I used to think that they were the only textbooks in Japan.
    I don’t think it is a bad idea of having a lot of choice in textbooks of other subjects such as English or moral education, but I wonder if it’s appropriate for history textbooks….

    At last, thank you for answering my questions.

    > 1. Luckily, they still like English!

    Oh, they are lucky!! You are lucky too!!

    > 2. I began teaching them when they were 5 years old.I taught them with some of their park-friends.(公園友達)

    I see.
    My son and I joined an English club for mothers and kids when he turned one. Because we moved, we joined another English club(which is our current one) in the new place.
    I like teaching small children, because they never ask me about grammar! All what I usually teach them are English finger play and English rhytmics dance. They prefer those activities to learning English from textbooks.

    3.4. I’m not sure but maybe it’s because they begin to learn lots of things at school, and find it easier to talk in Japanese. Maybe inviting his school mates to your class and letting them learn English together might work.

    My son’s (future) kindergarten offers English classes after school(after kindergarten!?). Of course, they charge for that. It seems that a native teacher comes to teach children from Belritz once a week. I don’t know how much it costs, but it must be very expensive…

    See you!



  21. YU on 2012年09月22日 at 15:00

    Sorry,

    “Berlitz”, correctly.



  22. David Barker on 2012年09月22日 at 15:30

    Hi Gussan,

    I tried to reply to your email, but it was rejected. I’m not sure why. Anyway, I have done what you asked. Look forward to reading your comments again soon.

    Hi everyone,

    I’m sure that Chinese students are taught a lot of things that are not true in their textbooks, but that makes it especially important for Japanese people to understand the point of view that they are being taught. I don’t mean you have to agree with it, just that you have to be able to understand why Chinese people think the way they do. I’m sure that when a reasonable Japanese person (as most are) says something completely rational about the war, nobody in China ever hears about it. When someone like Hashimoto or Ishihara says something provocative, however, that will be all over the front of every newspaper and on every TV show. This is just the unfortunate reality of the situation, as Chinese people do not have access to free media like we do.



  23. YU on 2012年09月22日 at 15:30

    Hi David,

    I read the site you mentioned.

    Regarding the comfort women issue, I saw many politicians were complaining about ’93 apology(河野談話) on TV the other day. What they mainly insist is that “Show us evidences first before you claim!” Some of them even commented, “There were lots of other countries who did more or less the same thing as Japanese army did during the war period.” Is that mean, “Everyone does it, so it is allowed”??
    Why Japanese people voted for politicians like them!?

    I wonder if that program should have been aired.



  24. David Barker on 2012年09月22日 at 15:33

    Hi YU,

    The problem is that, as I mentioned above, TV shows like that will be shown in China and Korea, and people in those countries will think that all Japanese people share those opinions. We know that is not the case, but they don’t.



  25. David Barker on 2012年09月22日 at 15:35

    I just saw this article on Japan Today. Isn’t this a case of Japanese people doing the same thing that Chinese people are doing?

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/kuchikomi/view/nasty-nationalists-converge-on-shin-okubos-koreatown

    Again, the problem is a small number of people who hold minority opinions making a very loud noise. I’m sure the same was probably true in the Chinese demonstrations.



  26. Biwa on 2012年09月22日 at 16:25

    Hi YU,

    >I don’t think it is a matter of quantity, I’m afraid, but it is a matter of accuracy of the content.

    I’m afraid you misunderstood me.
    I wanted to say that in textbooks used in Japan, every historical events are written in the same tone and weight. I don’t think they aren’t accurate. I’m sure it will be a very thick textbook if you explain every single event with details.
    But I feel like that the Chinese and Koreans want more explanations or details to be described in our textbooks.(regarding the textbook issues)
    I just wanted to say that Japanese textbooks are written that way and the Koreans and Chinese are not.



  27. rinko on 2012年09月22日 at 16:47

    Hi David.
    Thank you for your feedback!

    It’s a very important topic to discuss.
    I totally agree with you that more Japanese people should know what Japan did to other countries in history and even children should study about this with textbooks written right things.But I feel sad to see that historical problems are invoked everytime troubles occur between Japan and another country.
    Of course I know how terrible things Japan did and we must not forget it,but Chinese government should not use this to stir up people to riot.It’s out of the question that government paid people some money to make them participate the demo,though….
    Anyway I really hope some kind of resolution can be reached,too.

    Hi Tomo

    Happy Birthday!
    I hope you have a great day today!

    Hi YU

    Congratulations on the league championship of Giants!

    Have a great day everyone!

    rinko



  28. YU on 2012年09月22日 at 17:52

    Hi rinko,

    Thank you!
    All my family was very excited last night!

    Hi Biwa,

    Thank you for your comment! 🙂

    I can’t comment anything, because I haven’t read history textbooks that Japanese students use today. And I don’t think you can judge eveything from the textbooks your children use because as you say, there are lots of choice of textbooks in Japan, aren’t they?

    I’m afraid, but may I ask you what makes you so sure that they are all accurate?
    Have you ever studied the same history from China’s side? I haven’t, either.
    To be honest, I don’t think I can judge if they are all accurate even if I read them, though… Because my knowledge is very narrow and limited.

    > But I feel like that the Chinese and Koreans want more explanations or details to be described in our textbooks.(regarding the textbook issues)

    I felt totally different way from you having read the Wikipedia.

    1. “On June 26, 1982, the Japanese textbook authorization system became a major diplomatic issue for the first time when Asahi Shimbun reported that the Ministry of Education demanded a textbook, which stated that the Japanese army invaded (侵略) Northern China, be rewritten using the phrase “advanced (進行) into” instead of invaded. Having heard this news the Chinese government strongly protested to the Japanese government.”

    2. “In 2000, Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, a group of conservative scholars, published the New History Textbook (Atarashii Rekishi Kyokasho, 新しい歴史教科書), which was intended to promote a revised view of Japan. The textbook downplays or whitewashes the nature of Japan’s military aggression in the First Sino-Japanese War, in Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910, in the Second Sino-Japanese War, and in World War II.”

    “進行” or “侵略”, “性奴隷” or “慰安婦”, for Japanese students, those things might be どうでもいい or どちらでも同じようなもの, but for the victim’s side, it is a big difference.
    I don’t know which words the textbooks today use, but I guess each textbook uses slightly different expressions. I don’t think they would stop complaining as long as there is even one textbook that describes the facts with wrong Japanese expressions.

    And I don’t think they want us to write every single event with details, but I guess they want us to write everything accurately.
    However, I don’t think it is that easy to do so as long as some textbooks are still compiled by right-wing Japanese scholars and censored by the Ministry of Education that includes many nationalist poloticians.

    I’m sorry, what I wrote might sound strict.
    Please don’t take me wrong, I’m not blaming you personally at all.

    Have a great weekend!
    See you!



  29. YU on 2012年09月22日 at 21:02

    【correction】
    Sorry, I made a lot of mistakes.

    1. Show us evidences first before you claim
    =>….before you complain

    2. All my family was very excited last night!
    => My family were all very….

    3. because I haven’t read history textbooks
    => because I’ve never read….

    4. there are lots of choice of textbooks in Japan, aren’t they?
    =>…. in Japan, aren’t there?

    5. I don’t know which words the textbooks today use, but I guess each textbook uses slightly different expressions.
    =>…. which expression is used in the textbooks today, but I guess slightly different expressions are used in each textbook.



  30. Fumie on 2012年09月22日 at 22:53

    Hi Tomo,

    ☆Happy birthday.☆ Hope you have a wonderful day with your family.:-)

    Fumie



  31. Tomo on 2012年09月23日 at 00:17

    Thanks for the birthday messages, David, Anne, YU, Lily, Gussan, Rinko, and Fumie! I had a great time with my family 🙂

    YU, I’ll answer your questions later.

    Sweet dreams,

    Tomo



  32. Biwa on 2012年09月23日 at 09:19

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for your comment!

    I don’t feel like I’m being blamed by you but I still think we are talking from different grounds.

    I just wanted to say that Japanese textbooks are written in a emotionless, neutral tone. They just describe what happened one after another. Reading my own textbook (published by Yamakawa Shuppan) and my sons’ (by Teikokushoin), I really think they are. I’d also like to add that the study done by Stanford University highly valued the Japanese textbooks for standing neutral. They didin’t write which textbook they valued exactly, though.
    And after reading the Wikipedia, I imagine that the Chinese and Korean textbooks are not written in the same way as the Japanese ones.

    >1. “On June 26, 1982, the Japanese textbook authorization system became a major diplomatic issue for the first time when Asahi Shimbun reported that the Ministry of Education demanded a textbook, which stated that the Japanese army invaded (侵略) Northern China, be rewritten using the phrase “advanced (進行) into” instead of invaded. Having heard this news the Chinese government strongly protested to the Japanese government.”

    I’ve read this part, too.
    But they also say in the same article that the whole arguement was totally a misinformation.
    But I don’t know if it was true or not. As you said before, Wikipedia is a kind of information that everyone can write in anything.

    >2. “In 2000, Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, a group of conservative scholars, published the New History Textbook (Atarashii Rekishi Kyokasho, 新しい歴史教科書), which was intended to promote a revised view of Japan. The textbook downplays or whitewashes the nature of Japan’s military aggression in the First Sino-Japanese War, in Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910, in the Second Sino-Japanese War, and in World War II.”

    I also read this part, too.
    For this “New History Textbook”, even lots of Japanese denied it, and only 0.097% of the schools adopted this for use.

    Anyway, what I want to say is that there is a lot of diffence between the textbooks between Japan, China and Korea.

    The word “advance into” is the same as “invade into” from the other side. This difference is might be said, in other words, whether the fact is expressed with some emotion or not.
    Again, I’d like to say that the Japanese textbooks are written in a neutral tone. I haven’t checked everything but according to the Wikipedia information, they say some use the word “advance into” and the others use “invade into”.
    I don’t think that the ones using the words “advance into” are not accurate. “Advancing into” some place during war means “invading into” from the other side. Again, they just stand neutral. Luckily, in Japan, we have a lot of choices of textbooks to use and each school decides which one to use. And as I said before, the teachers tell us a lot more than is actually written in the textbooks. We get to know different ways of thinking and I think that is the most important thing.
    If we have only one single textbook that is written emotionally by it’s own side, it will be very difficult to imagine that there are many other ways of thinking.
    I hope you will understand what I’m trying to say!

    See you!



  33. Tomo on 2012年09月23日 at 11:17

    Hi YU,

    Here are my answers to your question.

    1. Do your children like English?

    My daughter likes English, but my sons don’t.

    2. How did they learn English first?

    I didn’t teach English to my children when they were small, but I use both Japanese and English at home, so they learned English by hearing me speak English first(I speak mostly in Japanese, though.) I started to teach English to them when they were in the upper grades of elementary school. If you are interested in how I teach(taught) English to my children, please have a look at the entry “Teaching English to Your Children”(March 7th, 2011).

    3. Many mom friends of mine told me that their children gradually lost their interest in English after starting kindergarten.(Boys, especially)
    How about your children?

    4. Why do you think they lose interest suddenly?

    Although my sons don’t dislike English, they have never shown a particular interest in it.(My elder son likes science and my middle son likes history.) They ask for my help with their English studies because that’s something they have to learn at school.

    My daughter asks me to give her English lessons and says, “I like English”, but maybe it’s because what she is doing now is just playing with me. At my daughter’s school, upper graders have an English class once a week, and lower graders have one once in a while.(They sing songs or play games.) She seems to be enjoying English classes as well, but she might lose her interest when she starts studying English at junior high school.

    Hi David and everyone,

    Let me write about the history textbook issue.

    >The reason that protests in China peaked on Tuesday this week was that it was the anniversary of an incident in 1931 where the Japanese army attacked a Japanese railway in order to give them an excuse to invade China. This is still a huge issue for Chinese people, but I wonder how many Japanese people have ever even heard of it.

    I learned that incident as 満州事変 at school though I can’t remember how it was described in my textbook. I checked my middle son’s history textbook, and of course students today learn about the incident, too. My son’s textbook says 日本の中国侵略, not 進出. It also says Japanese army occupied Nanjing and killed a large number of Chinese people including ordinary people like women and children(Nanjing Massacre), they made Korean people, Chinese people and South-east Asians learn Japanese and forced them to work hard under harsh conditions, there were also women who were made to work in the battlefield(← I guess this is about “comfort women.”), and Japanese army cracked down people who stood up against them and made numerous victims.
    Is this still a very narrow viewpoint? Should junior high school students learn how Japanese army killed and raped those people? I’m not sure if my 13-year-old son knows what “comfort woman” or “sex-slave” means. Basically, Junior high school students learn things widely and shallowly, and high school students learn more about them in detail. I’ll check my elder son’s textbook later.

    >Reflecting Japanese tendency towards self-favoring historical revisionism, historian Stephen Ambrose noted that “The Japanese presentation of the war to its children runs something like this: ‘One day, for no reason we ever understood, the Americans started dropping atomic bombs on us.’”

    I learned at school that America dropped atomic bombs on Japan because Japan didn’t readily accept the Potsdam Declaration(the unconditional surrender).

    >However, what I was trying to explain is that this is the perception of Japan that is commonly held in the West and in other Asian countries.

    I’m sorry that there is a misunderstanding like that.

    > I’m sure that when a reasonable Japanese person (as most are) says something completely rational about the war, nobody in China ever hears about it. When someone like Hashimoto or Ishihara says something provocative, however, that will be all over the front of every newspaper and on every TV show. This is just the unfortunate reality of the situation, as Chinese people do not have access to free media like we do.

    That’s very sad. I feel the same way as Rinko.

    Hope you are all having a nice weekend,

    Tomo

    PS David – Good luck with your presentation!



  34. amo on 2012年09月23日 at 11:38

    Hi Tomo,



  35. amo on 2012年09月23日 at 11:40

    Hi Tomo,

    ♪ Happy delated birthday ♪
    Glad to know that you had a wonderful time with your family 🙂

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your feedback. I bed you are doing great at the conference today 😉

    Hi everyone,

    I went to Osaka to see a musical, I stayed there Friday night and got back late last night. I was too tired so I went straight to bed and slept like a log.

    Bye for now,
    amo



  36. YU on 2012年09月23日 at 12:14

    Hi Biwa,

    Thank you for your comment.

    > I just wanted to say that Japanese textbooks are written in a emotionless, neutral tone

    I got it.

    > But they also say in the same article that the whole arguement was totally a misinformation

    I’m sorry, you’re right.
    I didn’t read it carefully.

    > For this “New History Textbook”, even lots of Japanese denied it, and only 0.097% of the schools adopted this for use.

    I read the part, too.
    In this case, the number of schools is not really a matter. As David said, nobody in China hears about such a good information(only 0.097% adopted), because they don’t have access to free media. Instead, maybe the only bad aspects are reported – “There is STILL a publisher in Japan that playdowns and whitewashes the nature of Japan’s military aggression towards our country(China).

    I know this(that they don’t have access to free media) is not Japan’s fault, though.
    Their situation is slightly better than the one in North Korea, but I feel a bit shympathy for Chinese people in this point.

    > The word “advance into” is the same as “invade into” from the other side. This difference is might be said, in other words, whether the fact is expressed with some emotion or not.
    > I don’t think that the ones using the words “advance into” are not accurate. “Advancing into” some place during war means “invading into” from the other side. Again, they just stand neutral

    I can’t agree this, I’m afraid.
    This is neither a matter of emotional/neutral nor a matter of this side/the other side.

    I don’t think “advance into(進入)” and “invade into(侵略)” are the same at all.
    “進入” means “進み入ること”, and “侵略” means “他の国に侵入してその領土や財物を奪い取ること”.
    To me, “進入” sounds like nothing to do with military agression. This is just my personal impression, though.
    Anyway, do you really use these two words in a same situation!? I don’t.
    If it were the difference between “侵略” and “『侵』入”, I can “kind of” understand, though.

    > And as I said before, the teachers tell us a lot more than is actually written in the textbooks.

    But Chinese people doesn’t hear about that.

    > I don’t feel like I’m being blamed by you but I still think we are talking from different grounds.
    > I hope you will understand what I’m trying to say!

    I’m releaved to hear that.
    Don’t worry, I understand what you’re trying to say, but we have just different opinions in some points on this matter, that’s it.
    You don’t need to agree with me against your will, and vice verca.
    I don’t really mind even if other members have completely different ideas. If we all had exactly the same thoughts, then we couldn’t discuss anything here(on this blog)! Don’t you think so?

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your ideas.
    I really enjoyed discussing with you!

    See you!



  37. YU on 2012年09月23日 at 13:18

    Hi Tomo,

    How did you spend your birthday with your family?
    Did you get any presents??

    Anyway, thank you for answering my questions.

    > but I use both Japanese and English at home, so they learned English by hearing me speak English first(I speak mostly in Japanese, though.)

    Oh, that’s nice.
    I actually don’t.
    You mean with your husband,too?
    How do they react?
    By the way, my husband started teaching his language to my son a few weeks ago. He still just remembered some numbers and some greeting words, but he is already better than me at my husband’s language…(汗)

    > please have a look at the entry “Teaching English to Your Children”(March 7th, 2011).

    Okay, I’ll have a look it later.
    Thank you!

    > Is this still a very narrow viewpoint? Should junior high school students learn how Japanese army killed and raped those people?

    I think it’s enough for under 15(junior high school students). However, I guess the point is that a small number of textbooks in Japan aren’t like your middle son’s textbook even today. As you know, such a good example is never introduced in China, and only bad examples are reported.

    However, I think Chinese people learn how Japanese army killed and raped them at school and by media reports.
    I don’t know if those things should be taught at Japanese junior high schools, but most Japanese stop learnig Japanese history after graduating from high school, don’t we? And most of us don’t learn anything further even when we get old enough to know such “grotesque” things or other kinds of war crimes using bacteriological weapons by Japanese army, do we? (Or maybe Japanese high school students today learn such things too?)
    And I think that is why many of us are not really interested in their anti-Japanese feeling.
    This is just my imagination, but that might be one of the reasons of their anger.

    Actually, people from other countries know such things too, but only (most of)Japanese people(当事者) don’t ever know/learn about that. So, now you know, why other countries can’t understand history education in Japan.

    See you !



  38. Kyon on 2012年09月23日 at 13:48

    Hi David,
    Thank you for your feedback.

    It is a very tough but important topic. Many Japanese people tend to stay away from these difficult issues and try to avoid confrontations through discussions. I think we are lucky to have a good occasion here to share our opinions and I was glad to read different opinions of yours .If the whole Japanese have same opinions, it is going to be a dangerous situation.

    Hi Biwa,
    >The word “advance into” is the same as “invade into” from the other side. This difference is might be said, in other words, whether the fact is expressed with some emotion or not.

    You are very right. It is the same in that the U.S.A. dropped the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki to” stop the war”, but most Japanese didn’t think like that.

    >Again, I’d like to say that the Japanese textbooks are written in a neutral tone.
    > Luckily, in Japan, we have a lot of choices of textbooks to use and each school decides which one to use. And as I said before, the teachers tell us a lot more than is actually written in the textbooks. We get to know different ways of thinking and I think that is the most important thing.
    If we have only one single textbook that is written emotionally by it’s own side, it will be very difficult to imagine that there are many other ways of thinking.

    I agree with you.

    We have to study much more than we learned at school and knew from TV and newspapers. Those information are not always accurate. I am very skeptical about media coverage these days. We should gather information as much as possible in order to have the right recognition of history(歴史認識)by checking both sides’ claims.

    Personally I think the comfort women issue is still debatable.
    David and other members have already left their opinions , so I want to leave my comment from a different perspective.

    The professor of emeritus of Soul University(安秉直ソウル大名誉教授)says in the article below in 2006(sorry, only written in Japanese) that no one denies the existence of comfort women. The question is that they were forced into prostitution or not. Some former comfort women testified they were forced. However there are no objective evidence in Korea and Japan.

    http://ameblo.jp/lancer1/entry-10021177130.html

    Below is my opinion. Some of you may be angry with me. I may be not able to come back here(smile). But I can’t help saying this.

    It is said that about 200,000 women were forced into prostitution after having been hunted like African slaves. If it is true, there must be some records or some witnesses in Korean or Japan. They had families, friends and neighbors. There should be someone who witnessed when they were taken away. Or did Korean men just let them go?
    It is very sad that Korean women from poor origin served for Japanese soldiers during the war. I really feel sorry for them. Even in Japan, late in the 19 to 20 centuries ,young girls were sold by their families to prostitution operators. Some were sent to Asian countries and they were called “Kara-yuki-san”. Where there are wars, there are comfort stations to avoid rampant raping.
    Sadly to say this, I agree with the opinion of Professor An of Soul University.

    As for Nanking Massacre南京大虐殺 , I am not very sure about the true fact. However, I feel strange that it is reported 300,000 people were killed in Nanking whose population was 200,000 at that time.

    If you are interested in the article named “the truth of Korean comfort women (only in Japanese version except “Nanking Massacre南京大虐殺”) below, please look at the documents.
    Their salaries, a testimony of a former Taiwanese soldier and other documents are shown on this website below.

    http://makizushi33.ninja-web.net/

    Bye for now,
    Kyon



  39. YU on 2012年09月23日 at 15:07

    Hi Kyon,

    I don’t have enough energy to oppose you this time because your opinions are far too much different from mine “as usual”!! hahaha… 🙂

    > Below is my opinion. Some of you may be angry with me. I may be not able to come back here(smile). But I can’t help saying this.

    You are very funny! 🙂
    Why should we be angry with you?
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

    See you!



  40. taco on 2012年09月23日 at 15:41

    Hello David and everyone. I need to read your opinions and comments more carefully, so I can’t write anything about this topic yet. But one thing I have been wondering for a long time, and every time David puts this kind of topic I remember the thing; When I was a student, an English teacher told that people in the U.K were not taught about First Opium War(アヘン戦争). Is that true?
    Bye for now,
    taco



  41. Anne on 2012年09月23日 at 20:12

    Hi Biwa and everyone,

    >I just wanted to say that Japanese textbooks are written in a emotionless, neutral tone
    >, in Japan, we have a lot of choices of textbooks to use and each school decides which one to use. And as I said before, the teachers tell us a lot more than is actually written in the textbooks. We get to know different ways of thinking and I think that is the most important thing.
    —-It’s very true and I agree with you. Actually, I checked my son’s textbook(published by Yamakawa Shyupan), I had the same feeling as you. Looking back to my days in high school, I don’t think I understood these issues enough between Japan and China.
    It’s good to have the option to choose the textbook from various ones, and it is important for students to learn these issues.
    Anyway, you are able to learn these things even after graduating from school by reading various articles or books, and watching TV. Discussing this tough topic is really a good chance to see things in the different perspective.

    Hi everyone,

    As for the issue about comfort women, this has been put on the negotiation table for a long time. I found some person’s research article regarding this.
    If you are interested in it, have a look at the site below:
    http://www.sdh-fact.com/CL02_1/24_S4.pdf

    I think it’ll be a help to catch the gist of the concept of “comfort women” not only in South Korea but also in general. It’s similar to Kyon’s. Thanks for the link,Kyon.

    As Kyon mentioned, there have been (or are) tons of women working as prostitutes everywhere in the world, and some of them were in the battlefield with the military. They might not have other options to earn money and it’s so sad. I feel sorry for them.

    Then PM Kiichi Miyazawa was forced to apologize about this issue when he visited Korea,and then PM Yohei Kono made a statement in 1993. here’s the article concerning this from Mainichi:

    http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20120903p2a00m0na008000c.html

    Here’s the part of the statement from Mainich:
    “It is incumbent upon…the Government of Japan, to continue to consider seriously, while listening to the views of learned circles, how best we can express remorse.”

    In the article, I found this point was important.
    “However, compensation issues between the two countries had officially been resolved with the June 1965 signing of the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea.”

    According to a book named “日本を貶める(おとしめる)人々” I’m reading now, the word”従軍慰安婦” was originally created by Asahi Shinbun. There are several words using ”従軍” like “従軍記者”, “従軍看護婦”, “従軍記者”, but those people are civilian employees of the military. Those women are, even though I feel sorry for them, not forced to go with the military, not not the sex slaves but they worked and got paid according to the article above.
    You need to know that prostitution was legal those days whether it’s right or not.
    PM Kono’s statement has been great impact on the later relationship between two countries.

    My thought might be wrong, and the information I got might not be neutral, but anyway this is my understanding concerning this week’s topic including comfort women.

    By the way, I won’t say anymore, but I also read the article about “靖国問題” and “南京大虐殺” in the book.

    Bye for now,

    Anne



  42. YU on 2012年09月23日 at 21:12

    Hi Tomo,

    I read the entry you mentioned.
    It was really interesting to read everyone’s methods of teaching English to children.
    Especially, I found the ways of yours and Nicky’s(whose son is a bilingual and goes to Sophia Uni.) very unique.

    Nicky said, “The sound came first”, and that is probably true. I think that is the turning point whether your children become bilingual or not.
    I’m not expecting from my son so much as Nicky, but I want him to like English and to reach a level of exchanging opinions in English with people from other countries in the future.
    Am I already expecting too much from him!? hehehe…. 🙂

    Anyway, I was very impressed by your ways of teaching. You are very creative!
    Are you really not a professional teacher?
    If I run an English school, I would employ you at a high salary!!

    Actually I used to watch “eigo de asobo” with my son every day, but as you mentioned, it has changed a lot. This April they changed all the casts and “characters”(着ぐるみの) at once, and my son lost interest in the program.

    Your children and nieces are very lucky to have a mother/an aunt like you. I think they keep studying with you not only because you are a good teacher, but also because you have a nice personality. I know you are a very helpful and kind person.
    Are you melting now!?
    Fufufu…but I’m telling this from the bottom of my heart.

    Anyway, again thank you for letting me know the entry.

    See you !



  43. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 00:33

    Hi Anne and everyone,

    Did anyone watch the program on NHK tonight?
    Unfortunately, I missed to watch the first half, though….
    Three guests each from Japan, Korea and China were invited and discussed mainly territory issues and some other problems including 従軍慰安婦問題 and 教科書問題.

    櫻井よし子, journalist commented, “We all should know that it is not possible for us to share the same 歴史認識, because we receive totally different education. And you(Korea and China) shouldn’t complain about the contents of Japanese textbooks just as Japan do.”
    Maybe she is right, but at the same time, I also felt that all three countries should make efforts to know what others learn in their history classes, and how people from the rest of the world see the three countries.

    By the way, in the program some intervew comments of Koreans in Korea were introduced. And one of them commented, “It is Japan who are responsible for the war crimes, but younger generations don’t know about Japanese history far too much!”.

    I know compensation issues had been officially resolved by 日韓協定 in 1965, we even payed a lot of money at the time, but the interview comment above shows that they are angry not only if we apologized or payed, but also they are angry with our(younger generation’s) indifference to our own history.

    Anyway, what I felt from the program is that Japan is a very democratic country. We invited guests from those two countries exactly “now”, offered a place to discuss and even broadcasted it live! I don’t think it is possible for China (and maybe Korea) to do that.



  44. Tomo on 2012年09月24日 at 00:35

    Hi amo,

    Thanks for your message, and I’m glad you had a great time in Osaka!

    Hi YU,

    >How did you spend your birthday with your family?
    Did you get any presents??

    My sister baked my favorite bread for me, and my children gave me some sweets. My husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, but I couldn’t think of anything but a lovely meal, so we ate out dinner yesterday. Today, my middle son made lunch for me, and my husband and my daughter made pot-au-feu for dinner, so I only had to make breakfast and lunch for my elder son this morning.(He had practice entrance exams today.) We were too full to eat cake last night, so we ate it tonight, and my husband and I enjoyed some wine.

    >You mean with your husband, too? How do they react?

    I talk to my children in English.(My husband doesn’t understand English.) When they don’t understand my English, they try to guess what I’m saying from the words they catch or the situation, and if they don’t understand what I’m saying at all, I say the same thing in Japanese, and then in English again.

    >By the way, my husband started teaching his language to my son a few weeks ago. He still just remembered some numbers and some greeting words, but he is already better than me at my husband’s language…(汗)

    That’s nice! Your son could be trilingual(multilingual?!) like you!

    And thank you very much for your compliment. I’m very happy to hear that 🙂 At the moment, I’m struggling to help my elder son with his English studies for entrance exams for university. Anyway, please let me know if you decide to run an English school! LOL

    I’m a bit drunk and getting sleepy, なので今夜は教科書問題はやめておきます。

    Good night,

    Tomo



  45. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 01:40

    Hi Anne,

    I forgot to mention this.

    > It’s good to have the option to choose the textbook from various ones, and it is important for students to learn these issues.

    I agree with you.
    I also think it is effective to avoid implanting biased ways of thinking, but I still wonder if students in Japan really learn various ways of thinking from their textbooks because they usually have only one textbook(and 副教材?) for each subject. Certainly schools or districts have options, though.
    I agree with Biwa that teachers tells us a lot more than things written in textbooks, but to be honest, I almost can’t remember what they taught me. I was always already busy enough with memorizing the contents of textbooks for school term exams. So, I didn’t get interested in these issues at all in my school days.

    > Anyway, you are able to learn these things even after graduating from school by reading various articles or books, and watching TV.

    Very true, but do you think Japanese people learn those things in reality? I don’t really think so.
    People here(this blog) all have a desire to learn by chance, but most of Japanese people are not really interested in difficult issues.
    Someone(I think it was 石原良純) said on TV the other day that many people in Japan tend to change channels when TV started showing difficult matters. I think that is very true. I was one of them !! 🙂



  46. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 08:55

    Hi Tomo,

    It seems that you had a lovely birthday with your family.
    I’m happy for you!

    > That’s nice! Your son could be trilingual(multilingual?!) like you!

    No way! I’m monolingual, but thank you for your compliments.

    > At the moment, I’m struggling to help my elder son with his English studies for entrance exams for university.

    You told us before that what he studies at school is so difficult and complicated that you asked help for David. And even David needed to check the grammar, didn’t you?
    I don’t think I can help your son(high school students) like you. My English grammar is not as accurate as yours. Maybe I can summarize “長文読解問題” for him, but only ざっくりと!! hahaha….
    Does he need my help? I’m joking!

    > Anyway, please let me know if you decide to run an English school! LOL

    I will!
    I’m the CEO, and you’re the Vice President, but maybe we two are the only employees of the English school!? LOL

    See you!



  47. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 08:58

    > asked help for David

    => asked David for help

    Sorry!



  48. Biwa on 2012年09月24日 at 10:09

    Hi YU and everyone,

    >Anyway, what I felt from the program is that Japan is a very democratic country. We invited guests from those two countries exactly “now”, offered a place to discuss and even broadcasted it live! I don’t think it is possible for China (and maybe Korea) to do that.

    I really agree with you!
    I haven’t seen the program you mentioned but I do think that we’re lucky to have access to many kinds of information.
    Also, whenever you have time, could you tell me how I can read the older entry Tomo mentioned about teaching English to young children? I’m interested in those things but I just can’t do it…I’m a real computerオンチ!I’m really sorry to bother you…

    By the way, I was away from my PC yesterday (I always try to do so on Sundays!) and was reading a book. The title was “Old but cozy English houses, convenient but poor Japanese houses(古くて豊かなイギリスの家、便利で貧しい日本の家)”.
    It was very interesting to know that English real estate’s advertisements tell the history of the houses they sell and how special the houses are. In Japan, they only tell the sizes(~~平米、~畳)or how new and convenient the facilities are.

    Sorry, this has nothing to do with the topic!
    I found the old entry “Buy or Rent?”, so I’m going to read them from now.

    Bye for now!



  49. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 10:30

    Hi Biwa,

    Don’t worry, I’m sure that I’m worse than you at matters around PCs!!

    Anyway, David’s blog site(this blog) has been moved here just recently(Was it this May or June!?) from the site that is run by ALC(アルク).

    Here is the old site ;

    http://eng.alc.co.jp/kaiwa/davidbarker/

    You can find old entries from 過去のアーカイブ on the left side of the page. I didn’t know the entry Tomo mentioned because I joined here this February.

    Please enjoy reading our old comments!

    See you !



  50. Biwa on 2012年09月24日 at 11:17

    Thank you so much, YU!!!
    I found it♪



  51. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 11:32

    My pleasure, Biwa!



  52. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 12:30

    Hi everyone,

    Before David closes this entry, please allow me to explain this lastly.

    Some of you may wonder why I always mention “nationalist” or “right-wing”, and why Western people constantly warn us not to support Ishihara.

    First, as for myself ;

    Among extreme nationalist politicians, there are some who aren’t disagree with Japan’s imperialism or militarism during the war time. And some of them even want the return of the old systems(incl. 徴兵制度).
    Of course, those politicians never show us such a dark side face before the elections, though.
    So, in my opinion, voting for nationalist politicians means that you are “not disagree” with the Japan’s old systems like that.
    So, I wrote like this before ;
    “I don’t know how many percents of residents of Tokyo knew Ishihara’s ways of thinkng and voted for him, though.”
    I have a son, and my husband is a foreigner.
    So, how could I support nationalist politicians?
    My son might be drafted into the army and go to the battlefield anytime if Japanese people keep voting for them, and one of them become Japan’s Prime Minister one day…
    I think mom members would know exactly what I mean…
    And what should I do, if Japan started the war with my husband’s country in the future? He is neither Chinese nor Korean, though.
    This is just my personal thoughts, but this is my true feeling.

    Next, as for Western people,

    I think Ishihara’s ways of thinking and remarks might remind them of Japan’s militarism.
    Almost nobody in this world today want to experience wars again.
    So, they simply wonder why Japanese people keep supporting a nationalist politician like him.
    They may think like this ;
    “Are peace-loving, calm and rational Japanese people today are really for nationalisum again as they used to be before and during the war period??” And that is why they vote for Ishihara?? Really???”

    This is just my personal opinion.

    Thank you for reading.

    See you!



  53. Biwa on 2012年09月24日 at 15:37

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for sharing your opinion.
    I do think the same way as you not just because I have sons, too.

    But at the same time, I think we have a kind of paradox or incoherence that we are protected by the Japan-US Security Treaty. I mean that we Japanese do not have to send our sons to war but the American mothers do.
    Also, that means we Japanese cannot reject the deployment of the Ospreys. I feel very strong anger against the Osprey problems because even the people living near the US bases in Hawaii or New Mexico rejected the Ospreys and the US air force gave up flying in their own country.
    And finally, they start flying over our country!
    How could we accept this???
    I don’t live in Okinawa or Yamaguchi, but who knows? Ospreys might fly over your children some day.

    But again, we can’t say anything because we don’t send our sons to war…

    I’m not a right-winger at all, though!
    And I don’t support them, either!

    But I always think about this contradiction.
    Isn’t there a way to protect ourselves without having army or military weapons?



  54. Anne on 2012年09月24日 at 17:17

    Hi YU,

    I missed watching the program, but I think MS. Sakurai has been expressing very strict but right views towards various issues.
    >the interview comment above shows that they are angry not only if we apologized or payed, but also they are angry with our(younger generation’s) indifference to our own history.
    —I understand what they mean. Even though these issues were solved officially, people’s feeling in Korea or China are not that simple, and so do Japanese.
    This reminded me of the lecture by Professor Michael Sandel “Justice with Michael Sandel.” In the lecture, he picked up one issue related to war responsibility. How long do people have to compensate for the slavery or what their fathers or grandfathers did?

    >most of Japanese people are not really interested in difficult issues
    — I think so,too. In that sense, we are lucky to have such a chance! To be honest, when I read the entry last week, I was thinking to skip because the topic was too tough and I knew my thought was different from most of the members here. I even thought it would be easier for me to write moderate thought… I’m not a kind of person to discuss aggressively, and wanted to avoid …haha! Anyway, at least, I tried hard to express my honest thought and was so tired.

    >As for your comment concerning Gov. Ishihara, I understand what you mean. I’m not saying I support all of his political stances or policies( it’s not an excuse!), but I think, as far as this issue concerned, I don’t blame him.

    See you soon,

    Anne



  55. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 17:17

    Hi Biwa,

    Thank you for your comment!
    I didn’t expect that I would receive a comment from someone.

    > I do think the same way as you not just because I have sons, too

    I’m very weak, so I can’t imagine my son will go to battlefield at all. You can laugh at me.

    A friend of mine from South Korea married with Japanese man and has a son. He was still 5 or 6, but she already chose Japanese nationality for him, and he became Japanese last year. As you already suspected, she did so because there’s 徴兵制度 in South Korea. If I were her, I might have done the same as her.

    > we Japanese do not have to send our sons to war but the American mothers do.

    That’s very true.
    I’m sorry for American mothers.

    > I think we have a kind of paradox or incoherence that we are protected by the Japan-US Security Treaty

    Indeed, very true!!
    That is one of their ways Japan to keep under their control. They may protect us by their own military, but instead, they take lots of benefit from Japan by using this treaty. And there were official documents(公文書) which was concluded between two nations before the Japan-US Security Treaty.
    I’ve heard that the documents were compiled incredibly advantageous to only US side, but that was their condition for approval to Japan’s independence from them, so Japan had to accept it. And we are “protected” by US even today. Sorry, my understanding might be wrong…

    >Isn’t there a way to protect ourselves without having army or military weapons?

    Hummmm, it’s a tough question.
    How about asking Switzerland how to become a 永世中立国? However, maybe it doesn’t make sense as long as there are problems with our neighbouring countries.

    See you !



  56. Biwa on 2012年09月24日 at 17:37

    Hi YU,

    Today I have lots of time to visit here!

    >How about asking Switzerland how to become a 永世中立国?

    Switzerland does have an army, too.
    I heard that both men and women have military-draft system. I also heard that they have lots of nuclear shelters stuffed with food, water and weapons throughout the country to protect themselves.

    I wonder if there is a country that has no army.
    Does someone know?

    Well, that’s why I think Japan really has to struggle out this difficult issue and show that it’s possible to stand on it’s own without an army.



  57. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 17:48

    Hi Anne,

    > he picked up one issue related to war responsibility. How long do people have to compensate for the slavery or what their fathers or grandfathers did?

    Actually, guests from South Korea mentioned the issue like that in the program. They said, “It isn’t that easy to forgive everything. One said, “We lost our country once during the colonial period. We were forced to erase our history, learn Japanese language and history instead. And our grandparents were badly treated by Japanese army.”
    As Kyon said, I also think that both of us should go foward for mutual benefits, but on the other hand, I can kind of understand their feeling.

    > I was thinking to skip because the topic was too tough and I knew my thought was different from most of the members here. I even thought it would be easier for me to write moderate thought… I’m not a kind of person to discuss aggressively, and wanted to avoid …haha! Anyway, at least, I tried hard to express my honest thought and was so tired.

    Hahaha! I know you don’t really like to discuss agressively!!
    By the way, I’m still reading the site you mentioned(about “comfort woman”). I found out that facts that Mr.Ogata writes in his essay is almost the same as Ms. Sakurai introduced in the program last night.

    I’ve got to cook!

    See you!



  58. YU on 2012年09月24日 at 18:06

    Hi Biwa,

    > Switzerland does have an army, too

    Oh, I didn’t know that, thank you.

    > I wonder if there is a country that has no army.
    Does someone know?

    Huuummm, maybe a very small country(tropical islands?) with a minor power, without any special natural resources because it wouldn’t make any sense even if you attacked those countries.

    > Well, that’s why I think Japan really has to struggle out this difficult issue and show that it’s possible to stand on it’s own without an army.

    I agree.
    By the way, Mr.Ishiba commented yesterday on TV, “Japan should have 海兵隊 of our own”.

    Okay, I really got to cook now!

    Bye!



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