Society, Schools and Progress in Japan

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Theirs is the only field of science in which Japan has received multiple Nobel prizes. Yukawa received the Nobel Prize for proposing the meson theory of nuclear forces; Tomonaga shared the award with Julian Schwin- ger and Richard Feynman for the renormalization theory of quantum electrodynamics.

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This unit examines the careers and achievements of Yukawa and Tomonaga in particular and seeks to place them appropriately in both a Japanese and an international context. They were preceded by the work of Nagaoka Hantaro, who proposed an important atomic model in ; by that of Ishiwara Jun, a pupil of Einstein and Arnold Sommerfeld, who first introduced quantum theory to Japan; and by the achievements of Nishina Yoshio, protege of Nils Bohr at Copenhagen, widely known for the Klein-Nishina formula.

Yukawa and Tomonaga, additionally, form an interesting duo since they were well acquainted from childhood and studied under the same teachers especially Tamaki Kajuro while graduating from the same university Kyoto Imperial University. Notably also, each was the son of a well known professor at this institution. If one believes that the growth of modern science is primarily to be understood as a process of intellectual and conceptual diffusion from established centers of science, the work of Yukawa and Tomonaga would appear to provide contrary evidence.

Yukawa published his most important work on the meson theory four years before ever leaving Japan. At the same time, it should be emphasized that neither scientist worked in intellectual isolation. In addition to the considerable stimulation afforded by lively Japanese colleagues, including those at the Research Institute for Physics and Chemistry, Yukawa and Tomonaga each had the benefit of meeting and discussing physics with Werner Heisenberg and Paul Dirac in Kyoto in Moreover, Yukawa was able to meet and discuss physics with Nils Bohr at Kyoto in , while Tomonaga spent two years with Heisenberg in Leipzig in the late s.

Section 3 Establishment of Governance Function in Education

Here we consider the relations between, and the importance for Japanese science of the years of militarism immediately preceding the takeover by Japan of Manchuria in , continuing until the end of the war in August Several topics might be included. One would be the dramatically increased funding with which Japanese academic research was favored beginning in in the aftermath of the Manchurian takeover.

In that year the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science JSPS was established, primarily to make available research funds on a scale which had not been seen in Japan heretofore. Related to this development also is the substantial growth of the Japanese domestic economy as a function of expanded government spending on armaments and colonial infrastructure. Another important topic is the infamous Unit , a military controlled research facility for the biological and chemical sciences located in Manchuria which used captive human subjects for highly inhumane experimental purposes.

Apart from the viciously grotesque experiments performed by Unit , the phenomenon itself is of historical interest for at least three other reasons. One is that the perpetrators were never punished. The American military authorities which governed Japan during the succeeding years of Occupation exonerated the Unit researchers in exchange for acquiring all of their data e.

Most of this data is believed to have been transferred to the U. Detrick, Maryland and may well have contributed in various ways to the biochemical weapons research of the United States in the postwar era of the Cold War. Secondly, the phenomenon is historically important because it deeply compromised the entire elite academic medical research establishment, not a mere fringe element thereof.

Thirdly, Unit definitely gave certain individuals and certain lines of research e. The long term importance and implications of Unit for postwar Japanese science were considerable, though they have yet to be calculated fully. It has influenced the research and defense policy agendas of both the government and the academic science establishment. And it has affected popular attitudes regarding marriage and childbirth so far as the hibakusha have been concerned.

There were actually two such efforts, one at the Research Institute for Physics and Chemistry and one at Kyoto University, each coordinated on paper with a different branch of the Armed Forces. Neither had come close to building a workable bomb by the time the war ended in August Nonetheless, some have invoked the existence of these programs as justification for the use of the bombs by the United States at Hiroshima August 6 and Nagasaki August 9.

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This most recent half century should be divided into at least two and possibly three distinct periods. The first includes the period of the American Occupation August to March , a time when Japanese science—like most aspects of Japanese life—underwent sweeping changes. These changes included an enormous expansion of higher education, the replacement of the prewar Imperial Academy of Science which actually included all learned disciplines recognized in Japan by the Japan Science Council, the dismantling of the Research Institute for Physics and Chemistry since reconstituted , a reorientation of research away from military projects, and a sharpening of political divisions between much of the scientific community on the one hand, government and big business on the other.

The Occupation years saw the creation of the leftist League of Democratic Scientists, which received the adherance of many academic scientists, including those best known abroad as well as within Japan. A second major change comes in as Japan adjusts to the dramatic and quite sudden rise in petroleum prices at the instigation of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC. Research budgets begin to rise—at least in the commercial sector, increasingly dominant as a percentage of total Japanese research effort.

By there is an attentuation of hostility between academic scientists, government and business; and during the s one sees important indications of cooperation between and among all three sectors, as with the relatively abortive Fifth Generation Computer Project and the Superconductivity Initiative. Due to national economic difficulties, only modest steps have been taken to date to fulfill this commitment; but there are interesting signs of change, including significant efforts to attract both foreign graduate students and foreign senior and junior researchers to Japanese laboratories on a long term basis.

However, the first two belong substantively to the pre era, while the prize was awarded for work done in Switzerland by a Japanese molecular biologist who has made nearly all of his career outside Japan. Only the Esaki and Fukui awards reflect postwar work, and in both cases the work was done in the s, four decades ago. It needs to be emphasized that the patterns in postwar Japanese science are in some very important respects not those of the pre era, a point especially highlighted in the Nishizawa essay cited below.

James R. Bartholomew Introduction One of the first issues that quickly engages the attention of anyone aspiring to understand the history of modern science in Japan is when to date the beginning of the subject.

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Ronald P. Masayoshi Sugimoto and David L. Science and Culture in Traditional Japan, A. Day 2 The Meiji Transformation of Japanese Science, This unit raises a number of issues of central importance for the establishment of modern science in Japan. Extended Reading James. Victor Koschmann, eds. Hazel L. Robert M. Spaulding, Jr. Day 3 World War I and Japanese Science World War I was a major turning point for the history of modern science in Japan just as it was in other parts of the world.

Swain and Yagi Eri eds. Victor Koschmann eds. Local educators would then choose which textbooks to use at their schools. The New School Education Law states that while the government sets a curriculum guideline, it is not meant to establish a fixed, uniform line for all educators to observe, like in the old militarist days, but rather to help educators to creatively adapt the curriculum to the new demands of children and society in general.

Tokushi Kasahara identifies three time periods in postwar Japan during which he asserts the Japanese government has "waged critical challenges to history textbooks in attempts to tone down or delete descriptions of Japan's wartime aggression, especially atrocities such as the Nanjing Massacre.

The third began in and continues unresolved to this day. At the general election of February , the Japan Democratic Party proposed an idea that whilst editing of school textbooks might be left to the private sector, the government ought to supervise them and limit the kinds of textbooks to about two for each subject by tightening the authorization, so that the textbooks in effect would be equivalent to government-designated textbooks. He characterized these textbooks as:.


The first volume listed four types of bias as "examples of biased education that appeared in textbooks":. In response to this, the authors and editors of the listed textbooks made various public statements and protest notes. However, the Japan Democratic Party did not reply. The changes resulted in one-third of pre-existing textbooks being banned from Japanese schools.

The Ministry of Education required that new textbooks avoid criticism of Japanese involvement in the Pacific War, and avoid mention of the Japanese invasion of China and involvement in the Second Sino-Japanese War at all. At 's screening, however, there was an additional section F that was considered responsible for the rejection of all the six drafts. Saburo Ienaga was a Japanese historian known partly for his involvement in controversies regarding school history textbooks.

In , the Japanese Ministry of Education published a textbook by Ienaga but censored what they said were factual errors and matters of opinion, regarding Japanese war crimes. Ienaga undertook a series of lawsuits against the Ministry for violation of his freedom of speech. Having heard this news the Chinese government strongly protested to the Japanese government. Despite the widespread attention that the issue received in both the Japanese and international media, investigations done in September reveal that the alleged change never actually took place, that the ministry of education did not even make a recommendation for the change, and that the entire incident was caused by hasty and inaccurate reporting by a small group of journalists assigned to cover the Ministry of Education.

The textbook was approved by the Ministry of Education in , and caused a huge controversy in Japan, China and Korea. A large number of Japanese historians and educators protested against the content of New History Textbook and its treatment of Japanese wartime activities. China Radio International reported that the PRC government and people were "strongly indignant about and dissatisfied with the new Japanese history textbook for the year compiled by right-wing Japanese scholars".

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Subsequently, the New History Textbook was used by only 0. According to the Society, there are currently eight private junior high schools, one public school for the disabled in Tokyo , three public junior high schools and four public schools for the disabled in Ehime that use their textbook Mainichi Shimbun , September 27, In , 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.

Japan ordered history books to change passages on forced suicides during World War II. According to the Kyodo News agency, it was the biggest staged rally on the island since its return to Japanese rule.

Society, schools, and progress in Japan

Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima spoke to the crowds, commenting that the Japanese military's involvement in the mass suicides should not be forgotten. The project, led by Stanford scholars Gi-Wook Shin and Daniel Sneider , found that less than one percent of Japanese textbooks used provocative and inflammatory language and imagery, but that these few books, printed by just one publisher, received greater media attention. Moreover, the minority viewpoint of nationalism and revisionism gets more media coverage than the prevailing majority narrative of pacifism in Japan.