Why Japan Cares What You Think

Every so often, that is to say, about once a year, the Japanese press gets excited about Western school textbooks. More specifically, the press gets excited about the way Japan and the Japanese are depicted in Western school textbooks. A collective howl goes up over the fact that pictures of samurai and geisha still prevail in textbooks from Louisiana or Bavaria or Scotland or wherever. Such images might suggest to ignorant foreigners that modern Japanese still go around brandishing swords. These findings are often followed by instant soundings taken in Paris or Chicago to find out what Westerners really...

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