Facing Facts

When it comes to equations and the periodic table, East Asian school systems have traditionally taught the right stuff. In the delicate realm of history, however, Asian education has defined itself by what it has refused to teach.

Japan is most renowned for textbook whitewashing, particularly of its own brutality in World War II—and the books are only getting worse. Mentions of "comfort women"—sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during the war—have almost disappeared in recent editions. Yoshibumi Tawara, spokesman for the textbook watchdog group Children and Textbooks Japan Network 21, says there is no overt government censorship,...

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