Japan: Back to Basics

Reining in the revisionists

It all seemed a chilling reminder that 1984 was less than two years away. In an effort worthy of Orwell's Ministry of Truth, experts from the Japanese Ministry of Education had set out to soften references in high school history textbooks to Japan's aggression before and during World War II. The Japanese invasion of China in 1937, for example, became a mere "advance." Passages describing the fall of Nanking seemed to suggest that Japanese atrocities had been provoked by stiff Chinese resistance, and the Korean national uprising against Japanese colonial rule in 1919 was "mob violence."

Outraged, Japan's...

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