The teaching of history in South African and Japanese schools has attracted sustained criticism for the alleged attempts to conceal the controversial aspects of their countries’ past and to inculcate ideologies favourable to the ruling regimes. This book is the first attempt to systematically compare the ways in which education bureaucracy in both nations dealt with opposition and critics in the period from ca. 1945 to 1995, when both countries were dominated by single-party governments for most of the fifty years. The author argues that both South African and Japanese education bureaucracy did not overtly express its intentions in the curriculum documents or in the textbooks, but found ways to enhance its authority through a range of often subtle measures. A total of eight themes in 60 officially approved Standard 6 South African and Japanese middle-school history textbooks have been selected to demonstrate the changes and continuity. This work hopes to contribute to the existing literature of comparative history by drawing lessons that would probably not have emerged from the study of either country by itself.
The dissertation won a publication prize at Georg Eckert Institute for Textbook Research.