History Textbooks and the Wars in Asia
Edited by Gi-Wook Shin, Daniel C. Sneider
Routledge – 2011 – 294 pages
Over the past fifteen years Northeast Asia has witnessed growing intraregional exchanges and interactions, especially in the realms of culture and economy. Still, the region cannot escape from the burden of history.
This book examines the formation of historical memory in four Northeast Asian societies (China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) and the United States focusing on the period from the beginning of the Sino-Japanese war in 1931 until the formal conclusion of the Pacific War with the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951.
The contributors analyse the recent efforts of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese scholars to write a ‘common history’ of Northeast Asia and question the underlying motivations for their efforts and subsequent achievements. In doing so, they contend that the greatest obstacle to reconciliation in Northeast Asia lies in the existence of divided, and often conflicting, historical memories. The book argues that a more fruitful approach lies in understanding how historical memory has evolved in each country and been incorporated into respective master narratives. Through uncovering the existence of different master narratives, it is hoped, citizens will develop a more self-critical, self-reflective approach to their own history and that such an introspective effort has the potential to lay the foundation for greater self- and mutual understanding and eventual historical reconciliation in the region.
This book will be essential reading for students and scholars of Asian history, Asian education and international relations in East Asia.
"It is rare to find a book that tackles the problems of history education in East Asia in such a comprehensive manner. Moreover, the editors manage to assemble a team of pundits who represent each of the discussed nations, and several of them play a critical role in textbook production there… The volume is important for scholars who are interested in this field. It should be received as a welcome addition to the existing scolarship." - Ivo Plsek, University of California; Pacific Affairs Vol.86, No.1 (2013).
I. Introduction: History Textbooks, Divided Memories, and Reconciliation, Gi-Wook Shin
II. Comparative Excerpts from Textbooks of China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States on Eight Historical Issues
III. Textbooks and History: Comparative Analysis 1. War Stories, Peter Duus 2. Japanese History Textbooks in Comparative Perspective, Haruo Tohmatsu 3. International Wars in Chinese Secondary School History Textbooks, 1931–1951, Li Weike 4. Colonial Korea and the Asia-Pacific War: A Comparative Analysis of Textbooks in South Korea and Japan, Chung JaeJeong 5. One Colonialism, Two Memories: Representing Japanese Colonialism in Taiwan and South Korea, Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao
IV. Textbooks and International Relations
6. Writing History Textbooks in Japan, Hitoshi Mitani 7. Toward Pluralism? Reforming History Curricula and Textbooks in China, Taiwan, and South Korea, Alisa Jones 8. A History That Opens to the Future: The First Common China-Japan-Korea History Teaching Guide, Soon-Won Park 9. The War over Words: History Textbooks and International Relations in Northeast Asia, Daniel C. Sneider 10. Europe’s Troubled World War II Memories: Are They That Different? Daniel Chirot
Gi-Wook Shin is the director of Shorenstein APARC; the Tong Yang, Korea Foundation, and Korea Stanford Alumni Chair of Korean Studies; the founding director of the Korean Studies Program; Senior Fellow at FSI; and Professor of Sociology at Stanford University.
Daniel C. Sneider is the Associate Director for Research at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.