Japanese, Chinese and south Korean historians and educators together publish education material on modern history

Japanese, Chinese, and South Korean historians and educators published an East Asian history book they wrote together to help students of the three countries share a common understanding of the region's history.

Representatives of the Committee for Common Material for History Education announced the publication of the book entitled "History for a Peaceful Future" at a news conference on May 27 in Tokyo.

The Korean edition has already been published. The Japanese and Chinese editions will be put published in June.

Obinata Sumio, professor at Waseda University, said, "Sharing a common view on East Asian history should be a requisite for developing a peaceful future for the region. We hope that this book is read by as many students as possible."

This is the first modern history book to be written jointly by historians and educators of the three countries.

The committee's project for writing a common history book began in March 2002 following the publication of the "New History Textbook" by the right-wing group called Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.

Kasahara Tokuji, professor at Tsuru University, said, "The co-editing is the first step for us to overcome our historical views which tend to be biased by national interests. We want to continually revise the book."

The book describes the Japanese Army soldiers' barbarous acts in Korea and China. The editors paid particular attention to the perspectives of women and the common people. It also records that the Chinese and Korean people rebelled against Japanese coloniaism.

As regards the Nanking (Nanjing) Massacre, the book gives the 1946 Nanking court martial's reference that 190,000 people were killed in mass and additional 150,000, massacred sporadically, as well as the Tokyo Tribunal ruling assessing the total number of citizens prisoners killed to be over 200,000.

On the Tokyo Tribunal, the book includes items such as "who was accused" and "who was not accused." Under the latter heading the book pointed out that the United States tried to acquit Japan's Emperor Hirohito with the intention to facilitate the U.S. occupation of Japan. Referring to the persistent discrimination against Koreans living in Japan and the inadequate compensation for the damages from the war, the book states that Japan has left its war responsibility to Asian people unsettled. - Akahata May 28, 2005

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