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HOME  > Past issues  > 2014 April 9 - 15  > Education minister praises imperial rescript on education
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2014 April 9 - 15 [POLITICS]

Education minister praises imperial rescript on education

April 9, 2014
Education Minister Shimomura Hakubun on April 8 at a press conference showed his sympathy for the Imperial Rescript on Education that played an important role in the militaristic education imposed before and during WWII.

Shimomura said that the prewar rescript is regarded as a symbol of Imperial Japan’s militaristic education, however, he thinks the “contents of the rescript themselves are reasonable.”

The Imperial Rescript on Education, which was issued by Emperor Meiji in October 1890, embodied the basic principles on education under the regime ruled by the Emperor with absolute power. It forced the general public to be loyal to the monarch by stating, “should emergency arise, offer yourselves courageously to the State; and thus guard and maintain the prosperity of Our Imperial Throne coeval with heaven and earth.”

After the end of WWII, the rescript was abolished by a Diet resolution on June 19, 1948, on the grounds that it contradicts the spirit of the postwar Constitution. Shimomura’s remark goes counter to this historical advance.

Education scholar Horio Teruhisa commented on this issue as follows:

Without doubt, the contents of the rescript heavily worked to promote the militaristic education and war, as shown in its phrase, “should emergency arise, offer yourselves courageously to the State”.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo adversely revised the Fundamental Law of Education during his first cabinet and now seeks to amend the Constitution. Under this situation, the Education Minister made his remark praising the rescript. This gives us great alarm.

I cannot help but think that Abe’s educational reform plan seeks to revive the prewar education ideology.
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