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History Education and Reconciliation

Comparative Perspectives on East Asia

Unsuk Han, Takahiro Kondo, Biao Yang and Falk Pingel

The legacy of crimes committed during the Second World War in East Asia is still a stumbling block for reconciliation and trustful cultural relations between South Korea, China and Japan. The presentation of this issue in history school books is in the focus of a heated public and academic debate. This book written by historians and pedagogues from the three countries offers insight into the construction of historical narratives that are often nation-centered and foster exclusive identity patterns. However, the essays also reveal approaches to a more inclusive regional concept of East Asian history that puts the textbook debate into the wider framework of transitional justice.

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Li, Yueqin: Teaching Chinese-Japanese Relations in History Classes of Chinese Secondary Schools

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Li, Yueqin Teaching Chinese-Japanese Relations in History Classes of Chinese Secondary Schools I Despite the expanse of sea separating them, China and Japan had maintained close ties that could almost be likened to neighbors living across the street from each other. China and Japan had developed and sustained a close relationship of interaction and mutual influence for a long period of history. The Chinese have always maintained a cordial relationship with the Japanese and displayed an in- tense interest in, and desire to learn about their neighbor’s history and way of life. These issues are distinctly reflected in the history teaching in China’s sec- ondary schools. The ‘History Curriculum Standard’ for junior and senior secon- dary schools includes the following seven sections concerning Japan: Taika Era reforms, Foreign Exchange in the Tang Dynasty (Japan sent envoys to China in the Tang Dynasty and Jian Zhen sailed to Japan), Meiji Reform, the First Sino- Japanese War in 1894-95, the Resistance War against Japan, the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two neighbors and Japan’s post-war devel- opment. In the different versions of the current history textbooks, much more space is devoted to Japan’s history compared with China’s relations with other countries. Shi Long Middle School of Dong Guan City of Guang Dong Province con- ducted a survey to test the historical knowledge of Senior One and Senior Two students.1 It was declared that the survey would be anonymous and would not be scored so that students could take part in it...

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