Educational reform in occupied Japan

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During World War II, many Japanese students were enlisted to actively help in the war effort, effectively turning schools into factories. Bombings destroyed many schools. After the Japan's defeat of the war, this left a lot for the occupation forces (SCAP) to help rebuild.

The occupation team addressed the educational system; the Japanese methods were nearly opposite to that of the United States: control of schools was highly centralized, rote memorization of book knowledge without much interaction described the standard student-teacher relationship and the study texts were described as boring. The ratio of school years was made to resemble that of the United States' which was 6 years Primary education (elementary schools) : 3 years Lower Secondary education (junior high schools) : 3 years Upper Secondary education (senior high schools) : 4 years Higher Education (Universities or colleges). Over the period of occupation, these and many other trends were changed. A less centralized hierarchy of school administrators was introduced; totally unprecedented, parents were allowed to vote for school boards. A new textbook industry was created.[citation needed]

Much of the reform was focused on conditioning students to more readily accept democratic, liberal and egalitarian ideals, directly competing with the prevailing hierarchical structures deeply ingrained in every level of Japanese society, from family life to government institutions.[1] Classes became co-educational single track system composed of 9 compulsory years, moving away from the former 6-year, single-sex, multi-track system; the use of kanji script was overhauled and greatly simplified, eliminating all but 1,850 more commonly used characters, referred to as the tōyō kanjihyō.[2]

Initially, before the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT) and Allied command's Civil Information and Education Section (CI&E) produced new textbooks to replace them, narratives in existing Japanese textbooks found to extol feudalistic, nationalistic, militaristic, authoritarian, State Shinto-religious, or anti-American views were censored during class by students through a process of Suminuri-Kyōkasho, or "blackening-over textbooks" with ink, under orders of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP).[3]

Reform Philosophy[edit]

The Civil Information and Education Division (CIE) under SCAP followed seven principles for implementing education reforms in occupied Japan; the CIE’s objective was to eliminate practices that contradicted the tenets of democracy and employ democratic models. Some of the CIE’s concerns were the 6-3-3-4 school ladder,[4] core curriculum, program of tests and policies, graduation requirements, collaborative style of learning, and new course in social studies.

The primary strategy was to establish standards of education common among democratic societies. CIE was aware patterns built from these theories were relative to circumstances. Principles were general, but their expression was comparative. Eventually, these standards became benchmarks for the CIE to ascertain genuine progress in education reforms; the position was militarism and ultra-nationalism (promoting Japanese cultural unity) must not be a segment of school curriculum. The Division removed the military from academic institutions. Decision-making was left to the civilian population; the Americans decentralized administration and authority. At the same time, equality was practiced n education, and discrimination was eliminated; the basis of education must be facts and the experimental method applied whenever necessary. Last but not least teaching must be regarded as a profession that requires special training programs; these principles were published in three documents during the early part of the occupation: The Civil Affairs Handbook (1944), Education in Japan (1946), and Report of the United States Mission to Japan (1946).[5]

Efforts to develop a comprehensive program of a democratic educational platform had to be deferred until after The USA Education Mission to Japan headed by George L. Stoddard concluded its visit in March 1946; this delegation included 26 education experts sent by the government upon the request of occupation leaders. A Japanese team worked hand in hand with the American group[6]

Adopting mixed-sex education[edit]

Under the rule of occupation by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers after World War II and under the reformed School Education Act of Japan, former secondary schools were converted into Upper secondary school (Japan) [jp], established as part of the democratization policy. At that time many public schools with single-sex education were made into mixed-sex education with exception of some local public entity|local government including Miyagi prefecture, Fukushima prefecture, Gumma prefecture and Saitama prefecture.[7]. Most of private schools applying single-sex education reserved students' specification nationwide while they accepted conversion to upper secondary school, with cases of continued education through middle school and upper secondary school as a single system.

Rare cases were seen with those administration of Yamaguchi Prefecture, where former high schools were integrated with nearby former secondary schools and transformed into upper secondary school under new school system. A typical case of Osaka Prefecture converted those upper secondary school under its administration into new system, however instead of integrating with neighboring junior/upper secondary schools, they replaced the whole population of students and teachers in school A with those who had belonged to school B.

Amami Islands[edit]

Amami Islands left Japanese administrative power in 1946 (Showa 21), and the Provisional Government of Northern Ryukyu Islands (ja) introduced their new school system in 1949, delayed by one year[8].

Transition measures from the former to the new school systems[edit]

Various transitional measures have been taken to alleviate the turmoil caused by major changes in the school system by the academic reform. A transitional system was applied between 1947 (Showa 22) and 1950 (Showa 25), when schools consolidated under the former and the new systems coexisted. There were cases that a fifth grader in the former secondary school of 1947 (Showa 22) was given choices whether to graduate with a diploma of former secondary school, or to transfer to the senior year in the secondary education in Japan, or koto gakko (高等学校).

Transition measures for the former primary and secondary education (1946–1950)[edit]

Public schools

Up to March 1946, compulsory education in the secondary level was offered up to the senior level at public National schools in Japan [ja] kokumin gakko kotoka (国民学校高等科), a level providing lower secondary education equivalent to Senior elementary school called Kōtō-shōgakkō (高等小学校). Graduates were admitted to those surviving Middle schools (ja) or chuto gakko (中等学校) under former system. All those who graduated from elementary schools after March 1947 (Showa 22) were admitted to the current Junior high schools in Japan [ja], or chugakko (中学校) for their lower secondary education. Starting in 1935, in some public primary schools, continued education for working youth was offered along with military drills at (in Japanese) or Seinen gakko (青年学校)(ja).

In August 1945, there were three sub-systems to middle schools; for boys kyusei chugakko (旧制中学校), for girls koto jogakko (高等女学校), and for both sexes vocational school jitsugyo gakko (実業学校). It was in April 1947 (Showa 22) a measure was taken to provide interim attached middle school (併設中学校, heisetsu chugakko) to each faculty of public middle school: although new students admitted in April 1947 were admitted to the current junior high schools at once, those entered middle school level in 1945 and 1946 (sophomore and senior students) were advanced to the attached middle schools as a transition phase to secondary higher education.

Private schools

The private middle schools were given choice whether they will change to new school system at once, or to apply transitional system. There were cases that private schools decided to continue the attached middle school after 1950, and they offered continued six year period of secondary education.

University of Tokyo Junior High School

During WWII, they suspended recruiting students for the former high school regular course (旧制高校尋常科), and in 1946 (Showa 21) very few public secondary schools admitted students as didTokyo koto gakko (東京高等学校) (ja), but none in 1947. The freshmen of 1946 became isolated as no new students followed them under former school regulation, and in their senior year in 1948 (Showa 23), the school was reformed into University of Tokyo Junior High School, recruited new freshmen and sophomores to fill the classrooms. It is reformed later to become the current Secondary School of the Faculty of Education, the University of Tokyo [ja] affiliated to University of Tokyo.

  • A 6th grader in shotoka, kokumin gakko (in Japanese) would enter a reformed junior high in 1947, then graduate and would enter an upper secondary in 1950;
  • A 1st grader in Kotoka, kokumin gakko (in Japanese) would transfer to a 2nd grade in a reformed junior high in 1947, then graduate and would enter an upper secondary in 1949;
  • A 1st grader at Youth school: in Futsuka (in Japanese) Regular course would transfer to a 2nd grade in a reformed junior high in 1947, then graduate and would enter an upper secondary in 1949;
Education reform in Japan (1946–1950) Transition measures from pre-1945
School calendar of: 1946
Showa 21
1947
Showa 22
1948
Showa 23
1949
Showa 24
1950
Showa 25
1951
Showa 26
1952
Showa 27
Reformed school system Junior high Upper secondary was started Colleges and universities were built.
Transition period to new school system
Pre-1946 Junior high schools 中等学校 (former system) were placed under pre-1946 high schools in 1948, then terminated by the end of 1950 school calendar.
Interim junior high schools were introduced in 1947, integrated into reformed upper secondary schools in 19xx, to be terminated by the end of 1949 school calendar[9].
Former School System was terminated in 1949. Last Middle School 中等学校 (former system) was terminated by the end of 1950 school calendar. New School System started officially.
Category and transition, primary and secondary education
School calendar of: 1946
Showa 21
1947
Showa 22
1948
Showa 23
1949
Showa 24
1950
Showa 25
1951
Showa 26
1952
Showa 27
National schools or Kokumin gakko,
(in Japanese)
1st grade, shotoka (in Japanese); 7yrs old. Start of compulsory education
2nd to 6th grades, elementary school (new) Elementary school Junior high school
2nd grade, 8yrs old. Elementary school Junior high school
3rd grade 9yrs old. Elementary school Junior high school
4th grade 10yrs old. Elementary school Junior high school
5th grade 11 yrs old Junior high school
6th grade, shotoka (in Japanese); 12yrs (grad 13yrs)
1st to 3rd grade, interim junior high. Compulsory education extended to junior high.
1st grader, Youth School merged into junior high school (新制中学校) under new system.
Tokushu-ka
(supplementary course)
Admitted to 3rd grade, interim junior high
Youth school (青年学校, Seinen gakko)
(in Japanese)
1st grade,
futsuka (in Japanese)
Students and teachers transferred to new Junior High Schools. In old system, Futsuka students would have finished courses in the 2nd grade.
2nd grade,
futsuka,
3rd grade, interim junior high 1st to 3rd grade, upper secondary (new) transferred to reformed colleges/ universities
1st grader,
Honka (in Japanese)
2st grade,
Honka (in Japanese)
Students and teachers transferred to new upper secondary education as new part-time courses for vocational education. In old system, Honka students would have finished courses in the 5th grade.
Middle school (中等教育学校, Chuto gakko/Chuto kyoiku gakko)
(in Japanese)
1st grader 2nd and 3rd grade, lower secondary education (新制中学校, shinsei chugakko) (new) Transformed to upper secondary schools in 1948. The last school was closed in March 1950 due to document arrangements for over year students applying to colleges/ universities.
2nd and 3rd grade,
interim junior high
Transformed to upper secondary schools in 1948. The last school was closed in March 1950 due to document arrangements for over year students applying to colleges/ universities.
Girls' high schools (高等女学校, Koto jogakko)
(in Japanese)
1st grader Transferred to 2nd grade, but no new 1st graders were admitted. Schools decided to adopt new education system.

However, basically, continued education for six years of secondary education even if they issue graduation diploma at the end of 3rd grade junior high school, or the lower upper education.

Transferred to 2nd grade under new system.

New 1st graders were admitted.

Business schools (実業学校, Jitsugyo gakko)
(in Japanese)
1st grade[a] No students admitted in 1947. Interim junior high introduced and attached to jitsugyo gakko. [a] Admitted as 1st grade, upper secondary education (新制高校). 2nd and 3rd grades, upper secondary education (新制高校).
Transferred 2nd and 3rd grades to 2nd and 3rd grades in junior high (new).
2nd grade graduated Nominated and enrolled as over-year 1st grade, upper secondary education (新制高校).
Transformation of middle schools
School calendar of: 1946
Showa 21
1947
Showa 22
1948
Showa 23
1949
Showa 24
1950
Showa 25
1951
Showa 26
1952
Showa 27
Middle school (中等学校, Chuto gakko)
(in Japanese)
1st grader 2nd and 3rd grades, lower secondary education (新制中学校, shinsei chugakko) (new)
2nd and 3rd grades,
interim junior high
2nd grader 3rd grade, interim junior high
1st and 2nd grades, upper secondary (new)
senior,
upper secondary (new system)
transferred to
3rd, 4th and 5th grades, interim junior high 中等学校[b]
3rd grade 4th grade 2nd grade,
upper secondary (new)
transferred to 2nd grade, upper secondary (new) transferred to  
4th grade transferred to 1st grade, (former system) (in Japanese) 3rd grade, upper secondary (new)
transferred to
5th grade transferred to either, preparatory/vocational/normal schools.  

higher education : 1948-1950, converting to modern universities[edit]

Under the system former to reformation, the last students were admitted in spring of 1948; Kyusei kotogakko was introduced in 1894 and expired in 1950 after reformation in 1918, Kyusei semmongakko (旧制専門学校) in 1903 as a single major normal schools specializing in elementary school education was called Shihangakko (師範学校) with Koto shihangakko (高等師範学校) for training educators for high schools and college level.

Daigaku yoka (大学予科) along with Kyusei kotogakko had been established as the primary higher education for those who would continue on to universities. For Kyusei kotogakko, the senior year graduates, or the 3rd graders who commenced from kotogakko in 1947 were the last generation finishing the full three years' term of high school education; those freshmen entered in 1948 completed their first year under the former system, and as it expired at the end of academic year 1948 or March 1949, they did not qualified to transfer for their choice of colleges under new system, or shinsei daigaku (新制大学). They applied for admission examination and entered colleges and universities in the spring of 1949.

The idea of 1949 educational system reform was to reform so called high schools under old system as colleges and universities; as shinsei daigaku, or universities under new system, those high schools under old system including single major semmon gakko and shihangakko for future educators were renamed.

For students, those who had studied for full four years' term and qualify as kyusei chugakko (旧制中学校) graduates in 1947 were offered two options. They either could enter kyuseikoko and transfer, or enter shinsei koko, the present day high school and continue on to prepare for college/ university; as for special transition measure, those 3rd graders in old high schools were also given those two options. Like on the Komaba campus of University of Tokyo, there were rivalry seen among those high school students of Daiichi Kotogakko against the university students. While the last kyusei daigaku, or old system universities admitted students till 1950, there were considerable number of graduates of old system high schools who either failed at the admission examinations or postponed their applications. Universities established administered by the new system held special examinations for those graduates of past academic years as transfer students.

Medical schools[edit]

In 1949 (Showa 24), under the academic system reform, the qualification for admission to the medical and dental departments became "a person who has completed two years of college and who meets specific requirements (in defined subjects and credits)". Therefore, a single department (medical/dental) schools and nursing schools transformed and adapted those Preparatory colleges (大学予科, Daigaku yoka) under Japanese University Act of 1918 [fr] as two years' undergraduate course after the academic reformation. The four-year university which had established the “Science Department” made a two-years' preparatory courses, called Rigakubu otsu (理学部乙), or the “Preparatory Course, Science Department”, especially for medical and dental students: requirements of two-year university graduates were hence cleared. The anomalous state of mixed students with academic achievement under the new and old systems lasted by 1955, when the new regulation for department of medical and dental studies went into effect, and surviving preparatory courses as well as those university preparatory courses was merged into. Nursing school reform followed the course as well.[10]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b 1946 (Showa 21) - 5 years were required to qualify for diploma. Politecnic schools for boys were converted back to Men's commercial schools. See also jawp jitsugyo gakko.
  2. ^ Cases were exceptional among public schools, however, for private sector, the transition from pre-1946 system was adopted but as a matter of fact, there were special cases when a new 1st grade students in the upper secondary education needs to apply for entrance examination among other graduates from other junior high schools, after finishing the 3rd grade in the lower secondary form.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Columbia University. "The American Occupation of Japan, 1945-1952 - Asia for Educators". afe.easia.columbia.edu. Archived from the original on 12 December 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  2. ^ Frost, Peter. "The Allied Occupation of Japan". aboutjapan.japansociety.org. Japan Society. Archived from the original on 4 October 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  3. ^ Buono, Stephen. "Commission and Omission of History in Occupied Japan (1945-1949)". www.binghamton.edu. Binghamton University - History Department: Resources: Journal of History. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  4. ^ "CONFUSION IN EDUCATION: 9-3-4, 6-3-3-4, 1-6-3-4, British, American or which curriculum? - Vanguard News". Vanguard News. 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2018-05-18.
  5. ^ Lagotte, Brian W. (2004). Because We Said So: Educational Reform in Occupied Japan. University of Kansas, Anthropology.
  6. ^ "(3)Report of the United States Education Mission to Japan:文部科学省". www.mext.go.jp (in Japanese). Retrieved 2018-05-18.
  7. ^ Entering into the 21st century, those public high schools that had continued single-sex education in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures have adopted mixed-sex education to countermeasure the diminishing age group of younger population.
  8. ^ Abolition of schools (in Japanese), Okinawa Prefecture Archives [ja]
  9. ^ The attached junior high at Yamashita Seinan Junior High School (private) was sustained by 1950 (Showa 25) until the last over-year students commenced. It was a transitional measure for over-years as Yamashita was transformed into .w:ja:愛媛県立三瓶高等学校, a public prefectural high school before they could decide their graduation.
  10. ^ Tsuboi, Yoshiko; Sato, Kumiko (2002). "総説—占領期の日本の看護教育改革構想 : Nursing Education Council における検討過程を通して" [General overview: The conception of nursing educational reform during the period of the occupation : through the discussion process of the nursing education council]. Yamanashi Nursing Journal (in Japanese). 山梨大学看護学会. 1 (1): 3–7. OCLC 997851575. Retrieved 2019-05-17.

Bibliography[edit]