Abe calls for education reform to raise moral standards – MSN-Mainichi Daily News

Abe calls for education reform to raise moral standards – MSN-Mainichi Daily News

Here we go! Abe and a bunch of other politicians think that schools are the place to teach morals.

Japan needs to reverse a moral decline and better motivate students to create “a nation with dignity,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday.

Maybe the politicians should put their own house in order before they start trying to saddle the already over burdened education system with the chore of moral indoctrination. Schools are a place for the three R’s, and they aren’t getting that right by the looks of Japanese test scores as compared with those of other countries.

There was another relevant quote today at Japan Today.

There’s a lot Buddhism can offer modern society. It’s just a matter of what temples are going to do about it.
Keisuke Matsumoto, 24, a monk and owner of the Kamiyacho Open Terrace cafe situated inside the Komyoji temple. It is one of many Buddhist temples in Japan offering new services, such as concerts, discos and yoga classes, to try and stay relevant in an increasingly secular society. (AP)

How about temples fulfilling their obligation to society by doing what they are really best at, too, being a religious institution which, along with the family, should be where children learn morals.


2 comments on “Abe calls for education reform to raise moral standards – MSN-Mainichi Daily News

  1. Your blog is a welcome alternative to the garbage that litters the blogosphere, Mr. Kirk. I am not the veteran expat resident of Japan that your blog profile reveals you to be, but having lived in Niigata City and taught English in its municipal junior high schools for seven years, I have an ample fund of experiences in Japan, in particular of its system of public education. Furthermore, with two children enrolled in a Japanese elementary school, my interest in Japanese education is not simply profesional, but personal as well. You may be aware that moral education, or “dootoku”, is an central component of “sogo gakushu”, the integrated studies program introduced at middle schools a few years ago. Public morals, or good citizenship, is a frequently discussed subject in homeroom meetings at both elementary and junior high schools. In this forum important topics such as bullying are discussed. I trust that the program is not without merit, the recent spate of school suicides notwithstanding. What troubles me about Prime Minister Abe and his education reform panel’s proposals is the central position accorded patriotic education, or “aikokushin”. This is a worrisome return to the Meiji Era educational reform whose centerpiece was the two-fold “chukun aikoku”, or veneration of the Emperor, and slavish patriotism. This movement in turn fueled Japanese militarism, the tragic lessons of which certain Japanese politicians, with the assistance of Yasukuni Shrine’s visitors’center, are determined to ignore. I am not opposed to seeing “dootoku” education remain in public schools. However, I would not care to see it transformed into a pulpit for Japan’s reactionaries.

  2. Daniel says:

    Thanks for the comment brian.Yeah, it’s difficult to know how to react to the “aikokushin” bugaboo. If they do as good a job with this as they have with the rest of the education, there’s nothing to worry about. It won’t work very well, either. If the government is looking forward to a population that stands and sings the national anthem before ball games, like in the US, they might be disappointed. Unless the economic and social situation in the country turns radically worse, as it might if there is a major oil shock or some kind of global pandemic like bird flu, I don’t think the average Japanese person wants to be bothered with slavish worship of anything other than a ridiculous mouse or television.

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