The Moral Education in Japan: The Significance of Establishing a National and Cultural Identity in a Globalized World

By Kaori Shimizu.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Throughout its history, Japan has been greatly influenced by foreign ideas and institutions. Under such influences as western modernization in pre-war Japan, the idea of democracy, and later, globalization in post-war Japan, it seems that maintaining national consciousness and cultural identity has been a critical issue in Japan. Consequently, the establishment of a national and cultural identity - being aware and proud of being Japanese – seems to have been a major goal set for school moral education. Moral education has been included in the school curriculum since 1872. It was initially called Shūshin (control of self), which was suppressed after the end of World War II because of the importance it gave to nationalistic and militaristic ideologies in pre-war Japan. However, in 1958, moral education was reintroduced as Dōtoku (morality). A recent emphasis on national and cultural identity in school education and the reinforcement of moral education have raised concerns for leading to the revival of Shūshin. This paper explores the meaning of establishing a national and cultural identity in today’s world that is increasingly interconnected and globalized, and where diverse cultures coexist side by side. The paper discusses the significance of establishing a national and cultural identity in today’s world, drawing on Derrida’s notion of double bind.

Keywords: Moral Education, National Identity, Cultural Identity, Globalization, Nationalism

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp.61-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 286.426KB).

Kaori Shimizu

Student, Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice, College of Education, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Kaori Shimizu is originally from Japan, and taught Japanese at Louisiana State University (LSU), USA. She currently is a doctoral student at the College of Human Sciences and Education, LSU. Based on her experience as a foreigner and as a foreign language instructor who attempted to communicate her own culture to students, her research interest is to explore the concept of alterity. Using the method of narrative inquiry, she is currently working on a project examining autobiographical accounts which depict the experiences of encountering the culture of others.