Thursday :: Nov 24, 2005

Sauce For The Goose, Slander From The Gander


by pessimist

In America today, one can suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous GOP misfortune when one doesn't toe the Bu$hCo company line. That's what John Murtha discovered the other day when he decided to speak the truth about a war his country committed. Despite the later retraction of the personal slanders against a decorated war veteran, the original comments still tell the tale of a nation gone wild. Murtha isn't alone - and neither is Bu$hCo.

Over in Japan, one brave teacher decided to oppose her government's stance concerning Japan's role in World War II. She decided to confront the official fallacy being taught in the schools that Japan was the victim:

Miyako Masuda is a 23-year veteran of public schools here. Like many Japanese history teachers of her generation, she dislikes new textbooks that frame Japan as the victim in World War II. It bothers her that books claiming America caused the war are now adopted by an entire city ward. In fact, Masuda disapproves of the whole nationalist direction of Tokyo public schools.

Currently, teachers that stress Japan's responsibility for wartime aggression are increasingly framed in Tokyo as "Marxists" living in the past.

Is this starting to sound familiar yet?

[W]hen a Tokyo city councilman in an official meeting said "Japan never invaded Korea," her history class sent an apology to Korean President Roh Moo-hyan - an action that sparked her removal from her classroom.
Masuda is now ordered to spend her days in a small room studying public servant regulations, a serious humiliation she says.
Masuda's experience shows the growing power of Japanese nationalists, and their grass-roots influence in Tokyo, analysts say. Tokyo schools reflect nationalist views: children pledging allegiance to the emperor as in the 1930s, school board members supporting Yasakuni shrine visits, and curriculums failing to mention Japan's invasion of Korea or China.

Masuda, for her part, insists it is wrong to teach untruths to students, for any reason. "I feel it is my job to tell the truth, it is what I spend my life doing," she told the Monitor. "When something looks crooked I don't like it. I feel I want to make it straight. If you are straight it is better for everyone.

"I explain and teach the past. But I am now suspended as a history teacher for doing that, even though they say it is for administrative discipline."

Japan has done many things that the United States has done. Some of it has been for the good, some not. One that isn't so good is the way their media is the captive of the government and does its bidding:

Masuda's case has been picked up as a case of simple slander by the Tokyo media. A Japanese journalist with extensive experience points out that the Tokyo Asahi ran an item saying that Masuda was suspended for slandering the government officials and the publisher of the textbook.

The Asahi reporter sourced the story to the Tokyo Board of Education. Masuda's friends and fellow teachers protested to the Asahi reporter. They said the story was inaccurate, and that Masuda should have been talked to for balance.

So the Asahi reporter went back to the Board of Education and asked if his story was correct.

They told him yes, his story was correct.

So much for journalistic integrity - and historical truth.

The job of historians is to get all the facts straightened out as accurately as possible. It's a shame that the reporters of the world don't.

Maybe they flunked history when they were in school.


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