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ERIC Number: EJ877748
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1849
The US Occupation and Japan's New Democracy
Kumano, Ruriko
Educational Perspectives, v40 n1 p36-43 2007
During the US Occupation of Japan (1945-1952), a victorious America attempted to reform Japanese education by replacing Japan's tradition system of values with one that promoted American democratic values. The United States had considered the source of Japan's militarism to lie in the selfless loyalty and love of country that many older Japanese had valued. They wanted to replace these older values with new ones that would ensure a more pacifist outlook. Thus, in the name of democratization and pacification, Japan lost some important aspects of its cultural heritage. But why did the United States want to eliminate these natural sentiments from the Japanese psyche? And what was the cost of these changes? This paper focuses on the first four months of the Occupation when Japan's first postwar education minister, Maeda Tamon, attempted to change education in the direction of a new democratic Japan. Maeda, Japan's preeminent liberal at the time, took the position of minister of education on August 18, 1945, before the Allied Occupation officially began. In his first two months, he quickly initiated a number of educational reforms without interference from American officials. He wanted these reforms not only to meet American expectations but also to preserve what he believed to be the unique aspect of Japanese culture--the emperor system. However, Maeda's understanding of the word "democracy" differed dramatically from what America wanted, and this difference incited the US to intervene with a different set of educational reforms. This paper examines Maeda's efforts, and the US reaction to them. (Contains 94 endnotes.)
College of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Wist Annex 2 Room 131, 1776 University Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96822. Tel: 808-956-8002; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan; United States