Presentation and Analysis on the Different Cultural Interpretations: Examining Chinese and Japanese Textbooks and Museums
Zhuolin Li
Linden Hall School, Lititz, PA, USA.
DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2018.72004   PDF    HTML   XML   1,447 Downloads   3,089 Views   Citations


The paper, presenting the distinctions between Chinese and Japanese textbooks and museums’ descriptions on Second Sino-Japanese War, tends to offer explanations for the different presentations of the war. Textbooks from high school mandatory world history courses from Ikeda Senior High School attached to Osaka Koku University in Osaka, Japan and ChenJingLun High School in Beijing, China are chosen to compare. For war-relating museums, the Unit 731 Museum in Harbin, China and the Peace Memorial Museums of Hiroshima, Japan are both one of the most important and profound war museums in both nations. Chinese textbook straightforwardly points out Japanese territorial expansion, Japanese brutal atrocities, and the successful achievement CPC made in the war. However, the Japanese textbook describes Japan’s domestic economic crisis during WWII, Chinese Civil War between the CPC and Kuomintang, and Japanese diplomacy. For the museums, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall’s Main Building tells tragedies caused by the A-bomb, survivors’ emotional stories, and the huge mental and physical damage to the civilian population. The Unit 731 Museum’s Bacteriological Exhibit Hall reveals the human experiments in the secluded Unit 731 military base. Assuming the government-approved mandatory history textbooks in both nations convey the historical information preferred by current national government, and museums serve as the repository of abundant documents and visual evidences, the paper further analyzes the distinctions from social, historical, and political aspects; national war memories, Japanese sense of excluded national pride, postwar US-Japanese relation, and government legitimacy are factors examined to be accounted for the notable distinctions between Chinese and Japanese textbooks and museums’ descriptions of the war.

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Li, Z. (2018) Presentation and Analysis on the Different Cultural Interpretations: Examining Chinese and Japanese Textbooks and Museums. Advances in Historical Studies, 7, 31-57. doi: 10.4236/ahs.2018.72004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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