By Robert Stuart Yoder
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Extra info for Deviance and Inequality in Japan: Japanese Youth and Foreign Migrants
The legacy of the Ad Hoc Council on Education (which officially ended in 1987) continued with numerous educational reforms increasing the state’s grip over the schools. While the reforms have been extensive and include a wide range of diverse subjects in cross-subject learning such as computer use, they have increased state control, creating a wider ‘rights’ inequality gap between the state and those directly involved in education, namely educators and students. The state has gained more power over what is written in textbooks, replacing teachers (who are more liberal) with local boards of education in the selection of textbooks and all textbooks require the approval of the Ministry of Education (Yoneyama, 1999, pp 83, 148-54; Arita, 2001; The Japan Times, 2001b, p 2).
The government-appointed National Council of Educational Reform appeals for change of the Fundamental Law of Education in this new millennium, like its predecessor the Ad Hoc Council on Education, consistently harked on the need for schools to foster patriotism and that it is the duty of education to develop students’ love of one’s home and country and instil in them respect for tradition and culture (Hanai, 2000; The Japan Times, 2001a, p 2, 2002b, p 3, 2002c, p 2; Fujita, 2003). Hidenori Fujita, professor of education at the University of Tokyo, once a member of a national commission council on educational reforms, commented on what went on in these sessions.
These commonalities relate to shared life situations and circumstances that set limits on opportunities and choices in the everyday lives of the working class. There are also, however, other conditions that need to be examined in order to clarify just what constitutes the working class and how class culture plays a dominant role in the lives of working-class youth. Given that socialisation practices, supervision and expectations of academic success for their children particularly by the mother differ widely by parents’ education and that the educational background of marriage partners is highly correlated (65% have the same level of education), the completed education of Japanese parents plays a vital role and stands out as a dominant feature of class culture (Sugimoto, 2003, pp 53-6).