The History of Modern Japanese Education: Constructing the National School System, 1872-1890

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The History of Modern Japanese Education is the first account in English of the construction of a national school system in Japan, as outlined in the 1872 document, the Gakusei. Divided into three parts tracing decades of change, the book begins by exploring the feudal background for the Gakusei during the Tokugawa era which produced the initial leaders of modern Japan. Next, Benjamin Duke traces the Ministry of Education's investigations of the 1870s to determine the best western model for Japan, including the decision to adopt American teaching methods. He then goes on to cover the eventual reverse course sparked by the Imperial Household protest that the western model overshadowed cherished Japanese traditions. Ultimately, the 1890 Imperial Rescript on Education integrated Confucian teachings of loyalty and filial piety with Imperial ideology, laying the moral basis for a western-style academic curriculum in the nation's schools.