Japanese education of Sono Aikoku in the perception of history: a case study of moral education in the Meiji Era and post-war history education

CHEN Jingyan WANG Dan

【Abstract】Moral education was an important part of Japanese education in the Meiji Era (1868–1912), and its position in the whole of education was strengthened continuously by the Meiji government through making laws and regulations. With the proclamation and implementation of education laws such as the Kyogaku Taishi (General Observations on Education), nationalism, reverence for the emperor as well as loyalty to the throne and devotion to the country penetrated into the moral education. Especially, the deification of the emperor and the guarantee of the emperor's “divinity” by the Meiji Constitution turned the moral education into militaristic education centered on Sono Aikoku (Reverence for the Emperor, Love of the Country). At the end of World War II, due to the lack of an international environment for the eradication of Japan's militaristic education as well as the incomplete destruction of the old state apparatus, the thoughts advocating the emperor's sacredness and Reverence for the Emperor and Love of the Country continued and were upheld in Japanese history education, consequently resulting in the constant visits of Japanese prime ministers to the Yasukuni Shrine and Japan‟s denial of its military aggression.

【Keywords】 Meiji Era; moral education; Sono Aikoku; militarism; post-war Japan; history education;


【Funds】 Major Project of the Key Social Science Research Foundation of the Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 12JJD770013)

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This Article


CN: 22-1180/C

Vol 23, No. 05, Pages 32-40+127

September 2014


Article Outline


  • 1 Moral education in the Meiji Era and its effects
  • 2 Correlation between post-war Japanese history education and Japan's perception of history
  • References