The SAGE Handbook of Modern Japanese Studies includes outstanding contributions from a diverse group of leading academics from across the globe. This volume is designed to serve as a major interdisciplinary reference work and a seminal text, both rigorous and accessible, to assist students and scholars in understanding one of the major nations of the world.


Robert W. Aspinall


The study of education in Japan has only on rare occasions been undertaken without attracting controversy. The education system had a key role to play in the modernization of the first major non-Western industrial society. As such, it is and was especially subject to the competing tensions of Westernization versus the maintenance of traditional identity and tradition. From the Meiji era down to the present day debates on education reform have been highly politicized in Japan, and scholars who carry out research in this field can often find themselves being drawn in whether they choose to or not.

No section of any education system receives children who are ‘blank slates': they are all products of the preceding parts of the system. The first section of this chapter will examine some significant scholarship that ...

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