Reexamination Of Japanese “Southern” Experience

from The 1920s To 1950s



[Paper] Southeast Asian Education in Wartime Japan (In Reports and Papers)

Kanayama Yasuyuki (Full-time lecturer, Department of Humanities, Doho University Faculty of Letters)

 This paper examines the actual teaching methods used in education on Southeast Asia in Japan during World War II. Specifically, it clarifies how instruction on Southeast Asia was conducted in wartime elementary schools (the primary level of so-called “national schools”).
 The Japanese “Southern” experience included both direct and indirect experiences of Southeast Asia. The former refer to actual time spent in the region, encountering people and things in various forms; the latter suggest the transmission of this direct experience to other Japanese (with no direct experience of Southeast Asia) via various media (in the broad sense of “actions or objects mediated through interpersonal communication” [1]). In both cases, it is thought that this “Southern” experience served to influence the formation of concepts of regional order such as the wartime “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.”
 This paper elucidates the actual status of the indirect Japanese “Southern” experience through elementary education at the time. Elementary education is in itself a media format typical of that era. Compulsory in modern Japan, elementary education was particularly influential before the war due to the low rate of further education after graduation from elementary school (approximately 25% in 1940 [2]). (As discussed below, it is also significant that the textbooks used were designated by the government.) In the case of Southeast Asia, the only “Southern” experience of many Japanese people was what they learned in elementary school (indirect experience of information on Southeast Asia).
 The specific methodology taken up by this paper is the use of wartime elementary school textbooks. Elementary schools used textbooks designated by the national government from the 1904 school year; materials covering Southeast Asia have been found in the subjects of geography, history, Japanese, and moral education. This paper uses the following wartime textbooks: Elementary Geography (Gov. 6, 1944), Elementary Japanese History (Gov. 6, 1943), Elementary Japanese (Gov. 5, 1941–1943), and Elementary Moral Education (Gov. 5, 1941) [3].
 However, discussion based on textbooks alone is necessarily limited to an analysis of their contents. This paper further deepens its discussion to include the actual status of teaching and how the textbook contents were used [4]. As historical documentation, the paper uses teachers’ guides by the Ministry of Education as well as private-sector teachers’ guides, manuals, and reference books (below referred to as “guides”).
 As far as can be confirmed, there has yet been no study dedicated to the empirical examination of the status of education on Southeast Asia based on the awareness of issues shown above [5]. Below, the paper addresses in detail how Southeast Asia was discussed in wartime elementary school (national elementary school) classes (geography, history, Japanese, and moral education).

1 Southeast Asian education in geography classes
 The first volume of Elementary Geography (fifth-grade geography textbook) begins with a teaching material titled “1. The Map of Japan,” an overview of Japanese geography captioned: “Let us open the map of Japan and have a look.” Thereafter, the perspective moves to “Greater East Asia”: “Next, let us look at the map of Greater East Asia, with Japan at its center.” The words “Greater East Asia” appear frequently in textbooks of the time, not geography books alone, exemplifying the textbooks’ reflection of the international situation at the time. The text on Southeast Asia is as follows.

 To the South of Central Honshu are the Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands, and far further are our South Seas Islands. These islands are scattered on the Western Pacific like so many grains of sand. Tiny as they are, they are spread over a wide range of ocean, and are thus very important with regard to protecting our country.
 There are islands large and small, including—from West to South of our South Seas Islands, centered on the equator—Luzon, Mindanao, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Celebes, and Papua. They are all tropical islands. Borneo and Papua are larger than Japan itself. When the Greater East Asia War began, nearly all of these tropical islands, along with Malaya, Burma, and other parts of the Indochinese Peninsula, were occupied by our Imperial Army. Beyond Burma is India. The Imperial Army’s reach is extending westward to the Indian Ocean and southward to Australia.

 In a guide published at the time, Kokumin Gakko Kokuminka Chiri Seigi (Details of the National Geography Subject for National Elementary Schools), the focus of “materials on Southeast Asia” was described as follows: “East Asia mainly refers to the region including Manchuria, China, the South Seas, Siberia and so on,” while “Southeast Asia is an overall name for the Indochinese Peninsula and the Malay Islands, but as this region is currently the focus of our southeastern advance, it is second in importance among foreign geography materials only to those on East Asia (Manchuria and China)” [6]. The Southeast Asian regions, in particular those especially connected to Japan’s southern advance at the time, were evidently considered important and discussed accordingly in class.
 The first volume of Elementary Geography includes materials on Taiwan, a Japanese colony at the time, and the “South Seas Islands,” a Japanese mandate since World War I, as part of Japanese geography in “12. Taiwan and the South Seas Islands.” The geography materials include an overview of each region’s territory, location, political divisions, climate, topology, trade with Japan, industry, and so on. The South Seas Islands are described thus (including photographs and maps).

 The South Seas Islands are scattered widely across the tropical sea plain south of the Japanese archipelago, near the equator. They are an extremely important site of national defense for our country in the Pacific. They are small islands, with a total area among their large number about equal to that of Tokyo.
 Our South Seas Islands are composed of many islands divided into the Caroline, Marshall, and Mariana Islands. These islands are all tropical and enjoy perpetual summer, without seasonal divisions. The temperature is high all year long, but the sea breeze and the frequent rainfall make the climate relatively livable. Because the area is small and there is little flat land, industry only began to develop under Japanese governance. In particular, sugar cane growth has thrived in recent years, with sugar production emerging as the islands’ leading industry.

 The second volume of Elementary Geography (sixth-grade geography textbook) includes more detailed descriptions of the regions of “Greater East Asia” briefly covered in the first volume. The second volume’s Table of Contents begins with a general discussion of “1. Greater East Asia,” continuing with “2. Shonanto [Singapore] and the Malay Peninsula [7],” “3. The East Indies Islands [8],” “4. The Philippine Islands [9],” “8. Indochina [10],” “9. India and the Indian Ocean,” and “12. The Pacific Ocean and its Islands.” Thus, nearly half the book is devoted to geographical materials on Southeast Asia.
 The textbooks of the time are notable for their omission of geographical materials on Europe, and for the inclusion of chapters on regions then occupied by the Japanese army such as Singapore (Shonanto), the Malay Peninsula, the East Indies (Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Celebes, Papua, etc.), and the Philippines before those on Manchuria and China (“5. Manchuria,” “6. Inner Mongolia,” “7. China”). The actual textbook contents reflect the progress of the Pacific War, as seen in “1. Greater East Asia”: “Since the Greater East Asia War, with Shonanto in the lead, the Philippines and East Indies have strongly contributed to the construction of Greater East Asia.”
 Important teaching points for these materials, as shown in the guide mentioned above, included “For the Indochinese Peninsula, clarify the region and its position as well as the political divisions, climate, and topology; next, have students understand the distribution and shipping ports of rice, its main crop, as well as coal near Hai Phong and tin, iron, and rubber on the Malay Peninsula; as well, discuss Singapore, a key location for British military strategy in the Far East and also a center of world transport” [11]. As the importance of resource acquisition in Japan’s southern advance indicates, the geography textbooks obviously focused on instruction concerning resources in the “Southern” regions addressed. Furthermore, guidelines for the climate of Southeast Asia warned that “as this region is located directly under the equator, the natural environment has tended to be considered poorly suited for Japanese life. However, this is … a complete misunderstanding. Correcting this misapprehension in national elementary geography education will cultivate intent toward the ever greater development of this region in future” [12].
 Common among Southeast Asian geography materials was, notably, the emphasis on affinity with Japan. For example, “3. The East Indies Islands” emphasizes the similarity of the Philippines and the East Indies to Japan: “A closer look will reveal a curving mountain range similar to that of Japan, with linked volcanos which give us a peculiar sense of familiarity.”
 Particularly notable is the emphasis on a connection with the South Asian regions preceding the war. For instance, the textbooks contain the following comments on the Malay Peninsula: “Long ago, many Japanese visited this peninsula, as can be seen in the name of Pahang Province, which brings to mind Japanese bahan sailboats” (2. Shonanto and the Malay Peninsula); “The Japanese have long been active in various ways in this region, bearing with the tropical climate, its diseases, and other troubles” (3. The East Indies Islands); “Japanese came to live near Davao on Mindanao Island some 40 years ago … it was entirely Japan’s efforts that made Manila hemp famous” (4. The Philippine Islands); “The Japanese once voyaged throughout Annan [Vietnam] and Cambodia and made their presence known” (8. Indochina); “Central Indochina, that is Thailand, was once known as Siam. The Japanese have always been fond of this region, since 320 years ago, when Yamada Nagamasa and his men supported the King of Siam in the name of Japan” (8. Indochina); and so on.
 These connections between Japan and Southeast Asia are likewise persistently repeated in textbooks for other subjects as well, as we shall see below.

2 Southeast Asian education in history classes
 Elementary Japanese History focuses mainly on the history of Japan (for fifth and sixth grade). However, in accordance with the characteristics of textbooks of this period, it also contains many points consciously drawing attention to the connections between Japan and Southeast Asia.
 This awareness is first reflected in the first volume of Elementary Japanese History in “4. Kyoto and the Surrounding Region (1) Heiankyo”: “One honorable personage traveled not only to China but as far away as Malaya. This was Prince Shinnyo [Prince Takaoka], grandson of Emperor Kanmu…”. The teachers’ guide issued by the Ministry of Education explains the “purpose of the teaching materials” as follows: “[Introduced as] the forerunner of the southern advance, [the section on Prince Shinnyo] is intended to heighten children’s interest in the creation of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” [13].
 It is during instruction on the “bahan boats” of the Muromachi period that the South Seas appear specifically amid the history of Japan. The text reads “The boats bore great flags reading Bahan Daibosatsu [Bodhisattva Hachiman] and made the East Asian seas their own. They traveled not only to Korea and China but across the greater waters as far as the South Seas.” “The merchants of Kyushu and Okinawa who traveled to Southeast Asia traded with the local residents in peace. The people of Southeast Asia were blessed with abundant resources and enjoyed life.” “However, eventually Europeans were to force their way into the peace of the South Seas.” “The Portuguese, reaching still further East, built a stronghold in South China as well, trading actively with India and China, while the Spaniards eventually occupied the Philippines and began trading with the South Seas Islands” (7. Faraway Sea Routes (2) Bahan Boats and Nanban Boats).
 The guide of the time noted teaching points such as “When the Sengoku period wars were at their height, bahan boats were active under the flag of island Japan on the East Asian seas; the Japanese people grew ever more determined to expand overseas, even venturing boldly into the South” “Rather than simply addressing the narrow perspective of Japan–China relations, the text takes a wide view across East Asia, discussing the southern advance of the Japanese.” the guide notes points to be addressed such as “When discussing the southern advance of the bahan boats, take care to evoke affinity with Southeast Asia in particular, and do not forget to point out that this peaceful advance preceded the European exploration of the South Seas” [14]. Thus, the “affinity with Southeast Asia” emphasized in geography textbooks is intended to be reinforced historically as well.
 This history of relations with Southeast Asia is also consciously addressed in the second volume of Elementary Japanese History, dealing with more recent history.
 For example, the history textbook’s discussion of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea shows consideration for the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere at the time: “Hideyoshi brought his army across the sea, already thinking of his next step. This was the grand vision of bringing not only Korea and China but also the Philippines and India under his rule, creating a Greater East Asia with Japan at its center.” “As well, in Tensho 19 [1591], he sent messages to the Philippines and India, calling on them to pay tribute” (8. Dominion of the Era (3) The Map on the Fan).
 In the Edo period, the textbook described the oncoming threat of European invasions of East Asia and the South Seas and the bravery of the Japanese counterattacks: “The British aimed for India and the Dutch for the East Indies, each creating their own East India Company within two or three years of the Battle of Sekigahara as they began their invasions of East Asia.” “The Dutch fought off the Portuguese in the East Indies, and in Genna 5 [1619] established a Governor General in Batavia (today’s Jakarta)” (9. Edo and Nagasaki (2) Japantowns). The textbook described how more and more Japanese moved to Southeast Asia and set up “Japantowns” as centers of activity in what was then eastern Indochina, Thailand, the Philippines, and so on. After introducing the “best known” episode of the time (“Yamada Nagamasa led the people of Japantowns to quell internal conflict in Siam and was much esteemed in return by the Siamese”), the textbook mentions how Kato Kiyomasa planned to send ships to trade with Annan [Vietnam], how Hasekura Tsunenaga, on orders from Date Masamune, traveled to Rome via the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, how in the Kan’ei era [early 1600s] Tenjiku Tokubei of Harima traveled to Siam at the age of 15, and how the Kyushu daimyo Matsukura Shigemasa planned an invasion of the Philippines.
 However, these hard-won Southeast Asian strongholds were “overthrown by Europeans” one after the next when Japan became a closed country (9. Edo and Nagasaki (3) Closing the Country); and in the prewar modern era, the United States’ “East Asian desires” suddenly intensified (14. World Affairs (1) Meiji to Taisho). Thereafter, the textbook introduces the “yielding of the former German South Seas Mandate on islands north of the equator to Japan” in the Versailles Treaty after World War I, and the US displeasure with “the advance of the Japanese navy into the South Seas during the Great War” (14. World Affairs (2) Storms in the Pacific).
 Teaching points for the Showa period also focused on the Greater East Asia War: “Countries overseas ignored our sincere desire for peace, continuing their high-handed behavior” (15. The Great Showa Era (1) The Manchurian Incident); in Showa 16 [1941], “long-suffering Japan stood up for itself” as its “army and navy began a unified attack, aiming at Hawaii, Malaya, and the Philippines.” “In Showa 17 [1942], the Imperial Army moved through Manila and cut a swathe through the jungles of the Malay Peninsula, attacking Singapore, the untaken pride of the United Kingdom, on February 15. Some months thereafter, we defeated the Dutch East Indies, subjugated Burma, and attacked Corregidor Island, earning greater and greater war gains.” (15. The Great Showa Era (2) The Greater East Asia War). The textbook thus reaches the present day.
 As the text on Southeast Asia above indicates, elementary school Japanese history classes also made a point to include history (information) on Japan’s relationship with Southeast Asia from ancient times through the present.

3 Southeast Asian education in moral education classes
 Moral education was a compulsory subject in prewar elementary schools; given its purpose as the practice of national morals, this subject does not immediately seem to have a connection with Southeast Asia. However, a careful reading of moral education textbooks reveals numerous points related to the region, in particular to relevant people. This is due in part to the publication of Elementary Moral Education during the Pacific War.
 The first person related to Southeast Asia appearing in Elementary Moral Education is Yamada Nagamasa, familiar to us as the “best known” example from the history textbook above.

 Some 320 years ago, Yamada Nagamasa traveled to the country of Siam. Siam is what we now call Thailand. At the time, Japanese people often sailed to the islands and countries of Southeast Asia and many of them went to live there. There were Japantowns in many places. …
 The king of Siam was named Songtham, and he was a great ruler. Nagamasa formed a troop of loyal Japanese and served as their commander, winning many battles for the country. …
 Hardly any other Japanese has attained such a high rank abroad or done so much for his fellow Japanese (Elementary Moral Education 2, “12. Yamada Nagamasa”).

 A teachers’ guide of the time includes the following teaching points for this material. The teachers’ guide for Elementary Moral Education notes that Yamada Nagamasa was “a forerunner of southern expansion” and explains that the text is intended “to inspire the spirit of overseas ambition, and to begin cultivating the readiness to boldly advance the construction of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, with grand thoughts and brave spirits” [15]. Furthermore, the “main point for this lesson” was that “at the time, the Japanese frequently sailed among the Southern islands” [16], showing that the material was not intended solely to honor Yamada Nagamasa.
 The “directions for handling the material” include specific examples: “Show students a map of Greater East Asia and provide a simple overview of Thailand and its trading and navigation routes with Japan in modern times” [17]. This indicates that moral education also included geographical instruction about Thailand. Even in moral education, intended as the practice of national morals, instruction on Southeast Asia was in fact taking place.
 Another material “for firmly developing the spirit of southern expansion” was Vol. 4 of Elementary Moral Education “13. The Father Pioneer of Davao.” This material discusses Ohta Kyozaburo as “a forerunner of the construction of Greater East Asia,” stating specifying that “Kyozaburo, who had been living comfortably in Manila, came to share his compatriots’ struggles in the southern advance with the construction of the Benguet Road,” and that “Kyozaburo began the cultivation of Manila hemp for the Japanese” [18]. As with the previously discussed material on Yamada Nagamasa, the teachers’ guide provides actual instruction examples: “Using the knowledge children have already acquired in elementary school geography, have them discuss the Philippines.” “Also explain the gains of the Greater East Asia War and provide two or three examples of the development of this region over many years through Japanese blood and sweat” [19]. The teaching practices are mutually complementary with other subjects, going beyond the framework of moral education alone.
 The “manners of special note” in the teachers’ guide for both materials relating to encounters overseas (the previously discussed “Yamada Nagamasa” and “The Father Pioneer of Davao”) call for attention thus: “When encountering foreigners, always behave with the pride of a Japanese citizen, and never become arrogant or condescending” [20]. Nevertheless, consideration is required on whether Japanese attitudes in Southeast Asia at the time actually reflected these cautions, in the sense of the ideals and realities of education.
 The Great Men discussed in moral education classes were not only the Japanese of olden times. Moral education textbooks of the time lauded Pacific War soldiers as “military gods.” “The Face of a Military God” (Elementary Moral Education 3) discusses “Major General Kato Tateo, called Japan’s greatest fighter plane commander.” Based on his activities in Southeast Asia, “after countless military victories, at last he gave himself up to flames in the Southern sky.” Specific Southeast Asian locations also appear: “Before this, on May 4, Showa 17 [1942], when the Japanese Army occupied Akyab on the west coast of Burma, with India at risk, enemy planes tried to cut off our attack with multiple sorties” [21].
 In addition, each volume of the moral education textbook ends with an overview of the materials based on the current state of the war (“20. The Continent and Ourselves” in Elementary Moral Education 2; “20. A New World” in Elementary Moral Education 4, etc.).

 Japan is now fighting courageously to create a new East Asia from the Continent to the South, as well as providing nurturing leadership. We cannot but long for the day when all of us will be able to work together in joy. Our fathers and brothers have gone as far as the Continent and the South, working at risk of their own lives (20. The Continent and Ourselves).

 Thailand and Eastern Indochina alike have formed close relations with Japan, working as one for the construction of Greater East Asia in cooperation. … The regions of the South, alight with the successes of war, shine with a new light. The ring of construction sounds throughout Malaya, Shonanto, Burma, the Philippines, and the East Indies. The billion-strong march forward of Greater East Asia has begun (20. A New World).

 The teachers’ guide explains that “in cooperation with the Chinese continent and other Southern countries, [teachers are to] instruct students to advance bravely toward the construction of a new world, and strengthen their convictions to enable them to do this.” “In particular, the point of these materials is to strengthen convictions for the construction of Greater East Asia” [22]. Moral education likewise taught “Southeast Asia” and its specific locations within the context of “Greater East Asia.”

4 Southeast Asian education in Japanese classes
 Prewar Japanese language textbooks served as general readers, mutually complementary with other subjects in their content. Accordingly, they included materials on geography, history, and moral education. The subject of Japanese, like those of geography, history, and moral education as seen above, included materials related to Southeast Asia.
 The second volume of Elementary Japanese contains a chapter on “8. The South Seas.” The material describes a shadow lantern play held at a children’s club meeting, where the father of a boy named Isamu (meaning “brave”) shows pictures of the South Seas and explains the Japanese army and navy battlefields there in the ongoing Pacific War, while describing the scenery and characteristics of the South Seas. The teachers’ guide explain the points of the material thus: “The lesson is intended to show how, through the courageous fighting of the Japanese army and navy, the South Seas are marching strongly and bravely along the path of construction as part of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.” “This material aims to cultivate a growing interest which will lead children as far as the South Seas, and a yearning to discover their unknown terrain” [23].
 As a Japanese language material, this text does not, like the geography textbooks, simply present geographical information on the South Seas; rather, it is devised so as to bring the South Seas closer to home through the familiar device of a shadow lantern show. The guide explains “The lesson’s intent is that through showing children various South Seas scenes and explaining them in familiar words, combined with the words of the children themselves as they are drawn to the images, the children will naturally develop a greater fondness for the South Seas” [24].
 The material’s teaching points include the need to “inform children about the variety and abundance of resources in the South Seas through the text” and to “arouse interest in the petroleum produced in the South Seas, in particular in Sumatra.” In addition, points to be taught were “to remind children that the erasers and rubber balls they use daily have come from the faraway South Seas, the battleground of the brave Imperial Army, and to have them use these products with gratitude,” as well as “to impress them with the unbreakable bond between Japan and the South Seas” [25] [26]. The children were to be thoroughly taught about the importance of the South Seas’ abundant resources, with care taken that the lesson did not stop at the purely material (as in other subjects).
 The plentiful resources on Southeast Asia within Japanese language materials included “information from the Greater East Asia War” as well. Elementary Japanese Vol. 5 “4. From Father at War” was in the form of a letter from a father on the southern battlefields to his children left to guard the home front. “Heavy rain called ‘squalls’ falls nearly every day.” “Daddy and the others cut red-purple mangosteens in half to eat.” “The local people are devoted to the Japanese Army and cooperate with the construction of Greater East Asia. They come and visit us daily, hoping to learn Japanese.” Thus, the text gives a sense of “the climate and scenery of Southeast Asia (squalls and mangosteens)” and “the attitudes of the locals,” so as to “cultivate children’s awareness of themselves as Imperial subjects with a duty to depart for Greater East Asia in the future” [27]. The guide goes a step further, directing teachers to “awaken children’s self-awareness as the future leaders of Greater East Asia” [28], indicating a sense of leadership in Southeast Asia.
 “3. To Davao” in Elementary Japanese Vol. 8 appears to be related to “13. The Father Pioneer of Davao” in the moral education textbook discussed above. Why was Davao to be attacked? The children had learned in moral education class that ever since Ohta Kyozaburo developed the area, Davao in the Philippines was home to many Japanese cultivating Manila hemp and so on. The teachers’ guide explained that even after the sudden outbreak of the “Greater East Asia War,” many Japanese remained in Davao, only to be interned by the Philippine authorities; the Japanese army was instrumental in rescuing them, and this moving scene was depicted in the text in question. Important points in the material include “when reading, explain where Davao is located and make sure the children understand that in the Greater East Asia War, the Japanese army rescued Japanese prisoners there,” indicating that geographical and historical materials on Davao were taught simultaneously [29].
 Notable among the Southeast Asian materials in Elementary Japanese are the “Appendices” to volumes 7 and 8. The Appendices were indicated for use as needed in the case of extra class time. Volume 7 contains mostly material on the South Seas: “Appendix 1: Scenes of Java,” “Appendix 2: The Bismarck Islands,” “Appendix 3: The Celebes Countryside,” and “Appendix 4: Impressions of Sarawak” [30]. The guide indicates the content and objectives thus: “Along with the materials in the textbook, [the Appendices] are to be used to stimulate interest and develop literacy, enabling students to grasp the spirit of the construction of Greater East Asia and develop self-awareness of the Imperial mission.” “They are mainly concerned with developing familiarity with the South Seas climates and lifestyles” [31].
 For example, “Appendix 1: Scenes of Java” begins thus: “Java is an island of fruit. Mangosteens, called the Queen of Fruits, grow here.” “The Javanese wear sarongs around their hips, men and women alike. Made of so-called Javanese batik, they are usually gaudily dyed with birds and flowers in red, blue, green, and other colors.” “One hundred years ago, Java and the Netherlands were at war. It was then that the Javanese hero Dipanegara appeared, holding off the enemy for five long years.” The description suggests a travelogue, gradually introducing children to the scenery, customs, and history of Java, so as to increase their sense of familiarity [32]. “Appendix 2: The Bismarck Islands” introduces New Ireland, part of the Bismarck archipelago, and its typical South Seas scenery, including trees, birds, and fruits. It also describes the Papuan inhabitants of the island and their characters, along with a depiction of their adoration for the Japanese Army [33]. “Appendix 3: The Celebes Countryside” states that “a scenery unexpectedly similar to Japan” can be found in the Southern Hemisphere countryside of Celebes, emphasizing affinity with Japan here as well [34]. “Appendix 4: Impressions of Sarawak” is a record of impressions of Sarawak in Borneo, introducing “the scenery around Kuching,” “unique Sarawak orangutans,” “squalls and thunderstorms in the rainy season,” “customs of the Dyak people,” “customs of Malay women” and so on, to give children a sense of the character and customs of Sarawak [35].
 Other “Southeast Asian” materials “drawing from the Greater East Asia War” include Elementary Japanese 5 “5. The Girl from Seremban” [36], Elementary Japanese 6 “3. The Invisible Entrance” and “18. Landing to Face the Enemy,” Elementary Japanese 7 “18. The Refined Heart,” and Elementary Japanese 8 “13. Moving through Malaya,” “15. The Night Singapore Fell,” and “16. The Samurai Spirit” [37].

 In the above sections, this paper has examined wartime elementary school textbooks (geography, history, moral education, and Japanese) along with teachers’ guides of the time in order to clarify the actual status of education on Southeast Asia.
 Along with the progress of the Pacific War, the Japanese gaze was inevitably drawn to Southeast Asia,
which became an essential object of knowledge. This was also strongly encouraged in elementary education (national elementary school), which was compulsory in modern Japan; a major topic of every textbook at the time was “For the construction of Greater East Asia,” including many materials on Southeast Asia.
 Elementary Geography, published in 1944, reflected the wartime status at the time, with its particular emphasis on Southeast Asian regions then occupied by Japan (Singapore, the Malay Peninsula, the East Indies islands, the Philippines, etc.). Naturally, the textbooks discussed the resources of these regions in detail (as they were one reason for Japan’s southern advance), while also notably emphasizing historical connections and affinity with Southeast Asian regions.
 In history textbooks, the South Seas appeared within Japanese history from the Muromachi era, emphasizing that Japan’s southern advance had begun long ago. Moral education and Japanese also lauded “pioneers of southern expansion” like Yamada Nagamasa and Ohta Kyozaburo, while cultivating “the readiness to boldly advance the construction of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” through these texts.
 Numerous materials “drawing on the Greater East Asia War” were found in all subjects, not only geography; as battles took place throughout Southeast Asia, these texts likewise carried out actual education on the region. In both moral education and Japanese, the geographical and historical teaching of Southeast Asia can be found in teachers’ guides of the time.
 Based on the above, we find that elementary school education at the time contained a significant amount of basic knowledge on the geography, history, ethnic groups, and products (resources) of Southeast Asia. However, the educational status (actual teaching status) of Southeast Asia before the outbreak of the Pacific War, when interest in the area was less developed, remains to be explored [38]. This is a major task for future research.

[1] Ariyama Teruo, and Takeyama Akiko, ed. Media-shi wo manabu hito no tame ni (For students of the history of media), Sekai Shisosha, 2004, p.7.
[2] Ministry of Education Research Bureau, Nihon no seicho to kyoiku: Kyoiku no tenkai to hatten (Growth and education in Japan: Development and expansion of education), Imperial Regional Authorities Association, 1962, “Chapter 2 Section 2 (3): The Spread of Secondary Education and the Promotion of Girls’ Education.”
[3] Nakamura Kikuji, Kyokasho no shakaishi: Meiji ishin kara haisen made (A social history of textbooks: From the Meiji Restoration to the end of World War II), Iwanami Shoten, 1992; Fukkoku kokutei kyokasho (kokumin gakkoki) kaisetsu (Commentary on reproduced nationally designated textbooks, national elementary school period), Holp Shuppan, 1982. The textbooks used in this paper are found in Kaigo Tokiomi ed. Nihon kyokasho taikei (Master edition of Japanese textbooks) prewar volumes (27 volumes), Hojodo Press, electronic version.
[4] Much overall research on textbook contents and teaching methods has taken place, but there is essentially none addressing individual and specific points of content. Research actually addressing how textbook contents were received in the classroom includes Furukawa Takahisa, Kenkoku shinwa no shakaishi (Social history of the nation-building myth), Chuo Koron Shinsha, 2020.
[5] Research on “Southeast Asian education” exists in the form of studies of Japanese education policies for Southeast Asia; however, no research that, like this study, addresses “the status of education about Southeast Asia” has been found.
[6] Kumae Nobumitsu, Kokumin gakko kokuminka chiri seigi (Details of the national geography subject for national elementary schools), Kyoiku Kagakusha, 1941, pp. 93, 270.
[7] “Shonanto is at the center of Southeast Asia. Because of its importance, the United Kingdom took control of the island some 120 years ago, calling it Singapore and building military and commercial ports which they took great care of. When the Greater East Asia War began, our army occupied Malaya in 55 days, and took just a week longer to conquer Singapore, once said to be unassailable. Since then, the island and city have been renamed Shonan, and continue to develop further day by day along with the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra under Japanese rule.”
[8] “The East Indies islands are scattered over the Pacific and Indian Oceans in Southeast Asia, forming a large cluster. They include big islands like Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Celebes, and Papua, as well as a myriad of smaller islands. A closer look will reveal a curving mountain range similar to that of Japan, with linked volcanos which give us a peculiar sense of familiarity.”
[9] “Of the many islands, the large and important ones are Luzon, known to Japan since the days of Hideyoshi, and Mindanao, famous for Manila hemp.” “The United States dominated the Philippines for 40 years as its base for Asian expansion, but in just six months from the beginning of the Greater East Asia War, the Japanese Army has occupied every island.”
[10] “Indochina is a long peninsula extending to the south of Asia, dividing the Pacific from the Indian Ocean.” “Indochina is divided into eastern, central, and western regions; the east is mainly inhabited by Annanese and Cambodians, the central by Thais, and the west by Burmese. These people have recently come to depend on Japan in all aspects.”
[11] Kumae, op. cit., p. 270.
[12] Ibid., p. 271.
[13] Ministry of Education, Shotoka kokushi Kyoshiyo Jo (Elementary Japanese History, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 1), 1943, p. 101.
[14] Ibid., pp. 238–244.
[15] Ministry of Education, Shotoka shushin Kyoshiyo 2 (Elementary Moral Education, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 2), 1942, pp. 108–109.
[16] Ibid., p. 110.
[17] Ibid., p. 111.
[18] Ministry of Education, Shotoka shushin Kyoshiyo 4 (Elementary Moral Education, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 4), 1943, pp. 163–165.
[19] Ibid., pp. 166, 168.
[20] op. cit. Elementary Moral Education, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 2, pp. 168, 202.
[21] Elementary Moral Education 3 “18. Iinuma the Pilot” also includes the following: “Iinuma Masaaki took off from Haneda Airport for Southeast Asia in December 1941 on an important mission.” “He began remarkable activities in Southeast Asia.” “He died a valiant death in the battles over northern Malaya.”
[22] op. cit. Elementary Moral Education, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 2, p. 194, Vol. 4, p. 279.
[23] Aichi Prefecture Internal Affairs Department Military Section, Jugo kyoiku gunjin engo no kakuka toriatsukai: Shinsei kokumin gakko kyokasho ni kakaru (Subject study in homefront education on support for soldiers: New national elementary school textbooks), 1943, p. 83; Ministry of Education, Shotoka kokugo Kyoshiyo 2 (Elementary Japanese, Teacher’s Edition, Vol.2), 1942, p. 76.
[24] Ibid., Elementary Japanese, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 2, p. 77.
[25] The textbook mentions that rice planting in the South Seas is similar to Japan: “Don’t you think it’s interesting that rice is grown in the South Seas just as in Japan? Japan and the South Seas, holding hands in a close partnership from here on, are all rice-growing countries.”
[26] op. cit. note 23 documents, p. 83; pp. 79, 82.
[27] Ministry of Education, Shotoka kokugo Kyoshiyo 5 (Elementary Japanese, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 5), 1943, p. 106.
[28] Ibid., p. 112.
[29] Ministry of Education, Shotoka kokugo Kyoshiyo 8 (Elementary Japanese, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 8), 1943, pp. 39, 45.
[30] The appendices to Volume 8 mainly concern East Asia; those related to Southeast Asia are “Appendix 1: The Tropical Sea” and “Appendix 2: Patrol Flights Over the Ocean.”
[31] Ministry of Education, Shotoka kokugo Kyoshiyo 7 (Elementary Japanese, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 7), 1943, p. 330.
[32] Ibid., p. 331.
[33] Ibid., p. 336.
[34] Ibid., p. 339.
[35] Ibid., p. 342.
[36] “The Imperial Army swept down the Malay Peninsula to enter Seremban in Negeri Sembilan Province, where a girl of about ten years faced the Army. Her Japanese mother had given her a Japanese education, and on her deathbed had taught the girl how to welcome in the Army. She did this flawlessly, and also served valiantly as an interpreter for the Army, according to a reporter’s record” (op. cit, Elementary Japanese, Teacher’s Edition, Vol. 5, p. 118).
[37] Regarding “The Invisible Entrance,” “Landing to Face the Enemy,” “The Refined Heart,” “The Night Singapore Fell,” and “The Samurai Spirit,” they simply reference names such as Rangoon [Yangon], Mingaladon Airport, the Malay Peninsula, Kotabalu, the Philippines, Mt. Natib, Singapore, and Bali Island in Java.
[38] According to Nakagawa Mirai, significant basic knowledge on the South Seas had been provided in geography books as early as the 1870s–1880s (Nakagawa Mirai, Meiji Nihon no kokusuishugi shiso to Asia (Meiji-era Japanese nationalist ideology and Asia), Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 2016; “Chapter 2. The South Seas Experiences of Shiga Shigetaka and Inagaki Manjiro”).

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