Educational Reform in Japan (19th c.)
Document Based Question
by Susan Douglass
(Suggested writing time: 45-50 minutes)
Using the images and texts in the documents provided, write a well-organized essay of at least five paragraphs in response to the following prompt.
- Based on analysis of evidence in the documents, assess the importance in Meiji Japan of developing a system of universal education as a requirement of nation-building.
Include in your discussion evidence of:
- leaders' and intellectuals' views on the purposes and goals of education,
- elements identified as needing change in Japanese society, and the obstacles to achieving it,
- justifications for achieving educational goals by establishing universal, compulsory education, and
- the sources of motivation for reforming education and the models on which the new education system would be based.
Your essay should:
- have a clear thesis,
- use at least six of the documents to support your thesis,
- show analysis by grouping the documents into at least two groups,
- analyze the point of view of the documents, and
- recognize the limitation of the documents before you by suggesting an additional type of document or source to make your discussion more complete or valid.
How to Cite This Source
Brian Platt, "Educational Reform in Japan (19th c.)," in Children and Youth in History, Item #125, http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/125 (accessed December 1, 2015).
- Primary Sources
- Emperor Meiji to President Grant on Iwakura Mission, 1871 [Letter]
- Preamble to the Fundamental Code of Education, 1872 [Government Document]
- An Encouragement of Learning, 1872 [Literary Source]
- Terakoya vs. Meiji School [Images]
- Meiji Era School Attendence [Tables]
- Kaichi and Mitsuke Schools [Architecture]
- Imperial Rescript: The Great Principles of Education, 1879 [Official Document]
- On Education [Essay]
- "The Imperial Rescript on Education" [Official Document]
- Two Girls Carrying Children [Photograph]
- Explanation of School Matters [Official Document]