In recent years, there has been a good deal of media and academic interest in the ways in which Japanese history textbooks represent Japan's wartime past. However, the discussion has tended to revolve primarily around a number of symbolic textbook issues, such as government censorship of the term 'aggression,' without much consideration of divisions and conflict within the state and the ruling bloc itself. Consequently, no real analysis has emerged concerning the ways in which right-wing nationalist elements have exploited the textbook issue with the aim of reinforcing their political and cultural dominance over contemporary Japan. This article presents the Japanese history textbook controversy as an ongoing cultural and political struggle. It attempts to understand the process of the textbook struggle historically, and the relations between political parties and actors, the state bureaucracy, and right-wing nationalists. In particular, the study examines the ways in which the power of right-wing nationalism has been appropriated and negotiated by the leaders and members of the Liberal Democratic Party and bureaucrats in the Ministry of Education. It also looks at the ways in which such power has been resisted by textbook authors, educators, and certain segments of public opinion.
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