Literacy and Script Reform in Occupation Japan: Reading between the Lines
This book challenges the widespread belief that overzealous Americans forced unnecessary script reforms on an unprepared, unenthusiastic, but helpless Japan during the Occupation. Unger presents neglected historical evidence showing that the reforms implemented from 1946 to 1959 were both necessary and moderate. Although the United States Education Mission of 1946 recommended that the Japanese give serious consideration to the introduction of alphabetic writing, key American officials in the Civil Information and Education Section of GHQ/SCAP delayed and effectively killed action on this recommendation. Japanese advocates of romanization nevertheless managed to obtain CI&E approval for an experiment in elementary schools to test the hypothesis that schoolchildren could make faster progress if spared the necessity of studying Chinese characters as part of non-language courses such as arithmetic. Though not conclusive, the experiment's results supported the hypothesis and suggested the need for more and better testing. Yet work was brought to a halt a year ahead of schedule; the Ministry of Education was ordered to prepare a report that misrepresented the goal of the experiment and claimed it proved nothing. The whole episode dropped from official and scholarly view--until the publication of this book.
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Dreamers or Realists?
2 Literacy in Japan up to 1945
3 Script Reform from Within
4 SCAP Steps In
5 The Romaji Education Experiment
The Most Literate Nation on Earth?
Halperns Overview of the Romanization Issue
Trainors Account of the Romaji Education Experiment
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American Arimitsu Calhoun characters and kana Chief Chinese characters CI&E DeFrancis documents Edo period Education Division Elementary School English experiment experimental class experimental program fact File folders furigana gairaigo grade guage Hall's Halpern Hara Hepburn romanization hiragana ideograms ideographic Institute for Educational Ishiguro Japan Japanese language Japanese words Japanese writing system jöyö kana kanagaki kanamajiribun kanazukai Kanji and Kana kanji list katakana Kitó Kokugo shingikai Kunrei Kunrei-shiki language reform Language Simplification learning linguistic literary Chinese logograms meaning Meiji period memo Ministry of Education Mori newspapers Nippon Nippon-shiki Nishi Nugent number of kanji Occupation official okurigana Osaka percent phonetic Prefecture printing problem read and write Romaji classes Romaji education SCAP scores script reform Section Sino-Japanese standard survey syllables system of romanization Tanakadate teachers textbooks tion Tokyo toyo kanji Trainor Collection Tsuchimochi Ueda Unger USEM written language Yamamoto