Japan has okayed using Mein Kampf, Hitler’s autobiography and Nazi manifesto, in schools for educational purposes just weeks after the similarly controversial Imperial Rescript on Education was approved as “teaching material,” according to media reports.
Although the Japanese government approved Hitler’s infamous book as “teaching material” for schools on Friday, using it to promote racial hatred will lead to a strict response from regulators, according to the Japan Times report.
The decision came weeks after the controversial Imperial Rescript on Education in schools was approved for the same purposes.
According to many historians, the Rescript, which focuses on patriotism and loyalty to the Japanese Emperor, was one of the primary sources promoting obedience and moral certitude that helped militarism to grow in Japan.
It was issued in 1890 to expound the government’s policy on teaching the Japanese Empire’s guiding principles and it was subsequently distributed to all of the country’s schools, along with a portrait of Emperor Meiji. Schoolchildren were obliged to learn and recite it from time to time.
Following Japan’s surrender and the end of the World War II, American occupation authorities banned formal reading of the Rescript.
“Use of the Imperial Rescript on Education as teaching material cannot be denied,” Japan’s cabinet said in a statement on March 31 this year.
The Imperial Rescript came into the limelight earlier this year after a video emerged showing three- to five-year-old pupils at an Osaka kindergarten reciting the long-defunct document. The video sparked heated discussion in Japanese society and angered the Chinese, who suffered the most at the hands of Japan’s imperial forces. China lost between 15 and 20 million people during the war, the majority of whom were civilians.