Japanese history textbook controversies refers to controversial content in government-approved history textbooks used in the secondary education (junior high schools and high schools) of Japan. The controversies primarily concern what some international observers perceive to be Japanese nationalist efforts to whitewash the actions of the Empire of Japan during World War II.
Also at issue is the constitutionality of the governmentally-approved textbook depictions of World War II, Japanese war crimes, and Japanese imperialism during the first half of the 20th century. The history textbook controversies have been an issue of deep concern both domestically and internationally, particularly in countries which were victims of Imperial Japan during the war.
Despite the efforts of the nationalist textbook reformers, by the late 1990s the most common Japanese schoolbooks contained references to, for instance, the Nanking Massacre, Unit 731, and the comfort women of World War II, all historical issues which have faced challenges from ultranationalists in the past. The most recent of the controversial textbooks, the New History Textbook, published in 2000, was shunned by "nearly all of Japan's school districts".
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