Nihonjinron And Education In Japan
Nihonjinron is a set of fluid principles which rest on the notion that the Japanese as a people and culture are unique—as some critics have stated “uniquely unique” (Bailey, 2002; Dale,1986; Mouer & Sugimoto, 1986). Nihonjinron theories often lay out clearly (if not consistently) what it means to be Japanese, attempting to do so often on a metaphysical as well as sociological level, and in some cases even profess to explain physiological particularities of Japanese people. While these theories have been criticized both outside and inside Japan (Faure, 1995; Kubota, 1999; Manabe & Befu, 1994; Susser, 1998), the tenets of many of the theories, even if unsupported or without empirical verification, have proven persistent. This paper considers a partial history of Nihonjinron theories, and discusses how these theories even today maintain some degree of influence in both popular culture and the Japanese education system, from primary school through secondary and higher education.
Keywords - Nihonjinron, Japan, Education.