Teachers and Politics in Japan

Teachers and Politics in Japan

Copyright Date: 1973
Pages: 352
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    Teachers and Politics in Japan
    Book Description:

    The Japan Teachers' Union, which represents 500,000 elementary and lower secondary school teachers, is an important interest group in Japanese politics. It is especially significant as a radical group operating both within and outside the political system and in direct conflict with conservative government policies in education and other areas of domestic and foreign policy.

    Donald R. Thurston's descriptive and analytic study of this most controversial labor union reveals a great deal about Japan's educational and political systems, and about the teaching profession in Japan and its relations with government and the community. It will therefore be of great interest both to political scientists and to those interested in comparative education.

    The purpose of this broad cross-sectional case study of the Japan Teachers' Union was to find out how much influence it has had on its own members and on the formulation and implementation of educational policies. The conclusion is that the union is much more influential at the local level where educational policies are implemented, and changed in the process of implementation, than at the national level where policy is formulated. It also shows that the Japan Teachers' Union has changed teachers' attitudes towards their roles, and that although the JTU is attached to the left-wing Japan Socialist Party, it is much more autonomous than has been thought.

    Originally published in 1973.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7143-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Tables
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. CHAPTER I Introduction
    (pp. 3-11)

    Schools blanket Japan. Perhaps no other people in the world are as well served by their elementary and lower secondary schools as are the Japanese. The attendance rate at this compulsory level is more than 99 percent and the nationwide literacy rate more than 98 percent. Only the Japan Teachers’ Union (Nikkyōso, hereafter JTU) can seriously claim to represent the more than 500,000 teachers in these elementary and lower secondary schools. In sheer size the JTU dwarfs all other teachers' organizations, whether they be independent unions or associations backed by the Ministry of Education, and it is the only visible...

  6. CHAPTER II Prewar Origins
    (pp. 12-39)

    Viewing the history of Japanese society through a class-conscious Marxist lens, the Japan Teachers’ Union since its founding in 1947 has time and again proclaimed its strong disapproval of the role the ruling class forced the prewar elementary teachers to play.¹ The JTU has taken the fundamental view that, in the prewar period, “the teachers of Japan, under the pressures of a half-feudalistic ultra-nationalistic system, were forced into a logic of subservience.”² To the JTU, prewar Japanese education was bourgeois education that served only the interests of the ruling class and not the interests of the “people.” Since the ruling...

  7. CHAPTER III Postwar Origins and Struggles
    (pp. 40-79)

    The JAPAN TEACHERS’ UNION today bears the stamp not only of its prewar origins but also of its early postwar origins and succeeding years of struggle. The characteristics of the remarkable period of growth of the teachers’ union movement from the end of the war until the founding of the JTU in June 1947 still have great influence on the union today. So, too, does the evolution during that period of the relationship between teachers’ unions and the Ministry of Education. In addition, the subsequent great struggles in the 1950’s and 1960’s of the union against the government have contributed...

  8. CHAPTER IV Ideology and Objectives
    (pp. 80-109)

    All analysts of interest group behavior point to the importance of internal characteristics. Almond and Powell, for example, with their emphasis upon different “structures” that “perform the interest articulation function,” assert that “some knowledge of the internal dynamics of interest-group behavior is useful in understanding the way certain groups perform their interest articulation functions,” and that “a group’s ability to mobilize the support, energy and resources of its members will surely influence its effectiveness.”¹ Ishida Takeshi, Japan’s leading analyst of Japanese interest group behavior, also points to the importance of internal characteristics in his hypothesis that the reliance of interest...

  9. CHAPTER V Organizational Structure and Union Consciousness
    (pp. 110-173)

    Although an interest group is a living organism of many parts subject to constant change, an analysis of its dominant prevailing traits and their effect on its ability to exert influence is essential in order to evaluate the group’s effectiveness as a whole. Four important internal characteristics, in addition to ideology and objectives already discussed, which bear considerably on the JTU’s effectiveness as an interest group, are: the nature of its organizational structure, the size and distribution of its membership, the style of its leadership, and the degree of union consciousness of its members.

    The most important principle underlying the...

  10. CHAPTER VI Claims and Demands on the Educational Bureaucracy
    (pp. 174-219)

    An active interest group attempts to exert influence on a number of different areas within the governmental process. It urges political parties to endorse policies it favors; it works for the election of public officials and for the appointment of bureaucratic officials sympathetic to its interests; and it attempts to secure favorable decisions from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government. Depending upon the nature of the governmental process in which the interest group finds itself, it may for reasons of efficacy choose to place greater emphasis on one area of government over another, but, in general, the...

  11. CHAPTER VII Influence on Elections and Legislation
    (pp. 220-257)

    Although in the political processes of democratic governments both interest groups and parties seek to shape public policy, a distinction is normally made between them. Parties are primarily concerned with gaining direct control of governmental power by having their candidates win at elections, while interest groups are primarily concerned with gaining influence over governmental power by supporting candidates and legislative programs sympathetic to their interests. Interest groups in the United States, for example, do not as a rule attempt to elect their own leaders to public office; instead, they support candidates, in many cases regardless of their party affiliation, who...

  12. CHAPTER VIII Conclusion
    (pp. 258-270)

    The PURPOSE of this broad cross-sectional case study has been to describe and analyze the influence of the Japan Teachers’ Union on its own members and on the formulation and implementation of educational policies. At a higher level, the objective has been to evaluate the significance of the very existence of this large, active, independent, non-governmentally-controlled teachers’ union to Japanese politics and society. As this study has shown, the JTU is a complex organism to deal with as an interest group because it is one thing at the national level and forty-six different things at the prefectural level. In one...

  13. APPENDIX A: The Collective Bargaining Contract Between the Council of All-Japan Teachers’ Unions and the Ministry of Education Ministry of Education Hatsu Gaku No. 127, 19 March 1947
    (pp. 273-278)
  14. APPENDIX B: A Code of Ethics for Teachers (1952)
    (pp. 279-284)
  15. APPENDIX C: The Fundamental Law of Education 1947 (Law No. 25)
    (pp. 285-287)
  16. APPENDIX D: Questionnaire for Japan Teachers’ Union Members
    (pp. 288-302)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 303-328)
  18. Index
    (pp. 329-334)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 335-337)