Online ISSN : 2187-5278
Print ISSN : 0387-3161
ISSN-L : 0387-3161
"Civilization" and "Japanization" of Okinawa Education : Through OOTA Chofu's Idea of "New Okinawa"
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2009 Volume 76 Issue 1 Pages 1-12


The purpose of this study is to find the alternative idea of Okinawa Education, through description of OOTA Chofu's idea about education for Okinawan People and the idea of 'New Okinawa'. This study challenges the generally accepted opinion on Okinawa Education in the modern era, the nature of which was said to be that of assimilation (kominka). It is necessary to reconsider the idea of 'Assimilation' and the roll of the Education Association in this study. There are already several studies on Okinawa Education in the modern era. According to those studies, the nature of education in Okinawa was that of assimilation (kominka) which forced Okinawan students to have the self-consciousness of Japanese and abandon that of Okinawans, and Okinawan teachers blindly played a crucial role in the assimilation of Okinawan into the Japanese, and the famous statement of OOTA was considered the symbol of assimilation, which ordered Okinawans to follow Japanese in all aspects of life, even the way to sneeze. OOTA was the most famous journalist and one of the most prestigious intellectuals in modern Okinawa and the editor in chief of the newspaper Ryukyu Shinpo (1893-1940). These studies, however, failed to carefully examine the journal Ryukyu Education (1895-1906), published by the Okinawa Private Education Association, which is one of the most important and fundamental historical documents for this study. In addition, these studies fail to understand the difference of Ryukyu Education and Ryukyu Shinpo. Exhaustive research of these media helps us to find the argument for Okinawa Education among Japanese teachers and OOTA. This paper reaches the following conclusion: Japanese teachers on the Ryukyu Education insisted that the assimilation of the Okinawans into the Japanese was the only way to make Okinawans civilized. On the other hand, OOTA Chofu represented the possibility of "Westernization", which caused him to have strong self-consciousness of the Okinawan unlike the claims of Japanese teachers in Ryukyu Education. It can be said that his idea was an alternative way for the modernization of Okinawa.

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© 2009 Japanese Educational Research Association
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