In Japan, TFR(Total Fertility Rate) has fallen and remained under the 'replacement' rate for about thirty years: from 1.91(1975) to1.29(2003). This trend shows that Japan has become a low fertility society, which had been evident in European countries as an unavoidable future. In this paper, the writer has attempted to provide a historical perspective on the process to the low fertility society, which obliges us to transform our lifestyle and educational relations. The archaic meaning of "education"("educatio" in Latin etymologically) is to bring forth and foster children. Accordingly, the problem of fertility is very much one of "education". In the low fertility society, education and educational relations will be obliged to change their mode in accordance with the new fertility structure with a systematic measure of removing obstacles to childbearing and childrearing. As David Coleman pointed out, Japan should overcome "'familist' culture" in order to retain a relatively high birth rate, in almost the same situation as the 'familist' Southern European countries. The "familism" to be overcome, on the one hand, is the culture and ideology that considers the care of the elderly and children to be a family matter and consigns women to unequal domestic roles. In this sense, we must establish a "fiscal measures to support the family and help women to combine work and childcare". However, the "familism" to be overcome, on the other hand, is the culture and ideology of the child-centered affective family, which was finally institutionalized in the nineteenth century in North-Western Europe and penetrated the Japanese family system through the twentieth century. It deterred people from birthing outside legal marriage. For instance, the birth rate outside marriage is 1.74%(2001) in Japan, while it is 40.6%(2002) in England and Wales(TFR 1.64 in 2002). The core of the "familism" is the child-centered affective family which has fashioned Japanese demographic regime to keep fertility parallel with nuptiality, while such regime was abandoned de fact after 1970s in England and Wales ironically. We are obliged to establish the social tolerance which embraces a wide diversity of childbearing and child-fostering. One aspect of such social tolerance is "foster" arrangements, as John Boswell depicted as the ancient or "Celtic" tradition in his book The Kindness of Strangers. According to him, the term "foster" came from a Norse root and was used for rearing foundlings. Latin texts used" alumnus" for children in "foster" relationships. And, alumnus designated, basically, a dependent in a relationship which did not arise from blood, law, or property. In Antiquity and early Middle Age, those who picked up abandoned children often reared them with great care and affection as foster children (alumni). In his historical perspective, Boswell envisaged the ancient idea that adoptive parent-child relations were not only as good as, but in someways better than their biological counterparts. The low fertility society will think highly of the social value of children and social tolerance, which embraces diverse modes of childbearing and develops a social "fostering" network with a fiscal measure to support childrearing.
Japanese governmental policies in recent years regarding childcare and education include measures for declining birthrates, support for childcare, and support for nurturing the next generation. The present article discusses the issue of support for nurturing the next generation from the viewpoint of relational development. Relational development refers to the state where: (a) several generation grow together while keeping the "rearing-reared" relation with each other; (b) the "self" or the mental core of individuals of each generation is largely influenced by the mutual relation with surrounding people; and (c) contradicting human natures within a self push forward with the "rearing-reared" relation. The author argues that: (1) a shift from the 'reared' stage to the 'rearing' stage is a great turning point for one's life and many young adults in modern self-centered society hesitate to go through such an experience, leading to the decline in the birthrate; (2) those who have just advanced from the 'reared' stage to the 'rearing' stage have little experience in childrearing and need social help for improving their childrearing skills; (3) the act of childrearing requires "fundamental abilities to live as a human being" on the side of the 'rearing, ' and such abilities can only be developed gradually from one's childhood through his/her mutual relations with surrounding people; and (4) "fundamental abilities to live as a human being" means the ability to balance between the contradicting human natures within a self. But in reality, Japanese adults are inclined to be self-centered, which is making childcare and education difficult. In conclusion, the paper points out the failure ofJapan's postwar educational policies to nurture "fundamental abilities to live as a humanbeing" in children and proposes that ways to nurture such abilities be seriously discussed for the successful nurturing of the next generationin Japan.
Japanese studies of media literacy education in the Canadian province of Ontario offer two opposing evaluations. One praises its theory and practice of social criticism; the other suggests that it emphasizes the critical analysis of media texts, which is inspired particularly by fear of American cultural hegemony, and neglects training students to produce their own. Both assessments, however, concur that media literacy education in Ontario is based on social criticism and both assume that this is greatly influenced by Marshall McLuhan. This paper seeks to revise such assessments by examiningthe objectives of relevant Ontario curricula, are source guide and textbooks, including the knowledge and skills they seek to impart to students. The paper also addresses the task that media education should perform in contemporary society. From the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, McLuhan played a vital role in the development of "screen education, " the predecessor of media literacy education. Classroom practices influenced by McLuhan's ideas focused on audiovisual techniques and the effects of moving images, rather than on their content and social context. Such practices were not animated by social critical concepts. Thereafter, critical reactions to the impact and influence of television gave rise to a new approach to media education, exemplified by the formation, in 1978, of the Association for Media Literacy (AML). After much lobbying, in 1987 the Liberal provincial government incorporated a compulsory strand and an optional course of media studies into the English curriculum in grades 7 to 12. The English teachers (including AML members) who authored the Media Literacy Resource Guide (1989) specified that the aim of media literacy education is to promote "critical autonomy." The then-president of the AML also published a textbook which focused on popular culture. Analysis shows that the social-critical perspectives of semiotics and cultural studies had much more influence on these approaches than either those of MCLuhan or concerns to defend against the American media. A change of provincial government from progressive to conservative led the ministry of education, in 1998, to eliminate an optional course of media studies. While the lobbying against this decision was successful, the revised English curricula placed first priority, not on critical analysis of the media, but on media production. Accordingly, contrary to the position of Japanese scholars, one cannot characterize current media literacy education in Ontario as based on social criticism. The development of media literacy education in Ontario suggests that any program in media education may experience pressure to abandon its social-critical orientation. Yet in order to foster politically mature citizens, we should not permit media education to succumb to a political-economic ethos that prefers students to create their own media messages rather than encouraging them to critically read those that bombard them daily. For the latter approach plays the more crucial role in public education.