Judo in Japanese Schools – Concerns about Safety

Memo #191 – Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe oversaw the revision of the 1947 Fundamental Law of Education to emphasise traditional “Japanese values” in 2006. As one direct result of this, traditional martial arts became compulsory in junior high schools in April 2012. Unlike the initial opposition to the new law, opposition to this particular aspect has not been led by teachers’ unions and their political allies, but by parents concerned about the health and safety of their children. Continue reading

The Role of the University in Singapore (Video Interview with Dr. Philip Holden)

Memo #179 – The role of the university in Asia has changed over time. Many Asian universities were colonial institutions, and then incubators for nationalist thought. In contemporary Asia, they have key economic functions, attracting foreign students and research capital, often in state capitalist societies. Continue reading

Drivers’ Education in Japan: Personality Tests and ‘Road Rage?’

Memo #158 – There is no Japanese equivalent for the term “road rage.” Yet Japanese psychologists and the public are aware of the emotional dimensions of driving. A 2001 article in the Japan Automobile Association’s monthly magazine discusses the propensity of some for angry driving (ka ka unten). Since 1996, Japanese automobile insurance rates have been adjusted to penalize drivers who cause accidents. But such neoliberal forms of governance have not replaced forms of moral suasion and self-reflection that have a long history in Japan. Continue reading