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Lecture by Christopher Gerteis (SOAS University of London): "Motorboats and Morals Education"

Jul 12, 2018 04:00 pm to 06:00 pm

"Motorboats and Morals Education: Philanthropy, Education and the Cold War in Japan"

This talk examines how Sasakawa Ryōichi used his philanthropic gambling empire to reshape the social conscience of young people and promote the re-introduction of morals education for Japanese youth. Abandoning earlier attempts to directly influence the ‘Sixties Generation’, by the early 1970s Sasakawa was deeply invested in efforts to instead focus on children under age 15. Funding from the Sasakawa network of philanthropic institutions helped to build privately funded morals educational programs aimed at fostering a stronger sense of Japanese identity similar that instilled by the shūshin (neo-Confucian morals education) curriculum that had underpinned the wartime state’s total mobilization of the 1930s and 1940s. Shūshin had been banned from the national curriculum by the Allied Occupation in 1945. By the early 1970s, however, the call for the redaction of many such reforms had gained steady support despite vocal opposition from teachers and parents. This talk will narrate how Sasakawa put his philanthropic empire behind the effort promote morals education for children not seen in state schools since 1945 through privately funded television programming.

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