Historical textbooks and perhaps even books by professional historians have never been accurate throughout the course of history. Many put up with such inaccuracy or biasness that may be caused by double interpretations of the text or implied meanings. It is alright because it does not distort history directly and make any serious impact in the current generation about the knowledge of the happenings of the past. However, to have information in the history textbooks that has absolutely distorted facts about the war and stuff would be ridiculous and even a little too much.
I can, therefore, understand the feelings of those protesting in Beijing and South Korea. Why is it so that despite Japan’s denial of their actions in the war and their assertion that their intention was for the better good of mankind, they want to alter the history textbooks to misled the younger generation about the past? If they are a strong nation, why must they do so? From such action by the Japanese government, we can see that their country is falling apart, the youths may no longer have trust in their (grand)parents’ generation – these old guys need to put up a facade to tell their young how great they have been.
In my opinion, to strengthen the ties of the country, they should openly admit their evil actions while maintaining the stand that their intention is good. Print the most accurate possible historical account in their youths textbook so as to tell their young that no man is perfect, and that if their nation were to do something wrong, they probably do it together to show their unity. It is also reasonable that they do evil and bad things out of goodwill and kind intentions – especially in this world where weird stuff appears now and then.
But of course, every country hopes that their citizens have something about their history to be proud of. While this is true, it may not be always possible. An example would be Singapore. A typical secondary school student, when asked about the merits of being a Singaporean and told to name something in Singapore he is proud of and he will say that the merits of being a Singaporean has already been listed in his Social Studies textbook (he then removes it from his bag and branish it to the surveyor), while the thing he is proud is is definitely the government. The reason given – it was simply told to him.
Japan probably has something better to show off about after they admit to all their sins. They can say, “I am proud of my country because they are extremely united – when they sin, they sin together, and previously, when they want to fake that they didn’t sin, they also do it together.” As for the parts about merits, that will be their longevity.
By the way, I do support the idea of protesting to Japanese ridiculous move in an attempt to brainwash their people and alter the knowledge of history. However, violence such as burning of flags is not encouraged. I believe it would be better if those guys each chip in a little and pool enough money to send some of those protestors over to Japan so that they make a greater impact. Shouting and rioting in your own country probably only brings a little confusion and chaos to your country – and stir some news.