World War I: Japan--The Military in Schools

Figure 1.-- Notice two Japanese soldiers are drilling the boys here, probably at a primary school. The boys look to be about 7-8 years old. The press caption read, "Japanese Boy Scouts drilling, 1915. Japan has taken up the Boy Scout Movement with enthusiasm. A notable difference between the Japanese and the Western Boy Scout is that the former are armed with rifles. A few of the boys wear Western costume and other are attired in the Japanese garb. All wear caps of a naval type." We suspect that the boys were not Scouts, but a school group. And the caps were not Navy caps, but the cadet-style caps commonly worn at schools.

A modern army and a modern education system were two of the major reforms of Meiji Restoration. We do not yet have much informtion on the early relationship between the Japamese military and the schools. Kanō Jigorō (1860-1938)vitually invented Judo. He also founded Japan's modern Japanese educational system. He was a member of Japan's Olympic Committee and a kind of de facto foreign minister. He was also an earlyopponent of militarism. He became concerned that his Judo school, the Kodokan, would be used as a military training center. He petitioned the Emperor Meiji that it would not be and obtained his support. Some consider his death to be suspicious. While we do not yet have much information on the military's role in Japanese schools during the 19th century. We see military personnel at Japanese schools during World War I drilling primary school children. We do not know how common this was. There could have been sjust images taken for publicity purposes. We know that here were formalized programs in secondary schools, although we are not sure just when they were instituted. We see the military role in Japanese schools expanding after World War I, especially in the 1930s


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Created: 2:05 AM 2/6/2017
Last updated: 2:05 AM 2/6/2017