Human rights education in Japan: An historical account, characteristics and suggestions for a better-balanced approach
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Authors: Takeda, S.
Journal: Cambridge Journal of Education
Although human rights are often expressed as universal tenets, the concept was conceived in a particular socio-political and historical context. Conceptualisations and practice of human rights vary across societies, and face numerous challenges. After providing an historical account of the conceptualisation of human rights in Japanese society, this paper examines human rights education in Japan, focusing on implementation of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education. Whilst the Decade's Action Plan advocates a comprehensive approach, Japanese human rights education focuses far less attention on imparting knowledge and developing learners' attitudes, placing strong emphasis on aspects of responsibility and harmonious human relations understood in the historical context of Japanese moral education. Pedagogical proposals are made to promote a comprehensive approach, including focus on the role of empowering learners, enabling them to protect themselves by invoking human rights. © 2012 Copyright University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education.