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Title: A sociolinguistic analysis of Japanese children's official songbooks, 1881-1945 : nurturing an imperial ideology through the manipulation of language
Author: van der Does-Ishikawa, Luli
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2013
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This sociolinguistic and historical study aims to identify ideologies reflected in the official school songbooks (Monbushō-shōka: MS-S hereafter) of the Empire of Japan and to trace possible pedagogical and ideological shifts during 1881-1945. Through detailed qualitative and quantitative analyses of the texts, with and without context-based approaches, the study demonstrates the important role that socio-cultural contexts may have played in children’s coherent interpretation of the MS-S texts. The findings point to the possibility that ideological intensification through MS-S occurred through a synergy between the linguistic and thematic adaptation of the lyrics to suit the target audience, on the one hand, and the pedagogical policy of cross-curricular teaching that encouraged children’s association-based text comprehension of the MS-S, on the other. This study proposes an ‘assimilation-association model’ of ideological transfer and, using the framework of the Discourse-Historical Approach within Critical Discourse Analysis, demonstrates how the characteristics of MS-S texts in different historical periods of the Empire reflected the contemporary educational policies that in turn reflected the socio-political contexts of the given time. Over the course of development an increasing number of stories in MS-S were set in the everyday-life of children, while the amount of recurrent references to imperial and militaristic facts and symbols multiplied overtime, and most prominently, towards the end of the Empire, not by ostensive lexical mention, but mainly by indirect, semantic associations. Such associations were encouraged by pedagogical emphasis on children’s autonomous-spontaneous response to the learning-input through cross-curricular teaching. This, with constant kokutai (‘national polity’) indoctrination ideologies inferred from MS-S, intensified to produce kōkokumin (‘imperial subjects’) who were imbued with the spirit of chūkō (‘loyalty and filial piety’) towards the imperial homeland and were ready to be mobilised. This resultant wartime effect appears to mirror the pedagogical aim as described in the preface of Japan’s first MS-S published in 1881.
Supervisor: Hook, Glenn D. ; McAuley, Thomas E. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available