'Comfort women' and a lesson in how history is shaped in California textbooks

Historians in the News
tags: comfort women



After nearly a decade of delays, California educators released a draft guideline that will shape how history is taught to students across the state.

The nearly 1,000-page "History/Social Science framework" received little public attention and went largely unreported in mainstream media when it was announced in December.

But in multicultural California, that hardly means it went unnoticed.

In Japanese and Korean communities on both sides of the Pacific, the guidelines have been breathlessly covered in news reports and generated rival petitions signed by thousands on each side.

The brouhaha concerns two sentences describing what will be taught in 10th-grade world history classes about the women known as "comfort women," who were coerced into sexual slavery in wartime brothels for Japanese soldiers during World War II. The passage has been met with celebration among Korean American groups that have campaigned to bring attention to the issue in the U.S., and concern from some Japanese groups that consider it an unfairly negative portrayal of their home country. ...




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