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160306-0008 - Learning Romanized Japanese


Inside Showa 1940s Unknown

Japanese elementary school students learning alphabetized Japanese crowd around a teacher, 1948 (Showa 23).

Between 1948 and 1950 (Showa 25), teaching materials with romanized script were distributed among Japan’s elementary school to be used in teaching subjects other than the Japanese language (国語, kokugo).

Results showed that students in this post-war romanization education experiment did not fall behind their peers. They even suggested that they could have made faster progress than students who did not use romanized materials.

But the experiment was not exactly wholeheartedly supported by the conservative Ministry of Education and officials of the American Occupation, and eventually died a silent death.

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