FARAVID 32/2008


Tuula Okkonen, Mystery of the Report of the United States Education Mission to Japan

The invitation of the United States Education Mission to Japan in 1946 was a turning point and can be considered an excellent initiative and a catalyst of controlled public discussion on educational policy in occupied Japan. It is evident that the Mission was not needed to improve the expertise of the occupation officials. The Mission delivered the report of recommendations concerning the educational reform at the end of its visit, and this anticipated and warmly welcomed report became the initial move and actual core for the new wave of educational reform policy aiming at demilitarization and democratization of the educational system. The report also smoothed the lines in the Civil Information and Education Section.

The features of the report indicate that it cannot be considered an independent work of the group of American educators. It is noted that the anonymity of the writer(s) was not known by the Japanese. All the members of Mission were not informed of the contents of the report in Tokyo, and after the trip some members testified that differences of opinion concerning the reforms were significant. Inner circle of the group consisted of the representatives of the Department of State Gordon Bowles and Paul Stewart and the Army liaison was John Andrews. They, and especially Bowles, were responsible for the report of the Mission.


Faravid 32/2008