Abstract:  This paper examines the public discourses of Japanese government and business interests on the subject of critical thinking within education. It begins by examining the dilemma critical thinking can pose to states and organisations with the emphasis it places on reasoned nonconformity. While nonconformity can be important in a post-industrial business context where fresh ideas and innovation provide the impetus for profit, it can also pose potential difficulties for organisational stability, as people choose to reject established ways of thinking or behaving. In twenty-first century Japan, this dilemma can clearly be seen in public policy statements made on education. On the one hand, the impact of globalised competition has led to a demand from government and business circles for a new kind of graduate, able to exercise independent judgement skills unbound by conventional thinking. On the other hand, they also express fears that the increasing individualism displayed by young people is threatening the social order and leading Japan towards an undesirable future. Their apparent solution to this dilemma is the re-introduction of patriotic and moral education, aimed at reaffirming the pre-war values of social duty and national solidarity.


Via Frank Carbullido