Hiroshima Insight

National schools

National schools promoted militarism

Elementary schools today were called “national primary schools” during the war. In 1941, a “National School Order” was issued, which made changes to the nation’s school system. Elementary schools became national primary schools, both covering the first six years of education, and advanced elementary schools (two or three years) became national advanced schools (two years).

The “National School Order” heightened the militarism of Japanese schools. Hideo Kimura, 80, of Nishi Ward, Hiroshima, attended both types of schools, the regular elementary school and the national primary school. Looking back at his time in the latter school, he said he was taught that Japanese soldiers from the imperial army and navy went off to war and sacrificed their lives for the good of the nation.

After studying six years at national primary school, children studied at a national advanced school or middle school (junior high school, advanced girls’ school, or technical school).

In 1947, after the war had ended, the Basic Act of Education and School Education Act were established, instituting the current system of education which consists of six years of elementary school and three years of junior high school.