ISSA Proceedings 1998 – The Irony Of “Debate”: A Sociological Analysis On The Introduction Of ‘Debate’ Education In Japan
Man kann gerade unter dem Schein der Ausmerzung aller prakitischen Wertungen ganz besonders stark, nach dem bekannten Schema: “die Tatsachen sprechen zu lassen”, suggestiv solche hervorrufen.
[Exactly under the pretence of effacing all practical value-judgements, in imitation of the well-known scheme “let facts speak”, one can call forth such value-judgements in a strongly suggestive way.] – Max Weber, 1917
1. Recent trends of “debate” education in Japan: Through the perspectives of sociology
The aim of this paper is to present an introductory analysis on the discourses used in “debate” education through the perspectives of sociology, especially in relation to two problematiques in Max Weber’s sociology. Particularly, I like to show that these sociological perspectives are necessary, to understand recent discourses surrounding the word “dibeito”, which appeared in the course of the introduction of “debate” education in Japan.
I would like to use the word “debate” education in a rather broad sense: I am assuming here; any teaching activity that claims to teach “debate” as its subject, no matter what the connotations of the word “debate” seems to be “mistaken” from an observer’s viewpoint. Thus, not only the discourses in school education but also, for example, the discourses appearing in “how-to debate” books for the businesspeople are the target of this study. Among such discourses on “debate” education, I’d like to show that, an “ironic” situation is appearing recently in Japan, which may be hardly imaginable from an optimistic viewpoint, believing the universal applicability and political neutrality of “debate” education.
1.1 The irony of “debate”?
Since the beginning of the 1990s, numerous books that have the word “dibeito” in their titles have been published in Japan. (At least 51 books in 7 years. See the table in section 2.1) The word “dibeito” is obviously taken from the English word “debate”, and it is written in katakana-letters, a phonetic letter-set which is often used to write down foreign names and “gairai-go” [imported words], imitating the pronunciation of the “original” language.
This publishing boom of books titled “dibeito” is itself an interesting phenomenon in many senses: Quite a lot of those “dibeito” books can be classified as “how-to-be-a-successful-businessperson” kind of handbooks, which assume Japanese office workers for readers. Those business handbooks were the majority in the 1980s. Then, from the mid-1990s, “dibeito” textbooks for teachers and students in the secondary education appeared in numbers. However, interesting as it is, the publishing trend itself is not the focus here.
We like to focus on the very fact that the word “dibeito” is used. If you look up the English word “debate” in an English-Japanese dictionary, you will find “touron” or “ronsou” as the corresponding Japanese words. Books published in the 1990s have the word “dibeito” much more than “touron” as their titles.
Among those books with “dibeito” in their titles, it needs no “scholarly” training to notice that not a few of them explicitly express political messages (in the narrowest sense that can even be called “nationalistic” messages) even in their titles. Let me give a few examples translated in English: “Invasion or self defense?: White-hot dibeito on Dai-toa-senso [Great East-Asian War]” (Fujioka 1997b).[i] “To dibeito on Nippon [Japan]: Challenging the taboos in Japan” (Kitaoka 1997b). “How to dibeito on South Korea: To refute to South Korea thoroughly” (Kitaoka 1996)
The author of the latter two books, Kitaoka is introduced as “an authority of dibeito as methodology” (Kitaoka 1997a, imprint) and has indeed published many books on “dibeito”. In the text of one of his book, the word “dibeito” is even more explicitly connected with a political message.
“Dibeito is the ace-in-the-hole weapon to adamantly counterattack against the unreasonable blames and demands from Korea. Dibeito is the method to protect the kokueki [state’s profits].” (Kitaoka 1996: 7)[ii]
In this book, Kitaoka explains “dibeito” as a “dialectical idea that allows, thesis and anti-thesis among matters” and “an idea which considers relatively, and is a scientific idea.” (Ibid. 75) And according to his idea of “dibeito” and “science”, he shows ten or more fictitious “dibeito” between a Japanese person and a Korean person, such as “the Japanese colonization of Korea was not an invasion of Korea.” (Ibid. 112) Those are called “dibeito”, even though he does not shows any actual or published opinion of the Korean nor cites any Korean literature.
The usage of the word “dibeito” in political messages can also be found in a more “elaborated” sense. Fujioka, a professor of pedagogy, claims the necessity of “dibeito” education for the reformation of history classes in elementary and secondary education in Japan. He claims that the present history classes and the history textbooks are biased by what he calls “jigyaku-shikan” (in his own translation, “masochistic historical views”). (Fujioka 1997a: 2) Fujioka recommends “rekishi dibeito” [historic debate] as a remedy against such bias:
“What is now most important, is to reconsider various questions, avoiding various stereotypes among the interpretation of history. Those who oppose to rekishi dibeito are, those who oppose to reanalyze these stereotypes as they are.” (Fujioka 1997b: 7) Hence, he picks up the above-mentioned topic on whether the “Dai-toa-senso” was a war of self defense on not, and claims that such “rekishi dibeito” should be debated in school education. (Fujioka 1994: 117)
He and his group “Atarashii rekishi kyokasho wo tsukuru kai” [the group for a new history textbook] have aroused a widely recognized dispute in Japan, so called “kyokasho ronso” [the textbook-debate] from around 1995. (Oppositions to him can be found for example in: Sanuki & Kanbara 1996) This dispute can be regarded as the Japanese cover version of the German “Historikerstreit” [historians’ debate] in the 1980s. It is no surprises that we can find discourses homologous to that of Fujioka there. (See for instance, Nolte 1987: 223-225) Most naturally, the criticism that Habermas cast to the opponents there, revealing their intentional or unintentional naivete toward the political connotations of historical studies, seems exactly appropriate for Fujioka, too:
The debate about the correct answer to this question [of the uniqueness of the Nazi crimes] is conducted from the first-person point of view. This arena, in which none of us can be nonparticipants, should not be confused with discussion among scientists and scholars who have to take the observational perspective of a third person in their work. (Habermas 1989: 237; 1987: 251)
My intention here is not to point out that these discourses are symptoms of neo-nationalistic revivalism, nor that these discourses are arousing such revivalism. (Though, I do believe the need for the social-scientific survey to track the social-transactions among these discourses.) What I think should be focused, is that these discourses using the word “dibeito” carry such political connotations in Japan. There is one thing worth noting here. The above mentioned authors themselves both claim “democratic” ideals of “dibeito”:
Fujioka writes “dibeito” is necessary for Japan to “develop as a democratic state under international-cooperation” (Fujioka 1994: 16); Kitaoka writes that “Dibeito is … the fundamental thought of the present democratic societies.” (Kitaoka 1995: 27) The ironic thing is, they are, on the contrary, using their concepts of “dibeito” to function as a vantagepoint for their politically connoted discourses. Kitaoka labels the Korean as:
“ ‘Han’ [grudge] is the jounen [inescapable sentiment] of the Korean people. … They become hysterical. As I repeated in my theory of dibeito, the ‘emotions’ and ‘ideology’ such as Han is the enemy of science.” (Kitaoka 1996: 123), Fujioka uses “dibeito” as a touchstone to find out masochistically “stereotyped” minds:
“As mentioned above, rekishi dibeito is a strong means to reconsider history boldly, and is a touchstone to distinguish those who tenaciously survey the truth, from those who rely on propaganda and has no guts to relativize the stereotypes they have.” (Fujioka 1997b : 7)
In both senses, the word “dibeito” is used as a keyword to segregate and to empower their opinions. In their discourses, the word “dibeito” is used as justifications to segregate or to ignore certain discourses from the beginning, enabling them to put certain limits to “open” dialogues.
1.2 Two relevant problematiques in the sociology of Max Weber
Segregative discourses produced in the name of democratic dialogue – The focus of this study is to analyze what background situation of discourses allowed such schizophrenic usage of “dibeito”, which I like to call the irony of “debate” in Japan. To analyze this background situation, I propose to consider this matter in relation to two important problematiques in sociology, both of which can be traced back to Max Weber.
First is the problematique of “Wertfreiheit” (value-freedom). Weber consistently argued that even scholarly discourses are inevitably involved with practical value-judgements, especially value-judgements in the political sense. (See the quotation at the beginning of this paper. Weber 1988b : 489-540; in English 1976: 69-98) It should be regarded that the study of argumentation is no exception. In fact, I have already taken this first problematique into account, to describe the situation above.
The second is the methodological problematique on “Verstehen” [understanding, interpretation]. Weber had developed his methodology of verstehende Soziologie to cope with the problems of Wertfreiheit. He emphasized that any scholarly conceptions should be regarded as mere fictions, “Idealtypus”, which takes only some part of the vast reality into account from an observer’s intellectual value-relevance (“Wertbeziehung”). Though fictions as they may be, they will be meaningful if they are conceptualized by the interpretative scrutiny that follows two phases; A) to relativize even the “prima-facie” concepts or ideas, by conducting historical and cultural comparison to examine where actually their characteristics lie; and B) to genealogically track down the historical process that gave such characteristics.[iii]
Considering these sociological problematiques, the following two assumptions will be rejected:
1. To assume that the above-mentioned political usage of “dibeito” as abuses of argumentation theory, which is politically “neutral” in nature: Here instead, the very idea that there is a politically “neutral” or “objective” natured argumentation theory, will be doubted.
2. To assume that the above-mentioned discourses are irregular “deviations” from the “authentic” concept of “debate”, caused by the backwardness of Japanese education of argumentation: Here, on the contrary, the following doubts will be cast. What is the “authentic” concept of “debate” in the first place, and how can we know that? Isn’t it too naïve to assume that future development in argumentation theories will solve the matter? Weren’t there a peculiar background situation of discourses that fostered or enabled the irony of “debate” in Japan?
Regarding the last line of questions, this study takes in a similar viewpoint to that of Said in his analysis on “Orientalism”. He, developing Foucault and Nietzsche’s view of scholarly discourses, stressed the naivete of the assumption that “scholarship moves forward”, and of the possibility that even scholarly discourses can be “conditioned” by the language they are using. (Said 1979: 202-203) Here, I’d like to reveal what “conditions” lie at the root of this irony of “debate” in Japan.
I have no intention to claim that the study here is highly original in the sense of sociological theory. In fact, I am more than willing to admit that this study was aroused especially by the brilliant effort of Kosaku Yoshino’s sociology of cultural nationalism. (Yoshino 1995, 1997) Still, I would like to call the analytical methods here just “sociological”, as the problems here is not limited to those of “nationalism”.
Before starting the analysis, I have to express that this sociological study is “introductory” in two senses: First, obviously, this study took only limited textual discourses into account. Secondly, and more importantly, this study intends to be introductory as a matter of principle. The aim of the study here is not to give closed conclusions, but to cast open-ended hermeneutic questions in the study of argumentation.
Needless to say, this study is not a wholesome historiography of the “debate” education in Japan. This provides only a partial view of the vastly diverse reality in Japan, in the relevance (Wertbeziehung) of the observer, who stands at the crossroads of sociology and the study of argumentation.
Even though limited in these senses, I believe this will contribute somehow to discuss the practical questions that are now being faced especially in Japan: How and in what language we should teach argumentation. And maybe, even beyond that – to reflect the imaginary argumentative boundary between the “East” and the “West”.
2. The invention of “dibeito”: Its characteristics and the process of its distinction
2.1 “Dibeito” vs. “touron”: The invented contrast
As we have seen above, many books that have the katakana-letter word “dibeito” are published recently. However, the usage of the word “dibeito” in the book titles does not have a long history at all. The Table shows the number of books on “debate” education that have the words “dibeito” or “touron” in their titles, held in the National Diet Library.[iv] As it is shown in this Table, it is not until the 1970s that the word “dibeito” is used in the titles.[v] Of course, this does not mean that the books on “debate” education were not published until then. It should be regarded that those books had just used the word “touron” instead.
The observation of Narahiko Inoue, a professor of speech communication, seems to support this view in his study on the tradition of debate” in Japan:
Those who advocate debate have been suggesting that debate is different from traditional Japanese touron. Such people used to advocate a new way of touron (e.g., Fukuzawa in the Meiji era and Kanchi immediately after World War II). More recently a new term dibeito has been used to emphasize the difference. (Inoue 1996: 158, emphasis as it is, alphabetization of Japanese modified)
But, there is one small but significant point that I would like to argue against Inoue’s observation. My analysis on the discourses used in “dibeito” and “touron” textbooks suggests that, not just the new term “dibeito”, but the emphasis on the difference between “dibeito” and “touron” should be considered as a recent phenomenon.
Looking far back 50 years, the books on “touron” published not so long after the WWII show no explicit distinction between “touron” and “dibeito”. For example, in two different handbooks for “touron” published in 1948, there are passages which suggest that the word “touron” is used as the translation of the English word “debate”. (Asahi shinbunsha kikakubu 1948: 44, 51, 69; Tamura 1948: 78) However, no contrast between “touron” and “debate” can be found. In a handbook written in 1953, one passage that contrasts “touron” and the English word “discussion” can be found:
“ ‘Disu’ [Discussion] is, in the narrow sense, ‘a dialogue to seek consensus and cooperatively solve problems.’ On the contrary, ‘touron’ is ‘a dialogue between the affirmative and the negative concerning the oppositive points.’ (Even though it too seeks consensus in the end, it shows confrontation at the surface.)” (Okubo 1953: 163)
Here also, “touron” is suggested to be the translation of the English word “debate”, as Okubo refers to English books that have the word “debate” in their titles. (Ibid. 210)
It was not until 1975 that the first discourse (as far as I could find) that explicitly contrasts “dibeito” and the Japanese word “tougi” (which is almost synonymous to “touron”) appeared:
“ ‘Tougi’ in Japan is a gray colored thinking for general consensus, and not a democratic means to divide black and white. Therefore my opinion is, the Japanese translation of the word ‘debate’ should be ‘dibeito’ likewise.” (Matsumoto, M. 1975: 46)
Matsumoto, the chairman of what is called the Kokusai dibeito gakkai [international society for the study of dibeito] and a professor, is introduced in many books as the “pioneer” or “premier specialist” of “dibeito” in Japan. (See. Okamoto 1992: 53; Fujioka 1994: 17) As Inoue rightly protests, Michihiro Matsumoto may not be the one who introduced “debate” education in Japan (Inoue 1996 : 159). Still, it can not be denied that he and his many books on “dibeito” played a great role in the prevalence of the katakana-letter word “dibeito”. In his translation of an English textbook on debate, he writes that:
“The most audacious decision I made during the translation is that to use ‘dibeito’ as it is, to translate ‘debate’. Suppose if you translate ‘debate’ to ‘touron’. ‘Touron’ can be found everywhere in Japanese societies, too. But does such ‘touron’ meet the basic requirements of debate? … I have strong doubts to that.” (Matsumoto, M. 1978 : 183)
Matsumoto repeatedly produced discourses that contrast the difference of “dibeito” and “touron”. (See: Matsumoto, M. 1990: 18-21; 1995 : 18) Presumably, usage of the katakana-letter word “dibeito” contrasted to “touron”, was an invention by Matsumoto himself. After such invention, discourses using “dibeito” have been reproduced, increasing rapidly in number, as the above Table shows.
To avoid misunderstanding, I like to emphasize that my point here is not that the word “dibeito” was invented recently, in the mid 1970s. The English word “debate” and the word “dibeito” in katakana-letters were used in Japan, at least, not so long after the WWII.[vi] I am arguing that the contrast scheme of “dibeito” vs. “touron” is a quite recent invention.
2.2 “Dibeito” and the “unique communication style of the Japanese”
After that invention of the “dibeito” vs. “touron” contrast, it took no more than 20 years for that invented contrast to be used widely, not only by the authors of business handbooks but also by many scholars and teachers who are engaged in “debate” education. Many (or, most of which I could refer to) of the recent introductory books on “dibeito” have a section that defines ‘dibeito’ in comparison to “touron” and other communication styles in Japan. (See: Okamoto 1992 : 16-25; Satou, K. et al. 1994: 12-19; Kitaoka 1995 : 16-19, 46; 1997a: 34-38; Matsumoto, S. 1996: 12-21; Kawano 1997 : 9-18)
The definitions of “debate” vary significantly among them. It can even be said that those definitions are arbitrary done by each author, and the only thing common among these definitions are, that they are defining the word “dibeito” in contrast with “touron”. For example, in a handbook of “dibeito” for teachers, it is stressed that “dibeito is different from touron as, it is a touron done as a game … The important thing is do it ‘as a game’.” (Okamoto 1992 : 18) And in a business textbook: “It is a great misunderstanding and abuse to understand dibeito as a giron [conversation] or touron. … Dibeito is essentially a scientific methodology to create knowledge, a technical skill to create new knowledge.” (Kitaoka 1997a : 34)
It is not the focus of this study to analyze why these discourses emphasizing the contrast between “dibeito” and “touron” got so popular in Japan, and is getting popular still.[vii] Nor is it our focus, to discuss which definition is “proper” or “authentic”, by classifying these various “dibeito” definitions.
What we should focus here, is the effect of the invented contrast to the “dibeito” discourses: Discourses on “dibeito” obviously started to include various arbitrary definitions. In relation to this, one important thing can be pointed out. Even though the definitions of “dibeito” vary among each textbook, strong similarity can be found in the discourses that explain the reason why “dibeito” should be learned. In those discourses, the need to learn “dibeito” is mentioned in connection with the “unique characters of the Japanese/Japan”. To describe this, here again I like to quote from Matsumoto’s books that I think are the earliest texts that show such characteristic:
“In Japanese minds, there have never been any logic necessary to dibeito, no matter where you look for it.” (Matsumoto, M. 1975 :30)
“However Japan is different. We of the single ethnicity, can sasshiau [sympathize with] each other in the same language. Looking historically, we have no experience of intellectual confrontations that the affirmative and the negative side clash on a proposition, and to let judges decide on it at public places. We even made not effort to foster that, as the technical skills of dibeito did not develop in Japan.” (Matsumoto, M. 1978 : ii, emphasis as it is)
In these texts, “dibeito” is treated something alien to “Japan” or the “Japanese”, something that hadn’t existed among them till now. And this type of discourse that treats “dibeito” as alien to the unique traditional “Japanese communication style” or the “Japanese national character”, is seen very common in “dibeito” textbooks. (See: Konno 1979: xii; Iwashita 1980 : 16-19; Matsumoto, S. 1987 : 8-11; Matsumoto, M. 1990 : 219-220; 1995 : 2-3; Okamoto 1992 : 20-25; Satou, S. 1994 : 77; Kitaoka 1995: 28-31) And in most cases, it is expressed that the Japanese should learn “dibeito” as a remedy or a compensation for such lack.[viii]
Yoshino, in his study on cultural nationalism, surveyed the “nihonjinron”, namely, the “vast array of literature which thinking elites have produced to define the uniqueness of Japanese culture, society and national character.” (Yoshino 1995 : 2) According to him, “publications on Japanese uniqueness reached their peak in the late 1970s but continued into the 1980s.” (Ibid.) The discourses on the “unique character of the Japanese” described in the above “dibeito” textbooks show exact homology to the “nihonjinron” that Yoshino summarizes: “It is frequently argued in the nihonjinron that essential communication is performed non-logically, empathetically and non-verbally.” (Ibid. 16, emphasis as it is)
In contrast to recent “dibeito” textbooks, the “touron” textbooks in the early post-war era, do not show the “nihonjinron” traits. As it can be imagined easily, they stress “democratic” ideals or avoidance of “dogmatism” as the reason to learn “touron”. (Asahi shinbunsha kikakubu 1948 : 1, 5, 10; Tamura 1948: 3)
There is, for example, a passage that mentions “we get emotional easily. And we know the cheap insular prejudice are doing harm.” (Tamura 1948: 38) Also passages that mention the lack of the “touron” training among the Japanese can be found. (Okubo 1953: 4, 168) However, different from the “nihonjinron”, these passages do not attribute such lack to the unique characteristics of the Japanese communication style. Moreover, “touron” is not described as alien to Japan. We can even find the following passage:
“It can not be said that the touron now taking place in Japan have reached perfection. However I think they have had great effects on the students, to provoke their spirit of inquiry, to foster their analytical ability, and to make them learn wholesome and wide-ranged knowledge.” (Tamura 1948 : 84)
There is little doubt that the publishing boom of “nihonjinron” in the 1970s had strong affinity with the discourses that couple “dibeito” and the “unique characteristics of Japan or Japanese”.[ix] And even 20 years after the peak of “nihonjinron” publication, not a few “dibeito” textbooks are still colored by discourses homologous to “nihonjinron”. In those discourses, the alien character of “dibeito” is emphasized, selectively attributing such characters to the word “dibeito”. It can be easily imagined that, this made it easier for arbitrary definitions of “dibeito” to be produced and to be reproduced.
3. Conclusion: Necessity of interpretative reflections on “debate” education.
3.1 Discourses on “dibeito” as political resources
As the recent ironic situation among the word “dibeito” in Japan show, even discourses on “debate” education can have political connotations. Some may protest, advocating the neutrality of “debate” per se that, the examples given here are not scholarly discourses and hence they are out of the question. However, as the warning of Weber, Habermas, and Said tell us, such positions are simply too naïve of the possibility that, even the scholarly discourses can not escape from being put to certain political contexts. Moreover, such positions may close the door to the study that can reveal what background situation of discourses allowed such usage of scholarly discourses.
To cope with this ironic situation, I have proposed to take in two sociological problematiques. And according to the interpretative methods suggested by those problematiques, I have genealogically traced the discourses on “dibeito”, not distinguishing whether they are “scholarly” or not. And thus I have exposed two peculiar traits in the background situations that condition the recent “dibeito” discourses.
1. Recent “dibeito” discourses are produced, following the invented contrast of “dibeito” and “touron”. And as the result of the contrast, it became easier for these discourses easier to have various arbitrary definitions.
2. “Dibeito” discourses are often coupled with the “nihonjinron” discourses. Such coupling not only gave justification to the above contrast by emphasizing the alien character of “dibeito”, but also, at the same time, labeled the existing Japanese communication as having unique characters: “non-logical”, “empathetic”, and “non-verbal”.
These background situations allowed the recent irony of “debate” in Japan. Owing to these background situations of discourses, “dibeito” became a useful resource especially to obtain certain political superiority during controversies, as “dibeito” can be defined arbitrarily according to ones interests, and at the same time, it can be used to label other’s opinion “non-logical”.
3.2 Beyond the irony of “debate”: Argumentation and “cultural difference”
This small episode in Japan concerning the unexpected situations that the “debate” education encountered, itself reveals the necessity to reflect on the language that “conditions” our modes of thought. Whether it is intentional or unintentional, discourses on “intercultural” subjects can produce or reproduce arbitrarily invented “contrasts”, which can easily contribute to certain political discourses. And this conclusion is never limited to the study of argumentation in Japan, as “cultural difference” is treated as a big subject in the field of “Western” argumentation. (See: Hollihan and Baaske: 1994 : 31-32)
I am not arguing here, that any discourse that treats “cultural difference” related to argumentation is a fraud. Nor is it my intention to stress the commonness and universality of argumentation. This very episode in Japan tells us that, at least something in the milieu of discourses is “different”, and such “difference” brought about the unexpected results. However, needless to say, it is risky to merely rely on existing discourses on “cultural differences”. They can always be based on hasty generalizations, poor historical analysis, and most of all, naivete toward the language that “conditions” them, as Said demonstrated in his study on “Orientalism”.
Nevertheless, there is little doubt that some sort of study on the “cultural difference” of argumentation should be conducted. Apparently, one of the reason that allowed the mythical discourses that couple “dibeito” and the “Japanese traditional communication style” is, the lack of interpretative reflections on the concepts used in the study of the argumentation in Japan. The lack of such study has indirectly contributed to the rise of the present “ironic” situation in Japan, and is contributing still.[x]
i. Using the word “Dai-toa-senso” itself obviously has political connotations, since Fujioka himself explicitly contrasts that with the normally used words to describe the War. (Fujioka 1997b: 357) Normally, the War is just called “dainiji sekaitaisen” [WWII] or “taiheiyou senso” [War in the Pacific] or “ni-chuu senso” [Japan-China War]. The word “Dai-toa-senso” is probably taken from the propaganda during the wartime.
ii. Throughout the whole paper, square bracketed phrases, using [ ], are all inserted translations by Yano.
iii. It is convenient to systematize Weber’s interpretative method in two phases. (Yano 1995) For example, the famous “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” follows this method: A) First he relativize the concepts such as “Kapitalismus” [capitalism] and “Rationalismus” [rationalism]. He first treats capitalism and rationalism as existing in any culture. (See: Weber 1988a 37-43, 62; In English: 1976: 55-58, 78) And then he comes up with a more deeply analyzed characteristic of modern-western capitalism. B) Then he traces back historically to clarify the dynamics that fixed the characteristics of modern-western capitalism and rationalism.
iv. The numbers in the table are not the raw numbers of books that hit the words “touron” / “dibeito”. I have excluded books that have no relation to “touron” or “dibeito” education, in the sense I have explained in Section 1. The publishers are supposed to present all publications to the National Diet Library, and it is the largest single library in Japan. However, I must remind that the data presented here is not at all conclusive. I have noticed some books lacking from the database entry and from the Library itself.
v. The first book that has “dibeito” in the National Diet Library is published in 1975 (Matsumoto M. 1975). According to other database (NACSIS WEBCAT), an English book that has the word “debate” is published in 1972. (Klopf and Kawashima. “Effective Academic Debate”. Tokyo: Gaku shobo.) Though regretfully, I could not find the book itself.
vi. According to Klopf and Kawashima, English “debate” tournaments were held in Japan quite soon after WWII. ( Klopf and Kawashima 1977: 5)
vii. This is a really difficult subject to discuss. This should not be simply attributed to the interest of the readers, such as the need of international communication skills etc. For example, it can easily be assumed that, the “market interests” of the publishers are involved in this; emphasizing the difference is the cliche of any advertising strategy.
viii. In one “debeito” textbook for teachers, a warning against the overestimation of “dibeito” is mentioned. There too, “dibeito” is contrasted with the “traditional Japanese view of communication.” (Nakazawa 1996: 194-195)
ix. Interestingly, Yoshino even picks up Michihiro Matsumoto as “one of the best examples” for his analysis on the “nihonjinron”. (Yoshino 1995: 14-17; 1997: 106-111)
x. Recently, not only how to teach “dibeito”, but whether to continue teaching “dibeito” are put to question. For example, Takai argues that the education of “dibeito” itself is dangerous. He groups the above mentioned Kitaoka, Fujioka, and any other attempts of “dibeito” education. (Takai 1997) It is highly probable that such grouping is the result conditioned by the “dibeito” / “touron” contrast.
Asahi shinbunsha kikakubu (ed.) (1948): Touron: riron to jissai [Debate: theory and practice]. Tokyo: Chuosha. (Texts contributed by, A. Suzuki, M. Royama, and G. Hani.)
Fujioka, Nobukatsu (ed.) (1994). “Giron no bunka” wo sodateru kyoushitu dibeito nyumon jireishu [Introductory examples for classroom debates: to foster “the culture of discussion”]. Tokyo: Gakuji shuppan.
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