This week's On the Media features a report on an ambitious textbook analysis at Stanford University that asks some of the same questions we've asked in AIS. Project directors wonder why, for example, American textbooks offer extensive coverage of Pearl Harbor; whereas, Korean and Japanese textbooks offer a single sentence of coverage. Similarly, the Japanese textbooks ignore or grossly downplay atrocities they perpetrated on the Chinese.
The project hopes to offer "a comparative examination of high school history textbooks in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States, focusing on the period from 1931-1951. This will be followed by a second comparative study of popular cinema dealing with historical subjects from roughly the same period."
Can a multi-national examination of history from multiple perspectives arrive at the truth? Can projects like this bring about reconciliation between nations? How long should nations wait before undertaking such projects? How long is too long?