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Shanghai’s History Curriculum Reforms and Shifting Textbook Portrayals of Japan

Edward Vickers and Yang Biao
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This article examines the coverage of Japan in Shanghai’s senior high history textbooks since the early 1990s – a period when the city’s status as China’s “showpiece for the global era” has been widely touted. Uniquely among cities on the Chinese mainland, Shanghai has throughout this period enjoyed the right to publish and prescribe its own textbooks for use in local schools (a right extended to most other regions only since the early 2000s). The portrayal of Japan in local texts thus offers a window onto the way in which a self-avowedly “global” Chinese metropolis has balanced an outward-looking and internationalist vision with the requirement for history to serve patriotic education. It also sheds light on the meaning and extent of local curricular “autonomy” in contemporary China.

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Electronic reference

Edward Vickers and Yang Biao, « Shanghai’s History Curriculum Reforms and Shifting Textbook Portrayals of Japan », China Perspectives [Online], 2013/4 | 2013, Online since 01 December 2016, connection on 23 May 2017. URL :

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About the authors

Edward Vickers

Edward Vickers is Associate Professor in Comparative Education at the Department of Education of Kyushu University.Kyushu University, 6-19-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan (

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Yang Biao

Dr. Biao Yang is Associate Professor of History at East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. His current research and teaching interests include world history, history education, and history reconciliation in East Asia.Department of History, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China (

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