Many official reports and poignant stories have been recounted concerning the American occupation of Japan after the Pacific War 1 One of the most far-reaching consequences of that period was the reform and reorganization of Japan's educational system. This article commemorates one aspect of that monumental effort, the 50th anniversary publication of the English language reader series "Jack and Betty."
LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL REFORM
In postwar Japan, the Education Division of the Civil Information and Education Section (CI&E) of the Supreme Command of Allied Power (SCAP) held the responsibility of implementing comprehensive educational reform. Anticipating demands from the Allied Power military government, Japanese officials began instituting reforms on their own by drawing upon prior educational reform undertaken during the Meiji era (1867-1912). As recorded by Dr. Layton Horner, "...between the time of surrender and the establishing of the Supreme Command of the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Tokyo, the Japanese officials re-opened all schools; initiated a censorship program which called for elimination of all materials in all text books which were deemed militaristic or ultra-nationalistic; estimated the actual amount of war damage to school buildings (about one-tenth of the total had been destroyed, mainly in urban areas); eliminated all military training from school programs, and canceled those orders designed to promote militarism or ultra-nationalsim. All training weapons were to be handed over to the police." 2
In 1946, at the request of General MacArthur, an Education Mission of distinguished American educators, met with representatives of CI&E, the Japanese Ministry of Education (MOE), the Committee of Japanese Educators (CJE), and the Japanese Education Reform Council (JERC). 3 In concert with a series of SCAP directives, ten basic recommendations resulted from this mission. 2 In addition, the passage of School Education Laws and National Diet approval of a new constitution laid the foundation for fundamental educational change. 5
American reformers modified those aspects of the education system they had the power to alter, such as curriculum, textbooks, extracurricular activities and the education ladder. 6 "The Japanese logically selected those portions of the American pattern which best appealed to their own intelligence, and they ably incorporated them into their own culture, in keeping with an old Japanese custom of adaption." 7
One of the military government's education team was Layton "Jack" Horner. A native of Pennsylvania, Mr Horner came to Japan at the age of thirty-three. From 1947 to 1949 Mr. Horner was assigned to the combined civilian and U.S. Shizuoka Military Government Team as chief Civil Education and Information Officer. His task was to assist in reorganizing the education system.
The textbook situation at that time was of prime concern. In order to imbue Japanese students with a new educational philosophy based upon "...the ideals of democracy, peace and human rights, such as freedoms of assembly, of speech, and of the press," old textbooks had to be either discarded or reviewed, edited and translated before being reissued. 8 It was imperative for new textbooks to be written, printed and distributed.
THE "JACK AND BETTY" SERIES
One outcome of this enormous endeavor was the English language educational and cultural series, "Jack and Betty." Jack Horner worked with three distinguished Japanese authors: Kyohei Hagiwara, Waseda University; Matsuo Inamura, Gakushuin University; and Keiichiro Takezawa, Tokyo Institute of Technology as well as several American advisors, to create this influential textbook series intended for middle school students in grades seven through nine.
Dr. Inamura remembered an interesting anecdote connected with naming of the series. It occurred just before the final typed draft was submitted for official approval:
"During writing a draft, I sought advice and opinions of officers of the Allied Forces. One of them was Layton Horner, who was then head of the Education Department at Shizuoka Regional Civil Welfare. One day I came across him on a bridge over the moat of the Shizuoka Castle. While we were chatting, he asked me, 'How is your textbook project progressing?' I answered, 'Well, the drafting has been completed. We just sent a draft for typing for official approval.' 'What is the title,' he asked. I said, 'It is Andy and Betty, denoting the first two letters of the alphabet.' He said, 'The rhythm does not sound quite right. It would be better to change the first name to a monosyllable.' As I responded to his words quickly, 'Well then, how about Jack and Betty, for instance?' Mr. Horner said, 'It is much better.'
Next Sunday at the three-members-meeting I conveyed the circumstances of the conversation to Mr. Hagiwara and Mr. Takezawa. All, the two and the editorial staff, agreed with the idea of changing the title. The first one-third of the draft had to be retyped... for a while we could not get use to the name, 'Jack,' since we had been calling the character 'Andy' for a good long time.
Every time I visit Shizuoka and see the bridge, I remember the encounter with Layton Horner. The name of the bridge is Kusabukabashi. It was then an old wooden bridge, but it now has been rebuilt to a concrete bridge leaving no evidence to remind us of the old bridge." 9
ASPECTS OF THE SERIES
The two main characters in the series, Jack Jones and Betty Smith, are school friends in Chicago. They are both twelve years old in the first book, thirteen in the second and fourteen in the last. Jack's father is an engineer who works in a factory. He lives with his father, mother, a younger brother and sister. Betty's father is a merchant. Her family includes her mother, father and two older sisters. One sister is a schoolteacher and one is a college student. The three books relate their adventures in school with their families and other school friends.
American readers might associate the "Jack and Betty" books with the "Dick and Jane" readers in use at the same time in American schools. There may be a similarity in presentation and artwork. However, the "Jack and Betty" books were written to teach English as a foreign language, and for introducing American culture to an older age group. Although employing simple natural English sentences, the writing was not "dumbed-downed " and innocuously boring. Each lesson contained increasingly complex sentence structures using different tenses and irregular verbs. Lessons included exercises on content analysis of the stories, English phrases, word study, grammar, and translating from Japanese to English.
The books are interesting and stylishly written. They present an array of topics. Some of the lessons are devoted to fables such as "The Man in the Moon," "The Elves and the Shoemaker," and "The Hare and the Tortoise." The practical use of English is enhanced by lessons on beekeeping, cooking dinner, taking a telephone message, the difference between English and American table manners, and raising chickens. Lessons about Arbor Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas introduce young Japanese readers to the family life of American holidays. Stories of Columbus, Marconi, Jean Millet and Robert Louis Stevenson provide a view of famous Europeans.
An interesting and instructive example is a story about Albert Einstein. "One day a man came to see Einstein. He asked the great scientist a lot of foolish questions. At last he asked, 'What is the best formula for success in life' Einstein thought for a minute. Then he said, 'I think the formula is: a = x+y+z" a is success in life, x is work, and y is play.' The man asked, 'And what is z?.' Einstein answered, 'That is keeping your mouth shut.'"
Reflecting the 1950's, the books present a view of happy family lives of idealized, suburban middle-class, Midwestern Anglo-Americans. The stories could have been used as a script for "Father Knows Best" or "Ozzie and Harriet." The cover art for the paperbound books of the 1954 edition, presumably by a Japanese artist, show two tall blonde-haired children on their way to school. Jack is wearing a tie and knickerbockers - from our viewpoint today a curious and outdated image of American students in the 1940's and '50s. There were several obvious Japanese influences however. For example, although the custom would be familiar to Japanese children, American readers might be surprised that Betty invites Jack home for tea. This custom was not a typical pastime of American adolescents. None-the-less, Japanese teens must have been fascinated with the habits of American life, such as using a vacuum cleaner and mowing the lawn.
The first edition appeared in 1948 and was featured in a textbook exhibition in 1949. Because of shortages after the War, the paper quality and binding were very poor. The three Japanese professors went on a promotional tour throughout the country under the auspices of the Minister of Education. They received no monetary awards for their work, but did sometimes accept complimentary gifts of local produce from officials. In a country recovering from the devastation of war, these were valuable offerings. Once they received an entire bag of rice with an explanatory letter for any questioning authorities that this was a gift, not obtained through the black market.
The first revision appeared in 1951. The 1954 revision became the standard edition. It featured minor content changes, more English- Japanese translations, and was geared for schools providing more intensive instruction. Both editions were widely used until 1959, when different teaching methods led to the creation of other books and materials. Also, Japanese English teachers were becoming fatigued with teaching the same material over and over again for a decade. However, the series continued to be used.
The influence of the Jack and Betty books in Japan should not be underestimated. For a generation of students it served as the beginning of English language study. Just as important as teaching English, at an impressionable age it uniformly shaped a generation of young Japanese perceptions of life in the United States. Many middle-aged Japanese recall memories of these books during their school years.
To Dr. Layton "Jack" Horner, Kyohei Hagiwara; Matsuo Inamura, Keichiro Takezawa and the men and women "On Both Sides of the Pacific" who worked together during this historic time, we salute you.
1. The Allied occupation, under the command of U.S. General Douglas MacArthur (Supreme Commander-Allied Powers or SCAP), lasted from August 1945 to April 1952.
2. Horner, 14.
3. Tsuchimochi, 63-107.
4. Horner, 17 & 20. "Included in their proposals which have since been adopted were: decentralization of administration; greater sharing in program planning by teachers; emphasis on vocational training and health programs; nine years of compulsory education, tax supported, free and coeducational; the 6-3-3 system of primary school, junior and senior high schools; re-education of teachers along lines of training for democratic responsibilities; adult education and adult participation in community affairs; and the liberalizing of college training to open a broader base for higher education." The only recommendation not adopted was the romanization of the Japanese language.
5. Kahm, 33. In May of 1947 the National Diet approved a new constitution. Article 23: "Academic freedom is guaranteed". Article 26 insured that "All people shall have the right to receive an equal education corresponding to their ability, as provided by law. All people shall be obligated to have all boys and girls under their protection receive ordinary education as provided by law. Such compulsory education shall be free."
6. Roesgaard, 45-46.
7. Horner, 17.
8. Kahm, 30.
9. Inamura, 118-119. (trans. By Katsuko Hotelling, Arizona State University, Tempe, Az. 8/99)
Bundy, Winifred J. (1990, September). Retracing: A Memorial Layton Horner 11/25/14 - 9/8/90. ASLA Newsletter, 4-5.
Hagiwara, Kyohei; Matsuo Inamura, Keiichiro Takezawa. Revised Jack and Betty: English Step By Step. Tokyo: Kairyudo, 1954 3 vols: 1st, 2nd, & 3rd steps.
Horner, Layton. The Japanese and the Americans. Trans. and ed. Yasuteru Otani. Tokyo: Seibido Co. Ltd. 1986.
Inamura, Matsuo. Showa Eigo kyoikushi: kyokasho chushin: Eigo kyokasho wa do kawatta ka. Tokyo: Kairyudo. 1986.
Kahm, Howard, "Teaching Democracy: Education Reform During the American Military Occupations of Korea and Japan." BA Thesis, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1997.
Otani, Yasuteru. "A Scholar Who Understood Japan." [Article written by Professor Yasuteru Otani, Professor of English, Osaka University, for a Japanese teacher's journal (Translated from Japanese)], 1991.
Roesgaard, Marie H. Moving Mountains: Japanese Education Reform. Aarhus : Aarhus University Press. 1998
Tsuchimochi, Gary H. Education Reform in Postwar Japan: The 1946 U.S. Education Mission. Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1993.
U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Office of Education. Education in Japan: a century of modern development, by Ronald S. Anderson. DHEW publication,(OE) 74-19110. Washington D.C: GPO, 1975.
Charlotte Cohen is a visiting reference and instruction librarian at Arizona State University West, Fletcher Library in Phoenix, Arizona. firstname.lastname@example.org
John Irwin is a library and archival consultant in Phoenix, Arizona. JWI381@aol.com
Katsuko Hotelling is an associate Japanese Studies librarian at Arizona State University, Hayden Library in Tempe, Arizona. Khotelling@asu.edu