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The Science Room as an Archive: Taishō Japan and WWI

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines one radical curriculum change during the Great War years that has received little attention from scholars: the introduction of students' experiments to the classroom at the middle school level. It uses Kishiko's science rooms as an archive for Taisho Japan's relation to the Great War and the world. The approach is unique in the history of science education in Japan, in which the textbook-focused approach has been the norm. Also, while scholarship has conventionally examined either university-level research activities or the elementary school curriculum, the chapter focuses on the middle schools, as their dramatic expansion in the 1910s and 1920s was indeed a significant indicator of economic changes, the formation of the new middle class, and industrial growth during Taisho Japan. Kishiko's collection in fact testifies to the wide distribution of specimen boxes and jarred animals in formalin at the junior high level by the 1910s.

Keywords: Great War; Kishiko; science rooms; Taisho Japan



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