The last three-decade saw a growing number of immigrants to Japan. Drastic change in ethnic backgrounds of children in school calls for reflexive examination of geographical education and its institution in historical perspective. Especially how assumption of Japan as mono-ethnic nation state have produced geographical knowledge is a critical question, and study of tropicality should contribute to discuss the question. Japanese geographical education was institutionalized as part of nation state policy since 1873. In 1870’s, there was development in physical geography in Japan, aiming at modernization/westernization of industry and the discipline was expected to produce scientific knowledge for development. In the beginning of 20th century there was criticism to the knowledge-conducting education from human development perspective. However since 1920’s as colonial geography developed, public concern with oversea territories produced development discourses and geographical imaginations. After the Second World War, Japanese geographical education has continuously been under supervision of national development concern. Recent curriculum reforms in geographical education aimed for the global citizenship development also has to be critically discussed in this context. Drawing from the frameworks of critical development studies and modernity/coloniality scholars, I would like to discuss historical traits of development discourses in pursuit of modernity in Japanese geographical education. First I will examine how it was related to description of tropicality of Nan’yo, where Japanese colonial entities explored for economic resources and modernity, based on analysis of Japanese journal of geographical education published from 1924 to 1945. I will also examine the reflections of the geographers who published the text in colonial context, and how it affected post-war scientific geographical education and the present curriculum for global citizenship.
Mots clés : Nan'yo|geographical education|critical development study|modernity/coloniality|Japan