- 學苑 (ISSN:13480103)
- vol.892, pp.83-95, 2015-02-01
The term Spartan education, translated into Japanese as "Suparuta kyoiku" is widely used nowadays to mean "severe education." This paper reviews 12 Japanese books or articles on Spartan education published from the 1870s to the 1970s and examines how the authors have understood Spartan education and in what context they have used the term. The above materials, published from the early Meiji to post-war period, suggest that Japanese learned about the education system of ancient Sparta from Western academic sources. However, after the influential bestseller, Shintaro Ishihara's Suparuta Kyoiku(Spartan Education; A book for raising tough kids), was published, leading Japanese educators seem to have begun using the term "Suparuta kyoiku" to mean Japanese militaristic education. Historically, Western classical scholars have acknowledged the value of Spartan public education in contrast to Athenian individualistic education. However, Japanese educators seem to have failed to understand the value of Spartan education because of the change in the understanding of the term "Suparuta kyoiku." The author concludes that educators ought to have used that term with that original sense in mind.