The Nanjing Massacre: official remembrance and history textbooks in the People’s Republic of China


  • Keith Crawford Edge Hill College of Higher Education
  • Shen Jingjing Nagoya University



textbooks, Identity, War textbooks, Nanjing, China, Japan, Textbook Research


This paper analyses the manner in which the 1937 Nanjing massacre is presented and interpreted in Chinese history textbooks and teacher guides for high school pupils. The paper explores the manner in which the construction of a narrative discourse of historical memory in China is powerfully linked to contemporary notions of identity, patriotic and nationalist education in a
manner that reflects core ideological, political and social challenges inside China and in its relationships with its Asian neighbours. The paper discusses the notion of school textbooks as ideological discourses and analyses the pedagogical discourse of Chinese history education, this is placed within a context framed by the political and ideological construction of history education in China and the manner in which recent history teaching and public opinion in the People’s Republic has reacted to the publication of a history school textbook in Japan that questions claims of a massacre

Author Biographies

Keith Crawford, Edge Hill College of Higher Education

Dr Keith Crawford is Reader in Education at Edge Hill College of Higher Education, UK where he co-ordinates courses on textbook analysis, educational politics and supervises docotral students. His research interests focus upon international school textbook analysis, particularly history and citizenship textbooks. Dr Crawford is Director of "TEXT", the Centre for Applied REsearch in Textbook Analysis based at Edge Hill College.

Shen Jingjing, Nagoya University

Shen Jingjing is a Chinese national and resaerch in international education in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at Nagoya University, Japan. Her current research interests focu upon the expansion of higher education in China and, in particular, case study approaches to sociological investigation.



How to Cite

Crawford, K., & Jingjing, S. (2007). The Nanjing Massacre: official remembrance and history textbooks in the People’s Republic of China. IARTEM E-Journal, 1(1), 1-24.