In search of a new direction of geography education for the 21st century, geography educators throughout Japan is just on the critical stage for the curriculum reform. It may be said that there are three major factors which are causing the dramatic change in educational system in Japan, especially in the social studies curriculum. In this context geography educators are very much concerned with the future of the curriculum reform of geography education in Japan. The first and the basic factor pushing the educational system of Japan in the direction of the dramatic reform is mainly be cause of the rapid changes in the social structure. People of Japan is in the beginning of feeling that the society is shifting toward the age of internationally interdependence. The rapid increase in the overseas investments by the Japanese businesses and the massive inflow of foreign workers into Japan is making people feel that they are living in the age of internationalization of the society. The second factor is the implementation of the revised prescribed courses of study by the Japanese Ministry of Education from 1992. The big change is the cut back of the social studies concept from the school curriculum. In the high school, there are no more the social studies as a subject name. The social studies will be broken up into two subjects: the history-geography and the civics. This is the revival form of the curriculum of the pre World War II in Japan. A question is how teachers could develop a new direction of geography education for the 21st century. Third factor is the change in geography teacher licensing system from 1991. This is related directly with the reform of the curriculum structure in the social studies of high school. The Japanese Ministry of Education is requiring teacher license the more credits of history and geography, but the very little credits of economics, politics and sociology.
Ⅱ. Background of the Educational Reform in Japan
Ⅲ. Changes in the Prescribed Courses of Study
Ⅳ. Reform of Licensing Systems for Geography Teachers
Ⅴ. What We Are Doing to Improve Our Geography Education in Japan? -Concluding Remarks-