Kokokushikan is the understanding that Japanese people live in Japan, a country with a history of successive Emperors, lore and the history of which was passed from generation to generation to the present.
Before World War Ⅱ
The "Jinnoshotoki" (A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns) written by Chikafusa KITABATAKE of the Southern Court during the period of the Northern and Southern Courts, for the purpose of showing the orthodoxy of the Southern Court, was the progenitor of Kokokushikan, the base was established by Mito gaku (studies) and study of Japanese classical literature which became popular during the Edo period.. It was strongly influenced by a campaign to restore the emperor and expel the barbarians during the last days of the Tokugawa government, it was established as an orthodox historical view by the new political system after the Meiji Restoration.
Although the Meiji government insisted upon the unity of Japanese Temples, Shrines, and the state, the policy was changed to respect the freedom to study as they were pushing for the separation of religion and politics, and the freedom of religion to achieve a modern nation, during the last half of 1870s and the first half of 1880s, there were a free discussion held about criticizing the Kojiki (The Records of Ancient Matters), Nihonshoki (Chronicles of Japan) and mythology. Also archeology was developed, and detailed descriptions of primitive society replaced the age of the gods, in school textbooks. However Kunitake KUME, a professor of Tokyo Imperial University, wrote the essay titled; ' Shintoism is to Enshrine God in the Old Way,' which was criticized as being rude to the Imperial family, he was removed from his position in 1891 and political pressure started to mount against the freedom to study. The reason for the above change was partly due to the incident that occurred when the Ise forces expelled Izumo forces in Shintoism.
After that, movement towards freedom of speech became popular again in historical studies as the Taisho Democracy became more popular, some historical books about Marxism based upon historical materialism were published, there was more strict control as the socialist movement became more popular. With the growth of militarism after the Great Depression of the 1930s, although Tatsukichi MINOBE's theory that the Emperor was an organ of the state was the main theme at academic conferences, it was regarded as questionable and books on this subject were banned in 1935, and then in 1940, criticism of the mythology of the Kojiki and the Nihonshoki by Sokichi TSUDA, a professor of Waseda University, became an issue so the publication of books on this subject was also banned. It was difficult to get general textbooks published that had theories strongly opposed to Kokokushikan.
Historical textbooks used in schools between nineteen century and 1945, started with Japanese mythology and the description of the main events related to the Imperial family, which explained the famous people in history and popular people based upon the Kokokushikan.
Northern and Southern Courts Controversy
In 1911 there was an issue raised in the Imperial Diet concerning the description of the post Kamakura shogunate era called 'the period of the Northern and Souther Courts,' because it was said that both Courts were treated equally. Sadakichi KIDA of the Ministry of Education was given a leave of absence from work to take responsibility for the above.
After this incident, the description of the era between Emperor Godaigo and the united era of the Southern and the Northern Courts in the textbook from the Ministry of Education was rewritten as 'era of Yoshino Court.'
The current Imperial Family is from the Northern Court lineage, that they base performing the Emperor's rituals on. However in Mitogaku, which considers Takauji ASHIKAGA a rebellious subject, they insisted on the Sothern Court as being the orthodox theory. Also the Confucianist, Sanyo RAI, who influenced Imperialism at the last days of the Tokugawa government, insisted there was no contradiction between the orthodox theory of Northern Court and the current Imperial family since Emperor Gokomatsu received a smooth transference of power from Emperor Gokameyama. After having discussing the Southern and Northern Courts controversy, the Department of the Imperial Household took the position that being from the Southern Court was the orthodox line.
After World War Ⅱ
After the War, the freedom of thought and religion was secured, the historical materialism of Marxist became popular which was targeted by regulations. Because of this, the study of ancient history and archaeology, previously considered as taboo from the view of Kokokushikan, were developed on a large scale. This historical studies after the War are generally called 'History after the War,' and the Kokokushikan, which was the existing concept of values, decayed during the stream of post modern democracy.
Due to reverberations from a serial publication in the 'Sankei Shimbun' titled 'History that the textbooks don't teach,' a creative group composed of the authors that was called the 'Tsukuru kai' was established to write a new history textbook. Some say that recent textbooks reflect on the War and colonial control too much and that this is done prevent people from learning the historical reality about when Japan lost the War, and these textbooks have also caused a misunderstanding of Japanese traditional history, which has continued from the mythological age, by presenting a 'masochistic view of Japanese history' or a ' dark history' so the Tsukuru kai published their "new history textbook." It was officially approved as a textbook by the Ministry of Education Culture. Sports, Science and Technology in 2001, and was partly use in Junior High School. Although it was overly exploited by the wartime regime, the Kokoku Shikan (an emperor-centered historiography which is based on state Shinto) itself should not be seen as something to be vehemently denied, but as something that should be positively valued as representing cultural values that have been passed down from one generation of the Japanese people to the next over the course of Japan's long history.
According to "Kokoku Shikan", which was written by Keiji NAGAHARA (Iwanami Booklet, 1983), the Kokokushikan was considered to be a part of the national policy of extreme nationalism and 'was a system of false national concepts created and carefully prepared on a national scale.'
The conservative group, like the creative group, did not separate mythology and historical fact, as they believed in the concept of self-consolation and the principle to amend the history, some people said it is 'the revival of the Kokokushikan' since there was no criticism of the Emperor and the nation.