Malaysian National Curriculum Secondary School Form 3 History textbook “Sejarah Tingkatan 3” written by Ramlah Binti Adam, Abdul Hakim bin Samuri & Muslimin bin Fadzil, 2004 (Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka)
Today, there’s an ever growing number of websites and blogs in Japan which push a revisionist view of WW2 history. In this ‘alternative history’, Japan fought WW2 in order to free Asia from western colonialism… and the people of Asian nations are naturally grateful to Japan for the noble sacrifices Japan made in fighting that war…
One narrative that’s really popular among the extreme right wingers in Japan takes Malaysia’s secondary school history textbook and explains that the textbook says that Malaysia had no history before the Japanese forces landed at Kota Bahru in 1941 in order to fight courageously to free Malaysia from the British.
This ‘hidden history’ has gone truly viral in Japan so you’ll find the same Malaysian textbook pages replicated all over the place – on YouTube videos here and here, on personal blogs here, here, here, here, here, and here as well as on hundreds or perhaps thousands of tweets like here, here or here.
Here for the first time in English, is a translation of the Malaysian history textbook meme.
The meme was originally written by one Koichi Takeda around 2009 for the website of the Khun Yuam WW2 Japanese War Museum in Thailand. I’ve selected the version of the article at the Truth of Japanese History blog because I got a good laugh from the Truth of Japanese History blogger’s claim that Malaysia’s secondary school history textbook is entitled ‘A memorial of our friendship with Japan’. When will these guys wake up to the fact that Malaysians are friendly with Japan in spite of the atrocities carried out by Japanese armed forces during the Japanese occupation?
You can also refer to the original article written by Koichi Takeda at this link here.
Malaysia’s secondary school history textbook teaches Japan’s real history that Japanese textbooks don’t
I hope that more people in Japan get to know the fact that the Malaysian national curriculum history textbook is titled “A memorial to our Friendship with Japan” and begins with the landing of Japanese army at Kota Bahru on page one.
Then the text continues like this –
in April 2009, I visited Mr Ismail bin Razak at his home in Penang, Malaysia. The pictures below are from the textbook that I was given by his daughter Miss Aishah who was in Form 3 of Penang Secondary School.
The history of Malaysia begins with the Japanese army’s Kota Bahru landing. Boy, was I surprised! The first page of Malaysia’s history… begins with… !!! I asked Miss Aishah ‘So there is no history going back hundreds or thousands of years before this?’ Stupid question. Malaysian history goes back only 52 years. The British with their sly and crafty colonial policy. The policy of keeping people ignorant in order to justify the plunder. Layered domination of the races through a policy of divide and rule. Religion was eliminated, history was eliminated, language was elimiated, and writing was eliminated.No education, no freedom, it was difficult even to find meaning in life. Not even pride for having been born in this land…. I wish to thank this national curriculum textbook from Malaysia. How difficult it is to keep truth alive. I asked Miss Aishah once again… “What if there was no Japanese landing at Kota Bahru?” “There would have been no country called Malaysia. We would still be a British colony.” 28th April 2009
From here on in, there are photos (which are too fuzzy to actually read the bahasa malaysia text) which are captioned by Mr Koichi Takeda to explain the history of Malaysia as follows (you can see the original blog post in Japanese here or at any of the hundreds of copies of this narrative around the web.
The history of Malaysia begins with the Japanese army’s landing at Kota Bahru (mouse over image to see Japanese caption)
Emperor Meiji’s imperial portrait. Modern Japan confronts the Allied Powers
“Asia for the Asians by the Asians” is Japan’s slogan
Save us from the British! plead the Malays. Japanese army’s Kota Bahru landing and attack route
British military are defeated on land, on sea, and in the air.
The British fight back
Lt. Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita – the Tiger of Malaya. British soldiers admit defeat and surrender to the Japanese army.
Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbor
British driven out of Singapore
Japanese language lessons begin
Singapore Railway Station is renamed Shonan Station. Government Notification No. 41 by MASAKICHI ITAMI, the governor-general of Penang region
Friendship with Japan
Cooperation with the Japanese forces. Indian National Army fights to free the motherland from British rule. Various groups resist Japan.
Anti-Japanese FORCE 136. America drops the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. General Seishiro Itagaki signs the surrender documents.
Politics under Japanese administration
Education under Japanese administration
Economy under Japanese administration
Changing cost of living
The Kempeitai maintains control of guerillas. Construction of the Thai-Burma railway
page 43 onwards is about modern history
Thank you, Miss Aishah! photo taken on April 23 2009
The photos and captions were copied from the Khun Yuam WW2 Japanese War Museum.