Date of Award

Fall 1984

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 1984 Susanna Levin. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History Department

First Advisor

Robert S. DuPlessis


Levin analyzes the education reform undertaken by the United States in Japan after World War II. There was no tradition of liberal education in Japan, and the United States attempted to liberalize the education system in an effort to reign in its perceived militarization. Relying primarily on synthesizing secondary sources written by historians with greater archival access, Levin concludes American efforts at educational reform in Japan never fully succeeded. The reforms displayed either a profound ignorance of, or a certain disregard for, Japanese intellectual tradition. Japanese conservatives in the Diet opposed the reforms, while liberals in the Education Ministry supported them. With the “reverse course” policy, Americans shifted their concerns to economics, bringing their policies more into line with the interests of the conservatives. Still, most of the reforms could not be undone, resulting in an eclectic and erratic education system that Levin argues would remain an area of controversy in Japan for years to come.