Since the grade 1-9 curriculum program was implemented in 2001, moral education has been integrated in the seven major learning fields and disappeared from the instruction subjects. However, in accordance with the demonstration of the studies concerning the current situation of primary-school ethics education in Taipei City (2006), it shows that the difficulties encountered in Taiwan’s moral education are generally a lack of adequate implementation time, lack of adequate instruction materials, and low accommodation levels from parents, etc.
This situation has prompted the author to further understand how Japan, which shares a similar cultural background with Taiwan, responds to the impact of a 21st century with developed information technology, and how it administers its moral education. The paper has three major study objectives: (1) Explore the transformation of moral education in post-World War II Japan, (2) explore moral education policy in Japanese primary schools – such as the establishment of ethics time, and (3) understand the moral education implementation method in current primary schools in Japan – such as the preparation and distribution of spiritual notebooks, learning through experience activities, etc. A literature analysis method is adopted as the main study method, in researching the related laws of moral education after World War II, and it is aided by other related moral education research journals.
From the research it is found that Japan has a long history of moral education, implemented since the promulgation of the school system and enforcement of formal unified national education. In the initial period of the Meiji era, personality formation, property establishment and industry development did not receive much attention, and morality did not become a mandatory subject until the promulgation of the Education Act in the 12th year of the Meiji Era (1879). No real attention was paid to moral education until the promulgation of the “Imperial Decree of Education”; it was not only selected as the first mandatory subject, but also as a “Guideline of Junior Education” of moral practice in conformance with the situation in Japan, and as a teaching handout. After promulgation of the “Imperial Decree of Education”, there was much contention between the conservative and liberal sectors, and this moral education dispute did not end until the promulgation of the “Education Decree” in the 22nd year of the Meiji Era, when moral education became a civil cultivation tool necessary for the nation.
In Japan, following World War II, under the management of the GHQ (General Headquarters) of the Joined Forces, moral education once again disappeared from the textbooks. Later, in the 27th year of Showa Era(1952), due to such factors as the signing of the “Treaty of Peace with Japan” and the seriously poor juvenile behavior at that time, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan revised the Learning Instruction Guideline in the 33rd year of Showa’s Era (1958), specially arranging ethics time to strengthen moral education, able to be considered as the specially arranged starting point of moral education time after World War II. Since the special arrangement of ethics time, the Learning Instruction Guideline has been revised four times, but with little difference in content.
Throughout this study, the author finds moral education in Japan to have the following few features in general, (1) arrangement of ethics time, (2) rich instruction and guidance information in moral education, (3) flexible revision of moral education will be provided in response to actual requirements, (4) comprehensive information concerning various education statistics, facilitating control of current situation and revision of policies, (5) mutual response and support of various government agencies in the engagement of each policy, (6) attention to family education, providing communication and consultation for parents with concerns in child care. Although the Japanese government adjusts and reviews the moral curriculum in response to current public requirements, there are still several issues to be overcome in moral education and calls for further effort. For example, such issues as faculty availability of instructors, curriculum arrangement, family and community accommodation levels, etc., which are also the key points to be faced and overcome in Taiwan’s moral education.