In its modern sense, adult education in Japan began after the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Until 1945, adult education functioned as an agent to indoctrinate the nationalistic and military ideology. Since World War II, Japan has adopted the democratic social system and has become a capitalist society like the West. In Japan, social education is the term used in place of adult education. Social education is not equivalent to adult education, but it means adult and continuing education, youth service, community development, and recreational and physical activities. It does not usually include vocational and technical education and has not intended to build any human resources development into its activities. Social education is individualistic in terms of aim and purpose, nonpolitical and neutral in terms of social stance, and based on supply-and-demand principles in terms of provision. Adult education in Japan is engaged in serving consumers who want to look for private entertainment and happiness without consideration for economic, social, and international crises. Currently, the Japanese government is preparing for a new system of education, the so-called system of the "learning society." A new concept of adult education should be designed that contributes to the building of new personalities for a post-industrial society and that focuses on helping people to awaken through learning about the real world. (YLB)
Paper presented at the International Conference on the History of Adult Education (Oxford, England, July 14-17, 1986).