History of research on human intelligence in Japan; 1860-1960.
Sato, T., Ph.D. Dept. of Psychology Ritsumeikan Univ.
In this paper, we briefly review the Japanese history of intelligence
research during 1860-1960.
The 1st period is the "Preface(Education Before the Meiji era= the Tokugawa Shogunate era)".
There was no intellectual tradition of psychology during the feudalism era in Japan.
2nd period is (1868-) "Meiji Restoration and "catch up" education".
As the fixed social stratification system was destroyed, the new government was confronted with the task of finding and appointing talented people. And pre-modern psychology such as Haven's was introduced.
3rd is (1888-)"Modern psychology in Japan. Two professors and their research on intelligence".
Two professors of psychology, named Motora and Matsumoto, introduced modern psychology to Japan. Motora had interests in theory of attention, consciousness and practice of cultivation, so he was engaged in devising training methods for developing attention of school pupils. Matsumoto had interests both in experimental psychology and applied psychology including intellectual functions.
4th is " (1908-)Acceptance of Mental testiBinet-Simon and soj".
Interests in understanding the pupil's intelligence level arose, and the significance of the intelligence measurement at school was appreciated. Dr. Miyake, who was the psychiatrist, was one of the first scholars who introduced the Binet-Simon test to Japan. The U.S. Army test was introduced after the World War I.
5th is (1920-) Taisho era: Development and use or abuse of the Mental Test.
Education movement of this period emphasized education for a 'whole person' and took the concept of 'individuality' seriously. And Mental test was expected to measure the man scientifically. Japan's eugenics movement was not institutionalized until 1924 with the establishment of the Japanese Eugenics Society. Many psychologist of intelligence study had naive interests in the eugenics.
6th is (1930-)Showa era: Nationalism and psychology as a 'science'.
The concept of individuality was completely ignored under the ultra-nationalistic system, and the use of tests in the educational field became less and less frequent during the wartime.
7th. After WW2(1945-) The occupation reforms
The Japanese educational system was reformed under the recommendation of the U.S. Education Mission. In this context, educational psychology was highlighted to make Japanese educational system democratic and scientific. These American influences revived the interest in measurement, evaluation, and test in Japanese education.
To conclude, we could find the interaction of research on intelligence and society in Japan. And throughout the period reviewed, the nation as a whole, psychology in general, and intelligence research in particular tried hard to catch up the Western models, but could produce few unique alternative models or ideas.