Teaching controversial issues in Japan: An exploration of contextual gatekeeping

Thomas Misco, Toshinori Kuwabara, Masato Ogawa, Abby Lyons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This qualitative case study sought to understand the extent to which Japanese high school social studies teachers grapple with controversial issues in their classrooms. Situated within a curricular-instructional gatekeeping framework, we conducted semi-structured interviews with eight respondents of varying backgrounds and schools in Okayama, Japan. The findings indicated that although the respondents believe they can teach controversial issues in their classrooms they generally do not because of specific contextual forces. Although we found controversial issues instruction to be generally moribund, one respondent provided a rationale that reconceptualized exam preparation curriculum and instruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-82
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Education Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Controversial issues
  • Curricular-instructional gatekeeping
  • Japan
  • Social studies education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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