Against the contemporary background of international and national commitments to citizenship education for social justice, this paper examines and compares the subject, aim and extent of social justice in citizenship education behind official rhetorics in Japan and China. It develops a three-dimensional framework of social justice to analyse, through mixed methods of text analysis, a set of selected authoritative documents, including official policies, national curriculum guidelines and government-authorized textbooks. The results reveal discursive divergences and convergences between the Japanese and Chinese cases. Social justice in the Japanese discourse tends to be constructed as recognitive injustice eliminable through identical treatment towards one another by individuals. By contrast, social justice in the Chinese discourse tends to be constructed as distributive justice achievable through differential treatment by the party-state. Common to the two cases is that both pay scant attention to collective actions for and the global bearing of social justice. The paper argues that the two cases similarly stop short of promoting comprehensive, transformative and global social justice education.
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