How do you teach a child right from wrong? I certainly don’t have all the answers. In our home, we’re still working on why you can’t hit your brother, even when he’s being deliberately annoying — as he has been all this week, answering any direct question with nonsense (“What do you want for dinner?” “Patio furniture!”). I felt like socking him too.

It is not easy to guide children’s ethical development, but the Japanese government is making a concerted effort. Like every other schoolchild in Japan, my younger son, who is in fourth grade at a public elementary school, receives moral instruction once a week. It’s a separate subject with its own curriculum and textbook.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.