Controversy has been brewing after mention of a bakery in an elementary school ethics textbook was changed to a Japanese wagashi confectioner in response to suggestions from the education ministry that the publisher highlight "respect for tradition and culture."

Bakeries are furious and are considering bringing the case to the government, saying they believe the maneuver to be a veiled slight, with the implication that confectioners are somehow a more valued part of Japanese tradition and culture.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is meanwhile striving to dispel speculation that it forced the curriculum change for ethics classes, which are scheduled to be elevated to an official elementary school subject with the 2018 academic year.