Nana pointed me to this article from the BBC, written by a Japanese student who started in the Japanese system but completed her high-school education at an International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Australia.
Her insights ring true for us IB teachers: students in the Japanese system learn a pile of stuff about the medieval era, almost nothing about the twentieth century in general, and even less about World War II. These days, Japanese nationalists are pushing to whitewash even what little instruction the students are given - for instance, by removing references to comfort women or to the Nanjing Massacre. (Note: those are not pleasant links.) Bad for two reasons, as it's annoying Japan's neighbors now and raising a generation destined to annoy those neighbors in the future.
Anyway, an interesting read. Check it out.