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8 Osaka teachers to be punished for refusal to sing national anthem

75 Comments

The Osaka Prefectural Board of Education has revealed that eight teachers in the prefecture declined to stand and sing the Japanese national anthem at high school graduation ceremonies which took place on Friday.

The reports come days after the Supreme Court dismissed two suits from 375 teachers and educational professionals requesting a ban on the enforced singing of the “Kimigayo,” Japan’s national anthem, in schools. The court earlier this month ruled 4-1 that such orders are constitutional.

The issue of enforced singing of the Japanese national anthem has long been a contentious one, with many teachers refusing to stand and sing the song at school. In some cases, dissenting teachers received reprimands, pay cuts or were suspended.

The court ruled that ordering teachers to sing the “Kimigayo” did not violate their freedom of thought, which was the basis for the plaintiffs’ claim, NTV reported.

Speaking to reporters after the graduation ceremonies, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said, "Perhaps these people mistakenly think they have the right to continue as public servants no matter what they do. I'd like to see an end put to this behavior."

According to NTV, the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education said that the eight employees in question would be dealt with according to the law.

Earlier this month, a proposal was put forward at the national assembly to introduce a law whereby an education professional refusing to sing the national anthem for the third time would be subject to dismissal. The board added that if the law is approved, the eight teachers involved in this month's incident could eventually face dismissal.

© Japan Today

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75 Comments
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Fair enough. If the government is paying your bills and the government (law) requires to stand at attention but you don't, then insubordination deserves punishment or dismissal.

If you don't like the rule of law (or corporate rules for that matter), get another job somewhere else.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

OH here we go again. This topic is like a hamster wheel. Lets see how fast we get to 200 posts this year.

Freedom of Speech means you have a right to utter any sound from your mouth that you wish. Freedom of Speech also allows you NOT to utter any sound at all. "You have the right to remain silent".

Did this really happen? Are we at this topic again? Those teachers must be very passionate about their beliefs and may very well be the only ones teaching kids NOT to be afraid of the system.

Can't really blame em now. After reading that Hashimoto has been reading their emails and trying to survey them to find out their religious and political preferences. Way over the line if you ask me.

I think it should be illegal in labor laws to punish any employee based on his political or religious preference.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

a thorny issue indeed.

these teachers seem to be saying that aren't going to go along with using the education system as an indoctrination system.

and the somewhat obtuse stance of the courts, coupled with the authoritarian steps of the government in osaka lend a degree of credence to the teachers acts of civil disobedience.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This is going to happen over and over again as the teachers in Osaka HATE Hashimoto. I doubt they would've made a big deal out of it if it wasn't for him.

Kwaabish, forcing people to sing the anthem has no bearing on your ability to do your job. Forced patriotism is never good for a country.

As I have asked before, is he going to force foreigners to sing or are they excused? Opens up a whole new can of worms if they have to or are excused.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Teachers also opposed "seig Heil" and were sacked seems that history is repeating, although to be fair if it was never taught to begin with- is it a repeat? Or just the same mistake by a new regime.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The fascist Hashimoto clearly isn't keeping up with Supreme Court rulings, despite supposedly being a lawyer. The Supreme Court has ruled that teachers can be asked to sing Kimigayo, but cannot be punished if they refuse.

There is no need for a graduation ceremony at all and certainly no need to sing any particular songs at one. Instead of wasting his time spouting nationalistic claptrap, Hashimoto should do something useful and sort out Osaka's finances.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

So they are free to think what they want as long as it what the government wants.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Please correct me if I was wrong, but this JT article is misleading. This event is separate issue from the Supreme Court dismissed two suits from 375 teachers. This issue applies only in Osaka.

The Osaka Prefectural Assembly has passed the nation's first local ordinance to oblige teachers of public schools in the prefecture to stand up when "Kimigayo" is sung at school ceremonies. The ordinance obliges all teachers and workers in the prefecture's public schools, including municipal schools, to stand when "Kimigayo" is sung at school ceremonies. The ordinance has gone into effect in June 2011.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110604002911.htm

Like it or not, since Osaka prefecture has passed the ordinance by majority of vote, those public school teachers (civil servants) have the obligation to stand up when Kimigayo is sung. If they don't want to, they should teach in other prefectures or private schools. (personally, I think this ordinance sucks)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I usually approve understand why government makes certain rules in public schools (since they are "public")....but this rule sucks!

A teacher should not be force to sing the national anthem. Whether he or she decides to sing will not have any effect to the children's education.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The ordinance obliges all teachers and workers in the prefecture's public schools, including municipal schools, to stand when "Kimigayo" is sung at school ceremonies. The ordinance has gone into effect in June 2011.

And how many foreigner teachers didn't sing it? Yet, nothing. Hashimoto doesn't want to go near that issue.

Also, who the heck are the tattle-tales? I bet they are not exactly well liked at their schools.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

is he going to force foreigners to sing or are they excused?

Since foreign teachers are not civil servants of Japan, they won't be forced to stand.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How are they not? There are foreigners who work at regular teachers - Osaka teaching license and all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good on them! Moral backbone.Something this country needs more than rightwing revisionism and pretend patriotism. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Fashimoto.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I am really getting tired of the "hantai" to everything crowd, especially here on JT. I thought the "Peaceful Love" 60's was long over but now with Occupy, crazy teachers, etc preaching that all can do anything you want we are fast approching ANARCHY!

Civil servents are obliged to comply with the rules just as coporate employess are required to comply with corporate requirements. If they dont like it QUIT, if they dont follow FIRE THEM!!! If one of my employees choses not to comply with the rules they know the results and that is the way it MUST be to maintain order. In a civil society rules are laid out and society has an obligation to comply. If they dont agree they must first comply and then attempt through proper chanels to affect change.

These freakin teachers (LEFTISTS that they are) are ruining the kids (mine included) of today/leaders of tomorrow with this "do as you want" mentality. Most parents dont know/care enough to try and counter ther drivel that they espew and it will be reflected in very short time.

Citizens should have some semblance of national pride, which an anthem is supposed to represent, and helps keep a country together.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Hashimoto declares:

Perhaps these people mistakenly think they have the right to continue as public servants no matter what they do.

He is deliberately steering this issue away from its crux. These civil servants do not believe they have a right to do anything they like. They are refusing to take part in singing a song that has a highly controversial history and interpretation. Singing this particular national anthem is not simply a matter of course (like treating coworkers and superiors with due respect). It is an undeniable fact that there are plenty of Japanese for whom Kimigayo hearkens back to Japan's militaristic and undemocratic past. Which led to millions upon millions of deaths. By forcing teachers to sing an anthem with such a history only shows how those old dictatorial forces never completely went away.

Hashimoto, like his ally in Tokyo, is a tyrant, no matter what sort of populist and reformist credentials he likes to claim.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Civil servents are obliged to comply with the rules just as coporate employess are required to comply with corporate requirements

So if a law is made that you have to kill a certain race, sing a racist song, shave your head and wear pink to work, you would? I mean, it is the rule so by what you're stating, you would do it. Do you not see the issue with this? This isn't a rule like "show up on time" this is something the goes much further and infringes on people's beliefs. It was also JUST created so it isn't like teachers had much choice in the manner. For some, they may have decided to work in the private school setting rather than public if this was the rule when they first started teaching.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

How are they not? There are foreigners who work at regular teachers - Osaka teaching license and all.

tmarie, you are right. Whether full time foreign teachers (常勤講師) can be local civil servants or not is depending on a prefecture. In Osaka, they have abolished the provisions on foreign residents' status to be employed by local government offices in late 1970s.

http://mindan-osaka.org/suisin/seika.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@TMarie

Really.... since you asked!

Kill a certain race; Not morally sustainable but if you dont you may be dead right (Nazi?). Dont support this in any way and would hope that someone (probably that big bad America everybody seems to be fond of hating). This is going on RIGHT NOW in Syria, you cna see it on the news. BUT, a bit ridicuolous to compare these!!

Sing a song, shave head, wear pink; I left racist off because it is not not (in word) racist. But if you work for me (I own the company) and in my companies corporate rules it says you will sing a song adn wave your arms everymorning (OH wait, Raidio Taiso), have a shaved head and wear pink you damn well better. You have the option and are not "forced" to do anything you dont want to, just quit or be fired. Nothing personal, just the rules that ALL must abide by. You dont have the right, legal or otherwise, to pick and chose at your discrssion. I on the otherhand DO as the employeer. Now, there are steps I must follow to amend the rules once filed at the labor office to ensure compliance with the national and prefecture laws regarding employment but that is it. If the rules are in there you have NO CHOICE!

This IS a rule that has been upheld by the courts so DONT say it is not. Second, in a civil society there are process to follow to challenge the legality of a rule or law. OH, they failed so the point is mute.

If it infringes on their MORAL beliefs so much they should quit. Its like saying that an Athiest has the RIGHT to work at a Catholic Church, hand out condoms and wear upside down crucifix because his employeers rules (beliefs) infringe on his beliefs. Just as stupid!!

And as for just changed; rules change ALL the time. Doesnt mean you have the right to chose to comply or not. Try driving at the old speed limit when it is reduced and see how far your "just changed" defense lasts.

Again, its real simple. If they are so offended (which I personally fee is BS) then they cna quit. Simple and finished.

Oh, try going to a function on a Military base or most respectable venues in the US that play the National Anthem and try not standing. Most likely to go home with a shinner. Standing does not indicate support or belief, merely respect for the country. So show some respect at least for those that do have pride in their country.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Hehehehe.. reminded me of one photo of US Pres. Obama posted in the internet during his early campaign for presidential election, ignoring the US national anthem being played by just standing and not placing his hand on his chest and looking away. Probably the teachers were mimicking Obama. I agree the teachers should not only be reprimanded but suspended. 2nd same offense, should be fired and licence revoked. They should be a good example of Patriotism to their students. Seemed like they were influnenced by USA against wearing uniforms in schools, prayers before school begins etc etc...

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Exactly! Hamster wheel is spinning once again. Don't you tired of shallow-minded rightwingers here!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I personally do not like those nikkyoso teachers from my own personal experience, but still I believe they have freedom of thoughts (constitution article 19).

http://www.constitution.org/cons/japan.txt

They do not want to stand and sing kimigayo because they say kimigayo is a song of glorification of war.

君が代は

千代に八千代に

さざれ石の

いわおとなりて

こけの生すまで

May your reign

Continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations,

Until the pebbles

Grow into boulders

Lush with moss

Their interpretation is:

Your reign=emperor=militarism

May militarism continue for a thousand, eight thousand generations.

I personally think those teachers are overacting toward the meaning of the song, but they strongly believe that they don't want any of their students to be sent to war just like during WWII. I respect their beliefs. As I support the constitution article 19, I would support those teachers to have freedom of this interpretation. What I do not support is those teachers forcing students not to sing kimigayo. That is really hard to accept for those students who want to be JSDF officers or police officers, those athletes, returnees who have identity crisis...etc.

Again, I support Constitution article 19. People should have freedom of thoughts. They should not be forced to sing or not to sing kimigayo. The ordinance submitted by Osaka Ishin no Kai is wrong in the first place in my opinion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Teachers_Union

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Agaain my question; if you feel an ordinance is wrong you have the "right" to ignore it and suffer no ill consequence?

Dont like it change it legally or get out of the fire.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Oki, how is killing any different - it is a stretch yes but you are basically saying, a rule is a rule and if you want to work for me, you have to do what I say. Do you want to just hire yes men who don't think about things and blindly follow the rules? These teachers are standing up for themselves against a rule that is very, very conversational. That rule wasn't there when they started work and I don't doubt they fought it coming in. I wish them well and hope Hashimoto ends up with egg on his face - more so than he does now.

Blair, thanks for that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If the Supreme Court has ruled that while teachers be asked to stand and sing the anthem, there can be no penalties for those who don't, then surely any prefectural rule, which this Osaka ordnance seems to be, would be invalid?

Osaka law can't supercede Japanese law or be independent of it, surely?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I find it funny, when people say that Japan is a conformist nation, & that they just listen to the talk, and never really move for change, i.e demonstrations, rallies on a large scale. An example would be the numerous actions taken by peoples across the world against the banks & the social tensions caused by GFC. Yet when people in Japan actually uphold the constitutional right, some people perceive such action as baseless & benign. & in Japan, if one breaks the conformity, they are outcasts.. I love this country, in all its beauty, its people.. its food, its culture, its history.. we truly live in a contradictory, ambiguous, cynical world..

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It was also JUST created so it isn't like teachers had much choice in the manner. For some, they may have decided to work in the private school setting rather than public if this was the rule when they first started teaching.

Not just created in real life, it's only you that just discover its existence. The rule is a national law, it was voted in 1989. I wonder how many of the protesting teachers entered public education before. Those I have met were younger than me, and they knew where they stepped in. And they have had plenty of time to either switch job, or to present themselves at elections, become MPs and get the law changed. Well their party makes less than 10 seats at the Diet... They are victims like the Sea Shepherds, they want to be victim to get media coverage, and to make their ideas pass while 95% voted against. That said, the flag and anthems in schools, I find it silly and retarded, silly in Japan, silly in North-Korea, silly in the US... but all these country make it a legal obligation for their teachers to sing and make sing their anthems full of blood. That said, in countries where people vote, that's the choice of the citizens. If that was my country, I'd want to do something to get rid of that... well I'd even want to get rid of the Tenno (not kill him, retire him and send his family back into real life). Here, that's not my business.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Oki, how is killing any different

It is not. If a guy enters the US army, and they gave him the order to kill people in Afghanistan or wherever, if he refuses, he is dismissed from the army. Logical. And as there is no draft, it's his choice.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If you are a republican, being forced to sing of your desire for the emperor to reign for a thousand years is unfair and a restriction of civil liberties. I am no republican, and would happily sing "God Save the Queen" if I actually knew anything other than the first verse, but I would see that a republican would morally object to being forced to sing it as a condition of employment.

It is a pity the kimi-ga--yo is so depressing. It makes me feel suicidal.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

it's only you that just discover its existence I don't think it is just me. This has been an issue for a while indeed but only in Osaka has it reached the point where it wants to fire teachers for not following orders.

And yes, when you join the military you are well aware that it is your job that you might have to kill people - when protecting your country or going to war. That is the whole point of the military. It isn't a teacher's job to sing a national anthem. It is their job to teach. Not the same thing at all.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In light of the recent comments about Nanjing by the mayors of Nagoya and Tokyo, who are the employers of teachers, I think teachers have every right to refuse to sing. If their employers have the freedom to make any statement they want, the teachers should be able to do the same.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

This place is so out of place in a 21st century global economy, get what you can and leave them to feast on what's left. The premise of open and equal governance is just not understood at all. Enjoy the comedy as Japan slips further into oblivion, just have a plan to get out before the black vans arrive to " re-educate you"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The supreme court ruled that they cannot be punished for refusal.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Hashimoto is doing a splendid job in making people hate Kimigayo and the emperor system. People who never thought about it. You can terrify people into standing and singing but you can do nothing about how they feel about it.

There is I suspect (not being a lawyer) that the ordinance requiring teachers to stand (and sing?) Kimigayo may be invalid in light of the Supreme Court ruling.

Hashimoto is a dangerous person. He has stated that Japan needs a dictator and may well see himself in that role. When individual conscience is thread upon by authority it is only a matter of time before that authority starts to snuff out everyone's civil liberties.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Not surprised, I heard about teachers years ago not wanting to sing the anthem in class due to the history of what the Japan military did to Korean women when they invaded Korea, but just like Americans the past is the past and gotta try to move on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Can they just change the lyrics with the same anthem?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

or they can just stand and be silent?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The court ruled that ordering teachers to sing the “Kimigayo” did not violate their freedom of thought,

Eh? Really? Please define 'freedom of thought'! If you are forced to go against your beliefs does that not violate your freedom of thought? What a whacky country! Welcome to North Korea!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That is really sad. What is wrong with these people nowdays? Best way is not to punish them but good way is to discard their education license. There is no way for them to be a teacher if he or she refuses to sing national anthem.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

good riddens Osaka teachers

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Best way is not to punish them but good way is to discard their education license.

Nihongonoshuwa -- spoken like a true open-minded Japanese person. Don't you understand that when you make that kind of statement that you smell of weakness? If educators are not allowed freedom of thought or expression, you are basically admitting that "patriotism" must be enforced in the manner the government dictates, and cannot stand up to honest debate. For a supposedly "great" country and democracy that is scary and puts Japan in line in thinking with Putin and his type of disquised authoritarian regime.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why weren't the teachers with such 'freedom of thought' given the option of not entering the hall in the 1st place ?Any employee is bound to do things they'd rather not do,you feel strongly enough about those compulsions you walk.Basically,they're asking to be sacked...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Time for these teachers to strike!...but I am sure that this is also against the law.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't know about striking but he's checking work emails to sniff those in unions. This guy is a nutter and will do nothing short of bullying his opponents. Frightening that in this day and age this crap is happening.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If an employee fails to follow corporate policies, then that corporation has the right to terminate that employee. Otherwise, if the employee thinks that the corporate policy is wrong, then try convincing the corporate board or shareholders to change said corporate policy. Otherwise, resign. BTW, the corporate board (Osaka Pref.) and shareholders (citizens of Osaka Pref and Japan) are generally supportive of the corporate policy requiring its employees (teachers) to stand during the anthem.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I support the teachers and their right to choose what they do and do not sing.

Down with the principals and school officials who report the teachers and down with the cowardly politicians who hide behind the curtain of nationalism.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

the corporate board (Osaka Pref.) and shareholders (citizens of Osaka Pref and Japan) are generally supportive of the corporate policy requiring its employees (teachers) to stand during the anthem

the city of osaka is not a corporation, nor are the citizens shareholders.

moreover, the constitution of japan is not a set of corporate policies.

such reductionist analogies fail to meet the intellectual challenges of the day.

interesting little medieval-corporatist ideology you are espousing there!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

the citizens can elect the policy makers. If the policy makers make rules allowing teachers to remain sitting, so be it. But for now, the majority of the citizens and politicians have made policy requiring the standing for the anthem.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan today is not the same country as it was pre-WWII. I think it is about time this was acknowledged more. This idea that the national anthem somehow makes present-day Japan some warmongering country is rather silly. Japan is now known all over the world as a peaceful country. The words of the anthem just mean a hope for the country's continued existance, nothing more. This is a tempest in a teacup.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Good-by to freedom of expression or freedom on non-expression. Freedom of Speech includes the right to keep one's mouth shut. Japan is one of a few countries that does not fly its flag every day in front of the schools, at least in the Kansai area. Why is this? There is a message when the flag is not proudly presented. There is a message when someone does not sing. It is called FREEDOM.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What a whacky country! Welcome to North Korea!

The irony of your comment is the fact the "refusing teachers" are militants of a union and of a party of the same ideology that rules North Korea. This is their right. They are protected by the Constitution. The right to be insane extremists is well enforced.

You can terrify people into standing and singing

They are terrified ? This is what they look like :

http://www.jcp.or.jp/akahata/aik11/2012-02-26/2012022601_01_1.jpg

The actual cause of their anger is because they made 9.7% at the last Prefectoral elections in Osaka. Most teachers voted for The Ishin no Kai party, which is the "left", unless they voted for the "right", which is the Jiminto-Minshuto (the parties that systematically voted the laws making the Kimigayo compulsory in school ceremonies and making refusal punishable).

when you join the military you are well aware that it is your job that you might have to kill people -

For teachers that's not "you might" but"you will". Someone had given you a link to the PDF of the booklet for people wishing to pass the exam to be public school teacher. That was written very clearly that their jobs include teaching the class of morality and patriotism , organizing the graduation ceremony with the Kimigayo singing, disciplining pupils that don't follow the school rules. So they knew they'd be paid to make children sing Kimigayo. And they joined.

Eh? Really? Please define 'freedom of thought'! If you are forced to go against your beliefs does that not violate your freedom of thought?

When you are free to choose the job you do and to quit when you want, you are not forced. If you are a Mormon or Muslim, you don't take a job in a bar and later complain that they tell you to make people drink.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Ben_Jackinoff

The points at issue here are not simply about about Japan today, but

JAPAN TOMORROW.

Have a little foresight!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

ubikwit,

I have lots of foresight and it is based on backsite. This country has been using the same anthem for a long time. It has has also been a peaceful country for a long time. It deserves credit for this. The anthem has nothing to do with encouraging militarism or war or anything like that to most, if not almost all, Japanese people. It is just a way to show love of country. Do you have any concrete evidence that Japan is heading in anything but a continued peaceful direction? I highly doubt you do. Never mind foresight, how about a little realism?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

backsite=backsight

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about making a new anthem ?

The associations that Kimigayo invokes to those with a sound grasp of Japanese history have not and will not be easily forgotten

This is at the crux of the matter......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The associations that Kimigayo invokes to those with a sound grasp of Japanese history have not and will not be easily forgotten

I disagree. Actions speak louder than words, or anthems. Japan's actions since the end of WWII have been lots more peaceful than many countries. This should be acknowledged and respected.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

backsite=backsight

Are either real words?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kurisuoisu

Yes, that would be ideal, but is a tall order.

One thorny issue is that the current anthem, along with the militarism that evolved starting in the 1870s or so and had disastrous consequences, also evokes the shared desire for a stable and prosperous society.

I believe that the poem was probably composed in conjunction with the establishment of Nara as the first settled capital of Japan.

Before the development of Nara, the capital would be torn down and moved upon the death of the Emperor, at times accompanying by conflicts over succession.

So a lot of the imagery in the poem is related to singing the praises of the founding of a long lived stability, and a perpetuated continuum.

That was aptly adopted in the Meiji period in response to the existence of things such as national anthems in the West. In fact, the music was composed by a Westerner, if I recall correctly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What if they just sing it REALLY off key? Perhaps, then they might be asked not to sing it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hashimoto has a lot of people worried with this. You can disagree all you like but look at the comments on here with regards to the issue. Go and speak to some of the people in Osaka. Two months ago they were singing his praises and now many are wondering just what exactly they voted for and what else is going to happen. Between this, the email reading, the questionnaire, the bonuses his staff got when he took office... Something is rotten in the State of Osaka.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Japan is now known all over the world as a peaceful country.

Pffft!

Actions speak louder than words, or anthems. Japan's actions since the end of WWII have been lots more peaceful than many countries. This should be acknowledged and respected.

Double Pffft!

Please allow me to put this into perspective for you. Japan is known as a selfish country that disrespects any other country's views and is rampent with political and financial corruption. And, it is a peaceful country cos last time they tried to 'take over the world' they were squashed flat by the rest of the world. Gees! Pull your head out of a Japanese history textbook, please!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Time to dump kimigayo!!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The people opposing Kimigayo are those opposed to the glorification of Japan's imperial past or maybe on the left. The former camp knows enough to make an informed decision whilst the latter is opposed to the right under any circumstances.

Speaking with a lot of Japanese it is evident that many of them have a very shallow grasp of history. Put that with a very illogical grasp of dialectical debating skill and it becomes apparent why prominent Japanese make so many public gaffes.

If many Japanese actually reflected on the time of its introduction and the past connotations then they might come to the conclusion that the 21st century is calling for a new melody...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These civil servants do not believe they have a right to do anything they like. They are refusing to take part in singing a song that has a highly controversial history and interpretation.

Oh yeah, singing a song about a public servant to stay in his tenure as long as he lives for no other reason than his birth is highly controversial. Other regulations in the public school system could be added to that list: forcing students to wear uniforms (stifling freedom of expression), bowing to teachers (submitting to authority), teaching Japanese as a first language (incitingg Japanese cultural hegemony)..I am at a loss of words, the national anthem is only the tip of the iceberg!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@NeoJamal

What good is it to have civil servant who don't have civil rights??

Am I missing something here? Or is there a contradiction?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Dentshop @Ben_Jackinoff The word you're looking for is "hindsight"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What part of "the law requires teachers to stand during the anthem" and "the Supreme Court upheld such requirements of standing during the anthem" do these moron communist teachers don't understand? If they are against the policy so much, they should quit and work for the Chosen-Gakko's or other international schools which may not have such requirements.

Otherwise, they can keep attempting their futile exercises of using the teachers unions to try to put communist and other leftist politicians to change the current laws. But good luck with that since the majority of Japanese citizens still support the standing during Kimigayo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Other regulations in the public school system could be added to that list: forcing students to wear uniforms (stifling freedom of expression), bowing to teachers (submitting to authority), teaching Japanese as a first language (incitingg Japanese cultural hegemony)..I am at a loss of words, the national anthem is only the tip of the iceberg!

Students can go to schools that don't have uniforms - and know that before they sign up! There would be a bunch of pissed off parents and kids if the school all of a sudden turned around and added uniforms as being mandatory. Besides, look at how the uniforms are worn here. Not properly.

Bowing - international schools take care of that.

Japanese - again, international schools take care of that.

Indeed, I agree, the national anthem IS the tip of the iceberg. What else does Hashimoto have in mind?

I also don't think that anyone is supporting crappy teachers being allowed to stay int he system - personally, as someone who worked next to a teacher who had ONE class a week because he was a nutter, I want them fired probably much more than you do. That is the government's fault for making it so damn difficult to fire anyone in this country. I'm also willing to bet that those teachers who refuse to stand and sing are probably very well respected by the students. They certainly don't sound lazy, the seem to know what they believe in and are willing to fight for it. Crappy teachers don't generally give a toss and go through the motions. I would love for the crappy teachers to be fired. Just as I would love for crappy office workers and government workers to be fired. Using this as a method of firing isn't going to solve the problem of crappy staff. If anything, it is going to deter good teachers from working in the system because of their beliefs. Fine for them but in the end, it is the public that will miss out.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So, what do I do if the teacher next to me is taking a nap? Am I obliged to tell him to wake up, stand up and sing?

okimike67:

so the point is mute.

Nah, I think you meant "the point is moot".

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Nah, I think you meant "the point is moot".

If they aren't singing, then they are mute.

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That made me chuckle!

Zen, I have no idea how many teachers I saw napping at school. And then got cried of "Kaeru no? Haiyaiiii!" when I left at the proper time. By all means, nap (I don't actually agree with this) but make sure you do your job and get the work done on your own time but don't DARE comment on me leaving at the proper time when I put in an honest day's work. Thing is, this isn't just a teacher thing, it is a Japanese culture thing and probably one of the things that I hate most with regards to "work ethic" here.

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Obeying orders from authorities and employers becomes a thorny issue, especially when it involves something highly controversial which is politically, socially or religiously motivated. In this case, there is no doubt that it is a politically-driven issue. If these teachers don't want to sing the anthem, then they have that choice by all means. If they don't, we are not living in a TRUE democracy and before you jump down my neck about what a democracy is or is not, let's remember what the Greeks originally meant - 'rule for/of the people'. If my Greek translation is incorrect, feel free to correct me. But the problem is 'rule of the people' is generally interpreted as 'what the majority of the people think and want'.

So, if we are to live in a TRUE democracy, shouldn't the people of Osaka vote on this issue? If the majority think it should be enforced, then so be it. Just my two yen.

What the teachers should do if they are really serious about this issue, and I support their courage for standing up in what they belive in despite all the bad looks and comments they must get, is either implement a mass resignation or go on strike. If enough teachers from enough schools were not happy with this and staged a mass strike, and there were not enough teachers to teach classes, then the government would have to take them seriously. These guys are the closest I've seen in this country to the well-known 'conscientious objector', and I believe that is a healthy thing in any society. There is too much of the blind leading the blind in this society.

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RE:" Civil servents are obliged to comply with the rules just as corporate employees are required to comply with corporate requirements. If they dont like it QUIT, if they dont follow FIRE THEM!!! "

To which I say, "Sich Heil".

In 1970 some of us were beaten by the football team of John Adams High School for refusing to pledge allegiance to the the flag of the United States of America. They were encouraged in this by the football coach.

This was during a time when we were burning the flesh of Vietnamese kids with Napalm, ravaging their jungles with Agent Orange, and exposing our GIs to the same, while also contaminating the Okinawan soil on which some of it was stored.

We like to think we are different than the Hitlers. No doubt Hashimoto would like to think there is a line that divides what he stands for from what thee pre war imperialists stood for. No doubt most of us from the US would like to pretend that incinerating people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not equivalent to Hitler gassing them at Dachau. We like to pretend that some vague notion of being on the correct side, the side of fairness, and democracy, insulates us from the charges that we behaved and behave like monsters. In reality, it is our actions that betray what we stand for, and this is why I support those who refuse to bow down to national symbols, to flags and anthems.

In the 1970s some of us were suspended for wearing the "peace sign" on our gym uniforms. Suspended by the same administration whose football coach encouraged his goons to beat us.

Thankfully some who were treated harshly by school policies were later protected by court rulings which said you had a right not to salute the flag. You did not have the right to disrupt the ceremony, but you could sit or stand quietly. And still the football team members attacked us. Or we were told that we should not protest because people in the Soviet Union did not have, er, our freedoms. Er, right.

In the end, It doesn't matter what petty laws are made to enforce behavior of kids and teachers. If you are forced to love your country, or at least bow down to its symbols, it simply reveals the pettiness of those who confuse education with submission. Leave out the fact that many in Japan who are forced in some prefectures to take what amounts to a test in patriotism are either not Japanese citizens or are of mixed heritage, which finds them being forced to buy into the "tan 'itsu minzoku" mythology.

This is about coercion and bullying. Bullying of teachers by the government. It is fascist, as some here have said. There are laws and there are laws . Unjust ones need not be obeyed. These are just such laws.

Actually one recent court ruling said that while requiring teachers to participate was not illegal, suspending them was. Clearly even the judiciary has a variety of opinions. But don't doubt for a moment that the true intention of the neoliberal Hashimotos is to to create a business friendly and compliant citizenry, the type who will not question the Tepcos of the nation, who will allow the State and corporations to screw them if it serves the national good.

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@tmarie

By all means, nap (I don't actually agree with this) but make sure you do your job and get the work done on your own time but don't DARE comment on me leaving at the proper time when I put in an honest day's work.

Yeah, exactly. The sooner Japanese people shed the idea that 'work' = 'showing my 'loyalty' by staying at my desk doing next to nothing (but hoping my superior notices and will be really really impressed!)', the better.

But back on topic, all previous arguments aside, I have yet to meet one young Japanese person who openly and frankly says that he/she LIKES the anthem. Isn't that saying something? I have heard quite a few young people (especially young Japanese females) say how they even felt HAZUKASHII about the Kimigayo and nothing to do with its historical/militaristic overtones (which many of them probably do not understand or know about anyway) . They simply felt it was 'dasai' because they felt it was about as acoustically interesting as watching paint dry

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My husband, from Osaka and very proud of it, is ashamed that the public in Osaka voted for this guy. He doesn't see the need of singing the anthem at anytime. We had a pretty good laugh at the under 23 soccer team the other night when not ONE of them was singing it when they played Malaysia. Funny, I don't see an outcry from Hashimoto about national team players not singing along...

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Teachers are educators, leaders and example to the students they have been charge of. This is not a matter of freedom of speech or expression that most adults enjoy and by the way teachers enjoy when they are outside the education environment. Noone is going to care if a teacher does not sing at a sporting event of professional.

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