national

Teacher who sat for anthem deserved pay cut: Japan court

84 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2016 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

84 Comments
Login to comment

Democracy?

20 ( +24 / -4 )

Wow. That teacher got dogged. The courts here are ran by imperialistic,1930's, cemented-minded ghouls.

18 ( +25 / -7 )

Abe told parliament last year that raising the national flag and standing to sing the anthem at school ceremonies should be done not only in elementary and secondary institutions, but also public universities.

How on earth is this bonehead the leader of this country?

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Hiroko Shimizu, Please just do your part. Personal Ideals come at a heavy price at times,sacrifice is also inherently painful, especially in a country in which one is INVOLUNTARILY required to put the whole before self no matter how immoral the whole is.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Sometimes this place reminds me of 'The village' ...

"Questions are a burden for others, answers a prison for oneself "

"A still tongue, makes a happy life".

Basically, toe the line and so not disturb the 'wa'.

"I'm not a (my)number, I'm a free man!"

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I made a new acronym. TANIM. Terrible ancient-minded imperialistic nationalism.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

The order to stand for the singing of the anthem was not aimed at forcing participants to follow any ideology

Rather, it was to ensure that “the ceremony proceeded smoothly and order was maintained”

Wow, that is extremely disturbing logic coming from the court and could be applied in a very non-liberal manner to hundreds of scenarios.. Basically it is prizing order over ideological difference, surely that should have rung a huge number of bells

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Rather, it was to ensure that “the ceremony proceeded smoothly and order was maintained,”

What a bogus argument. The ceremony could have proceed equally smoothly if she was left alone and allowed to sit as she wished. The ones who prevented the ceremony to go "smoothly" were the nationalists who could not help but to start their shameful oppressive rhetoric.

The judge said Shimizu “put her own sense of values before the maintenance of civil servant discipline.”

The is plain and simple a disgraceful statement from a person who is supposed to represent justice in this country. This woman's own sense of value is protected by Japan's constitution. Unfair constrain to maintain "discipline" on someone, civil servant or not is unconstitutional.

This is again the same excuse of "discipline" served to use again and again to hide a clear violation of the freedom of thought as protected by the constitution and a clear action of oppression against a human being.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

So, people in a wheelchair will be forced to stand as well? We don't want them to disrupt the ceremony either.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The order to stand for the singing of the anthem

How did they singe it?

This ruling is utterly absurd! It's right up there with the 18 year old kid expelled from high school for having sex and people with tattoos not being able to work in government offices. Wake the heck up Japan! It's 2016 not 1816! History shows that, total control always leads to total failure!

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Even foreign sumo wrestlers have more of a common sense than this Japanse teacher. She may be a commie.

-18 ( +8 / -26 )

Hiroyuki Naito and the rest of Japan's troglodyte generation remind us how regressive Japan is.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Fashion: Turn to the Right!

Another judge lacking the testicular fortitude to challenge the party line:

Abe told parliament last year that raising the national flag and standing to sing the anthem at school ceremonies should be done not only in elementary and secondary institutions, but also public universities.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Cool! So if I stand really, really tall, I should be up for a pay raise!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

It is such as facist statement to mandate individuals to stand for the anthem. No democratic nation does this. Respecting, honoring, standing, singing, reciting each nation's national anthem should come from the heart, not some civic duty. If those individuals who didn't want to respect such anthem, they have absolute right not to so long as they conduct their protest silently while the anthems are playing.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

highball: "It is such as facist statement to mandate individuals to stand for the anthem. No democratic nation does this"

Exactly! But of course the courts are going to side with the ruling party, especially before they sweep into even more power in an election. In Japan if you beat democracy down you get a pay raise; stand up against it and you get hammered down.

This isn't a democracy.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

This issue is important. I wasn't personally against the Kimigayo being the national anthem.

However the role of an educator is to create and facilitate the right atmosphere for the students to learn. They are not the Oracle of knowledge, the patriotic policemen of the state or the propaganda voice piece for some political agenda.

That was the role of Japanese teachers before 1945 and a lot felt of those teachers felt a tremendous guilt about the young people they had sent off to die.

Ultimately this is what the real issue of standing or not standing for the national anthem with the teachers is about.

The LDP government wants them to return to their post-1945 role, while a lot of teachers are anxious about repeating the educational mistakes of the past.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

This means also persons in a wheel chair have to stand up. The Japanese government is not omitting any opportunity to loose face.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yeah I remember ole Abe saying that last year. Ridiculous to say the least.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The court ruled correctly.

If you take away all ideological factors (excuses), what in essence happened was that she was ordered to stand in a certain portion of the ceremony.

In essence, Hiroko did not stand because she personally did not like the song being broadcast. That this may be a somewhat popular opinion does not change this basic fact.

If you say she cannot be ordered to stand, then you are saying the principal's command authority is so small he cannot even order his subordinates to stand, which is obviously an untenable situation.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

@shimazaki

I think you're spot on.

This was an expectation of the people who are paying her salary, employment is not an entitlement but something you earn through performing within the expectations of your employer. If she did not want to follow the prescribed expectations of her employers than she need not collect a paycheck and look for employment elsewhere.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Naito is clearly UNFIT to be a judge, what a scary piece of work.

Gary R, thanks for putting that bit of background as to why some teachers have REAL issues with the anthem etc, its very real stuff the country has never truly faced & dealt with, same as so much from WWII. And these mindsets are dragging the country deeper into the abyss

2 ( +4 / -2 )

While some view it as an affirmation to past military history etc, the teacher could have simply gone by protocol during the ceremony & not attached any significant meaning to the flag & anthem. She made her choice obviously.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Japan isn't an empire. Why Japanese 'emperor' isnt called king or something more suitable to his position? This kind of self-gratification (calling their symbolic leader with fake empty title, ruckus about the national anthem, etc.) makes life harder for individualism to flourish and democracy to fully reach its potential.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Kazuaki Shimaki: "In essence, Hiroko did not stand because she personally did not like the song being broadcast. That this may be a somewhat popular opinion does not change this basic fact."

No, what is fact is that the woman was exercising her right not to stand up for the national anthem -- an anthem that has been used in the past to propogate the idea that the emperor is a living god that we should all be willing to die for. Don't water it down into generalities, as you often do on controversial posts and then turn around and point out specifics when the shoe is on the other foot.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Fortunately most other industrialized countries give people the freedom of expression and the right to voice their opinions freely. Japan is still very far away from such ideals. The teacher could appeal this ruling since Japan signed the human rights charter of the UN.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Even foreign sumo wrestlers have more of a common sense than this Japanse teacher. She may be a commie.

Must have been born in the 30's and grow up with McCarthyism......plenty of "commies" in Japan, but just not the one's you are talking about. Even the "commies" here stand for the national anthem.

Her rights as a Japanese person, allowed under the law, are being trampled upon by an idiot and hopefully her appeal is heard and agreed to by a judge that deserves to be sitting on the bench, not this idiot.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Once Britain's out of the EU hopefully we can start doing this as well. It might "twigger" a few people, but Germany's offer is still on the table...

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Article 20 of the Constitution: No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice.

A song that suggests a man might live for eight thousand generations and that pebbles might grow into boulders could be viewed as reeking of religion or at the very least superstition. Compelling a person to take part in an act expressing respect for such strange beliefs - standing for the anthem - surely violates Article 20.

Article 21. Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed.

But not the form of expression that involves choosing not to stand to show respect for superstitious nonsense?

Personally, in Ms. Shimizu's position, I would probably stand if only because it isn't worth the kerfuffle and I wouldn't like to give some creepy, overbearing right-wing head the satisfaction of the chance to dock my pay. But I also think the judge got it wrong. Very wrong.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

What if Japan decided that everyone should stand on their left leg only and bark like a dog during the national anthem?

Would a court of law uphold that someone laughing at the idea and standing on their right leg could be punished?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

No, what is fact is that the woman was exercising her right not to stand up for the national anthem

She has that right ... when she's not at work and under the subordination of her seniors. Your next line is essentially one of subjective prejudice, which simply is not a good enough reason to disobey an order.

Here's the thing. Even if the judge has some sympathy for Hiroko's position, the only professional and correct thing he can do is rule the principal's decision valid. You don't like generalities (at least here), but remember that a court ruling sets a precedent, and precedents are about generalities because each case will necessarily have different specifics!

In essence, he can either defend Hiroko's "freedom" to disobey orders or uphold a superior's discretionary right to give them. Defending Hiroko means setting a precedent that says you only need prejudices to justify disobeying an order and restricting the superior's discretionary right to nearly nothing. No matter how much you might like Hiroko's rights or feel she has a case, you also seem very uncomfortable with the idea of, and can easily see the consequences of a society where a boss' discretionary right is decreased to such an extent.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Standing for the national anthem is just common courtesy. I think an admonishment would have been sufficient by way of a penalty.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki

In essence, he can either defend Hiroko's "freedom" to disobey orders or uphold a superior's discretionary right to give them.

Superiors are limited all the time and in many ways. I would stake a week's salary that there are things that superiors used to be able to do that are now prohibited by law. I sense fallacies here but my brain is slow at the end of a long day. This is a false dichotomy. Definitely, you will see you've made a mistake thinking that there are only these two choices when, in fact, there is no reason we are limited to only these two options. Come to think of it, you can't be claiming that all managerial decisions are discretionary. That would be absurd.

the only professional and correct thing he can do is rule the principal's decision valid.

...you only need prejudices to justify disobeying an order and restricting the superior's discretionary right to nearly nothing.

The Judge seems to have ruled that it is not a matter of conscience here. However, depending on the constitutional statute, he could have ruled another way. I'm no lawyer or legal scholar but this just depends on what's in the law, doesn't it? In the States, for example, I believe you cannot compel people to stand if it goes against their conscience. One person's prejudice is another's conscience, I guess. This might be some sort of fallacy as well. You are, in essence, saying that because she is an inferior, her view is devalued as a prejudice underserving of the word "right," whereas necessarily authorities have rights.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Kazauki Shimazaki: "She has that right ... when she's not at work and under the subordination of her seniors. Your next line is essentially one of subjective prejudice, which simply is not a good enough reason to disobey an order."

And the people who are her superiors in the job are disobeying the Constitution and denying her Constitutional rights, plain and simple. The Constitution is the higher power here, and yourself said one must obey one's superiors. The Principal has absolutely no right to go against the Constitution, ESPECIALLY in public schools. Abe also has no right to make it mandatory as it is against the law. You can argue semantics and generalise all you like, but the Constitution guarantees the woman's right to not have to stand for the national anthem, and the minute you or the judge (moron) in question here says it is not unconstitutional means that anyone can interpret whatever they want to mean whatever they want, whenever.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

The nail that stand up must be hammered down, but looks like in this case the nail hammered down had to be pried up.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Who said Japan was a democracy? Its not. Its a representative democracy at best, and that is different. But its supposed to be a free country. The thinking that brought us this ruling belongs in North Korea, NOT Japan. Japan really seems to be sliding back slowly to the imperial days. And Japanese don't seem to realize that freedom isn't free. They better start fighting for it like this noble lady did.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Who said Japan was a democracy? Its not. Its a representative democracy at best

You are talking about government or society? Socially, I would agree Japan lacks deep democratic values. As a government system, you're really splitting hairs. The U.S. also has a representative government. Democracy has a general dictionary meaning that both of these countries fit, even while the details of the systems can be described more precisely when you are up close. But, as I said, whether or not Japan has truly democratized is another story and I agree it hasn't.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki I'm late to this debate, but your rights don't suddenly stop just because you're employed. Now if personal beliefs prevent you from doing the job then sure you might have to be removed from your position or otherwise penalized (as in Kim Davis refusing to issue marriage licenses).

You would have to argue that her standing up was an essential part of her duty as a teacher... which is ludicrous unless you believe wheelchair bound individuals can't teach.

Alternatively you would have to argue that she has waived certain rights by being a teacher and that part of her contract/salary is specifically allotted for things like this and that by going back on her contract, she forfeits part of her salary...but I seriously doubt her contract is written in such a way.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

So basically if you are Japanese in Japan you are not free? That ruling should have the Japanese up in arms questioning the powers the be regarding their rights as free citizens in a widely touted democracy...what's that you say...ahhh yes sorry it's Japan's version of democracy. That judge needs to retire post haste. What a useless argument to a failed ruling on the case.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

God, I only remember singing our national anthem one or twice during all the years I spent at my schools. Doesn't make me any less of a citizen of my country. Nothing like Japan or USA.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

She has that right ... when she's not at work and under the subordination of her seniors. Your next line is essentially one of subjective prejudice, which simply is not a good enough reason to disobey an order.

Article 20 of the Constitution: No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice.

I'm relying on Cleo's interpretation of Article 20 of the Constitution, but if accurate then ANY person has that right at home, at work, when visiting relatives, when shopping... 24 hours a day - 7 days a week while in Japan. Being a subordinate to someone higher up does not waive Constitutional rights. The Japanese National Anthem sings about wishing the Emperor to reign for thousands of generations... something only a God could do. This could easily be interpreted as a religious song.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

MrBum : Abe... How on earth is this bonehead the leader of this country?

There must be lots more like him in the country.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki, I think it comes down to how much authority a school administrator has over their staff. Where is the line between what an administrator can order a staff member to do and what they cannot. I don't think anyone believes that in this day and age someone has absolute authority. So, how much does that administrator have? How much of this ruling was based on the actual authority of that administrator, and how much was based on the "the protruding nail will be hammered" traditions, which generally are not actual rules, but simply expected conduct...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@shallots JUL. 07, 2016 - 10:10PM JST

I would stake a week's salary that there are things that superiors used to be able to do that are now prohibited by law.

Yes, and for the main part, I think they are great ideas. You also have a point with the "false dichotomy" except at some point of narrowing a boss' options, we can actually approach a point where there are really two options left. And when a boss is not permitted to order a subordinate to stand ... what orders can he give?

In the States, for example, I believe you cannot compel people to stand if it goes against their conscience.

The question is ... how many thoughts and opinions do you allow into that "safety box" marked Conscience? Any thought about rights and wrongs can potentially be stuffed into that box. As you acknowledge, Prejudice and Conscience are but a thin, subjective line apart at best.

Further, in a sense, allowing "conscience" is actually arguably a blow against the concept of equality. In essence, you are saying some opinions are worth more than others by especially excusing them from certain obligations. The most stereotypical example being conscientious objectors to military service. Yes, generally they do "alternative service", but why should say a Jehovah's Witness be allowed to work in a clean, air-conditioned hospital while I'm dirty digging trenches under the sun as an conscript infantryman is not something that is well explained.

For reasons of both practicality and fairness, while countries tend to say they safeguard "conscience", the range of thoughts they will allow into that box is generally restricted to well defined minorities which society consents to being "valid exceptions". Otherwise, your opinions are worth no more than anyone elses and your application to have it be considered "conscience" would likely be rejected.

And I'll also point out while a country may be able to do without non-voluntary military service, its ability to survive without bosses able to give orders is very doubtful. Further, the imposition of standing versus military service is a lot less, so it is even harder to claim "conscience."

@kaynide JUL. 07, 2016 - 10:50PM JST

you would have to argue that she has waived certain rights by being a teacher

Actually, she very well may have. She's a 公務員, which means her employment is actually governed under the 地方公務員法 (Act on local civil servants). In Article 32, it explicitly says she has the duty to obey work-related orders from her superior. Further, she consents to Article 29, which says she can be disciplined with warnings, pay cuts, suspension and termination of employment for violations of Laws and Regulations, breaches of her work-related duties or acts inconsistent with her role as a servant to the All.

You will note that b/c you can always quibble over what's "essential", that is not a standard at all. The standard is that it is work related, and the ceremony is definitely "work" as far as the teacher is concerned.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Americans on here should also realize that there are Americans who got in trouble as well for not standing for the National Anthem. Somebody look up Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. This is not just a Japan thing.

I believe people have a right whether to stand or not and don't get my panties all in a bunch over something so trivial.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If you say she cannot be ordered to stand, then you are saying the principal's command authority is so small he cannot even order his subordinates to stand, which is obviously an untenable situation.

Total non sense, you are again applying an absolutely twisted logic that has not basis on rule of law. The point here is not that someone can or can not order his "subordinates" (the fact you use this work tells a lot on your vision of the world) to do something. The question here is can someone in power order someone else to do something using constrain that goes beyond his authority. Clearly not, otherwise again this goes towards a form of oppression.

This is clearly what's happening here though since nothing, absolutely nothing, stipulates in the contract teachers are employed with that they must stand or do anything during an anthem. Nor is there any law that stipulates that a civil servant or any anyone else shall be punished in any way for not standing during an anthem.

Lastly as I already mentioned, this decision violates the Japanese consitution which guaranties the freedom of thought (freedom of conscience or ideas) to his citizens. Which means that if this woman thinks that the Japanese anthem is total garbage it does not deserve that she stand for it, she has the total right to think that. And no non sense logic of authority commending "subordinates" can change that.

However judging from your present and past posts, I do think that this kind of principles just go totally over your head....

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"But last year, the Tokyo District Court awarded millions of dollars in compensation to a group of teachers who were punished for refusing to sing the song."

Yeah ....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium, Staples Center and The Honda Center etc. etc. I've seen a few who do not "stand" no biggy. At a High School ceremony, same. You can mentally scorn them, but even a teacher, refusing to stand should not be deprived or fined any amount of hard cash.

Japan still has a long way to go.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If the employment contract with her school states that she has to stand for the anthem, then she can't win. But, if not, of course she doesn't have to and shouldn't be penalized for it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Personally as an Japanese who's mixed and has lived both abroad and here I think it's important to choose your battles carefully. I never back downtown assert myself personally especially if someone's gunna be ridiculous on me, but at the same time not standing for the anthem is a risky one in many places. Can you imagine doing that in America? I'd be tossed out head over heels and my attackers applauded in many places. Whatever, she chose her bed so sleep in it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Can you imagine doing that in America? I'd be tossed out head over heels and my attackers applauded in many places. Whatever, she chose her bed so sleep in it

Yeap, that's America. Back in my home, nobody gives a stuff. We have more important things to think about. And we don't have to thank god in every god-damn speech we give.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@daito_hak JUL. 08, 2016 - 12:02AM JST

This is clearly what's happening here though since nothing, absolutely nothing, stipulates in the contract teachers are employed with that they must stand or do anything during an anthem.

Their contract (actually a law backed by extra regulations) says that they are to obey work related orders. Since the ceremony is undoubtedly work, what they do during the ceremony is defined by orders given by their superiors.

Which means that if this woman thinks that the Japanese anthem is total garbage it does not deserve that she stand for it, she has the total right to think that.

She can think that, but she still has to obey the work-related order. She only has the right to ignore the order if she can't or the flaws in the order are manifest and serious (two requirements). By no means can one consider this case manifest, nor are the consequences reasonably considered serious. Further, this general issue has been adjudicated before, and not in her side's favor.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Though Japan was a democracy.Guess it's only one in name,not practice.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@ shallots

Your idea is really an insult to countless people who sacrificed so much to improve their societies over the decades

And who are you to say this? Do you believe this is what the ancestors of this nation fought and sacrificed themselves for? A Westernized Japan lost of its spirit, 'group thinking' and identity? To lose this nations focus on the Emperor? To get rid of its culture of 2500 years? I hardly think so.

This kind of thinking of "changing Japan to the better" (read: make it like the West) is a huge insult to those who sacrificed so much...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"Critics say the song, a paean to the emperor, amounts to a call to self-sacrifice on his behalf and celebrates past militarism in which soldiers went to war in their ruler’s name."

Perhaps the teacher will stand up and sing happily if the national anthem is changed with no military and emperor overtone. This teacher Hiroko Shimizu should be commended for her bravery instead of being punished. Japanese students should follow the logic of her position and learn from her. She do not want to be Brainwashed by Abe who use the national anthem to control the minds of the Japanese people. National anthem have become a tool for political purpose, not just national pride.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

It's the law which was written under the democratic system here in Japan. Teachers as public servants doesn't need to pay respect to the Flag, but they must show example of how to pay respect to the Flag to students.

Usually we don't need this kind of law. It is commonsense people pay respect to the flag. I never saw an American or Europeans who don't pay respect to their own flags. Why we need this kind of law is because there are strong political moves that take advantage of Japan.

Japan's flag does not belong to you people on JT. We know who you are. We won't let you take advantage of us.

Burn your own flag down and show us the ash before even start talking about Japan's flag which doesn't belong to you outdated imperialists.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

In essence, he can either defend Hiroko's "freedom" to disobey orders or uphold a superior's discretionary right to give them.

So in your (il)logical way of thinking is the supervisor told her to eat shit the judge would be forced to uphold his discretionary right?

So if I ordered you to do something similar would you follow? Even if it's against your beliefs? Doubtful, but then you just might be a sheeple too.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm really not a fan of forced indoctrination, forced patriotism, forced salutes, forced oaths, or forced anthems. Patrotism is fine, but if someone forces its expression, then what value does it have?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

but if someone forces its expression, then what value does it have?

None, but then here, everything, since like so many other things it's only surface deep.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is a perfect example of the Japanese expression "The nail that sticks gets hammered down!" She decided to think for herself and her own belief. For freely expressing her belief, she got in trouble for it. Freedom? In Japan? I think "Freedom" in Japan means:

"Do what everyone else does or we WILL bully you into submission!"

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So in your (il)logical way of thinking is the supervisor told her to eat shit the judge would be forced to uphold his discretionary right?

Easy, in that case it won't be work related. That will constitute a manifest and serious justification to consider his order void ab initio.

Try and come up with a better one, so we can actually discuss something interesting.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Lots a controversy is rising in recent years about this. If in fact the words are imperially-military related, during the occupation, U.S. should had brought this issue to the surrender table negotiations. Is there a law on not changing the lyrics of this national anthem?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Kazuaki

Your argument seems to hinge on the idea that since the ceremony was a work setting that any commands (eg Stand during the anthem) are work related orders. You have to prove that standing is indeed work related and/or critical to doing her job.

Otherwise, you are opening a huge can of worms. Like, if the school leader said we were going to do a field trip to do traditional rice planting, I would go with it. Now imagine the leader says "oh and men must wear fundoshi and women bikinis". Are bikinis work related?

Back to this case, I can see requiring the woman to be present at the ceremony- absolutely... But standing? Doesnt strike me as crucial.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

At the private uni where I taught, I could always tell the politics of members of the faculty of education by who sang the Kimigayo and who just stood there with a stony face.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Your argument seems to hinge on the idea that since the ceremony was a work setting that any commands (eg Stand during the anthem) are work related orders. You have to prove that standing is indeed work related and/or critical to doing her job.

Well, it was at school, at a school event, within her usual work hours and all that. The order concerns the positioning and stance of teachers within said school event.

As for the critical part, it is simply not part of the standard b/c of the loose intepretations available to "critical". For example, one can argue a teaching plan is not quite "critical" to teaching - teacher can always ad-lib it. For most teachers, however, at least some kind of teaching plan would increase the quality of pedagogy. Would you say that the principal has no right to order that teaching plans be prepared, on grounds that it isn't "critical"?

Now imagine the leader says "oh and men must wear fundoshi and women bikinis". Are bikinis work related?

I see you are not quite as sympathetic to the men being ordered to wear fundoshi :-)

This is an interesting problem. What work-related gain did the principal expect to get from this order?

In essence, you are probably trying to reach one of those "middle-ground" situations where the order seems improper, but perhaps not quite manifestly so and even if it is, the consequences don't quite qualify as serious. In such a case, the civil servant is expected to follow the order. She can then challenge the order either through channels in the executive branch, or file a lawsuit with the judiciary.

Personally, if I'm female, I'll tell Principal here that I don't like the order and how in my opinion it is not really all that work-related. However, in any case, I am unable to execute it because the school has not yet provided me with necessary equipment. If this is really work-related, perhaps Principal can authorize a reasonable amount of school funds so I can procure a suitable bikini. If he tries to tell me to prepare bikini from my own resources, that's a clear infringement on my property rights and I can refuse that order on that basis (further his refusal to use school funds weakens his argument that this is work-related). If he actually authorizes that fund ... well, sigh, it's only a bikini.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If you look up Kimigayo, check Wikipedia, and the part "since 1996." You will see that all of this is set in a context that can help us understand the actions of this teacher a little better.

From Wikipedia: "The Act on National Flag and Anthem does not detail how one should show respect during performances of "Kimigayo". In a statement made by Prime Minister Obuchi, the legislation will not impose new regulations on the Japanese people when it comes to respecting the flag or anthem.[30] However, local government bodies and private organizations sometimes suggest or demand certain protocols be followed. "

My understanding is that teachers were promised that would not be forced to do what this teacher was forced to do - that it would be a personal decision, but that promise was not kept.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@FarmboyJUL. 08, 2016 - 12:00PM JST

As far as I can tell, the biggest legal effect of the law is that it gives Kimigayo and the Japanese Flag a mandate. The representatives of the people have debated the issue, and decided that the Kimigayo and Japanese Flag are "good things", worthy of being used as national flag & anthem in Japan with its current constitution. The potential issues of "militarism" and otherwise have been resolved in favor of the anthem & flag.

This makes it nearly impossible for people to justify legalistically that they are bad things. The Diet has spoken.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

She is protesting at the graduation ceremony. Those in wheelchairs can still sing. She could lie and say she has a sudden back pain and she can't stand without severe pain...I am sure she wants to show she is against. You know, my sister in law has her union meetings at hotel resorts, etc. and they don't announce the location ( to participants ) until the very last day...I wonder why. In my opinion, these teachers should voice their issue to the principal or superintendent and leave the room ( go to an emergency peepee ) while the anthem plays...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Easy, in that case it won't be work related. That will constitute a manifest and serious justification to consider his order void ab initio. Try and come up with a better one, so we can actually discuss something interesting.

You totally missed the point, and the sarcasm went over your head big time. Doesnt matter really the what, if he told her she had to sit when she wanted to stand, whatever, she has the right to not conform just for conforming sake. and the judge took the added step of making it an issue not about rights but about following the directive of a supervisor, which goes back to my point of him giving any order and having the expectation of it being followed.

This is an interesting problem. What work-related gain did the principal expect to get from this order?

Does not matter and you know it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You totally missed the point, and the sarcasm went over your head big time. Doesnt matter really the what, if he told her she had to sit when she wanted to stand, whatever, she has the right to not conform just for conforming sake. and the judge took the added step of making it an issue not about rights but about following the directive of a supervisor, which goes back to my point of him giving any order and having the expectation of it being followed.

She has no right to determine that it was just for conforming's sake, due to Article 32 of the relevant law. The issue is about the discretionary authority of a superior, and your solution will make it uselessly small.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am Jack's nail that sticks up

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In 2012, the supreme court ruled that penalising teachers for not standing to sing the anthem was constitutional, but it warned administrators to exercise care in going beyond a reprimand.

But last year, the Tokyo District Court awarded millions of dollars in compensation to a group of teachers who were punished for refusing to sing the song.

The article clearly states that court decisions have been "divided" and that there will be an appeal. In other words, you cannot logically generalize from this one court decision to all Japanese courts. Still less can you generalize to all of Japan or Japanese attitudes in general.

What this should show to all but those totally blinded by racial prejudice is that in Japan as in other countries there is a range of opinion on controversial subjects. If you look at something like gay marriage or abortion in the US, you will see that courts and local governments have gone in wildly different directions.

That so many commentators here are generalizing from one low level court case to the whole structure of Japan is proof positive of the anti-Japanese racism that pervades this venue. It would be very easy to find stupid, reactionary court decisions in the US and then argue as is being done here that the US is dominated by reactionaries, fascists, neanderthals or whatever.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Critics say the song, a paean to the emperor, amounts to a call to self-sacrifice on his behalf and celebrates past militarism in which soldiers went to war in their ruler’s name.

Kimigayo does not sing such things

**May this life with you continue

in eternity

like small pebbles

grow to boulders

with moss**

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Keep on protesting and appealing. Don't give up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Kuraguchi Well, if you don't like what it's come to, change your nationality and move somewhere else. :)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It would be very easy to find stupid, reactionary court decisions in the US and then argue as is being done here that the US is dominated by reactionaries, fascists, neanderthals or whatever.

Lol I'm american but I think we have sunk too low and shouldn't constantly be used as some kind of barometer here anyway.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Millions of dollars were awarded or more like YEN. Japan Today should proof its articles I think. On another note, would I be blamed as a foreigner and as a civil servant in not standing up? As after all it is not my anthem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You might think this is bogus, but recently in the US, a guy got in trouble (jail?) for burning the US flag because he didn't feel proud (lack of LGBT rights, police brutality, etc). It's a slightly different situation, but it's overall similar in the sense that governments and people get so butt hurt over defacing of a symbol. It was nothing but a piece of cloth, and this is nothing but sound waves. If that hurts your pride, then you are indeed from a weak nation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Shimizu-san is welcome as a citizen of the US. All she needs to do is denounce her citizenship and birthright

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Chairman: “We deplore your spirit of disharmony.”

No.6: “That's a common complaint around here, isn't it?”

--A Change of Mind

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sasapesso:

The title is called emperor because of historical reasons. The title of Emperor was borrowed from China, being derived from Chinese characters and was retroactively applied to the legendary Japanese rulers who reigned prior to the 7th-8th centuries AD. There were many kings in China long ago before one ruler became the high king or emperor. Also, the direct translation is heavenly sovereign, which may denote more than mere kingship. Cheers!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are so many here who seem to be sympathetic towards this teacher, but are you really? We all can debate over the court ruling upon her refusal to stand n sing National Anthem whether it was against Constitutional right or not, but do you really think she is fit for her job as a "teacher" who needs to be a guiding light for children? Would you be sending your kids to school where the teacher is refusing to sing your National Anthem? Would you still praise her action as "brave to fight for her constitutinal right"? If there is a teacher in the U.S. who constantly refuse to sing The Star-Spangled Banner (it's much more occational than Japan) just because he/she doesn't like the idea, would you still think it's ok because that's her constitutinal right?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'd respect her for standing up for what she believes in, which is a more valuable lesson for the kids than what most textbooks can provide.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Very late to this discussion...However,

There are two schools of thought here. One is that she should be free to exercise her constitutional rights. If she didn't want to stand for the anthem, then it's within her rights not to.

Here's the question. How many of the JT readers here stand for their country's respected anthems at a football match? Or how many of you rise when a judge enters a courtroom? Or at a wedding? A funeral? Just because it's within your rights to not do so, following proper etiquette surely takes precedence here? There's no mention of her being forced to sing the anthem, in the same way that many sports players don't sing their anthems before matches, or at medal ceremonies. We stand because, as part of ceremonial rite, we are required to do so in order to pay the proper respect to said ceremony.

Many here are jumping on the imperialist Japan soapbox here. As much as I agree with her not wanting to have anything to do with the imperialist past (who would!), it's a ceremony and, as such, not standing demeans the poor kids that turned up to graduate.

Also, for the record, people in wheelchairs OF COURSE are not required to stand! That's just a stupid comparison. If they could, they would along with the rest of us. Next time you slam the court for rebuking her, think back to all the times YOU refused to stand during a ceremony of any importance when asked to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites