politics

Abe sings national anthem as LDP prepares to 'take back Japan'

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Actually a good sign. If he's so wrapped up in idiot symbolism and posturing, rather than actually focussing on policy, then he and his cronies will be out of power in a flash when people see what he's really made of.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

I can't add to that, Patrick and Lucabrasi have summed the situation up quite nicely.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Take back Japan? Yeah, they wanna take it back to the corrupt days of the eighties when people worked for eighty hours a week and only got paid for half and when the bureaucratic cronies were filling their coffers with bags of 'under-the-table' cash. This is exactly the kind of politics that lead to the current disaster in the first place. Japan does not have the workforce nor do the people have the desire to work like slaves for Japan-Inc. the only thing these cronies will achieve is, widening the class gap of Japan and the economy will fall even further into recession. But, you keep singing kimigayo Abe-San! After all, Nero fiddled while Rome burned, didn't he?

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Oh, he's taking Japan back, all right. Just not in the way he thinks he is.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

The next version of the LDP's manifesto is going to be titled Mein Abe.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Heartbreaking...124 million people globally represented with this!!! When the best option is this? It's already a lost cause! As the good book says... Im not touching that!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I really, really do hope lucabrasi is right.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Despite the political imcompatibilities caused by the controversies, Kimigayo has always sounded intriguing and is almost like a Haiku so simple yet deep, profound and so beautiful. I read that the lyrics and words are based on Waka poetry written in the Heian jidai and sung to a melody written in the imperial period and the lyrics first appeared in the Kokin Wakashu as a anonymous poem. Hence they should still sing as translated His Majesty Reigns more often for it is after all very symbolic so significant and to increase patriotism.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

i think people are equating patriotism to ultra-nationalism. there's nothing wrong with instilling a love for your country in young people. it won't turn them into black-van-driving nutters. japan does need to stand up more for its interests, instead of being bullied by the US, china, SK and any other country.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Japanese ultranationalism is the syndrome of losers. Ironically, the rubbish Abe spouts was the idiocy of an older generation that could not forget losing the war when Japan, the world's second largest economy, was winning the peace. That's over. After a 23 year economic decline Japan, in no small part thanks to the LDP, is fast losing the peace. What Abe is offering is mental opium. Sing the national anthem, deny Japanese war crimes and force patriotism down the kiddies gullets and the nation will feel good about itself as it goes further down the tubes and awaits another nuclear disaster.

Has anyone seen "Triumph of the Will"? The film is supposedly about Germany's rebirth under Hitler. The whole thing is a feel good show where nothing really has changed for the good. Charlie Chaplin found it funny. There is every bit of the theatrical nonsense in the Abe and LDP show. The LDP has proven itself to be an empty and dangerous party, not unlike the Nazis. These idiots could start a war.

Moderator: Comparing the LDP to the Nazis is extremely offensive. It also shows you have no understanding of the Nazis. Please repost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I cant wait till this goofball is singing a 12bar blues because he just resigned from office AGAIN!

Man I wanna hear THAT blues tune!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And get back to paying off all the construction (yakuza) companies, ever wonder Abe's first order of business was to spend more money on building things.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One must wonder why it is necessary to change Japanese law to instil patriotism-isn't that something that comes naturally?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Patrick Smash (comment 1), there's a fine line between proud patriotism and flag-waving nationalism and I'd say Abe is hoping to confuse the populace with his hard-talk. It's so typical for ultra conservatives to play the fear and blame cards when times are tough. The LDP having a massive mandate to implement their far right ideologies is what I fear.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Back to the past policies of Abe and LDP can not be of great benefit to Japan. In fact, they will ultimately bring much worse problems to Japan more quickly.

72 year old Finance Minister Aso said he would have no cap for spending extra money, although such LDP policies have not lifted Japan from poor economic conditions for around 20 years, only Japan's public debt has been increased greatly.

Japan needs fresh politicians to lead, and to reform public spending urgently. Old people in Japan have too many gifts from government, which they do not need. It will mean bankruptcy for younger Japanese taxpayers sooner or later.

I hope for a good showing by JRP in upper house election this year, but possibly the consequence of LDP policies will not be seen before then.

However, no matter which party leads, Japan has already past a point of "no return", unfortunately.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Japanese ultranationalism is the syndrome of losers. Ironically, the rubbish Abe spouts was the idiocy of an older generation that could not forget losing the war when Japan, the world's second largest economy, was winning the peace. That's over. After a 23 year economic decline Japan, in no small part thanks to the LDP, is fast losing the peace. What Abe is offering is mental opium. Sing the national anthem, deny Japanese war crimes and force patriotism down the kiddies gullets and the nation will feel good about itself as it goes further down the tubes and awaits another nuclear disaster.

So far what we are watch is right-wing political theater. Unfortunately, the theatrical posturing of leaders, be they democratic or dictatorial, can lead to real world disasters. We are lucky that there has been a swiftly revolving door in Japan in recent years. In the case of Abe let us hope it revolves quickly enough before Abe stops sing and gets down to doing some genuine damage to Japanese society and Japan's reputation.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Okay, so Shinzo Abe can carry a tune. I bet he can't do much else.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Believe this has more to do with keeping his supporters happy. Abe is hawkish but he's certainly not Adolf. The extremists are already questioning his soft stance on South Korea. The US is already sending a warning signal not to go too far particularly on the comfort women issue or else they may have to openly express their concerns. Hope Abe plays the balance well and stays pragmatic and realistic.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No one has yet to be able to tell me just who Abe think's he's taking Japan back from. Anyone know??

This guy is a nut. The thing is, the vast majority of the population either don't care or don't see the issue with this guy. Keep at it Japan, keep digging that hole!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

thinks...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"... has raised concerns at home and abroad about a shift to the right in Japanese politics."

Concerns abroad I fully understand, and they are certainly justified. But should there be those who voted the LDP back into power and now have regrets about doing so, then I would say it's a bit late for that. The will to punish the previous administration may yet cost this country dearly with this nutter at the helm.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Simon maybe he cannot even carry a tune. He may not even understand the words of the song he sings. Whether he does or not, the fact that he makes such a big production of singing it is significant. It is significant because Abe is trying to live down his wimp reputation from his first term, which he ended abruptly with an alleged tummy ache. The LDP, which once had near dictatorial power, is trying to live down being made into an opposition party for a few short years. Let us hope that is all there is to it. Nationalism is always potentially dangerous, whether a nation is democratic or dictatorial. Nationalism is dangerous because unlike patriotism it is autocratic. And, yes, it has its songs. Before Abe sings too much let us hope the prime ministers' revolving door get him out of office and his party returned to the back benches.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I was not aware that Japan was taken. Lunatics.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Let's hope his next song is Auld Lang Syne.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Surely his plan is to take Japan back? Back to about 15 years ago, when the concrete cure-all first stopped working?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Novachama, I was totally with you until the end with "and to increase patriotism." That has been the controversy with this beautiful anthem. I fear it will never be able to divest itself of politically correctness and WWII memories. Too bad. It's a great piece of literature and music...even singable...and mercifully short.

As for Abe with his "Give back to Japan"...I wish he really meant "Give to Japan" and not to his back pocket.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Curious how Abe's quote almost precisely mimics that of the Republican party in the 2012 general election in the U.S. It was a very similar situation -- conservatives trying to reclaim power after losing the previous election to liberals. I have no doubt that politicians around the world study other countries' elections, particularly those of the U.S., and I find it very interesting that the paths of the U.S. Democrats and Japan DPJ diverged sharply after last year's voting.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Unoriginal and predictable. The LDP can always be relied upon to live up to our expectations.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

However anyone leader or party is ripe for satire there is nothing funny in politics. Abe's remarks about singing Kimigayo stoutly and taking back Japan are infinitely lampoon-worthy. But behind this bravado is something scary. The idea that Japan is being taken back by the LDP implies entitlement--ownership of Japan. And tell you the truth I am not a little scared. Perhaps this is only bluff. Perhaps it is bravo because the LDP knows that have been given the democratic version of a beheading it can never rule quite as "stoutly" as it has ruled before. But you have know. And even when you feel there is something radically wrong there are always the internal pacifiers that tell you that everything is going to be all right. I am guessing that Abe will soon be revolved out. But maybe he won't. I am hoping the LDP will cool the reactionary rhetoric once they get down to dealing with real problems. But maybe they won't. I am hoping that Abe will not have the power to revise the Constitution. But maybe he will. I want to believe that the Japan getting into a war over territorial disputes is unthinkable. But maybe it can happen.

The authoritarian elements are there in the LDP--the desire to suppress the truth about Japanese war crimes, the contempt for Article 9 in thought and practice, textbook revisionism, and the will to punish those people who will not sing Kimigayo stoutly or otherwise because they believe doing so violates the spirit if not the letter of Article I of the Constitution.

Let me put this in some perspective. When I lived in Germany I got to know a lot about the rotten things the Nazis did the Germans I knew, young and old, wanted me to know it. This experience did not prepare be for Japan where the evils of the prewar regime tended to be swept under the rug and a roundabout reverence for that old regime prevailed with either the absence of anguish or with displays like Yasukuni visits. The closest Japan came to expressing genuine anguish over its colonial and war crimes was the Murayama apology. Which Abe wants to cancel out. Every nation tries in some way to hide its past crimes and every nation no matter how democratic has its authoritarian aspects. But what prevents a nation from becoming a monster is a powerful enough counterbalance. There is a democratic spirit in Japan but will it be easily crushed if the authoritarian language coming out of Abe's mouth is transmogrified into authoritarian deeds? My fear is that it can very well happen.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Typos, typos. Sorry. Pushed wrong button.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Oh god. He sang the national anthem. Millions of schoolkids sing the national anthem every day in the United States or China.

Is there a need to make a big production?

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Good for Abe-san, gambatte kudasai!

(I also enjoy seeing the US Senate open with 100 people with hand over heart, reciting the pledge of allegiance, "like in grade school ". Sure, why not. Others may cringe. "Tough noogies.")

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

"singing the national anthem, seen by critics as a symbol of past imperialism and militarism"

Oh good grief, some people see the singing of the Star Spangled Banner as a symbol of U.S. imperialism and militarism.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

a symbol of past imperialism and militarism.

If you sing "Your Majesty Reign", but Emperor Akihito has stated his opposition to singing it in schools, just doesn't raise public spirit. What Japan needs right now is a one hundred and eighty degree turn. Start making up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's not that simple. One should be free and able to sing their nation's anthem freely and proudly. There's nothing wrong with patriotism. The problem with Kimigayo of course is it's a remnant of Japan's imperial past so when nationalists like Abe hijack it to further their cause it's no wonder it's deemed offensive by victims of Japan's militarism. The melody is fine but the lyrics should've been changed post war to reflect modern Japan. Is it too late?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Serrano, c'mon! Who thinks that of the Star Spangled Banner? Apples and oranges...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But what prevents a nation from becoming a monster is a powerful enough counterbalance. There is a democratic spirit in Japan but will it be easily crushed if the authoritarian language coming out of Abe's mouth is transmogrified into authoritarian deeds?

Kabukilover -- excellent post. And these two sentences really frame the issue. In and of itself there is absolutely nothing wrong with Abe and the cabinet singing he national anthem. God knows Japan could use some positive patriotism to pull out of its decades-long doldrums. But when that patritotism is misguided by self-serving politicians who are still living in a world that no longer exists, it becomes dangerous. And if the LDP were to gain a super-majority in the Upper House elections this summer, that would be a very real danger. Glad I'm watching all this from afar, and it is no longer my tax money going to support such lunancy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Oh god. He sang the national anthem. Millions of schoolkids sing the national anthem every day in the United States or China.

They don't do it as macho posturing to appease ultra-rightists who might otherwise be sending them bullets or severed fingertips in the mail.

Is there a need to make a big production?

Ask Shinzo Abe. He's the one that's boasting about it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's nothing wrong with singing a national anthem, but there is something wrong when you are forced to do so, or ostracized/fined/fired for not doing so. That's a slippery slope. And Japan has a history of sliding down that slope.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It is great to hear a positive symbol was used so respectfully and at an important time. It is not "nationalism" in a bad way, and it is silly to see such thoughts voiced in an article that is presented as "news" without an authour..... it is a very reasonable thing to do. The idea of suing a school district for being asked to show respect for one's country is just plain sad. If there was more respect at home, Japan would be respected more abroad. We have the same sad slide in loss of respect happening in the US and it is a terrible thing to see when our ancestors all worked so hard to create honourable countries that believed in themselves. Good for Abe, a good sign.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

The lyrics of "Kimigayo" was written more than 1,000 years ago. The lyrics is not basically related to the militarism in 1900's in Japan. Even Japanese can not understand the meaning of the song unless asking it on Yahoo Chiebukuro(Yahoo Answers in Japan) or checking the page of Wikipedia. And the meaning of the song is very peaceful even though it is a song for an unknown emperor 1,000 years ago.

I feel it is cared too much to sing this song.

Anyway I do not like the song is used with this kind of political intention.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Every time that I sing Kimigayo somehow I cry. Good for Abe. Im proud of him.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I always dee people saying that Japan should change so it would receove more respect abroad. But. The entire world respect Japan. There are only 3 countris that dont do them. And 2 of them are communist

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

PM Abe's policies will not lead to anything except more taxation, higher debt, worsening international relations, and a weaker economy.

Let's take his grand plan of spending more money on public works projects. These will only benefit the construction industry, and exacerbates the core problem-government spending and taxation.

If the LDP wants to take back Japan, it should foster, and support entrepreneurship in Japan (which is quite low). This can be done by lowering taxes (business and individual), reducing red tape, and eliminating wasteful spending.

Abe's plan to use quantative easing is economically ruinous, and won't produce more jobs, or reduce public debt. It may lower the yen's value, and help exports-in the short term, but economic stagnation will remain.

I hope Abe's second tenure is even shorter than his first. As it stands now, he's worse than Noda.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Such arrogance of Abe to presume he can or should "take back Japan" from those who prefer to express their national identity in less jingoistic terms. . A number of the posters have suggested it is actually a good sign in that Abe's eye is off the ball and he will therefore not last wrong. I certainly hope they are right, and that he doesnt do too much damage in the meantime. But with something close to 400 of the 480 lower house seats in the hands of the Right or far Right, I wouldn't be complacent. Remember a good chunk of the official " opposition" is the Ishihara/Hashimoto alliance, who make Abe look like a moderate by comparison.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

banz10Jan. 07, 2013 - 10:40PM JST Serrano, c'mon! Who thinks that of the Star Spangled Banner? Apples and oranges...

Isn't the US flag often burned in anti-American demonstrations? Why do you think that is? One possible reason could be is that it is seen as an example of imperialism and militarism. Why is it so hard to believe that some may feel similarly about the Star Spangled Banner?

Even among Americans, there are some that feel that the US should change her national anthem to something else simply because the Star Spangled Banner is (1) not really an original American composition (the lyrics come from a poem by Francis Scott Key but the music is from a old English pop song), (2) it is primarily based upon a military act (the attack on Ft. McHenry during the War of 1812) and (3) it is difficult to sing (even by professionals).

There are some that would prefer something more American in origin and less about bombs and rockets such as God Bless America or America the Beautiful instead. The Star Spangled Banner only officially became the US national anthem in 1931. Before that it and quite a few other songs were unofficially used.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@aisai - I agree about changing the Anthem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Take some time out for singing lessons, might be a good start.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

YardleyJan. 08, 2013 - 01:33PM JST @aisai - I agree about changing the Anthem.

Actually, I have no problem with the US national anthem. I was just trying to point out that some people do and the comparison being made by Serrano wasn't totally off the mark.

There are even some who aren't overjoyed with "God Save the King/Queen". Johnny Rotten offically went on record (pun intended) about his feelings regarding that back in the mid 70s.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

japan does need to stand up more for its interests, instead of being bullied by the US, china, SK and any other country.

Seems like payback from the countries whose citizens were brutalized by Japan in the war.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Prime Minister sings national anthem and JT socialist club goes into a tizzy. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Get a grip people. The man has every right (dare I even say duty) to sing the national anthem of his country.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The man has every right (dare I even say duty) to sing the national anthem of his country

Perhaps, but not to ram down everyones throat! By all means lead by example, lets things happen naturally, but that aint what abe did now is it, hence the comments, pretty simple really, for most anyway

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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