Thursday, December 16, 2004

Japan is becoming a Red State

From the The New York Times:
Toru Kondo, an English teacher at a public high school here, had never before been reprimanded in his 32-year career. But he was recently required to take a two-hour "special retraining course," lectured on his mistaken ways and given a sheet of paper on which to engage in half an hour of written self-examination.

His offense was to defy the Tokyo Board of Education's new regulation requiring teachers to sing the national anthem while standing and facing the national flag. He and scores of colleagues refused, because for them the rising-sun flag and the anthem, "Kimigayo," or "His Majesty's Reign," are symbols of imperialism.

"When the Japanese military invaded Asia, the rising-sun flag led the corps and the 'Kimigayo' was sung when Japanese soldiers won a battle," Mr. Kondo said. "I've been telling students that the two are linked to Japan's militarism."

Many Japanese felt the same way for decades after World War II. But perhaps because they are now more comfortable with their history, or perhaps because Japanese society has moved right, the authorities here have made respect for the flag and anthem mandatory for teachers and students. To supporters, the move is a step to make Japan into a so-called normal country that can be patriotic and proud of itself. To critics, it is dangerous indoctrination that has no place in a democracy.
(I added the emphasis)


Blogger Rico said...

I guess it's not just Red states.... Minnesota has a law requiring the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in its public schools at least once a week.

12:09 PM  

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