Tuesday, March 30, 2004
150 JAPANESE TEACHERS PUNISHED FOR NOT SINGING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
The Tokyo board of education is set to punish more than 150 public school teachers who refused to stand and sing the national anthem, "Kimigayo," at commencement ceremonies, sources said Monday.It is hard to know what to make of the whole national anthem/flag controversy in Japan. Is it the last gasp of right-wing ultra-nationalism or the resurgence of the same? Or, is it the manifestation of a Japanese desire to carve out some form of patriotic display that is no longer connected with the imperialism and militarism of the 1930s? I haven't a clue.
The unexpected move, to be decided at an extraordinary meeting of the board on Tuesday, is apparently in line with its new policy requiring that the "Hinomaru" national flag be "hung facing the front of the stage" and that "teachers and school staff stand and face the national flag and sing the national anthem" during enrollment and graduation ceremonies.