Osaka votes in favor of enforced singing of Japanese national anthem in public schools

OSAKA —

A plenary session of the Osaka municipal assembly on Tuesday voted in favor of a new ordinance that makes it compulsory for teachers at public schools throughout the prefecture to stand and sing the Japanese national anthem “Kimigayo.” The ordinance was proposed by Mayor Toru Hashimoto.

Osaka prefectural government politicians first voted in favor of singing the “Kimigayo” in schools last June as part of a “patriotism” initiative by Hashimoto who was then Osaka governor. When he was elected mayor in November, Hashimoto said he would like an ordinance to enforce the decision, TBS reported.

The proposal was put forward by a coalition of two minority parties, the Osaka Restoration Association and the New Komeito Party, as well as the Liberal Democratic Party. The merits of introducing new legislation were debated long into the night, eventually resulting in a majority vote in favor of the changes, TBS reported.

Early Wednesday, Hashimoto told a news conference: “We, as elected representatives of the people, have thoroughly debated the issue and the outcome was overwhelmingly in favor of a new regulation enforcing the singing of ‘Kimigayo’ in public schools. Our opinions are to be taken as representative of the wishes of the people, so the national anthem will be sung at school assemblies such as entrance and graduation ceremonies.”

Japan Today

  • 0

    WilliB

    I would like to hear some of that "enforced singing".

  • 1

    plasticmonkey

    I suggest that teachers with a conscience now sing Kimigayo loudly and off tune. They can't make an ordinance against that.

  • -1

    DoLittleBeLate

    They can't make an ordinance against that.

    No?

    "Our opinions are to be taken as representative of the wishes of the people"

    You see, that doesn't sound good at all.

  • -11

    j4p4nFTW

    This is a great news!Hashimoto is really the best for Osaka,and maybe Japan in future.The problem is with the teachers union,which takes a very unpatriotic view of Japan.

  • -1

    plasticmonkey

    Updated ordinance, 2013--Kimagayo will be sung by all teachers. Said teachers will stand erect, military style, with facial expression suitably dignified, modest, and yet adoring. All singing will be spirited but solemn, in perfect pitch and with a tasteful level of vibrato. Eyes will not divert from the Hinomaru and the unfathomable inner beauty of the pure and eternal Japanese spirit it represents. And you will mean every word you sing. You will love your country, and you will love it honestly.

    The majority have so wished.

  • -1

    smithinjapan

    Ah, fascism! No one who believes in this ordinance can any longer talk about how evil a Communist government like NKorea is, because the Osaka government is forcing their will on the people, not allowing them to choose.

  • 1

    Herve Nmn L'Eisa

    Big Brother has his way in many nations, and this is but one example. This should serve as a reminder to the people of Osaka that they neither live in a true democracy nor a Constitutional Republic. A bit of Civil Disobedience is in order. Each person should be free to follow their conscience freely.

  • -1

    USB

    I don't know the words. Now I have to learn them too. Can I just sing the chorus?

  • 2

    GW

    sieg heil, mein fuhrer!

  • 1

    avigator

    Patriotism should come from people's heart, not from enforcement. Would you force somebody to love you? How insecure can somebody be to resort to this sort of scheme? It resembles the practice of some religions that profess compulsory conversion. Persuasion is the key to gaining somebody's favorable opinion on a matter.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    Just another step on the road to totalitarianism.

    Just as you cannot legislate morality (though governments continually try to do so), you ALSO cannot legislate patriotism. Forcing someone to sing something they don't want to does absolutely nothing towards instilling patriotism in that person and anyone nearby will easily be able to tell the singer is being coerced into singing.

  • 0

    Chris Lowery

    I really adore Japan, and that's my choice. I even like the chords of the Japanese national anthem, they are very nice and somber, and that is my choice. However, with this action taken, I tend to think that they will be a model for Japan to test the waters of totalitarism. However,as history so blatantely shows, whenever choice is taken away from a people or society, it tends to incite rebellion. I'm all for team spirit, but i feel that this choice should be left up to the school district. To put something like this into law, its almost archaic. What era is Hashimoto ls iving in? How can People be so educated and yet so very imature, insecure, and show themselves once more being weighed in the balances of a free society,and found so very wanting? Peace

  • -1

    ubikwit

    did the supreme court decision prohibit sanctioning of teachers for refusing to sing?

    if so, i don't think that this ordinance will stand in the courts.

  • -2

    garomakaikishi

    i think its patriotic. besides its a public school so basically teachers there are civil servants right?

  • 2

    YuriOtani

    How about voting to do something useful? Like cleaning up all of the industrial wastes that are in the city canals and probably water. How many people get cancer or die from other effects of the poisons?

  • -3

    Bartholomew Harte

    Are these "Teachers" ashamed of their nation? They are there to teach children to be proud of Who They Are and if that's not possible they should find other ways to make a living,ther are plenty of other qualified people out there ready to work AND put their personal feelings where they need to be-Off Campus!

  • 0

    Darren Brannan

    Boo hiss Osaka.

  • -1

    WilliB

    You can force someone to sing, but you not force someone to sing in tune. I would like to hear some of these forced renditions of kimigayo (not).

  • 1

    Scrote

    "The merits of introducing new legislation were debated long into the night": what are the merits, because I'm finding it difficult to think of any?

    Will singing a song help restore the finances of Osaka? No.

    Will it help the students gain jobs or places at university? No.

    Will it demonstrate the intolerance of Hashimoto? Yes.

  • 0

    Zen student

    Samuel Johnson: "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel".

  • 1

    Zen student

    Having said that, patriotism is not always a bad thing. It's a two-edged sword.

  • 1

    VicMOsaka

    If you loved your country wouldn't you not mind to sing the national anthem ? What about USA. They revere their stars and stripes and stand with their hands across their hearts whenever it is played. When I was young, we had to sing God save the queen. It does instill some respect for your country.

  • -4

    Star-viking

    Hashimoto, a populist with totalitarian tendencies - remind you of anyone?

  • -1

    Star-viking

    VicMOsakaMar. 01, 2012 - 10:40AM JST

    If you loved your country wouldn't you not mind to sing the national anthem ? What about USA. They revere their stars and stripes and stand with their hands across their hearts whenever it is played. When I was young, we had to sing God save the queen. It does instill some respect for your country.

    I stand for God save the Queen, but I love that people can stay seated and suffer no legal punishments in the UK - unlike here.

  • 0

    Greapper1

    As civil servants, I too think they should be required to sing it.

  • 3

    Faderkinta

    I remember having to sing the American national anthem. However there were a few kids who were Johova witnesses. While the teachers tried to force them to sing these kids were crying; why, because their assembly told them they could only pledge to God anything else would damn their souls. It was hard being happy or patriotic while hearing those kids cry. You can force patriot displays but it's a slippery slope to losses of other valued freedoms.

    In reality it is only a song. Which if the teachers don't sing or sing, it still won't effect students' grades. The government tries regulating the teachers left and right, but then let them hang in the wind with disruptive students.

    Anyway for the longest time I thought as a kid that the last line was like ( Let three dumb rings!) Sang it that way until fifth when pointed out that it was 'let freedom ring'. The anthem of any nation is just a song most with words, that can be as hallow or meaningful as you let it be.

  • 1

    tairitsuiken

    This is great. Enforced anything makes teachers feel better about themselves, making them feel more like individuals with a choice, something they will of course transfer to their students. Thus, Japan will be a happier society.

    Seriously, is Japan going towards another sakoku? Do we really need MORE "patriotism" in this country?

  • -1

    Fadamor

    I work in an American public school system. The rules have changed now for exactly the reason Faderkinta spoke of. You do NOT have to recite the Pledge of Alliegance or sing the National Anthem, but if you don't participate, you have to remain quiet and non-disruptive while it is being recited/sung. This way everyone's beliefs - whether religious or otherwise - are respected.

  • 1

    YuriOtani

    Supporting your country does not mean blind support of your country. If these teachers do not want to sing they should not be forced. It loses it meaning when forced or pressured to be sung.

  • 0

    Nationalist Reborn

    Forcing people into doing national service, this is so un-Japanese, whatever happened to ostracism and right-wing harassment?

  • 1

    DentShop

    Our opinions are to be taken as representative of the wishes of the people

    Unfortunately this is true. The people have not learnt the lessons of history and are thus doomed to repeat it.

  • -3

    peanut666

    They sing the national anthem in China in their schools. It is mandatory.

  • -2

    Minori

    if they want the anthem to be sung they better only enforce school principals and manciples.....i'm sure students will be happy :D

    plus enforcing teachers to sing is not good at all......but who says patriotism is bad? patriotism would not necessarily turn into militarism. its just not related at all.......

  • -2

    peanut666

    It should be mandatory for all students to sing the national anthem since the government does subsidize the schools.

  • -1

    Thomas Anderson

    Most ordinary Japanese people do not understand basic concepts such as "human rights" and "democracy". Japan still seems to think that it is Nazi Germany. This is a clear violation of freedom of thought/religion. Most Japanese people think that this is fine and those who do not sing the national anthem are "anti-Japanese traitors" and they may get harassed or ostracized. Japan is still a very backward country, it can't possibly be called an "advanced democratic nation". It is still a developing country which has many commonalities with North Korea.

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    The problem with Japan is that it is such an isolated nation that they do not realize that this kind of enforced patriotism/nationalism is hardly the "norm" in the rest of the world. They do not realize that this is exactly what Nazi Germany did during their fascism, which Japan has also went through and suffered immensely as a result. They do not learn from history because they hardly teach any actual history. Little do they know that it is exactly this kind of nonsense that will make the whole world think that Japan is such a backward country...

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