Home > Education, Japan > Teachers in Japan Finally Teach Something Useful – REVOLUTION!!!

Teachers in Japan Finally Teach Something Useful – REVOLUTION!!!

“All rise for the pledge of allegiance and the singing of our national anthem.”
“I don’t think so. Not this time.”

So was the reaction of Kimiko Nezu, and 20 other teachers who did not rise for the singing of Kimigayo, Japan’s national anthem. So we have some reference as to what I’m talking about here are the words, in English, of Kimigayo:

May your reign
Continue for a thousand years,
For eternity,
Until the pebbles
Grow into boulders
Lush with moss.

Some anthem, isn’t it? If that doesn’t bleed fanatic nationalism, I don’t know what does. For a people stereotyped as timid, polite, and peaceful the Japanese know how to intimidate. Check out some school kids singing Kimigayo by clicking on this link. Personally the uniforms really get me. So militant and ready for commands to be handed down. If I didn’t know a little better I would say it was a military school event – it’s not.

I found this story via The Japan Times Online of Tuesday, April 1st, 2008. Check this link for the full story. No April Fool’s situation here.

The defiance by these school teachers is a shockwave because this is a society that doesn’t deal well with disunity, disloyalty (to the thrown) and dissent. And if I hadn’t mentioned this already, these were teachers. In Japan teachers are supposed to tow-the-line, and be that shining example of unity, loyalty and obedience. Thank God these teachers didn’t shovel that nonsense into the mouths and minds of their students.

I bet most high school students, even university students, don’t know the history behind the Japanese National Anthem? I bet if you ask most people about the history of the Japanese flags they probably couldn’t “recall?” I know if you asked most Americans about the history of the national anthem, and/or the flag they might be a bit “lax” in answering. In Japan blind obedience is what keeps things moving. Whether it be at work, or in the government, people don’t question the powers in charge (especially the reign of the emperor). Hopefully the students of these teachers see what is happening, ask questions, and in the future tear down some of the useless and draconian conventions that are so entrenched in Japan.

I applaud this resistance from these teachers. This is healthy protest. The punishments though can be pretty severe, as teachers lose salary increments, and even risk being dismissed from their jobs. Still, in Japan where dissent is so frowned upon I feel this is a lesson the kids need to learn. Healthy dissent is useful and spurs change. Most of all, ASK QUESTIONS about everything. Don’t settle for the old ways believing they will see us through. This is something Japan will need to address if it is going to remain a major international player, while trying to maintain a robust domestic economy.

  1. April 2, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I finally decided to write a comment on your blog. I just wanted to say good job. I really enjoy reading your posts.

    Tina Russell

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