Compulsory nationalism in Tokyo

Hi there. I used to post here under the name CzechMaster401k until around two years ago, when I became content to lurk. Once the time came to either register or let my membership lapse, I let the latter happen. I’ve been lurking since then, and for all the indignation I share with many of you towards the political situation in the states and my desire to join in discussions of the apprentice, it seems odd that I would speak up again about this, but to the point:

Today I read an article in the New York Times entitled “Tokyo’s Flag Laws: Patriotism or Indoctrination?” Unfortunately, I only read it in the paper copy and I’m not registered on the site so I can’t post quotes, but here’s the link for those who are:

Tokyo’s Flag Laws

Apparently people are required BY LAW to stand up and sing the national anthem at various official functions and schools in the Tokyo area. Several teachers have lost their jobs over refusing to do so, which is itself abhorrent, but there are some other good bits.

They have people “patrolling” the aisles and taking the names of the noncompliant, who then face some form of punishment, such as in the case of the aforementioned teachers Not only that, they have people to RATE how loudly students sing the anthem to gauge how patriotic they are.

Even though he’s just a figurehead, Akihito has dismissed this as the load of shit that it is, saying that you can’t enforce patriotism. But then, the right-wing governor of Tokyo’s prefecture has dismissed that in turn as the result of the influence of the Emperor’s American Quaker tutor when he was a kid.

So the Emperor’s opinion on this matter is simply the result of his mind having been poisoned by intellectuals who are out of touch with reality? Sound familiar to anyone? :rolleyes:

So here’s a hearty FUCK YOU SIDEWAYS to the governor of Tokyo and his cronies with their dirty spies and intimidation. Fuck you right in place where the troglodytes that came up with free speech zones and loyalty oaths at political rallies in this country so soundly deserve to be fucked. Keep right on trying to chase down thought crime, those students are snickering behind your back while you cream yourself over your precious piece of fabric. Fuck you. A thousand times, FUCK YOU.

It’s terrifying to think that crazy fucks like this have power and the people willing to carry out their orders, not only in this country, but now Japan too. Any Japanese dopers know how prevalent this crock really is? God damn. :mad:

Wow, and people give us 'mericans a hard time about patriotism…:eek:

You might want to e-mail a mod about this ASAP…

I think I see what you mean.

I just tried clicking on Lynn Bodoni’s name at the bottom of the page but it said that I didn’t have permission to access whatever was on the other side of the link. I think I’ll just head over to ATMB.

I have only one question for you, Khan:

Why do you hate Americ-- errr, Japan?

I think this may be the article you are referring to:

Patriotism law makes some Japanese jittery

Shintaro Ishihara has long been a hater of foreigners and other suspect people, so it comes as no surprise that he wishes to attack others.

While the governor of Tokyo is definitely a jackass, it should be noted that the vast majority of Japanese people I know are opposed to this law. Not that they’re really doing anything about it.

From the article, Takayuki Tsuchiya, a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly said:

You can email me at Or some such address. If you can’t figure it out, I probably don’t WANT to talk to you.

Anyway, put SDMB in the subject field, as I’m on several active lists and I’m inclined to not read everything right away, unless I recognize that it’s from a SDMB member.

Oh, and I’m closing this thread til you pay up.

For the Straight Dope

Since Khan has ponied up, I’m opening this thread again…and bumping it, too.

For the Straight Dope

I might be reading the article wrong, but I think you’re a little mistaken about the above. The only people being punished for non-compliance are teachers. Regardless of whether requiring teachers to stand or not is acceptable, I don’t see having someone walking around enforcing the rule is particularly outrageous. And the only rating I saw mentioned in the article was done as a survey, at a school-wide level, in Fukuoka (which is about as far away from Tokyo as you can get).

I’m curious as to whether American teachers are required to lead their students in the Pledge of Allegiance. I know students have the right to remain seated and silent, but I wonder if teachers are expected to participate as part of their job.

As an aside, I first heard about the Tokyo rule while I was working as a public school teacher in Japan. It was a very unpopular decision with my Japanese co-workers, who were thankful that it didn’t apply to them. It is rather shocking, coming from an American perspective, how few people show any respect towards their national anthem and flag. Here is a picture I took at a graduation ceremony during the national anthem. Unfortunately, the only teacher you can see in the picture is the Principal, but I’d say that the rate of standing among teachers was about the same as it was for the students.

I can understand why the conservatives are upset, but they couldn’t be more wrong about their students. I think that anyone who has spent any amount of time in Japan would agree that the Japanese take a great deal of pride from being Japanese. They might not be as “patriotic” in the sense seen in America, but they’re certainly nationalistic.

Welcome back, Khan.