Kiss me, girl(According to Financial Times)


たしかに「newsではなく、正確にはoldsと呼ぶべきものに属する」わけだが、『産経新聞』のおかげで、グローバルな注目を浴びるようになったということは事実だろう。以下、Financial Timesの記事;

Parody of anthem heats up nationalist debate
By David Pilling in Tokyo
Published: May 29 2006 12:14 | Last updated: May 29 2006 12:14

Teachers unwilling to sing the “Kimigayo” national anthem at school ceremonies have been singing a parody version alluding to Japan’s wartime use of South Korean women as sex slaves.

The version, which subverts the lyrics of an anthem that prays for the long life of Japan’s emperor, was on Monday severely criticised by the Sankei newspaper, a conservative daily, which accused participating teachers of “sabotage”.

The parody is apparently hard to distinguish from the original by government officials sent to school inauguration and graduation ceremonies to enforce singing of the anthem, as they have been since 2004 following a directive from the Tokyo education board.

The parody of the “Kimigayo” contains such phrases as the “mad and the dead” and starts with the refrain “kiss me girl”, in apparent reference to the imperial army’s use of so-called “comfort women”, according to versions published on the internet.

Japan has become locked in argument with South Korea over textbooks that brush over, or omit entirely, references to sex slaves.

Monday’s volley from the Sankei newspaper is the latest episode in a wider, often rancorous, debate about the nature and proper extent of patriotism in a country whose majority has been suspicious of national symbols for most of the post-war period.

This month parliamentarians have been debating an amendment to the 1947 basic education law, which seeks to create an education system that develops “an attitude which respects tradition and culture and loves the nation and homeland that have fostered them.”

Junichiro Koizumi, prime minister, argues it is time for Japan to become less queasy about patriotism more than 60 years after the war ended. “It is natural for everybody to develop a sense of emotional attachment and patriotism towards the state,” he told parliament recently.

That view has fairly wide support among the political class, outside the communist and other leftwing parties. Even an alternative bill proposed by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan talks of “cultivating love towards Japan”.

But the move towards patriotism has raised concern among some Japanese, especially teachers’ unions, who say the country is drifting towards nationalism.

Hiroko Arai, a life-long teacher who has been denied teaching jobs since she refused to sing the national anthem, said: “Those in power desire to control education from above. Enforcement or coercion is inappropriate in a place of education.”

She said: “The [pacifist] Article 9 of the constitution is a strong obstacle to the advance of militarism in Japan. To get rid of it, it is necessary to imprint nationalism in the hearts of children.”

Together with four other teachers, Ms Arai is suing the Tokyo board of education for the alleged illegal denial of employment.

On Tuesday, another court case reaches its conclusion when a verdict is handed down on Katsuhisa Fujita, a former teacher at a school in Itabashi, Tokyo. Mr Fujita is being prosecuted for disrupting a graduation ceremony in 2004 by distributing leaflets saying it was not obligatory to sing the anthem or stand before the flag.

Mr Koizumi’s administration has moved to make Japan less hamstrung by its pacifist constitution and wartime guilt. He has defended his right, as head of a long-peaceful nation, to visit the Yasukuni shrine, which in China is a hated symbol of Japanese wartime aggression.

Additional reporting by Kaori Suzuki 

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