Friday, January 27, 2012
Stand! In the place where you work (as ordered)...
Stand in the place where you live
Now face north
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't before
Now stand in the place where you work
Now face west
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven't before
If you are confused, check with the sun
Carry a compass to help you along
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around
("Stand" by R.E.M. from the album Green released in 1988)
I doubt R.E.M. was thinking about Japan, the Hinomaru and Kimigayo when they wrote this song. Perhaps it is time for a re-make of the video featuring the Hinomaru flag in the background with Tokyo Govenor Ishihara Shintaro and Osaka Mayor Hashimoto Toru singing and dancing.
VAOJ has long been following the lawsuits of teachers who refused to stand for the national anthem and flag at school ceremonies. There have been a few updates recently.
Top court calls for care in punishing teachers over flag, anthem
(from The Mainichi Daily News,1/17/12)
The Supreme Court on Monday nullified some punishments meted out to current and former Tokyo public school teachers for refusing to stand for the hoisting of the Hinomaru national flag or to sing the "Kimigayo" anthem at school events, saying careful consideration is required.
"In choosing a punishment greater than a reprimand, such as a pay cut or a greater punishment, careful consideration is needed," Presiding Justice Seishi Kanetsuki of the top court's First Petty Bench said in delivering rulings on three lawsuits brought by around 170 plaintiffs seeking nullification of their punishments.
The court annulled the suspension from work of one plaintiff and the pay cut for another, saying such punishments amounted to an abuse of power and were therefore illegal.
However, the court found the suspension from work of one plaintiff and reprimands meted out to the remaining plaintiffs were appropriate.
The decision concerned three suits filed by current and former teachers and other staff members at public schools run by the Tokyo metropolitan government.
Last year, the Supreme Court found constitutional school principals' orders requiring teachers at school events to stand up for the raising of the national flag and to sing "Kimigayo," but said such orders indirectly restrict a person's freedom of belief and conscience.
Monday's ruling called for care when punishing teachers for not following those orders.
The ruling could also have an impact on debate in the Osaka prefectural assembly over a proposal calling for a "three strikes and you're out" rule to dismiss school teachers who repeatedly defy principals' orders to stand up and sing "Kimigayo." The proposal has been advocated by a regional political party, the Osaka Restoration Association, led by Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto.
Link to entire story:
Japan Focus has an informative post about this recent development as well (1/22/12).
Japan's Supreme Court Limits National Anthem Punishments for Teachers
And here's more...
Osaka mayor orders officials to bow to flag
(from The Daily Yomiuri Online, 1/23/12)
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto has instructed high-ranking officials of the city government to always bow to the Hinomaru national flag as they take a seat in the municipal assembly's main conference hall and when replying to questions when the assembly is session, it has been learned.
Hashimoto e-mailed the instruction earlier this month to bureau chiefs who sit on the platform of the conference hall during the assembly's deliberations.
Titled "Paying homage to the national flag at the conference hall," the mayor's e-mail read, "You are asked to bow to the flag when seating yourself on the platform," assembly sources said.
The e-mail also said senior city officials were required to bow their heads to the national flag every time they step on the hall's platform or respond to a question posed during assembly deliberations, they said.
Furthermore, the instructions said officials must bow to the flag again when deliberations are resumed after a recess, according to the sources.
Hashimoto has expressed his intention to present a draft ordinance in the coming assembly session in February that will call for the national flag to always be hoisted at the municipal government's facilities.
Link to story:
In today's Daily Yomiuri Online (1/27/12) there is a story about manners and the proper way to bow. Here is an interesting quote:
Japanese etiquette was developed during the era of the samurai, when strict relationships between superiors and subordinates were a key part of class-based societies. The tradition has been passed from generation to generation, but some people today may find its practice cumbersome.
"The idea behind Japanese etiquette is to use actions to express your deep feelings for other people," Kondo says. "As long as you acquire the basics, you can act with grace and confidence, while those around you will treat you with respect."
Link to entire story:
Manners and etiquette through the use of body movements are for showing respect to people. Such gestures should not be forced upon people to display patriotism or national pride.