Yamanashi school song rankles

Koshu, Yamanashi

Regarding the Korea Times editorial titled “Japan slips into retrograde,” which was reprinted in The Japan Times on Aug. 31: As a Japanese who is a member of the Society for the Annulment of Imperial Rescripts, I want the Japanese people to be courageous enough to confront the past and not be influenced by the voices of those whose minds are still buried in the rubble of war.

My alma mater, Hikawa Senior High School of Yamanashi Prefecture, was established in 1905, yet the students continue to sing a school song that played a crucial role in sending students into battlefields. The song says, “Now is the time to do meritorious deeds with the rescript of the Emperor.”

As all Imperial rescripts have been made null and void since the end of World War II under Article 98 of the Japanese Constitution, we think it is irrelevant for schoolmasters and others concerned to force today’s students to sing this unconstitutional school song.

In 2004, 17 Yamanashi residents, including me, filed a lawsuit with Kofu District Court, and in 2006, the Tokyo High Court ruled tentatively that it is questionable whether the school song conforms to principles of the Japanese Constitution based on the people’s sovereignty and the system of a symbolic Emperor.

We have been fighting this bellicose school song in many ways for many years, but the situation has not changed. The people in charge have no ears to listen to our questions or the Tokyo High Court ruling. What shall we do, then, to prevent Japan from being perceived historically as “the Galapagos Islands”?

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

hisashi kasai