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Chinese media on Korean annexation, Shinto will survive after man achieves immortality, 9 percent growth, schools must sing Kimigayo

by Edan Corkill

100 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Sept. 4, 1910

The annexation of Korea and the Chinese press

A dispatch from Mukden [present-day Shenyang in Liaoning Province] says that the local Chinese papers have begun to comment upon the annexation. Most of them, like their Shanghai and Peking contemporaries, find a good mirror to see themselves in the annexation of Korea and predict imminent danger to Manchuria. Some of them state that the ruin of Korea did not begin with the annexation but had already commenced at the time of her becoming a protectorate, and that China may follow in Korea’s footsteps unless she was on alert. A semi-official organ has sarcastically claimed that Japan is absorbing other land based on the beautiful plea that is done “for the sake of peace in the Far East.”

75 YEARS AGO
Friday, Sept. 13, 1935

‘Shinto may end up as sole religion’ if scientists ever make life eternal

Scientists may eventually find a way to make life continuous. When they do this, all the religions of the world will have to be scrapped or greatly modified — that is all except Shintoism.

Such is the view expressed by Mr. J.W.T. Mason, a Shinto scholar who has returned to Japan from a lecture tour in the Unites States and Europe.

Mr. Mason has been studying Shintoism for 25 years, long before he ever came to Japan. He was here from 1932 to 1934 and his book on Shintoism was published here.

Mr. Mason contended that one cannot understand Japan unless one understands Shintoism. “Japanese are a silent people,” he said. “They speak in action rather than words. You must understand Shintoism to understand them.”

He said that Shintoism is the creative force, that one can be a Shintoist and a Christian or a Buddhist at the same time, and that he is a Shintoist and a Christian.

Explaining why Shintoism will be the only religion intact if and when science finds a way to make life continuous, he said that Shintoism concerns itself with the present life and making the best of it. Hell and the future are left out of it.

Overseas he found a wide interest in Shintoism, which he said reflects a move in religions away from orthodoxy to more fundamental concerns.

50 YEARS AGO
Sunday, Sept. 4, 1960

Growth rate target is set at 9 percent

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party yesterday agreed at a party leaders’ conference to set at 9 percent the yearly average rate of the economic growth of the nation between 1961 and 1963 as a basis on which to draw up a new party policy.

The Tory leaders at the same time set a goal of a 26 percent increase in the nation’s per capita income over three years — from this year’s ¥118,900 to ¥149,400 in 1963.

The leaders based their estimate on several considerations, including:

1. The actual annual average growth rate for the past 10-year period is in excess of 9 percent. The growth rate for 1959 ran up to 17.3 percent.

The growth rate for the current fiscal year was initially estimated at 7.3 percent, but it is now certain the actual figure will exceed 10 percent.

2. A greater portion of Japan’s economic growth stems from increased domestic consumption. Therefore, it is believed this country will be largely unaffected by fluctuations in the international economy.

25 YEARS AGO
Friday, Sept. 6, 1985

Ministry orders ‘Kimigayo’ and flag role at schools

The Education Ministry has instructed all the prefectural offices of education throughout the country to ensure the Hinomaru (Rising Sun) flag is hoisted and “Kimigayo” is sung at graduation and entrance ceremonies at primary, junior and senior high schools run by state, prefectural and other local governments.

The instruction was delivered under the name of Kunio Takaishi, director of the ministry’s Elementary and Secondary Education Bureau to the prefectural office chiefs. In the instruction, Takaishi said that as some public high schools do not raise the flag or sing “Kimigayo” at graduation ceremonies, education office chiefs must take effective measures against such schools.

It was the first time that the ministry issued such an administrative measure in connection with the flag and the national anthem.

The Japan Teachers’ Union (Nikkyoso), strongly protesting the ministry’s measure, called it an unfair intervention, and it was apparent that the measure was taken in line with Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone’s reactionary policy.

It is certain that the measure will revitalize a long dispute between the ministry and the union over the handling of the flag and “Kimigayo,” observers said.

Ministry officials explained that the measure was taken mainly because a recent survey on the issue found that public schools in certain areas are failing to perform mandatory activities mentioned in the 1958 partial revision of the school education manual. The manual said, “It is desirable to hoist the national flag and sing ‘Kimigayo’ in chorus during ceremonies on national holidays and other occasions.”

While the Rising Sun has served as the nation’s banner since 1870, “Kimigayo” has not been officially designated as a national anthem. ["Kimigayo" was designated as the national anthem in 1999.]

In this feature, which appears in Timeout on the third Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 114-year-old archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity.