The April 2 editorial “Institutional intolerance in Osaka” states that by March 27 the board had taken disciplinary actions against 32 teachers for not standing up and singing Japan’s national anthem “Kimigayo.” Prefectural Gov. Ichiro Matsui is quoted as having said, “It was good that criminals intent on breaking the rules have risen to the surface.” Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto and Matsui seem to create conflict in this telling of the Kimigayo “criminals.”
As an American, I have little understanding of the subtle nature of this authoritarian tactic, except with regard to recent history here in the United States. Calling teachers criminals diminishes respect for them as people and professionals. What example are Hashimoto and Matsui creating for children and families in Osaka?
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.” – Abraham Lincoln.
Perhaps Lincoln could help Hashimoto and Matsui better understand democracy. Which role would Hashimoto and Matsui choose for teachers: slaves, masters or neither?
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.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.