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What do teachers who refuse to sing the national anthem teach children? Kimigayo is the very essence of Japanese culture that has been passed down since ancient times.

2022-12-05  Category:Japanese culture

What do teachers who refuse to sing the national anthem teach children? Kimigayo is the very essence of Japanese culture that has been passed down since ancient times.

Photo by Fg2 (licensed under CC0 1.0)

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``Kimigayo'' is a tanka poem that appears in the Kokin Wakashu. In the Kokin Wakashu, it begins with ``Waga Kimi wa.'' It was put to music during the Meiji period, and officially became Japan's national anthem in 1999, when the ``Law Concerning the National Flag and Anthem'' was enacted. Until then, it had been handed down from ancient times in Japan.

Does it matter for whom Kimigayo was composed? The main idea is to pray for the eternal prosperity of the other person's life, family, and descendants, and it is important that the concept of eternity is expressed as ``until the rocks turn into rocks and become covered with moss.'' It is included in the anthology of ancient and modern waka poems because its outstanding expressiveness moved people, and it has been passed down from generation to generation. If you were not familiar with the poems in the Heian period, it is clear that they had been written and loved long before that.

It was composed at various celebratory occasions, and it no longer matters who the author wrote it for. Since the Meiji era, songs have been written about You as the Emperor, and if you value His Majesty the Emperor, who is also a symbol of the Meiji Restoration, it is no wonder that people sing it like that.

If this song exists to help us imagine and pass on the spirituality of the ancient Japanese people when they prayed for the happiness of others, what on earth should Japanese educators teach? I wonder if it is.