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Instead, it expressed the widespread feeling not only of his fellow villagers, but of a large number of Okinawans and Japanese north of Okinawa. Burning a national flag is sacrilege; 36 Harumi Befu for that very reason, flag burning is a powerful means of communicating strong emotions of protest. In , the flag issue continued to plague schools in Okinawa. At Urazoe Industrial High School, only about half of the graduating seniors rose to their feet when the flag was raised.

At Nakanishi Middle School, graduating seniors initially boycotted the ceremony because the flag was being displayed. Herein lies the problem. The Ministry thus made explicit the imperial reference of the national anthem. Professor Yamazumi Masaki of the Tokyo Metropolitan University, a critic of the mandatory use of the national flag and the national anthem, argues that students should be taught how the anthem was exploited before and during the last war Yamazumi Given the above background, it is not surprising that in Okinawa Kimigayo is not welcome. Even after administrative guidance to show respect to the national anthem, half of the graduating students at Urazoe Industrial High School remained seated, instead of standing as expected, when Kimigayo was broadcast at the graduation ceremony in Had the school abandoned any attempt to have students themselves sing Kimigayo?

According to a survey by the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education, only at 3.

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At Symbols of nationalism 37 high school level, at only two schools was Kimigayo used at graduation and only taped recordings at that Sekai What is noticeable here is that the percentage of schools adopting Kimigayo is much lower than that adopting Hinomaru. For example, per cent of elementary schools adopted the use of the flag at graduation ceremonies in , whereas Kimigayo was sung at only 3. The reasons why percentages are significantly lower for singing Kimigayo than for raising the Japanese flag are not hard to find. For one, singing requires active participation by students, whereas one need only passively observe a flag being raised.

Students seem to be willing to be bystanders of nationalism, or at least prepared to tolerate it, but not to be active participants in it. For another reason, the narrative meaning of the flag—what the red and white colours signify—is rather muted. On the other hand, Kimigayo, of course, clearly informs singers in its verses of the centrality of the emperor for the Japanese nation.

Resistance to actively singing a song whose words remind singers of hateful and dreadful wartime experiences is naturally higher than to passively observing a symbol whose meaning is hidden behind red and white colours. For the national emblem—a stylised chrysanthemum flower—is the emblem of the imperial family. However, the burden of a simple emblem is certainly not as weighty as the person of the emperor or the imperial institution. Not much use is made of it in postwar Japan; and it creates little fuss.

During the war, however, kiku no gomon, as the imperial emblem is called, was embossed on rifles issued to soldiers as a reminder that they belonged to the emperor and that soldiers were entrusted with them to fight in his name. It was also printed on the wrapper of cigarettes that soldiers received from time to time as a reward for fighting the imperial war. Such uses, of course, enhance the association of the emblem with war and serve as an unpleasant reminder.

It is somewhat of a surprise, therefore, to find this emblem on the cover of the passport which every Japanese citizen travelling abroad carries. Do they no longer associate the emblem with the emperor? Or, if they do, do they not care? Although Japan does have such a tomb, like the soldiers entombed therein it is virtually unknown to the public. Much better known—in fact universally known in Japan—are Yasukuni jinja in Tokyo and the Gokoku jinja distributed throughout the country. The former enshrines the souls of all soldiers who died for the country in wars since around the Meiji Restoration, while the latter are for soldiers from the local provinces who so died.

Yasukuni, of course, is of national significance whereas Gokoku jinja are only of local import. Until the end of the last war, Yasukuni jinja played a pivotal role in bolstering patriotism Sugiyama At present 2,, souls are enshrined there Oe Elevating Shintoism from folk belief to state religion, and setting up the emperor as its centre piece, the Japanese state managed to create a unique religious basis for its nationalism.

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Yasukuni was easily integrated into the state Shinto theology, where the war dead became Shinto gods and spiritual protectors of the nation. Nationalism and militaristic jingoism thus became one in Yasukuni. Whereas the tombs of unknown soldiers in western countries are not explicitly religious, the Shinto character of Yasukuni renders a ready aura of sacredness.

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This religious basis made it convenient for drumming up patriotism, since patriotism —and nationalism, for that matter—is a form of civil religion Hiro and Yamamoto Until the end of the war, Yasukuni and most other major Shinto shrines were supported by the state, and they in turn aided the state by supporting the nationalistic and imperial efforts of the country. After the Second World War, due to the constitutional separation of the state and religion, Yasukuni became a private religious corporation National Diet Library, Research and Legislative Reference Department The problematic nature of Yasukuni lies in the fact that in spite of the constitutional requirement for total Symbols of nationalism 39 separation of state and religion, the conservative government wishes to use Yasukuni for its political goals, as was done before and during the last war Eto and Kobori ; Kogawa In fact, it is so problematic that every year as 15 August—the anniversary of the end of the last war when memorial services for the war dead are held—approaches, public debate is held as surely as the return of the summer heat as to whether high government officials—the prime minister and his cabinet members—would or should visit Yasukuni Shrine Kamiya His visit to Yasukuni was followed by succeeding prime ministers.

No public debate ensued from their visits in these early years, possibly because they were not associated with any public event, such as the 15 August memorial for the war dead. Two ministers, however, were sufficiently hawkish to announce that their visits to Yasukuni were in the capacity of public officials. Even right-wing ultra-conservatives riding around in vans blaring out the national anthem were, according to newspapers, respectful of these marchers.

It is probably because of this problematic nature of Yasukuni that no foreign head of state ever visits it, whereas visits to the tombs of unknown soldiers in other countries are regularly scheduled events and a way of paying respect to the country visited. Thus three issues overlay one another with respect to Yasukuni Shrine.

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First, there is the popular disdain of Yasukuni as a symbol of the patriotism which led Japan to disaster and as a means to legitimate an illegitimate war. Second, there is the issue of the constitutional separation of religion and the state, which is covertly and overtly violated by government high officials visiting the shrine.

Public rituals Public rituals are an effective means of fostering and bolstering nationalism. Every nation takes advantage of seasonal or cyclical rituals for this purpose. National rituals are important for calling forth a sense of belonging to a nation and oneness with the state.

The coronation of a king or a queen Cannadine is an obvious example of an occasion when a whole nation is expected to participate in the celebration of a national rite of passage. In the United States, the presidential inauguration, which takes place every four years, rivals a coronation if only in the amount of money spent.

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Symbols of nationalism 41 We saw above how the school graduation ceremony is being used by the Japanese government to promote patriotism, loyalty and nationalism through the forced adoption of the Japanese flag and the national anthem. As this case illustrates, in Japan, as long as state rituals are associated with the imperial institution, they create problems, are divisive and provoke anxiety.

A good example is the funeral of the last emperor. In short, controversy was concerned with whether or not the funeral, which involved Shinto rites, could be sponsored by the government. This government concession turned out to be pure tatemae, and only thinly disguised Shinto involvement in the funeral, for the two parts were indivisible, and all participants had to attend both. Members of the Japan Socialist Party, who wished to attend only the secular part, eventually had to attend from the beginning to the end. As for the coronation of the new emperor, citizens groups raised objections to the ceremony, held in November The National Conference to Guard against the Erosion of Separation of the State and Religion Seikyo Bunri no Shingai o Kanshi suru Zenkoku Kaigi passed a resolution objecting to the coronation and began signature drives in September to present to the parliament.

While the issue in terms of tatemae is the constitutional requirement of separation of the state and religion, as a honne agenda, these groups are attempting to limit the role of the imperial institution in fostering a nationalistic and patriotic spirit in Japan.

All the major symbols discussed inhere divisiveness. Problems arise with these symbols because what is symbolised by them is the legitimacy of war which Japanese reject and moreover renounce in their constitution. What they reject and renounce are the possibility of turning Japan into a battlefield and dying in the name of the emperor and the state, as well as the possibility of causing war either at home or abroad. Indeed, these symbols have the potential to cause the opposite effect of turning people against the state.

It is in the absence of major symbols which can serve to define cultural identity, express national unity and demonstrate national pride that Nihonjinron comes in as a convenient substitute. Nihonjinron is not suggested here as a per cent functional substitute, since Nihonjinron, as a discourse, lacks the strong emotional content which the national flag and other physical symbols have. Let us examine the relationship between the discourse of nationalism and national symbols, which form a continuum in terms of the amount of narrative content on the one hand and emotional content on the other.

These two variables are negatively correlated. At one end are symbols with a minimum of descriptive or discursive contents, such as the flag; at the other end is the Nihonjinron literature, which defines in discourse national and cultural identity. Somewhere in the middle are national symbols with some discursive elements, such as the national anthem which in a few terse lines tries to inform of the distilled essence of nationalism.

Rituals, though usually lacking in extensive narrative content, do provide some descriptive meaning in the speeches which usually go with them.

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In so far as emotional commitment and hortative content are concerned, physical symbols, monuments and rituals are as strong as discourses are weak. They conjure up emotional identification with the nation and motivate citizens to be patriotic with few words or without words at all. In the absence of major national and nationalistic symbols which unequivocally unify the Japanese nation, Nihonjinron, as a discourse on nationalism, can substitute to the extent that these symbols have discursive functions, both descriptive and hortative, and to the extent that Nihonjinron can arouse readers emotionally as physical symbols do.

The convenience of Nihonjinron is that its contents can be readily altered. The Nihonjinron of the war years is not the same as that of the s. Its contents have been altered. Yet discursive means of national identification live on, and have gained an importance they never had before.

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Flexibility allows different contents to be put into the discourse. In the history of Nihonjinron, from time to time, contents differed radically. In fact, they have turned around completely since the last war. The wartime Nihonjinron was, needless to say, dominated by state-sponsored, emperor-centered ideology, illustrated by the aforementioned Kokutai no Hongi drafted by the Ministry of Education.

This flexibility is absent in physical symbols. No doubt symbols need to be interpreted and can be given new meaning, and this is done discursively. However, interpretation of a flag or a monument cannot vary a great deal.