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Kozo's Thoughts
Random, Weird, and 100% 石黒光司
Random Musings on Institutional Identity 
Monday March 28th, 2005 2:15
Ohta Kouzou
I try to read a little Japanese a couple of times a week. Generally I read a news item on the 朝日新聞 (Asahi Newspaper) website, or read random Wikis on Wikipedia Japan. Tonight I just happened to look up the city I call home while I'm in Japan, 国立市 (Kunitachi City). As I read I recognized some familiar things and learned some new things. One thing that struck me was under the 大きな出来事 (Major Events) heading, was the title 国立二小卒業式問題 (The Kunitachi Second Elementary School Graduation Ceremony Problem). The reason this title caught my eye is because I attended 国立第二小学校 (Kunitachi Second Elementary School) every year for about 4 weeks at a time during the summers of 1991 to 1996. The "Problem" (which probably translates better as "controversy") concerns the 国旗及び国歌に関する法律 (Law Concerning the National Flag and Anthem). The law, which was passed in August of 1999, officially designated the 君が代 (Kimi Ga Yo) & the 日の丸 (Rising Sun) as the official Anthem and Flag of Japan, respectively. The law compels public schools to raise the flag and sing the anthem at all school events. Both the flag and anthem are seen by some to be a tie to Japan's imperialistic past. Apparently my old school ran into problems when graduating students objected to the flag being raised on the roof of the school.

It's weird to read about things which happen in institutions in which you were once a member. The events that transpired have absolutely noting to do with me, or my time at the school. Yet there's a sense that some thing happened at MY school. Funny how we like to identify (positive/negative) with the institutions of which we once were associated....
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