by TAWADA Yoko
…Several years ago a new law was passed in Japan decreeing that the Japanese flag was to be raised at every ceremony taking place at schools and universities in the country. It determined the exact size of the flag. Otherwise, some people could decide to raise a flag that was smaller than a postage stamp. The law insisted that the flag was to be raised in the middle of the stage where it could be seen by everyone. At each of the ceremonies the national anthem in its original form was to be sung. Indeed there had been one incident where a music teacher had interpreted the anthem as a jazz number and had sung it in that style…..The Academy of Foreign Languages in Tokyo, for example, raised the national flag as instructed by the law, with one small difference: it also raised a further hundred and ten flags from other countries. That could only work once. A new “improved” law stipulated that no additional flags may be raised…..Old-style nationalism, like the national flag, has probably made a comeback in the last few years because the alternative form of nationalism based on industrial products no longer functions. People are no longer proud of companies that like to merge with foreign firms and lay off their employees. Moreover, most companies no longer belong to one country alone…..