World Wingnut Crusade

The New York Times brings some Japanese wingers to our attention. But first, their victim:

Toru Kondo, an English teacher at a public high school here…was recently required to take a two-hour “special retraining course,” lectured on his mistaken ways and given a sheet of paper on which to engage in half an hour of written self-examination.

His offense was to defy the Tokyo Board of Education’s new regulation requiring teachers to sing the national anthem while standing and facing the national flag.

The regulation (which I looked at previously here) was brought in by Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, but has wider political support:

Takayuki Tsuchiya, a Tokyo assemblyman, said the new regulation was necessary to counterbalance decades of leftist lectures by teachers, especially members of the Japan Teachers’ Union.

However, the actual enforcer is Kunio Yonenaga, who made a bit of a faux pas a couple of months ago when he met Emperor Akihito and related his achievements:

Mr. Yonenaga, who had expected encouragement, was instead rebuked by the emperor, who said, “It’s not desirable to do it by force.” Taken aback, Mr. Yonenaga…interrupted the emperor and blurted out, “Thank you for your wonderful words.”

Tsuchiya, though, has an explanation for why the emperor’s nationalism is weak:

Asked why he thought the emperor held such a view, Mr. Tsuchiya mentioned the influence of Elizabeth Vining, a Quaker schoolteacher from Philadelphia, who tutored Akihito, then the crown prince, from 1946 to 1950.

Well, Akihito seems to have turned out better than the USA’s only Quaker president, at any rate (some obits for Vining have been collected here)…

Yonenaga is a former shogi (Japanese chess) master. He is also a member of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform, responsible for a textbook that allegedly features the Nanking “Incident” as just a minor blip in Japan’s efforts to liberate Asia (I wonder if he got tips from Douglas Wilson?). Back in 1998 the Weekly Shincho apparently exposed his “shameful private life”, but there are sadly no details on-line (at least in English).

The new regulation must have American wingers green with envy, judging from this report in the Hampton Union:

A Pledge of Allegiance issue at the Seabrook Middle School has been dropped by the School Board, to the dissatisfaction of parents who turned out Monday night to protest one teacher’s refusal to stand during the morning recitation.

“…If we go any further with her it’s going to be another lawsuit,” said [school] board member Jim Fuller. “I’ll go out on a limb here. She knows how to play the game. I’d like to tell her how to operate, but I can’t do that.”

Go west, Mr Fuller, go west…

(Thanks to History News Network for NYT link; Jesus’ General for Hampton Union and Douglas Wilson links)