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Monday, May 29, 2006



I had the chance to listen the Japanese anthem, performed by Arigato Band and the Berlin Orchestra and it was such an amazing experience. Beautiful composition.

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I think that that is an oversimplified version of the causes of the war of 1812. Britain had repeatedly violated US sovereignty, and had engaged in what can only be called piracy against American shipping, and had essentially drafted US citizens into their navy. These were clearly acts of war, and Canada was at that time a British possession. The details are a bit complicated, and are related to the trade in Russian hemp, an essential commodity for naval warfare in those days.

Of course, in 1812 the US was still in a mood to grab as much land as it could get its hands on, which was clearly a motivation for the war. But the US had every right to go to war against Britain and its possessions. That may have been a fig leaf to cover expansionist policies, but neither Britain nor Canada had any right to complain about it given their acts of war against the US.

The war of 1812 was still a bit of an exercise in futility, but if you want an example of a truly silly war, the Spanish-American war is a better example.


Hi, there. I’m new here.
Taro’s post reminds me of the Star Wars karaoke we enjoyed at Daicon 3, 20th Japan SF Convention took place in 1981.
They made up a lyric for the theme of Star Wars. It goes…
Teikoku wa totemo tsuyoi
Senkan wa totemo dekai
Darth Vader wa kuroi
Trooper wa shiroi
Death Star marui

The translation is…
The Empire is very strong
Their warships are so gigantic
Darth Vader is in black
Troopers are in white
Death Star is round

The lyric that says nothing but the facts everyone saw in the movie made us laugh and we enjoyed the silliness.

Speaking of Sci-Fi cons, a world con will take place in Japan in 2007. https://www.nippon2007.org/
I can't wait for attending it.


Mari-san, since you brought up the topic of Japanese nationalism, and since I have a regrettable habit of bringing up impolite tangential topics, I wanted to mention an article I saw last week on Asahi.com (https://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200605270132.html), which stated that 50 elementary schools in Saitama had started to grade pupils on patriotism. Please forgive the question, but have you noticed a rise in Japanese nationalism over the last few years?

I am alarmed that the U.S. seems to be heading in the direction of unthinking nationalism, and I hope that the rest of the world will be spared this.


>>"I couldn't get the meaning of filksong well."<<

A "filksong" is a parody song that normally only sung at SciFi conventions by geeks/otaku. Most English newspapers are calling this kimgayo "a parody version in English."

(Basically, the word "filksong" is too geeky/rare to use in normal writing--it's not in most English dictionaries.)


Actually, Taki, it is the official anthem of Japan. In 1999, Japan passed 国旗及び国歌に関する法律, The Law Concerning the National Flag and Anthem. It declared two things:

1) That 君が代 (Kimi ga yo) is the national anthem of Japan.
2) The 日の丸 (Hinomaru) is the national flag of Japan.

It was in the years after this law passed that more people began protesting 君が代, because now that it is official, people who don't like the song are upset at having it be with official anthem of Japan.

Also, I think most Americans know the story of the Star-Spangled Banner, our national anthem. It was originally a poem written by Francis Scott Key regarding the battle with British ships at Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. We learn about this numerous times in school as we're growing up. And I think many also know that the war came about because of American expansionism into British Canada.


Two things of interest.
1. I heard that kimgayo is not the "official" anthem of Japan and there is no "official" anthem.
2. I think most Americans don't realize that their anthem doesn't come from the War of Independence with Britian but instead invading British Canada because they thought they could get away with it while the British were busy with Napolean in 1812.

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