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Support For National Anthem

Date Posted: 1999-05-14

Most Japanese would prefer to see the unofficial national anthem and rising sun flag recognized by the government as official symbols of the nation, a recent survey shows. The survey, conducted nationwide last month by the Mainichi Shimbun, showed 77 percent of respondents hoped for official recognition of the hinomaru (rising sun) flag, while 61 percent said they would like to see ‘Kimigayo’ (His Majesty’s Reign) the country’s unofficial national anthem, officially recognized.

Although widely used throughout the world, discussions on granting both symbols an official status have seen heated debate in the Japanese parliament against such a move, particularly by the left, who believe both symbols are a link to the country’s military and imperial past. The poll also showed a disparity over both symbols between the young and the old, with 48 percent of people in their 20s saying they favor ‘Kimigayo’ and 64 percent stating they felt strongly about the Hinomaru. Eighty-percent of those aged in their 60s, however, said they felt strongly about both the anthem and flag. Only 19 percent of respondents said they felt no affection toward the flag, while 30 percent harbored similar feelings about the anthem.

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