Japan: A Christian movie against the idolatry of secular and statist Japan

world | Jan 13, 2012 | By Asia News

Tokyo - A group of Christian teachers are challenging the "imperial system" in pre-war Japan and seeking to assert the right to religious freedom against extreme nationalism and the "deification" of the state. This is the plot of a new film, shot in the Rising Sun by a Japanese director, which will be presented in Tokyo and in Osaka on January 28. It is an open challenge to the statist and secular system of the country as well as the growing marginalization of religion in society.

The film is titled "True To Myself" and was previewed at the Yamagata Film Festival. The director, Toshikuni Doi (pictured), says: "This is a true story, it is how teachers lived during the 'imperial system' prior to World War II. But above all, it speaks of the efforts of these teachers, who through their dignity resisted social pressures, and upheld the right to religion. "

The "imperial system" was a concentration of political propaganda and state control, which included the singing of the national anthem compulsive in all schools in Japan and prayer to the flag of the Rising Sun. In this regime, religions - especially Christianity - were opposed as "Western" and "anti-state". A situation that is not too different from the present: although the constitution guarantees freedom of belief, in fact, since 1999, the Japanese social system has "stimulated idolatry."

This is according to Miwako Sato, a music teacher and member of the United Church of Christ in Japan. According to the teacher, "the film will help us all to become aware of what happened in Japanese schools. The flag and national anthem, a system known as Kimigayo, imposed by force. " According to many critics, this system violated the constitutional rights of thought, conscience, religion and education. For Sato it "was a pyramid system of discrimination."

Sato, who personally opposed this system, concludes: "The merit of this commitment must be given to my late father, who was a prisoner of war before devoting his life to peace as a Christian pastor. He told me once that if I had not been opposed to this regime I would be judged by God. I hope the film gets to the Christian communities around the world: we gave our best, I wish there was an external pressure against this system. "

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