another way: (Un)singing Kimigayo (Japanese National Anthem)

Title: “another way: (Un)singing Kimigayo (Japanese National Anthem)”
Material: video (single channel: 2min 03sec)
Year 2013

2013 Solo Exhibition “Empty Sound Filled Voice sand, Then In the Middle of It” (ARCADE/ Okinawa)

Most schools in Japan teach “Kimigayo (Japanese National Anthem)” to students except the ones in Hiroshima and Okinawa. Teaching/not teaching “Kimigayo” at school reflects their understanding of the history. In this work, the artist asks the people living in Okinawa to sing “Kimigayo” as s/he remembers. Young generations do not share particular political view, and thus have no specific feeling towards “Kimigayo.” However, they fail to sing the song properly since they simply do not know it. Although they are familiar with the song through sports news on TV etc., it is still difficult to sing the song that they never had a chance to sing before. We see slight hesitation and possible surprise in facial expression of the singer in the video. Through their expressions, the work seeks to indicate the existence of an alternative history surrounding Kimigayo, and the possibility of understanding the song differently. While a symbolic motif like national anthem tends to have singular meaning, which applies to everyone, the work seeks to shift the meaning and the image of such strong motif. In an ambivalent attitude of the singers in the video, we might find a new way of rethinking the history based on the attitude of not knowing.