A comparative study on the values represented in Japanese primary school songs

- Shoichi Kuroda,
4-4-13 Kohoku-dai, Abiko city, Chiba-ken, Japan

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 10 (2000), 16-17.
The subject of this study is to select values of Nature, Society and Humanity represented in Japanese and Korean Primary School Songs Words and to find how they reflect the environment, with comparisons by area and time. In Western areas like Europe and USA, there are a few if any school songs, except for some private schools. But, they are popular in Asia particularly in Japan, Korea and China. The existence of school songs is said to be the Culture of Japan.

In Japan, every public and private school has their own school songs in spite of the fact that there have not historically been any kind of guidance directed by the authorities concerned, even during World War. School songs have typical characteristics which generally celebrate a natural view and history of their neighbour and state their educational spirit which may proudly include a historical big figure.

As a whole, school songs words seem to be affected by the values dominant in the area and time, and I have gathered 7000 in total. The songs words have already been analyzed by some other papers limited from the view point of the landscape structure and educational spirit and/or objective. In school songs words, the latter is often personified in the former. Compared with other papers mentioned above, the subject study includes not only the above analysis but also classifying the school songs words connected with history, culture, society, ideas and morals.

For this study, statistical analysis was performed using a computer for a selection of words in the school songs: Environmental factors included landscape; animals and plants; seasonalities; five senses; and time/occasion. These factors were classified by words such as landmarks, praised others, air, personified expressions and educational expression. Also these factors were studied in terms of history, culture and society, ideas and morals. Human relations factors were also studied including teachers, forefathers, fellowship, sexuality, man oriented, woman oriented, and youth; also in terms of history, culture, society, ideals and morals.

In the paper I will present an example of statistical analysis. The areas are classified into four characterized groups where one city is selected respectively as listed below:1) Urbanized: Yokohama city; 2) Industrialized: Yokkaichi city; 3) Suffered A-bomb: Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities; 4) Harbours prosper: Kobe and Yokosuka cities. The era is divided into two, before and after World War II. The latter is further divided by ten year intervals. A total of 253 school songs were analyzed, excluding Korea as shown [ for each city there are two numbers (before and after the war)]: Yokohama (5, 38); Yokkaichi (1, 28); Hiroshima (13, 44); Nagasaki (10, 47); Kobe (8, 35); Yokosuka (0, 24); total (37, 216).

According to the analysis by area, the moral ideals and the hope for future are frequently found in the personified expression of the songs words as indicated [For each city there are two variables (morals and future; using a three point scale of most, many, few): Yokohama (most, many); Yokkaichi (few, few); Hiroshima (many, many); Nagasaki (most, few); Kobe (few, few); Yokosuka (many, few).

The major concern of the total songs words by area included three ideas (peace, world, self) to the following degrees: Yokohama (many, many, many); Yokkachi (many, many, few); Hiroshima (most, many, many); Nagasaki (many, few, many); Kobe (few, most, few); Yokosuka (many, most, any).

Extra regional concerns included for example, industrial complex ideas in Yokkaichi, history in Hiroshima, culture in Nagasaki, mind and development in Kobe.

For this study, the results of a present/not present analysis found the following items in these songs: Environmental factors included landscape [ Nature(landmarks, praise of others, air personified expression and educational expression); cityscape and industrialized(both landmark, praising other); animals and plants(praising others, personified expression and educational expression); seasonalities like weather (praise others, personified expression and educational expression); five senses, e.g. colour (praised others). Except for five senses, all other factors were studied in terms of history, culture and society, ideas and morals. Human relations factors were also studied including teachers, forefathers, fellowship, sexuality, man oriented, woman oriented, and youth; with respect to history, culture and society, ideals and morals. Other associations of these factors were also identified.

Trends over time are presented in the Figure 1.

Figure 1: Number of words per paragraph of a school song on the themes:

Human relations

Educational expression

Personified Word

Others praised

Landmark

We find many landmarks in school songs words before the world war. Also there are many land marks mentioned until about 1970, during the time of high economic growth. But after the middle seventies they have decreased. This may be because we have put much more attention on humanity and social affairs than landmarks since severe pollution caused by rapid industrialization and urbanization occurred after that time.

Contrasted to landmarks, praised others (including other organisms) increased till the first half of '90s. This may be derived from a comfortable life achieved after high economic growth which resulted in more attention being paid to natural phenomena like existence of animals and plants ( than landmarks).

Most personified expressions include educational aims. Before and during the war there were many personified expressions of moral ideals, sometimes indicating respectable personality. Although they decreased once just after the war, they continue to be found in certain portions of the school songs until recently.

Before/during the war, most educational objectives were about moral ideals. After the war, the hope for the future particularly increased, yet moral ideals are popular as is the case in personified expression. Moral ideals may be reflected by calmness which people require in the society under a stable economic situation.

Table: Primary school songs words of moral ideals

( All primary schools [ total 71 ] in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo )
Year 19451955 1965 1975
Number of schools established 9 2518 19
Moral ideals. Number (%)
Peace 6 (22) 8 (10) 4 (8) 2 (4)
History/tradition/culture 2 (8) 7 (8) 2 (4) 2 (4)
Hope / wish 6 (22) 14(18) 10(18) 5 (10)
Ideal / dream / future 0 11(14) 10(19) 10 (20)
Sincerity / faithfulness 1(4) 2 (3)0 0
Truth 00 1 (2) 0
Independence / liberty 0 3 (4)5 (9) 1(2)
Confidence / pride 0 01 (2) 1 (2)
Courage 1(4) 00 0
Knowledge / wisdom 1(4) 1(1)0 2 (4)
Diligence 0 3(4)2 (4) 5(10)
Study / learn 0 1 (1)3(5) 2 (4)
Cheerfulness 0 2 (3)0 0
Toughness 2 (7) 5 (6)2 (4) 1 (2)
Justice / Righteousness 2 (7) 5 (6)1 (2) 0
Cooperation/coordination 3 (11) 8 (10) 4 (8) 9 (18)
Life 03(4) 0 2 (4)
Strength 0 02 (4) 1 (2)
Healthy body 0 2 (3)1 (2) 4 (8)
Mind / heart 3 (11) 5 (6) 5 (9)3(6)
Total ( 100% ) 27 8053 50
Main moral ideals (%)

[In order of share (%)] 1.

Peace (22) Hope

(18)

Ideal

(19)

Ideal

(20)

2. Hope

(22)

Ideal

(14)

Hope

(18)

Coope

(18 )

3. Coope (11) Peace

(10)

Indep

(9)

Hope

(10)

4. Mind

(11)

Coope

(10)

Mind

(9)

Dilige

(10)

Concerning human relations, fellowship and / or cooperation / coordination have rapidly increased after the war in the growing economy. The table shows an example of analysis result for moral ideals which are expressed in all 71 primary school songs in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo: ( Source : [ School songs / Badges ] published by [ Edogawaku Kyoiku Kenkyuusho] or [ Edogawa Ward Education Research Institute ] in 1989-90. [ Peace ] gradually drops. [ Hope ] is consistently high. [ Ideal ] is rapidly rising. [ Cooperation ] is rising. Overall some school songs that are not appropriate in the current environment in terms of the word meaning are still being found. It is recommended that school songs words are adopted or utilized in education for environment and appropriate purpose.

Overall, some school songs that are not appropriate in the current environment in terms of the word meaning are still to be found. it is recommended that appropriate school songs words are adopted or utilized in education for environment and ethics purposes.


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