There has been much controversy in the past 12 years over the forced performance of the Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo, at public school ceremonies and events in Tokyo. The anthem, along with the symbolic Japanese flag Hinomaru, is seen by some as symbols of Japanese pre-war imperialism, and others claim that requiring teachers to face the flag and sing is unconstitutional. Many teachers who have protested by refusing to stand have lost their jobs. Subsequently, many have tried to file legal complaints against the action, seeking rehire or compensation, and were often unsuccessful.

Finally, on June 6, 2011, the Supreme Court of Japan ruled it constitutional to require teachers to stand in front of the flag and sing Kimigayo. However, even after this ruling, it is likely that some stubborn teachers may still sit against the current. For that purpose, there is the new Compulsory Standing Chair with Automatic Kimigayo Detection System.

The chair is designed to detect if Kimigayo has begun playing and automatically launch the stubborn sitter upright.

This is, of course, not a real product, and the picture above was actually drawn by manga artist Shintaro Kago, a political cartoonist for the publication Nikkan Manga.

Mr. Kago’s work, including all recent political cartoons appearing on Nikkan Manga, are available for viewing, for free, on his official site.

Source: Twitpic (@shintarokago)