Shanghai Kindergarten Performs Japanese Imperial Navy March

Chinese children on stage marching to a Japanese military song at an international kindergarten in Shanghai.

Chinese children on stage marching to a Japanese military song at an international kindergarten in Shanghai.

Comments on Youku: (since deleted)

Shanghai Uses “Japanese Military Song” in Educational Activity for Children!!!

What is the Shanghai Board of Education trying to do? On one hand, advocating “desinicization”, and on the other advocating “Japanification”!!! This is the video proof. As it is understood, the Warship March is a military song glorifying the “invincibility” of the Japanese Navy. It was the official march of the old Japanese Imperial Navy and the current Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force. Because the Imperial Japanese Navy had to play this song whenever they announce news during World War II, this song became an infamous military song.

Note: The video above is of a copy, not the original upload cited.

Comments on Youku: (since deleted)


Isn’t it just a song…what’s the problem…


The Warship March, this song is well known in China. In reality, this song is usually played in Japanese arcades, it is no longer a military song.


Did Shanghainese people forget this song when the Japanese Imperial Navy planes bombed Zhabei? During the January 28th Incident and the Battle of Shanghai, the Japanese invaders bombed Shanghai, most of the planes comes from the Japanese navy.


If Japanese schools can play the March of the Volunteers [Chinese national anthem], then we can teach this song!!!


It’s an international/foreign language kindergarten, so having Japanese culture is not a surprise right?


I’m here to read the comments.


This is training the next generation of professional hanjian [Chinese traitor].


As music, there are no national boundaries, and Japan has a lot of great music. However, they shouldn’t play military music used during the Japanese invasion. The children are innocent, because when they still don’t know much about history, this is just a song to them. But as an educational institution, they should guide and establish a correct view of history.


What’s the big deal about a Japanese song? Our country’s police still uses Japanese cars as police cars.


This is the school’s fault…it is ok to accept other country’s culture, but it is not right to use the Imperial Japanese Navy march.


This is normal, Shanghai is the largest source of [Chinese] tourists visiting Japan, and it is also the Chinese city with the greatest influence from Japanese culture. Isn’t Fudan University the center of pro-Japanese education?


What we need to do is legislate a law. Just a couple of days ago there was a guy who wore the Japanese military flag at Taishan, and now we have this. If there is a law, then they can be held legally responsible, and then we’ll see if they will still recklessly dare to make such provocations. At the same time, some people need to differentiate between ordinary Japanese people and Japanese militarists [ultra-nationalists]. You say a lot of popular songs were adapted from Japanese songs, and we’re not going to stop you from listening to such songs, but if you say no one will stop you if you play [Japanese] Devils Entering the Village on the streets of Nanjing, are you telling me there are no people in China? Also, those saying we should first take care of ourselves before trying to teach others, we are doing precisely that in discussing these things here. Those who want to pretend to be saints should go somewhere else.


Shanghai really is the most civilized city, after all they had the most interactions with the outside so they have very progressive thoughts. Unlike other provinces who, due to isolation and backwardness, are primitive and mass produce many nationalistic fenqing.


Songstress girls, with no thoughts of a perished Kingdom, gaily echo a song of courtyard flowers. [poem by Du Mu]


Imagine what would happen if kindergartens in Israel played Nazi Germany military songs? I bet someone will go to prison!


CCTV often use Japanese anime for background music. This is making a mountain out of a molehill.


Who the fuck knows this is a military song? what do the kids know? As long as they are happy, that’s good enough. Some people just fucking want to watch the world burn.


Normal people would not know this is a Japanese military song.


Those who have seen Jiang Wen’s Devils on the Doorsteps, this is the song that was played when the [Japanese] devils entered the village. The children are still young but what about the teachers, the principal and the parents? This is not about being anti-Japan, but we shouldn’t be pro-Japan. This is a Japanese military song, and even worse, this is the song used by Japan during the invasion of China.

This topic trended on Sina Weibo under the hashtag #Kindergarten plays Japanese military song. In a poll, most netizens considered music as transcending national boundaries and that the children should not be blamed:


The Zhabei District Education Department issued a statement of apology on September 11th, and also announced the suspension of the teacher responsible…

From Weibo:

Shanghai Zhengdan International Kindergarten Principal Xia Miao’s Apology Regarding the “Warship March Incident”

On 2014 June 27, Our school’s upper class used the Warship March as background music during their graduation performance. According to our investigation, this was because when the teacher in charge looked for background music to use for his class’s drum performance, he had used his mobile phone and found this song on “Baidu Music”. Because this song did not have any lyrics or text description, this teacher was not able to determine the content and origin of the song, and had only considered the tempo of the music. The performance only used the song as background music for the drum beat, and had nothing else relating to the content of the music.

After this performance was uploaded onto and widely broadcasted on the internet by a parent, it brought about a lot of negative reactions. This is the result of the teacher’s lack of care, and caused by a lack of proper oversight over the teacher and political sensitivity by the kindergarten.

Thus, as the principal I feel deeply regretful. I hereby want to extend my deepest apologies to netizens and the public. I want to take responsibility and bear the consequences of this incident. This incident has taught us a lesson, for both myself personally and for our school. We will remember this lesson and carefully reflect and learn from this mistake. We will also draw lessons regarding our ways of thinking and our school’s institution, to strengthen management to prevent this incident from ever happening again.

Shanghai Hengdan International Kindergarten Principal Xia Miao

2014 September 11


Written by Joe

Joe is a documentary producer and journalist based in Shanghai


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