The Tsukamoto Kindergarten in Osaka is being suspected of spreading hate speech
A Nationalist Japanese preschool is being accused of distributing racist slurs against Koreans and Chinese
According to the Japan Times, managers of a kindergarten in Osaka handed parents copies of a statement slurring Korean and Chinese residents of Japan. The managers are being questioned on the suspicion of spreading hate speech
Tsukamoto Kindergarten in Yodogawa described Korean and Chinese residents as people with “wicked ideas”. The term shinajin was used – a derogatory term for Chinese.
Principal of the kindergarten, Yasunori Kagoike and his wife, the deputy principal, were questioned by a prefectural official after local officials were tipped off by one of the school’s parents. Kagoike is also the head of Moritomo Gakuen, which runs the kindergarten.
The principal admitted to distributing the derogatory letter but declined to give a reason for doing so, citing a pending lawsuit.
The Japan Times reports that the letter is one of the many incidents pointing to the principal’s nationalist and racist leanings. A different pamphlet reportedly distributed to parents in December read, “The problem is that people who have inherited the spirit (of Koreans) exist in our country with the looks of Japanese people.”
A separate letter by Kagoike allegedly highlighted “the uniformity of the Japanese race”.
In February 2016, a parent received a letter from the deputy principal saying, “I don’t discriminate. But in my mind, I hate Koreans and Chinese.”
Kagoike’s kindergarten is known for making its pupils memorize the Imperial Rescript on Education, described by the Japan Times as “an 1890 edict that was used to promote militaristic education during World War II”. The principal said the school is “treating every country equally.”
Tsukamoto Kindergarten’s website says it will teach children to “respect the courtesy of Japanese and foster patriotism.”
A video of a sports day in 2015 reportedly showed a child reciting, “We want China and South Korea, which portray Japan as a villain, to be repentant. We’ll root for Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe.”
Other private kindergartens in the prefecture are concerned about the graduates from Tsukamoto Kindergarten. One private kindergarten owner said, “A considerable part of operating costs (of kindergartens) are subsidized by public money. Though the kindergarten’s uniqueness needs to be maintained as a private entity, they need to be aware that it is providing public education.”
The Osaka Prefectural Government gave the kindergarten around ¥40 million in subsidies in 2015.
“The kindergarten is open to people from any country, but they must conform to Japanese culture once they become Japanese,” Kagoike said.