Kimigayo - Protocol

Protocol

The lyrics and musical notation of the anthem are given in the second appendix of the Act on National Flag and Anthem. As for the sheet music itself, it displays a vocal arrangement with no mention of tempo and all of the lyrics in hiragana. The anthem is composed in 4/4 (common time) in the key of C major. The Act on National Flag and Anthem does not detail how one should show respect during performances of "Kimigayo". In a statement made by Prime Minister Obuchi, the legislation will not impose new regulations on the Japanese people when it comes to respecting the flag or anthem. However, local government bodies and private organizations sometimes suggest or demand certain protocols be followed. For example, an October 2003 directive by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government required teachers to stand during the national anthem at graduation ceremonies. While standing, the teachers are required to sing "Kimigayo" while facing the Hinomaru. United States military personnel in Japan, even when in civilian dress, are required by regulations to place their right hand over their heart when "Kimigayo", The Star-Spangled Banner, or any other national anthem is performed. The Act on National Flag and Anthem also does not dictate when or where "Kimigayo" should be played. The anthem, however, is commonly played at sporting events inside of Japan, or at international sporting events where Japan has a competing team. At sumō tournaments, "Kimigayo" is played before the awards ceremony.

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