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Punk’s ‘Reign’ cut short

Japanese label drops CD over version of anthem

TOKYO — About a week after Japan adopted an ode to the eternal reign of the emperor as its national anthem, Polydor KK has decided to cancel the release of a CD that contains a punk version of the song.

Polydor said it was canceling the October release of the CD “Little Screaming Revue” from rocker Kyoshiro Imawano’s band because it did not want to appear to be taking sides concerning the national anthem “Kimigayo” (His Majesty’s Reign).

Nonpartisan decision

“There are many societal and political issues involved in ‘Kimigayo’ and we did not want to be seen as coming down on one particular side of the issue,” a spokesman told Daily Variety.

According to the Recording Industry Assn. of Japan, there are no regulations concerning covers of “Kimigayo.” When it comes to controversial recordings, the industry group said it has stepped in to advise labels if a song has racist overtones and should not be released.

Meanwhile, rocker Imawano laid into his label during a concert Tuesday night in Yokohama prior to his band blasting out their rendition of the anthem, the national daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

‘I am a rock artist’

“They know I am a rock artist, they should not have signed a contract with me,” he said before launching into the tune, the paper reported.

After a contentious debate, Japan’s Parliament last week gave official legal status to “Kimigayo” and the Hinomaru rising sun flag, despite arguments that both are considered symbols of Japanese militarism.

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