Friday, November 13, 2009

Praxis and Taxes

Whilst on a visit to a local tax office today, I spied on the wall something I did not know existed -- but in retrospect, had to exist. In this blessed land, where my morning paper has a poetry section in it, I should not have been surprised that the Tax Office sponsors haiku contests for middle school students, recognizing the poems by adolescents that best sing the praises of taxes.

Would you like to hear some of the prize winners?

Watashitachi no
mirai no tame ni

For the futures
of all of us
the consumption tax

Shōhizei wa
shakai o tsunagu

The consumption tax
tying together society
a treasure

Zeikin o
minna de osamete

let us pay them together
build the nation

Propaganda does not get much more precious than this...

...a bit of light-hearted counterpoint as 447 government-supported programs are being dragged out, one by one, to face Hatoyama's Stalinist-sounding Government Revitalization Unit* (Gyosei Sasshin Kaigi) in order to plead for continued support from out of the people's taxes.

Image: Prize-winning haiku in praise of taxes. Tokyo Metropolitan District. November 13, 2009. Image credit: MTC.

* This is the translation The Japan Times is using.


The French Reader said...

Fantastic! Let's send of these poems to the US Republican Party and to Grover Norquist, it will be sensational!!

The French Editor said...

Let's send "some" of these poems...:p (Sarah Palin would also be delighted at reading them, I bet).

Chris ( said...

My entry was sadly dismissed:

sekai juu
mottomo takai
kigyou zei

David H. said...

How timely.

I just got hit with a 150k plus back tax bill 'cause I was too dumb and complacent to hire an accountant to save me from trying to figure out that mess.

I would love to create a haiku that would reflect my thoughts, but I cannot properly curse in Japanese, let alone compose appropriate poetry.

I have been trying to console myself with the knowledge that I am helping to build the nation, but this year---unlike those past under the old government---it seems the nation-building along the Tama River (moving earth from spot A to spot B every other year) has become less obvious.

Oh well, greed is no longer good. Taxes are.