Japanese anime fans list their contenders for a modern-day Japanese national anthem.

The current Japanese anthem, Kimigayo, has a long history, with the lyrics dating back to a Heian period (794-1185) waka poem. Its ties to pre-war imperialism, though, mean it has its detractors. Maybe it’s time for a change, something a bit more in keeping with modern Japan. What encapsulates Japan more than a song wishing the emperor a long and healthy reign? That’s right, an anime soundtrack!

Among anime song fans, there are plenty who call their favourite song their anthem, but in a recent survey fans were asked to choose one anime song, or anison, that should be elevated to the lofty heights of being sung by thousands of supporters at events like the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

▼ The Japanese anthem is one of the shortest in the world.

Survey respondents were a mix of both male (41 percent) and female (59 percent) fans, with 63 percent aged 19 or younger and more than 20 percent in their twenties. There were clear favourites for the top three anime songs which would work as a Japanese anthem, so let’s take a look at the list below.

In first place: “Tori no uta” (“Bird’s Song”), the opening theme to Air, which gained the support of about 10 percent of respondents, is sung by female vocalist Lia. Those answering the survey responded with comments about the popular, uplifting trance song like, “This is the most famous, I couldn’t even think of anything else that could beat it.” and “This would make the perfect national anthem.”

In a close second place, with about 9 percent of votes, was the song “Daydream Café, the opening track to comedy anime series, Gochumon wa usagi desu ka? (“Is the order a rabbit?“, often abbreviated to GochiUsa) about the workers of the Rabbit Café. For many, this song sums up Japan as a nation far more than the current anthem with its healthy dose of humour and dancing anime characters.

Third, with about 8 percent (which shows how close the results were, only about a single percentage point between each of the results in the top three), was the theme for Neon Genesis Evangelion (and a personal karaoke favourite), “Zankoku na Tenshi no Tese” (“A Cruel Angel’s Thesis”) sung by Yoko Takahashi. Commenters argued that this was the best choice, given that it is famous even beyond the world of anime song fans.

Throw in some elaborate dance moves, or a fitness workout, and any of these songs could work as an alternative Japanese anthem. While the survey came out with a single winner, it’ll probably be a while yet before Japan goes full otaku and one of these is adopted. Plus, listen to any song too often and you can easily get fed up with it; maybe the next survey should include a petition for the new national anthem to have a shuffle function.

Source: AnimeAnime via jin115
Top image: Pakutaso