Saturday, 18 February 2017

Chapter three, 2017, conflict, segment ten

Principal Kareyoshi read the answer to his request from two weeks earlier. He sighed. The day had started so well with that vulgar foreigner offering an opportunity to suspend her on a silver plate.

To be certain he hadn’t missed anything he read it a second time.

While we respect your wish to formally withdraw Himekaizen Academy from the cooperation with our cultural exchange club, your request that we forbid our students to contact the former members of the Himekaizen Cultural Exchange Club is unacceptable.

The student union requested that the headship address the problem. Hence I have to advice you that I have brought this matter to our board of directors. They have given me their full support, and I have informed the exchange club here that they are to remain in contact with their Japanese counterpart as they see fit.

Given that two of the former members on your side might still be Swedish citizens, the board of directors have escalated the matter to our embassy in Tokyo as well as our foreign ministry.

Best Regards
Anneke Santos-Granstedt

That was, as far as Principal Kareyoshi was concerned, a threat. A very blatant threat. He had been threatened before, and the principal from an unknown school on the other side of the world didn't matter much. Just to be safe he had the school checked up.

That was when the gravity of his situation slowly became evident.

Founded 1869 and in the same building since 1875. That gave him a start. Your run of the mill high school didn't have a 150 year pedigree, and unsurprisingly he found out that it was a private school. One of the two traditionally high profile private high schools in Gothenburg.

He also learned that Sony's Chief of Operations Northern Europe had his daughter there. Apparently she was a third year student and a member of the Swedish side of the exchange club, and a member of what passed for a student council there.

Going up against a global dragon in high tech wasn't Kareyoshi's idea of having a good time.

A more thorough attempt to discredit the school by pointing out its poor academic merits fell flat. Translated into Japanese terms over half of their student body would have averaged above 90%, in every subject.

When he observed that a staggering two thirds of the student body averaged 95% or better in English, Kareyoshi finally understood why they defended their exchange club so defiantly.

For the time being he had to do with banning students from visiting the cafe closest to school. Students who hadn’t joined clubs should go home rather than loitering after school. He was certain he’d get both parents and the board of directors to see the wisdom in that.

Forcing students to join clubs of his choosing proved more difficult though. Himekaizen had always been too lenient in that department ever since it stopped being an all girls school over forty years ago.

Kareyoshi lit a cigarette and moved the letter to the desk drawer he’d put it in after he read it the first time. The foreign principal had sent it as registered mail. He could hardly say he hadn’t received the notification now.

He also couldn’t do what he wished for more than anything else. Expelling the half-blood who had insulted him publicly met with immediate refusal. Worst of all, it met with immediate refusal from the very people who made certain he received the principal’s chair.

That was something he couldn’t understand. He knew they wanted Japan to be in charge of her own destiny just as much as he did, but they still refused to see the danger foreign influence posed. They even put the lid on any further attempts at scaring the arrivals to obedience, which meant his hands were tied when it came to the means he knew best.

And the one who spoke on the phone less than ten minutes ago sounded scared. An arrival from before Kareyoshi built any influence pulled strings in Japan’s underbelly, dangerous strings from what Kareyoshi understood.

In the end it didn’t matter. He still held the power to make the next two years exceedingly unpleasant for the arrivals and their supporters. Especially their foreign supporters. Those didn’t have a place in Japan in the first place, and commons sense dictated they should be treated accordingly.

Just when Kareyoshi was about to make a call his phone rang. It was the principal of Irishima High.

When the short call was finished he roared in frustration.

Part of his staff arrived at the door and looked inside.

He could swear a couple of them smirked.

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