'Moonlight Serenade' - Frank Sinatra, 'Stardust' - Nat King Cole' -- 7 MIN
DEVIL DEBATE - PART 1
[The discussion phase]
From time to time over the past 30 years or so, elements of our society have chosen to initiate actions which would change (eliminate) our red devil image and team name to something else for a variety of reasons -- and with that perhaps change the school colors as well. The primary thrust of each action to change our 50 plus year old identity has to do with a perception in the minds of certain individuals that THE YOHI RED DEVIL is EVIL, and as such, results in an embarrassment to those connected to the school -- and even is the cause of why some sports activities are lost to it's competitors.
We know from conversations with alumni that they witnessed these actions as far back as the 1970's. It has not been possible to document those past actions so we begin the story starting in 1993 with an extract from the 1993 "Echoes" as follows:
'ECHOES' - Volume 18 No. 6 - 15 June 1993
Nile C. Kinnick High School -Yokosuka, Japan
* * * * *
Editorial 1 by Lee Ferinden
READ THIS !!!
FOREVER A DEVIL. Some people think that as a senior, I should have no voice in the decision on this issue. The initial request of some parents who objected to the use of the Red Devil as the school mascot was to let the sixth graders at Sullivan's School vote and exclude the seniors at Kinnick graduating in June. If our mascot were changed, it would not be possible to remove it from all uniforms, jackets, rings, annuals, etc.. for at least four years. Since this is the case, why not let the whole elementary school vote? They'll be here eventually. Or send ballots to transferring students in the states? I think as a senior I earned the right to vote. Five years of practicing, sweating, and screaming at sports events, both as a participant and as a spectator for the Nile C. Kinnick Red Devils, and yet to some I have not earned the right to vote for a school mascot that has been near and dear to my heart. However, this request was not honored and the school administration did allow us to express our opinion in the poll. This entire controversy is based on the beliefs concerning the "devil" in some Christian religions. I am not a Christian myself nor do I have anti-Christian beliefs. I have always respected others beliefs and religious practices, but the Red Devil was chosen as the school mascot to depict a strong, fierce figure to encourage school spirit, unity and pride. It was not chosen for religious reasons or to insult any religion, and as it should not be eliminated for religious reasons. Words have a variety of meanings and we should look at how a majority views the word, not a minority. Regardless of all the above, in reality this issue actually seems very unimportant to me if taken in the total context of teenagers and their parents lives here in Yokosuka. As a parent of four put it, "If I could have raised my teenagers and only have to worry about a school mascot, I'd still have all my hair." The time and energy used on this issue, from the School Advisory Committee, to the poll, to possibly even writing this article, would probably have been far better off spent addressing child abuse, drug abuse, family unity, or a myriad of other subjects that teenagers at this school must live with everyday. It is not the school mascot that causes teens or parents problems, it is merely a harmless symbol to encourage school spirit and pride. In conclusion, even if the vote had gone the other way and the Red Devil had been dropped as the school mascot, it would still always remain the mascot in the minds of us, the students. All our memories would still be us hand-in-hand in the Homecoming Parade where our Red Devil was prominently displayed on our floats, at the bonfires where we burned other school's mascots while we viewed ours with pride, our smiles, hugs, and tears as we shouted Red Devils are number one when we took the football championship, our chill bumps, and pride as we watched the Red Devil band march on the field at halftimes, our thrill as we put on our Red Devil letterman's jackets for the first time, our joy when we received our class ring, and, in my particular case at least, how honored I have felt as a soccer, volleyball, and basketball player when I heard my fellow students, parents, and community yell, "GO DEVILS!" as I run on the court or field. As a senior, I thank you fellow Red Devils, for the wonderful times at this school, my memories that can never be taken away. They have proved by allowing us to vote on this issue that they are indeed training us to be members of a democracy, where the majority rules.
* * * * *
Editorial 2 by Lee Ferinden
THE DEVIL STAYS
MAJORITY VOTES TO KEEP MASCOT. As many of you are aware, a controversy recently arose over our school mascot, the Red Devil. Students, teachers and parents were polled by the school administration on whether they felt that Red Devil was an appropriate mascot due to concerns voiced at the Schools' Advisory Committee meeting. Changing a mascot is not an easy matter. First of all, our mascot is on just about everything relating to the school. The Red Devil is pictured on our patches, sweatshirts, tee shirts, uniforms, letterman's jackets and class rings as well as many other forms of advertisement. The Red Devil has been a form of motivation and school pride for its entire 47 year history. I personally have never thought about the devil as the opposite truth, a belief in sickness, sin and death, the leader of evil, or the like as this is only one definition of the word. As defined in Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary the devil also means a person of notable energy, recklessness and dashing spirit. This has always been what the devil has meant to me and always will be. Parents, students and teachers voted overwhelmingly to keep the Red Devil as our mascot. The majority of teachers, 72% of parents and 78% of the students voted to retain the Red Devil. The percentages to change the mascot were 12% of the teachers, 21% of the parents and 7% of the students, with the remainder having no opinion. So the vote is in, the issue is settled. Go, Devils, go!
THE NEXT ACTION
19 MARCH 1999
I, James Hyatt, discovered another effort within the Yokosuka "Community" and Nile C. Kinnick school system was taking place to replace the 51 year old "Red Devil" as it's mascot/logo/team name. It appears that the issues are basically the same facts as enumerated directly above.
This was the first time in history that the alumnni were sufficiently organized to participate in this action-- albiet uninvited. We now had a means by which alumni comments could be collected and provided to the school students faculty, and parents for review.
Thus I wrote a letter to the alumni in general advising them of the above and encouraged them to make comments for consideration of that issue by the "school". Those comments would be placed on the web site, with "author" names removed, and the Principal, Nile C. Kinnick High School, and others were advised that they would be available for them starting in a few days. Initially, I chose to impose a "suspense date" for receipt of those comments. It was believed that the actions at Yokosuka were near a decision point -- which subsequently proved false.
Listed below are the comments received and posted to the web site during the period 24 to 31 March 1999 [the "suspense" date]:
* * 1 * *
Regarding the matter of the YOHI mascot, I can only imagine that it was chosen as an icon especially for the school's sports teams, and that it was selected to represent an ominous force with which to be reckoned as on the field of "combat".
As one who now holds deep religious beliefs, the idea of promoting evil in any way holds no appeal for me, so I can empathize with those who may be thinking along those lines. If the mascot can be recognized in terms such as those I described above regarding sports, then perhaps the matter can be resolved and put to rest. If however, such as I have described cannot be seen as an acceptable compromise, then I would be inclined to suggest that it be put to a vote of the alumni in a mass.
E-mailing to as many as can be contacted as to the possibility that previous alumni retain the Devil mascot if it be the will of the majority, and that the current YOHIers be free to retain the old mascot or select a new one as they desire. By the way, many Christians consider Dragons and Wizards to also be associated with the forces of evil.
* * 2 * *
I'm very sad to see this issue come up, yet again. Back in 1979/80, this issue was raised by the parents and there was actually a movement to change the school's mascot to the YoHi Blue Dolphins (yuck!). Up until that time, we had always used the old devil face (I was told by someone that it is actually the face of an old army sergeant (sp?) from way back when) on all of our t-shirts, sweat shirts, posters, etc. The year previous, we had the pitchfork painted on the school. I never felt that this made us "devil worshippers" as some parents indicated. Fortunately, we were able to retain the mascot, however, we were forced to give up our original devil face. It has since been replaced with the cute devil cartoon figure still in use today.
I have never been able to see what all the hoopla has been about the YoHi mascot. The devil face represents a lot of things (history, heritage of the school, etc.) but it has never represented devil worshipping. There are much more important things dealing with education that parents should concern themselves with other than the school mascot.
* * 3 * *
Oh for goodness sake! Is Jesse Helms running that school now?
I don't really know how the mascot devil came to be. I do know that before I arrived at Yo-Hi I attended high school in Camp LeJeune where our mascot and the name of our teams was "The Devil Pups" and "The Devil Dogs" represents the same for the Marine Corps. It's possible that the name was just shortened at Yo-Hi.
Here in Denver there was an uproar a couple of years ago about a high school team named the Warriors. The issue seemed to be that the name held an unkind connotation toward Native Americans. The name was changed and the agitators went on to pester others. My point is that if that's what these teachers and students and parents have to worry about these days they've got way too much time on their hands.
Leave the nickname the way it's been for 40 years. The school carries lots of history for lots of people, not just the ones who through nothing other than chance are there now.
* * 4 * *
If you are looking for opinions, mine is to leave our mascot ALONE. If it gets too sticky, let Kinnick HS get their own and keep ours for posterity.
The Devil was all in fun and is no more evil than Superman, Batman, or the Fantastic Four. I vote to keep it, and for those trying to make a case otherwise I say "GET A LIFE" and get over it.
* * 5 * *
Thanks for the opportunity to comment.
The YoHi Red Devil had no connotation of evil to me when I attended YoHi and it does not today. I guess we went to high school in simpler times.
The Red Devil as drawn on my YoHi Echoes and in the annual and everywhere else was a Japanese mask that looked somewhat like some western drawings of "the devil." The Red Devil said more to me that we were in Japan than in the grip of the devil. Japanese shrines and temples had grotesque statues guarding the gates. Sometimes the worst looking were the "good" guardians there to scare the evil spirits away. They were all wild to my western eyes, not "evil," just something from Japanese culture. That's where the Red Devil fits.
Had the Red Devil been portrayed as Lucifer so something from western satanic worship (did we have that in 1963? I'm sure it must have existed somewhere in the world then) I might have been swayed to making the connection between a school's team name (our mascot was Akita-san, Mr. Spaulding's Akita dog) and evil. But I didn't. Not then, not now, not even when someone tries to make something of it.
Please leave it alone. Enough political correctness already. I went to YoHi and we were the Red Devils. You can change whatever you want, but it won't change my history and I don't think it will make the slightest positive change in the current or future student body members.
Bottom line: The Red Devil is taken from a Japanese mask that we think looks like a western devil symbol. It was chosen to represent our "Japanness" not our evilness. Find something significant to discuss and leave tradition alone.
* * 6 * *
The suggestion that the school mascot should be changed because the "Devil" represents evil is built on a rather week argument. One need look no further than Duke University, still affiliated with the United Methodist Church, to realize that outstanding educational institutions retain the devil (or facsimile thereof) as their mascot, ergo the Duke University Blue Devils. I would suggest that, if this situation progresses any further to remove the Red Devils as Yo-Hi's mascot, that we do one of two things. I will be happy to draft a theological treatise using an exhaustive study of evil and the devil in the Bible. Or, we could take a more proactive approach and file a class action suit. Surely there has to be a lawyer among our alumni who would do this pro bono.
* * 7 * *
This was forwarded to me from a friend with whom I attended Kinnick Middle School. Sad that the PC Police have nothing better to do... Job security perhaps?
* * 8 * *
My response to this is that someone could be spending their time on something more useful. Just the other day this same subject was mentioned on Public Radio. It concerned the mascots Warrior and Squaw. It is sad that people always have to take things out of context and twist it around to suit their "needs" or should I say their "causes". Myself, being a Christian and a school teacher, would be VERY disappointed if any forward thinking teacher or parent (aren't all military related people forward thinkers) would waste much time on a school mascot. The Red Devils will always be the Red Devils. I'm glad the vote, according to the info you sent, showed the few "small" thinkers that they were indeed a "small" group. I guess, this being America, we should always be open to new suggestions. Thank goodness most people realize that this is not an earth shaking problem.
For me, the Red Devil was a symbol of pride. Even though the years I was at YoHi seemed to represent a low in the sports department, there was never a lack of enthusiasm for the games. Being a military brat and not having any place that I could really call home, my years in high school were special in that we were a family of teenagers. We felt special because we were proud of the fact we went to YoHi and not some other school. I'm sure most other brats feel the same way about the schools they attended.
Being a parent of five children, I know that in today's society people are worried about youth and the things they emulate. No one wants their child to do wrong or go against their values. This is something that is taught in the home along with family pride. This Red Devil represents school pride not Satan. The more emphasis one puts on the word "devil" the more most teens tend to laugh at their parents/adults for being absurd.
In the end I think the vote back in 1993 shows us that the majority of voters have their head screwed on just right and their hearts in the right place.
I hope that this new group of students takes the time to do a good job with this article and I hope they realize the mascot means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Almost like family pride. The more one learns about their extended family, the more one feels the comfort of familiarity and the security of knowing they are part of a larger whole.
* * 9 * *
I can see the point that the Devil is not a role model and hence inappropriate for a school mascot. I understand how this is a serious issue for devoutly religious.
On the other hand I also feel that you have to draw the line somewhere as political correctness is being used for personal motives and agendas. I took a little pride in telling people I was Devil or Red Devil or Yo-Hi Devil.
I don't believe it has hurt anyone to date.
I do believe that if the students take pride in their school spirit, that is what is important. Whatever the mascot, High School is supposed to prepare you for life. This issue is good if it promotes the students to think and realize there are different opinions and a middle ground. If this causes students to take a stand on their ground I say great.
I feel the students should decide by a vote. It is not the alumni or staff or world opinion that matters. It is up to the students who will carry on and create new traditions.
You are where you want to be!!!
* * 10 * *
In today's age of political correctness, there always seems to be someone who can find fault with anything! Most of the someones are narrow minded people who seek to justify their own ends by criticizing others. We see this everyday in the newspaper i.e. lets change the name of the "Cleveland Indians" or "Proctor and Gambles logo is evil" or lets call garbage men "Sanitary Engineers" etc. etc.
We also find that no one can be what they are! We cannot be Irish, we have to be 'Irish American'. We cannot be Chinese, we must be 'Chinese American. We cannot be Mexican, we must be 'Latino American', Afro American, Native American, Japanese American.....the list goes on and on! We all know that we are Americans, why is it necessary to separate ourselves by proclaiming that we are a special kind of American? Our heritage makes us special, not different kinds of Americans!
When schools or groups choose a 'logo' or 'mascot' they do so to be different! They want to have a special identity in their peer group. It would seem that they never name their 'mascots' after people or things, but rather after animals or historical or mythical characters. Thus we have the USC Trojans, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, San Francisco Forty Niners, ---the Rams, Bills, Yankees, The Sun Devils, The Blue Devils, etc.
We must be able to clearly see that a school 'logo' or 'mascot' is chosen to make the school feel different and have a special identity. There is and never has been any attempt by any group to be evil in naming the 'mascot' of Yokohama High School the 'Red Devil'!!!!! Surely the mascot was chosen to bring a touch of home to the school where all of the students were so far away from their real home. The 'Red Devil' is and hopefully always will be a image of fun and competition for the students of Yo-Hi.
Lets not let the few narrow minded people that find fault with everything spoil things for everyone else! The YO-HI RED DEVIL has been strong, proud and fun for hundreds of students for 51 years! To change the mascot would be to change YO-HI !
* * 11 * *
Apparently there is a strong "Christian" group opposing the Devil mascot. My opinion...leave him alone!! Not once during my entire time at Kinnick did I even connect evil with the Devil mascot. Maybe I was naive.
Mischievous maybe, but, not evil. It sounds like the group that tried to ban Halloween because that too was evil! I just wanted candy!
One of the names I heard that they're trying to change it to is Kinnick Hawks.
* * 12 * *
My first thoughts on this is that some people have too much time on their hands. It is not a surprise though to see something like this. With all the talk about no prayers in school and before games etc it was bound to happen. Speaking for myself, I never looked at our Red Devil as anything bad or evil. Only as a symbol of strength, spirit and courage. Back then I guess none of us spent the time to examine any hidden meanings. I would think that would hold true for most people today. The Red Devil has been around for 50 years, why at this time must a change be made. Anytime I see a devil my first thoughts are of our mascot and our years of high school. I would be very sad and disappointed if "OUR MASCOT" was done away with for a few narrow minded people who have to get hung up on trivial matters. They are the ones that need to go back and read the history of the devil and what it symbolizes in our school. Anything can be seen as bad or evil if people want to perceive or promote it that way. I hate to see that it has basically come down to a religion thing....why can't people see the tradition side of it and leave it be. Who is it really hurting or influencing. No one..........!!!!! Did we turn out horrible and bad people because it was our mascot. I don't think so!!!! I have to agree with the student that wrote the article......there are much more important things to deal with in today's society, abuse, drugs, alcohol etc.....that all the energy being spent on this needs to be redirected to making a dent in some of the "real" problems the kids are facing today.
* * 13 * *
Although I am not aware of the origin of the devil mascot, it is one that is quite common in our secondary and post-secondary schools. I will add that I am a born-again Christian who is quite intolerant of anything or anyone who remotely dabbles in anything remotely related to evil or the works of the devil. This would include fortune telling; ouija boards; horoscopes, etc. I did some of the ouija, etc when I was in high school. I do feel, however, that the devil mascot has no devil worship intent (unless I'm missing something that is happening on campus now.). It is merely an assertive symbol that represents nothing more than a red picture or costume for school spirit.
I am currently an elected official on a Board of Education and will tell you there are far more important issues to debate--believe me!
* * 14 * *
I can't see any change needed as far as WE, Class of 1954 goes. We graduated 45 years ago, the Devil was and still is OUR Mascot. No one is going to go back and change 45 years of documentation.
What the present students do is up to them. If they want to cater to some person or group who has religious or political agenda fine. Just don't tinker with history.
No, I don't think our Devil represents Evil. I wasn't around when it was chosen, but I've always thought it might have something to do with the commonalty of devils in both western and Japanese history.
There are many benign grotesque entities in both cultures. They usually protect the believer from malevolent spirits.
The use of the mascot in our days was to give a name to the competitive edge we presented to the other schools with which we interacted. Certainly there would be a different psychological factor when our opponents were facing the "YOHI RED DEVILS" rather than the "YOHI SOBAS" (My feeling is that a bowl of soba as a mascot would offend no one).
Fact is...if you want to consider all agendas, the bowl of noodles is about the only mascot left.
* * 15 * *
Of course I hate the thought of changing the devil mascot! But, after some age, we all can be accused of resisting change and wanting things to stay the way they were when we owned them.
If the students currently attending YoHi want to change the mascot, they should be heard. They are the current owners of the school, and what they do today will be the property of the students who follow to nurture and preserve. Their vision of themselves and their future is more important than the feelings of parents, teachers, and even the alums. However, they better have an incredibly good reason for tampering with my past!
There is a common thread that connects all of us who went to YoHi from the day the doors opened over 50 years ago. Through at least four physical relocation's, an "official" name change to Kinnick that never really caught on, many changes in the appearance of the devil mascot, the demolition of the building that was my YoHi, and eventually moving to a completely different base, we all went to YoHi. And we were all Red Devils.
I share that experience with you, though we went to school in different buildings, separated by two decades. And you and I share that experience with the students of today, separated by more time than seems possible. Those kids may have a grasp on the special experience they are having, but will not fully comprehend the value of this time in their lives until it is a memory. They can't possibly appreciate the extended YoHi family of all ages until they are sitting next to someone on an airplane who says something familiar, or stand to give a little background on themselves in a business meeting to discover a senior alum in the room, or strike up a conversation in line at the grocery checkout, and on and on...
I think we have endured rather well as a student body through all the changes the focal point of our special memories of living in Japan has gone through. YoHi is a special place in our hearts, and its name evokes the essence of our lives during this unique time in our lives. (I hold it as dear as my university and graduate school.) The quirky, smiling, fierce, befuddled, endearing Red Devil symbol has changed over the years to reflect the mood of the school. I hope that he just evolves a bit more, and remains a tangible bridge from the past to the present in this remarkable institution that brings us all together.
Thanks for the opportunity to speak, and please feel free to pass my remarks along to the teacher who contacted you. No need to edit out my name.
* * 16 * *
We are the Yo-Hi Red Devils...
I do not know the origin of the name, Yo-Hi Devils. Whoever must have selected this strong name must have had a reason and we have identified to our alma mater with this mascot for many years. Do we have to be $-!-%-@-^-%-$-&- politically correct and change our names?
The youths nurtured at Yo-Hi does not compare to any brats or real "devils" we have in LA!!! It's history!
I feel they should maintain the name or let me cut off any contribution to Nile C. Kinnick DOD HS!
* * 17 * *
I say we keep the name, simply because that was the name that was bestowed upon us as students of Yo-Hi. Regardless of the etymology of the nomenclature. Besides I like to think of myself as a former Devil turned Christian.
* * 18 * *
I would like to offer the following regarding the Devil mascot - In any collection of Japanese masks, you will find a horned figure that closely resembles our YOHI mascot - It was in deference to Japanese culture and our willingness to accept the role as the "foreign devils" (or gaijin) that mandated that mascot. We cannot abandon the devilish figure because it offends people - We were pretty good at offense in '68... no point in giving up now.
* * 19 * *
Regarding the Yo-Hi devil: I'm from the class of '67, but was at Yo-Hi in 63-64 year. Prior to that in the extension Sullivan School in Yokosuka. We live in an age of political correctness, like it or not. There is absolutely no humor allowed if any group of individuals can take offense.
Personally I think it's a bunch of crap. We've got more kids killing kids than ever before, violence is promoted as entertainment, but be careful what you say, someone may be offended. I think it's time to put our priorities in order. I'm not saying that I endorse name calling and ethnic or religious verbalizations, but what's the point? Let's pretend that if we all talk nice to each other, and strip away cartoon figures that have (in my opinion) no conceptual basis in an institution's purpose, that we will suddenly realize the error of our ways...repent and love our brother...get real!?! The more we seem to get politically correct, the more we seem to damage each other. As a species we haven't seemed to change, we still kill each other in the name of God, and carry blood feud beyond generation boundaries. I really don't care much if they change the mascot now, for me it was the Devil, and it didn't represent any satanic connection in my mind.
If some namby pamby liberal wants to change it, perhaps they will look at a butterfly...now there's an image that can rouse school spirit, the metamorphism from caterpillar to butterfly. Then the hawks can have a feast while the kids prance around with umbrellas to shield them from the harmful rays of the sun.
* * 20 * *
I returned to my email this morning to find the devil of a controversy. The devil mascot was a result of the school athletic teams being named The Yo-Hi Devils. This was done pre 1963, and there was no meaning to the name. It was just a name, much as Longhorns, Mavericks and Pirates.
I wish people would give up this "PC" notion that there might be some motive for these names, there was and is not.
If these names are so important how can Pontiac continue as a car name? I have a name and it is a word and it has a meaning, but I'm not going to change my name because it offends someone.
* * 21 * *
I have spent all day trying to cool off long enough to put my thoughts on paper. Hope I can make my point clear!!
What would Yo Hi be without the Red Devil! It's like telling the Navy they can no longer have their goat ! The DEVIL is OUR TRADITION as the GOAT is the Navy's tradition! There has never been anything ugly about it! It's a mascot, get real!! Don't read anymore into it. Let's think about where we are, we're in Japan, a land of traditions.......our RED DEVIL is OUR TRADITION and has been for more than 50 years!!! Have we forgotten that our school colors are RED and White? Do we not wear them with PRIDE?! To my knowledge there has never been any harm caused by our mascot.
As alumni one of our many links is our mascot. Just saying "Yo Hi Red Devils" makes us gleam with PRIDE!!! A very good example is when we attended the OverSeas Brats Reunion in 1993. Every school represented from Japan recognized us as THE YO HI RED DEVILS . For years we have built a strong and good reputation in Japan. I say we carry it on.
The current students will be alumni upon graduation. Do we now make a bold statement by separating all of the future alumni? This does not make sense to me. The learning experiences are one of a kind and the bonds created at Yo Hi never change. Years later we are still linked together. If you doubt that, you have not looked into what the web site has done for so many of us. It has given us back a link we THOUGHT we lost. Life goes on beyond Yo Hi and years from now I only pray you will have the JOY in your hearts that I have. For the sake of your YOUTH!!!
Please keep the Yo Hi Devil ALIVE.
A VERY PROUD RED DEVIL!!!!
* * 22 * *
I for one vote that the "devil" be kept as the mascot of the school.
I personally don't know the origins of why the devil was chosen for a mascot but on the other hand I never thought much about it. I also attended St. Joseph College before I attended YO-HI. At that time we were called the "saints". I didn't give it much thought then either. Perhaps some students or parents are saying that the "saint" as a mascot is improper because it has religious connotations.
I guess I can sum it up in one statement to the students and parents who are bringing this up as an issue.
GET A LIFE !!!!!!!!
* * 23 * *
For us YO HIERS.......The Red Devil is Yo Hi. It is not a connotation of evil. Please note that duke university....the team favored to win the big dance this year...has for years been known as the "BLUE DEVILS", and I have never once seen this nickname cause any problems, especially in the state of North Carolina which is a bible belt state. It should not be a problem either for Yo Hi.
* * 24 * *
When we were in Japan this past October, a student (as I recall) asked as to the origin of the Red Devil. I did not know. Upon return I asked Coach Glaab, who responded as follows:
[Note: "Coach" (1st Lt - U.S. Army) Lawrence H Glaab, was the first Athletic Director at Yokohama American High School (Yo-Hi), starting in 1947, and established the first athletic teams. Jim Hyatt]
"Well, when I graduated from High School, I formed a basketball team which we called the Lancaster Red Devils. It was something more than a sandlot team somewhere between semi-pro and pro. We played for money when we could get it. We had three big men, myself and another guard not quite as tall. There is only one left from the group and he wasn't a regular.
We played in an armory here in Lancaster. We each chipped in 10 cents to pay for the rental of the court. On the road, we played in local high schools, community centers, etc. We had red, white and black uniforms, much like the uniforms we had in Yokohama.
When the question came up as to what we would name the High School team, there wasn't any indecision - not even a vote. I may have told CPT McCartney [The Principal] - I doubt if I asked his permission.
The name seemed to fit our situation. It describes the spirit and how I wanted our team to compete. When I played football for Lancaster High, the team was called the Golden Tornados - now they are called the Golden Gales - times change."
I sent Coach's letter on to Japan in December, as I recall. Coach Glaab indicated that he had previously provided this info to Jim Hyatt, and thought it had been on the web site .
[Note: Glaab's 1997 guidance has been on the web site since 1997 - Jim Hyatt]
As the Pres of the Class of 1949 , we would like to see the Red Devil remain. It has no hidden meaning. There are no doubt more important issues facing Nile C. Kinnick HS, the faculty, students and American community at Yokosuka than a little red figure that represents team spirit.
* * 25 * *
When I was at Yo-Hi 75-77 and 78 working at Yokosuka, the school building was going to be painted white with a red stripe, logo and Yo-Hi Red Devils (if my memory serves me correctly). A new family had just rotated in from the states and created such a big deal over the proposed paint job that we ended up with some color of brown. I have never felt the school name to be derogatory, demeaning, evil or against the church, much the same about the current trend to change historical names to more politically correct no matter what the cost or how the MAJORITY feels about it. We are not talking about just a single class deciding what they want to name an event, there have been many, many classes before 1993 and will be many more that will be affected by a very small minority. I feel no one has the right to change history just because it doesn't fit into their idea of what is right or wrong. I would feel the same way if the school had been named after someone or something that by today's standard may not seem appropriate but should be used as a reminder of history instead of attempting to sweep it under the rug. I have experienced the same type of narrow-minded thinking with schools changing street names, school mascots, colors, etc., because some small group feels everyone should think, feel, see, do the same things they do. I joined the U.S. Navy not to learn a trade or to see the world, I joined because I believe this is the greatest country on God's earth and others have died protecting it and our way of life and felt it was my duty to serve. I attend church each Sunday and do not feel in any way that "Red Devils" is a problem, my kids don't think of Yo-Hi Red Devils in the same vein as "The Devil" as in evil, etc. Just like all of those who have graduated from Yo-Hi since it began, they have a right to keep the name of the school they went too and not have it changed by anyone. There are too many other important things going on in the world today to worry about other than changing a name of our school mascot. Work on making sure each child is fed, people are not homeless, jobs are plentiful, diseases are cured, cancer wiped out. To make a spectacle of this is a joke and an utter waste of peoples time. It is not demeaning to any group, no one is worshipping the devil at Yo-Hi and I doubt it really has any detrimental affect on any of the students that have gone through its halls. Basically, one or more small groups should not be allowed to change history just to suit their standards. If they really want to see what people want, put it to a vote by everyone that has attended Yo-Hi since its inception. You can use my name as I admit I am and always will be a Yo-Hi Red Devil.
It is not theirs to change or take away!
* * 26 * *
While I don't really have a strong opinion on the issue, I do feel that alumni should be included in such decisions.
I read the short "history of the devil" on your site, and the other letters that were included in your message. And I haven't heard any kind of reason that would convince me that the cute little Red Devil should be done away with.
I can understand that some people may associate the devil with evil and such. But not Yo-Hi's Red Devil. It's simply a cute mascot. I've never heard of it being used for anything but positive uses such as school spirit and for attractive decoration.
It is said that idle hands are the devil's tools. My guess is that somebody's hands are too idle and they're looking for a crusade to fight.
Fearing herself becoming a tool of the devil, she is lashing out at the image wherever she can. I'd have to agree with what others have already said, there are more pressing issues to fight for.
The only reason I can think of that I would even consider changing the mascot would be if the school were undergoing an image change. For example, when the school was moved to the new building it is now in, a new image to go with the new building would have been understandable. A decade of losing teams might also prompt need for new mascot to aid fighting spirit. But some religious fanatic with too much time on her hands is not a good enough reason.
To clarify my religious views, I am not religious, and I dislike religious people trying to force their views upon me. At the same time, I feel that religion is important for those who need it. It's easier for many to believe in some supreme being taking care of everything than to believe in themselves, so many get self confidence through such belief. That's fine with me. Religion is serving a very good role in such cases. There are many others who feel that the things that they do bad are the works of some supreme evil being, the devil.
That's just a weak way of getting out of responsibility, and I feel that such people are simply uneducated idiots not worth my time. Anybody concerned that the school's mascot will promote evil falls under the same category.
* * 27 * *
For what it's worth I vote to leave the name the same. It's not even as though we were insulting a minority or something (e.g. the Braves) and I think people should spend their energies on something besides trying to be constantly politically correct. I think if they insist on changing it they could at least wait until Coach Glaab is no longer around to be hurt. His reasons about having the team play like the devil and instill fear in the opponents sound like good ones to me. Surely there's something more important for those students to do--get a life--is what I'd tell them. Vent, vent!
* b *
So I thought I'd better add some more as to my ideas of what the word devil represented to me. One, it isn't the DEVIL that we use-- it's the Red Devil--a mischievous little guy who beats the devil out of opponents. Team names are supposed to be tough. The local semipro baseball team here recently changed it's name from the Charleston Rainbows, which was a terrific name representing our most famous tourist site, to the Charleston River Dogs, for the sole purpose of sounding tougher and meaner and more menacing. YoHi was never known anywhere as just the devils, but always as the Red Devils and I never once thought of any religious connotation--it's for a game for goodness sake. The instigator of this investigation is probably someone with an entirely different agenda than what teams are named--more an effort to foment unrest and impose his/her own radical religious views into every aspect of life.
I'll get an opinion from ... and from our Rector and send another note. I don't care if you delete my name or not, by the way.
Nobody ever complains about the Duke Blue Devils and they are in a very religiously conservative area.
* c *
He says that as with Native Americans, we'll consider changing it when we get a complaint from the real devil about the use of his name in this insulting and degrading and dishonoring manner. :>)
* * 28 * *
As far as I am concerned, it has been and always be the Yo-Hi Red Devils. It was, and has been for over 50 years. Of course they changed the name of the school so I guess they can change anything. But for me it was Yo-Hi (Yokohama American High School) and our team was the Yo-Hi Red Devils.
* * 29 * *
I may consider changing as soon as the Duke University Blue Devils change theirs.
* * 30 * *
I am a member of the St. Joe's faction of our alumni group. I am opposed to the name change and represent only myself. This "politically correct" nightmare is growing larger and there seems to be people who want change if isn't "lilly white" through the eons. I am sure I remember that both the Japanese and the Allies used the word "devil" to talk about the other but I don't feel that anyone was being vindictive when the mascot naming came up. I was even upset that they "sanitized" the likeness from it's original depiction that was very Japanese rather than a cutesy cartoon character.
I feel that a mascot change would be useful IF it creates a more unified school spirit - but how would you be able to measure the future before the fact? Something like this could lead to a change each year, with a change in the Senior Class, a change in the student council, a change in the administration, even a change in the PTA president.
I favor keeping the name change and a reverting to the old "devil's head".
P.S. While they are fostering a change from the name "Red Devil", have they given any thought to boycotting the painting accessory company by that same name. Each seems equally silly.
* * 31 * *
When I first came back to Yokosuka and was a freshman at Yo-Hi, the "keep or trash the Devil mascot" debate resurfaced during the 85-86 school year. The administration decided to have the student body vote on whether or not to keep the mascot, and the students voted with a clear majority, I think it was in the 65 - 70% range to keep the Red Devil as the mascot. If the school has any old copies of the Echoes newspaper (the Seahawk also covered the debate), the voting results should be in there.
I hope this helps you with your history-gathering.
* * 32 * * *
I must say that I am a bit surprised that in this day and age, the issue of a school mascot creates such controversy!! The Yo-Hi Red Devils have thrived for 50 some odd years and people are NOW having a problem with it??? I'm appalled!
With the events surrounding our society, I would hope that the students (and/or parents) of Yo-Hi would invest their energies in something a bit more substantial than stirring up an issue that's a non-issue. The Yo-Hi Red Devils do not connote a negative....many successful and intelligent people have been educated at Yo-Hi! The quality of education is far superior than in CONUS (I know....I graduated from a high school in the states) and the school spirit and loyalty is much greater (do you hear me talking about my actual Alma Mater?). I am much more proud telling people that I was once a Yo-Hi Red Devil than the US school I actually went to from Freshman to Senior year of high school.
What a sad day it will be if the current "Red Devils" decide to toss aside the school history since 1947 just to be politically correct. I would have thought they would have been more open-minded, having the opportunity to live in a foreign country and experience what many people in parts of this country will never experience. That experience alone should create an open-mindedness that many people lack.
They need to get off their "Holier-than-thou" pedestals and leave well enough alone.
* * 33 * *
Frankly, I don't understand what all the hoo-ha is about. The Yo-Hi Devils reflects the school's proud tradition on the football field, the basketball court, other sports venues, and among its student bodies over the years. It most emphatically has nothing to do with Satan worship -- so what's the problem? One of my favorite junk foods during my high school years was Devil Dogs by Drake's Cakes (second only to their Ring Dings). I assure you all that my consumption of Devil Dogs has not led me astray. If we change the name of the Yo-Hi devils, should we change the name of Devil Dogs also? Where will this end? Or, put another way, what harm has the use of the term Yo-Hi Devils done? None. So if it hasn't caused anybody or anything any harm, why mess with it? As they say, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it."
On another note, I am all for changing the names of things that historically have been offensive to various groups of people because it refers to them in ways they consider stereotypical and negative - - such as the baseball teams the Red Skins, Braves, etc. But Yo- Hi's devil mascot does not fall into that category.
I have no problem being identified as the author of this message.
* * 34 * *
I am amazed that the Devil is still the mascot, but also very pleased. First, we had so much FUN with such a mascot! A mascot is to be feared and the devil is certainly fearsome. The devil also represents (to me personally) an intense drive and energy, a single- mindedness and an irreverent sense of humor. The devil has a "no holds barred" attitude. I am proud of the large button I have with the Yo-Hi devil on the front. Aside from my yearbooks, it is the only momento to have survived. I know there are people who think the devil is a poor role model, but that misses the point. For school spirit, you need a mascot that makes you want to fight (athletically speaking)! I would be very sad if Kinnick lost the devil.
* * 35 * *
Keep the current mascot, it's part of the YOHI history. I personally don't like the devil mascot, but as I said before, it's part of the YOHI history and should be maintained.
* * 36 * *
Oh gosh, this is TOO MUCH!! I really can't believe this. I guess there are always those PC (politically correct, not computer) types that have to destroy what had been just because they don't see it fit to their current lifestyle. Give me a break!!!
You know, I remember looking back at how we had the slogan in our gym......"Home of the Red Devils......Hell". I thought it was cool then and still do now. I realize that the symbolism of the Devil has not changed in all these years, but in no way do I associate our school mascot being anything more than a mascot. It was most certainly not like we were a bunch of devil worshippers practicing in black magic or something. This is way too funny. These people need a life.
* b *
I took a quick peek at the story behind the conception of our Red Devil mascot. It was interesting seeing the various transformation of the devil caricature, much like seeing old Mickey Mouse drawings compared to today. Another comment comes to mind with regard to the earlier drawings. Being of part Japanese ancestry, I am also familiar with some of the devil type mask faces shown in the historical background. While I don't know much about them, I know that the Japanese often had devil type "Tengu" masks. Being in Japan, our school probably was influenced by the nature of Japanese religious practices. Therefore, once more we have an inherent historical meaning to how it was contrived and should not be thrown out as being related to some sort or "evil" worship. Thanks again for letting me have a say into what may be an important change to our school's heritage.
* * 37 * *
As to the Devil, the more I think of it, the more that I am convinced that it should be up to the students to decide who there mascot should be. I really don't feel one way or the other about it.
* * 38 * *
I played Quarterback on Yohi Red Devils Championship teams in ..... the 50's ...., guard on the .... basketball team and pitcher and outfield on the .... teams and my brother ...... played fullback on the .... team ..... We both graduated from the US Naval Academy (.... and .... respectively). I for one, have seen the mascot Devil represent many schools. I attended Duke University for a while before I decided to seek an appointment to Annapolis. The Duke blue devils are a famous basketball team that will likely win the NCAA tournament this year, is a university heavily imbued with a Christian (Methodist) tradition. While there I was for awhile in the pre ministerial program that offered free tuition for like students. No controversy ever surfaced over their devil and so it should be. Not many people really take literally the concept of a devil as spoken of in the fundamental circles and in some older translations of the bible. Yet some unfortunate people have even been led to still believe in demons. I feel sorry for them and those they try to influence. To say the mascot represents evil is really an extreme position which our time as alumni should not be spent on for anything but a very very minor issue. For the record, I vote to retain the mascot. While I opposed the travesty of a war in Vietnam, I am proud of my fathers heroism in World War II and have the greatest respect for veterans of that war. After 8 1/2 years in the US Navy I went to law school (University of California), and became a Civil Rights Attorney......
* * 39 * *
I am amazed that people actually sit around and have nothing better to think about than "demonizing" (pun intended) our poor old school mascot!!! How >bizarre!!! This is as dumb as the Washington Bullets having to change their name (I don't even know what they are any more) to help curb violence. There is also talk of changing the name of the Redskins and the Braves because it is not PC! Geez.......what next?
I don't think any of us even entertained the idea that being a "Devil" meant anything more than what it appeared on the surface - a red hot school with red hot spirit. I am not ashamed to say that most of us - and I include myself in this statement - WERE little devils. I mean this in an "impish" way. We got into trouble, we turned our parents hair gray...what else would you call us?
The Yo Hi "Good Guys"? The "Red Carnations"? I went from the Red Devils to the Orleans Trojans - I won't even go there but I'm glad none of us thought of other meanings to that mascot!!!
You have my permission to forward my opinion on to whoever. I am so sick of people fixating on the ridiculous and I would love to be one of those objecting.
* * 40 * *
This matter truly does "touch home" and I would hate to see the devil mascot go away.
* * 41 * *
I'm not sure what you people are thinking about. The four years that I attended YO-HI, the teams were all known as the YO-HI RED DEVILS. I cannot recall at any time, any person referring to or thinking of the Red Devil as evil. Only a Mascot. So if we are to take up a cause, let's make it something important. As a thought ... should we contact Duke University and ask them to change their mascot? After all the little blue devil is pretty sinister.
* * 42 * *
First, many graduates of the past have memories of the Mascot named Red Devil. Names of teams or Mascots do not change the personality of people. I see generations of American's which blame movies, names and organization for all the bad happenings in main land United States.
The name of the mascot will not effect a person, though a graduate of Yo-Hi devil, I have no association with gangs nor want to go and kill anyone (I admit driving in Los Angeles, sometimes !!!!), I know the difference between good and bad.
Memories are priceless and some memories are associated with that name.
Did changing everything to be Politically Correct in name and terms make things better??? I think not, and some went from bad to worse.
Why must everything be Politically Correct???
We all know that life is not all Politically Correct, nor just good and bad. Why are we so afraid to believe that kids do not understand the difference between our Mascot and an actual Devil? We are so afraid that we can not teach the difference??
We are becoming a generation of Parents that can not laugh and take a joke, while teaching kids - why???
Keep the name, we do not need any more politically correct changes.
We became a generation of parents and a nation which find small things, and turn into big things while actual big problems are put a side. We became a generation which is afraid to take on Big Problems in the Untied States, but take on small problems so we feel as if we are doing something.
Changing the Mascot will not change the world or idea of kids. Keep the name which lives in the memories of many graduates, memories which could be good or bad.
Seems bad memories also become good memories as time pass.
* * 43 * *
This issue must have been started by someone who recently became religious.
Yo-Hi was attended by many children of Christian ministers. None of those people had problems with the Yo-Hi Red Devil, because they knew exactly what it stood for. It was simply a symbol which helped the student body identify with each other, ignoring other affiliations (race, religion, sex, citizenship, etc). In my case, this was a wonderful experience. This really set us apart from the Dragons, Trojans and Vikings. It seems silly that someone would consider changing this after so many years.
I am a Yo-Hi Red Devil, and I'm proud of that fact. It is how I identify with old school friends, as well as those unfortunate people from other schools. The devil is a great tradition. Please don't change it.
* * 44 * *
I am a Christian, and have no problem calling the mascot as the "Devils," but I guess I can understand the controversy....not politically correct I suppose.
I haven't had time to figure this out.
* * 45 * *
Better yet...let's call ourselves Yo-Hi wuss and wussettes.. Or Holy Rollers....Or beavers...
I think we should change the name to Yohi Angels, or Yohi Christian Righters, or even better, Yohi Do-Gooders.
* * 46 * *
As the proud parent of (2) that have graduated from KHS I can tell you I will fight alongside each and every one of you Alumni on this issue. I went through this a few years ago and was very sorry to hear that it has surfaced once again. I believe that this explains the rationale behind why so many of the good "ole" dedicated teachers of KHS over the years are pulling up stake and leaving.
Also, as a proud father of ......., who will work very hard to see that the Mascot remains as is, ..... and will remain very active with the school. ............. Likewise, ........., currently living in ......, will help by ensuring that the many YoHi Alumni get the word on what is trying to be done.
As I have seen over the years and surely you have witnessed, the YoHi community is a very powerful and tight nit group of folks. They will not allow the "Devil" to die in vain without there vote of approval.
* * 47 * *
Another mountain out of a mole hill, no? I guess so many people feel a need and desire to find a subject for a crusade; to determine what is best for the rest of us. Perhaps they should find worthy protests that really matter; like injustice, war, child abuse, cancer, or wearing pastels before Memorial Day (a Papal waver is granted for this last cause for Easter).
Now, it seems the rest of us are solicited to respond to the trivial and banal; a true waste of time and energy.
I guess you now know how I feel about this. Keep the little sucker.
* * 48 * *
RAH RAH We're the kids from yo hi.....our boys will fight.....we've got the best team...here's to the red and white.....the red and white forever.....We'll stand up for DEVILS.....finest in the land.....we've got the best team in all Japan!!!!!
* * 49 * *
This is in response to your recent request for alumni feedback on the subject of the "Red Devil" as a mascot name for the Kinnick High School (and I don't care if I remain anonymous or not on this subject!):
As one of the alumni from the 60's who used to write for the Echoes, I welcome this opportunity to respond to the question of keeping the current mascot for Yo-Hi. I must say that I am absolutely appalled that this is even an issue with the current school. It is yet another sad example of political correctness being applied to the extreme at the expense of common sense!
First of all, I would like to point out that there are a great many high schools, colleges, municipal and military sports teams throughout the United States with the mascot name of "Devils" the most obvious examples being Duke University's "Blue Devils" and Arizona State University's "Sun Devils." One version of how the Sun Devils got their name was from the natural phenomenon of "devil winds" or "devil dusters" (whirlwinds) found in the desert which strike quickly with hot sandy winds to overpower unsuspecting travelers. The "Red Devils" is also the official nickname for the famous British Parachute Regiment, of which Prince Charles is the Honorary Commander. The devil name in both cases was chosen specifically to illustrate what they would do to opponents on the field of battle or sports: i.e. they would "bedevil them." This is precisely the same intent behind the use of the name at Yo-Hi.
It's my understanding that some people at Kinnick are concerned that the use of the "Red Devil" mascot name is inappropriate because it is Anti-Christian or somehow smacks of Satan worship. Tell that to the hundreds and hundreds of former Yo-Hi students who are now devout church-going parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. They will tell you the same thing that I will: "Hogwash!" Of course, perhaps I have misunderstood the concerns; is it the use of the word "Red?" That's it!
Let's see... Red Army, Red China, and...RED DEVILS. Holy Cow, we've got something here! The school is promoting Commie-Pinko Satan Worship! Yes it sounds silly, but what I find worrisome is that there are probably folks out there whose critical thinking skills follow that kind of logic.
Seriously, one needs to use some common sense in examining the "correctness" of something before jumping to wild conclusions. Just because our mascot name has the word "devil" in it and uses an impish "Hot Stuff" with a trident does not equate it with Satan in the biblical sense. Whenever one tries to interpret things too literally, there is always the danger of misinterpretation.
I can illustrate this with an example from my profession. I work with abused children, and sometimes the parent of a child who has received horrific physical abuse at their hands will tell me that they were just "following the Bible"; that Jesus said that if you "Spare the Rod" you will "Spoil the Child," so they beat their children terribly with objects whenever they misbehaved. I put this issue once to a group of ministers and priests and their answer was quite interesting. First of all, this often quoted passage is not attributed to Christ, but is from The Book of Psalms. The "rod" being referred to is a shepherd's crooked staff. A shepherd does not use his rod to beat his flock. He uses it's crook to guide them on their way. The true message to parents from this Psalm is that if you fail to guide your children, they will stray.
The Yo-Hi Red Devils recently celebrated their 50th anniversary as a school and kept their name through several major relocation's. To thousands of former students and faculty members, the name invokes strong feelings of pride in having been a part of that great tradition. The mascot name does NOT impune anyone's race, religion, or creed. To change this name is to seriously harm the traditions which have made Yo- Hi stand out from the rest of DOD Schools in the Far East. Speaking for myself, if "Red Devils" as a mascot name goes, then please take the name "Yo-Hi" away with it, for the school which remains deserves neither.
* * 50 * *
I was glad to have Coach Glaab's history of how he named the team. I knew he had from other remarks, but the additional anecdotes were interesting.
Much as I would like to think the Alumni should have some input on the team name, I would doubt that we do, merely 50 years later!!
HOWEVER, I also think it is a tempest in a teapot to ascribe any other attributes to our team name other than to inspire enthusiasm and fighting spirit (especially when playing heavier, older, more experienced Army teams!).
Everything has gotten so Politically Correct, at the risk of being PI (incorrect) I am pretty tired of it. When we visited the school in October the students asked if we had had controversy over how we dressed. Of course we were all such conformists then that we had our own unspecified Dress Code. Anyway, I gathered that there is a conservative element of parents in the school that is pushing for school uniforms, etc. and they may be also the ones who see a devilish influence in a very harmless name choice. I'd like to see the Red Devils kept as the school name, for history's sake. But since the school premises are so different, the student body definitely different, and the world is enormously different, I see their dilemma.
* * 51 * *
I think the devil should be kept.
When I entered Yo-Hi in my Freshman year (September 1968) I thought the devil logo was cool. I have to say that it never reminded me of "Lucifer" the traditional devil of Christianity. Our devil looks more like an oriental demon, perhaps a tengu. Tengu are known for being tricksters and delight with finding worthy humans to tease. Whether or not you benefit from the experience depends upon the individual. My own Yo-Hi experience was very much like having wrestled with the tengu. Don't forget that Nile C. Kinnick was killed during the Second World War. When the school was named, I believe that it was linked with the idea of a young person, so full of life and with the potential for greatness, having it all "snatched away" at the whim of fate. Our devil reminds us to all to take care and to be careful.
* * 52 * *
I'm appalled at what some people can make out of nothing. I without hesitation support keeping the Red Devil Mascot and cannot begin to see any reason why it shouldn't be kept. Other than the obvious definition of the Devil, the dictionary also defines a Devilish person as one who is mischievous, energetic, reckless etc. and I believe this is the spirit we had when we took the field in all the sports that were available to the Yo-Hi student body. To think that anyone with any sense felt that we were evil because we were Red Devils is nuts. Please cast my vote to retain the Red Devil as Yo-Hi's official Mascot. Thanks !
* * 53 * *
Fundamentalist Christians(?) once again try to dictate what the world should believe. The Yo-Hi Devil will always be the cherished symbol of my high school years. Unlike the silly name "Farmers" at the school I transferred to when I left Japan. Since there were several YoHiers at this school we wore our YoHi jackets to show our pride in where we came from and our former school. We were threatened with suspension if we refused to stop wearing them as we were considered to be a "gang". Well we were sort of, since most of us had been good friends while we were at YoHi. Perhaps the parents of the present students should take into consideration all the students who have been students, how many of us were adversely affected by this "evil" symbol.
Ninety-nine point ninety-nine became decent members of society no matter what our religious beliefs are or the lack thereof.
Always and forever GO DEVILS GO!
* * 54 * *
Please leave the mascot as the Red Devil. It is a tradition and not intended to offend the current wave of religious conservatism. I am quite proud that my years at Kinnick/Yo- Hi instilled a little 'devil' in me. It has a made me a little mover and shaker in my little corner of the world.
* * 55 * *
Cannot help you. Duke should drop their mascot also.
Yes it is probably not appropriate per some Christian groups, however, it is historical.
* * 56 * *
In response to the "Red Devil", I would like to see the school retain it. I had never in my life thought there was any "Satanic or Evil" connotation connected with our mascot. Apparently, the opinion of the alumni of Yokohama American High School has been expressed to the people at Kinnick High School before, and probably more than once. What more can you do? I would ask the person/student/teacher/whomever is pushing this thing to contact Duke University to determine how much Satanic or Evil connotation that school mascot represents. Someone would have a .... of a time getting them to change their mascot.
I do not, however, believe that the alumni of the Yokohama American High School has any business getting involved in what the present day students want for a mascot. If, when the school was moved from Yokohama to Yokosuka, it had been decided then to change the mascot to something other than the Red Devil, we would never have been involved because we were not organized at that time and it is a different school entirely from what we had. If the students are not comfortable with the Red Devil let them change it, I could care less what Kinnick High School has for a mascot. I am not an alumni of that school.
* * 57 * *
The Red Devil mascot has been with YoHi for over 50 years. The school, itself, has undergone considerable transformation -- it has moved from place to place, and building to building. However, the mascot has been the one thing that students and alumni can all identify with.
As military dependents, many of us lived nomadic lives, moving every three years. We had to face our teen years, some of life's most turbulent, yet precious, under these challenging circumstances. We struggled to grasp on to some sense of "normalcy" and "stability." YoHi helped to fill this void. We were the YoHi Red Devils, and we were proud.
Yes, I am a Red Devil. Am I a devil worshiper? Absolutely not! Our Red Devil does NOT represent a demonic force. It is a mascot, not a idol to worship. The Red Devils of YoHi are no more devil worshipers than the Panthers of Yokota are man eating predators.
Please don't change the mascot!
* * 58 * *
These are my thoughts on this matter. You have my permission to forward this letter to anyone and you can give out my e-mail address to anyone.
I always liked the Red Devil name and logo. It really let everyone know who we from Yo-Hi were. We were the Red Devils. Kind of like the British First Airborne Division, Red Devils. The face of the Red Devil was very much a part of the Japanese culture in which we were privileged to live. It let all of us Red Devils know that we were living in an exotic land, a different culture, and that we were part of the American commitment to defending democracy at the far edge. We were the Yokohama High School Red Devils. The Narimasu Dragons did not have as good a mascot as we had!! Go Devils, beat the Dragons !!
It is difficult to believe that this topic is a concern to parents of current Yo-Hi students, particularly because some are worried that the "Devil" gives an impression of evil. The thought that a school mascot name would have any effect of how a high school student will really turn out is pretty silly. Parents of Cal State Irvine students must be worried about that school mascot - the Anteaters!! Duke University Blue Devils - parents beware !! Narimasu Dragons - well, maybe none of those students ever turned out right.
If the present batch of Yo-Hi students and their parents want to change their mascot, they can do so. They will lose the benefit of a proud tradition and will gain nothing.
And, anything that they do will not change the fact that I am a Yo-Hi Devil. I am and will always be proud to have been a Yo-Hi Devil. I will always be a Yo-Hi Devil. I was a Yo-Hi Devil while in college and law school, I just used a different mascot temporarily. I was a Yo-Hi Devil when I joined the Army and served my country for 28 years. I was a Yo-Hi Devil on every occasion that I attend church, and God always listens to my prayers and loves me as one of His children. I never did anything bad or in poor taste because I was a Yo-Hi Devil. On those RARE occasions that I did something bad or in poor taste, I did so on my own and did not want anyone to know that I was a Yo-Hi Devil because I did not want to bring shame to the Yo-Hi Devil. Red and white are still my favorite colors and the Devil will always be the name of my high school team.
If the current students and parents change the name of their mascot, how sad that they will not be Yo-Hi Devils, the latest in a long and proud tradition that started shortly after World War II and which honors the military that won that war and which helped bring democracy to Japan.
How sad for those who would change the Devil. But, it will have no effect on me. I will always be a Yo-Hi Devil.
With best regards to all Yo-Hi Devils, .......... , graduated as a Yo-Hi Devil in 1964, a Yo-Hi Devil 1958-1960 in Junior High School, a Yo-Hi Devil 1960-1964 in High School and a Yo-Hi Devil 1964 to the present, in the School of Life. And, I fully expect to go to heaven as a Yo-Hi Devil, where I hope to finally talk Coach Radford to switching to a T formation!! Go Devils, Beat the Dragons !!!
* * 59 * *
I see no reason to change the school mascot from the devil. My position is simple. The mascot is a symbol designed to promote school spirit, whether it be a lion a devil, or a muskrat. It represents the students solidarity at inter-school functions like football games or debates.
In the case of YOHI's devil, I see no "evil" connotation except what individuals place on it. A Devil, our devil in particular, is an imp. Just a mythical, mystical little leprechaun type person that gets into mischief every now and again.
* * 60 * *
Well isn't this interesting! Here is my take on the whole issue....I never thought of the red devil as an "evil" being. I merely found it to be intimidating to the competition. I actually find it to represent strength and commitment. Anyway, I think we should keep the red devil as our mascot.
* * 61 * *
I can see some current students are ready to abolish a mascot that's been a symbol to our high school for.........who knows how long!! Even though I left before graduating there, that high school had given me experiences from the classes, faculty, and especially the MANY friends I've made! Now, I'm sure a lot of us alumni's that went to that school would strongly disagree to the changing of the mascot! Heck! I'm pretty sure Mark Hamill(Luke Skywalker of "Star Wars") wouldn't like the change at all, also!! If those people actually change it, it would be like a stab-the-back for the students who went there! Yeah, I know the devil can represent a negative message, but I never!!.....and I mean never recalled any of the school's past students promote anything that was evil!!
The devil is a logo/mascot that just represented our high school for many years, nothing else! I can't see why they would even think about changing it.
* * 62 * *
Here's my 2 cents on the mascot debate. No one can change the past. We were the Devils in 1968, and that's what we will always be. Are we supposed to be considering re-writing history here? If the current students (or their parents) at YoHi overwhelmingly no longer wish to be 'Devils', they can be whatever the heck they want. Their choice of name will never change the fact that many years of proud "Devils" preceded them. I find it completely ridiculous that there is an element that gets frightened and offended at the use of the mere word 'devil'. Let them pursue their foolishness if they wish. It need have no effect on us or any other alumni.
* * 63 * *
[This comment contains a "link" in blue below - "double click" it to see. Jim Hyatt]
The mascot for the University of Idaho is a Vandal, as a state-supported institution I don't think we can construe that as a religious symbol, although I doubt that the original Vandals were particularly Christian.
Please see the attached, need we say anymore?
Why a Blue Devil? Of course maybe the color red is what's objectionable!!!!!!!!
* * 64 * *
I think it would be nice if they included the alumni in the voting process. However, it is the children who are currently attending school that are affected by the whole situation. With that said, I would understand their decision to leave us out.
However, if asked, the following would be my answer and wish: I understand change can and will happen when it is NEEDED. I do not see any necessity in the mascot issue. Leave the Red Devil alone.
* * 65* * *
I strongly believe that the mascot should NOT change.
I am proud to be a Red Devil. Not because of it's connotation, but because it represents students who attended Yo-Hi. It represents commonalty, diverse culture, and an unique experience that can only be understood by those who attended Yo-Hi. It also represents our spirits, friendship and loyalty to the school. The building changed many times, but the name "Nile C. Kinnick High School", the nickname "Yo-Hi", and our mascot "Red Devil" hasn't. Let's keep it that way.
In 1993/1994 time frame, someone voiced similar concerns about our mascot. The individual made implications of the "devil" playing a role in our football team's losing season. There was even a rumor of changing the mascot to the "dolphins". The implication never amounted to anything. It was easy for many of us to defend our mascot by pointing out our winning season in several other sports and convincing skepticals that the "name" has nothing to do with individual's performance, value system, or religious belief.
There are many successful, intelligent alumni from Yo-Hi. No one can blame the mascot, Red Devil, for any events happening in anyone's life. As for sounding un-Christian like when yelling "Devils" during a school event, remember that people will always make judgement about others. What's important is not what other's believe, but what the individual believes. Anything else, just doesn't matter.
* * 66 * *
I say keep the mascot as it is. Why mess with tradition? I never thought of the "Devil" mascot as something evil! What narrow- mindedness! I thought of it as fun and somewhat mischievous, but not evil.
* * 67 * *
Go to your favorite search program and type "red devils" and see how many "hits" you get and what they are.
* * 68 * *
We attended Nile C. Kinnick High School in Yokohama, Japan (when it was still in Yokohama) from 1967-1970, while Navy dependents living in Yokosuka. I can remember vividly discussions we had about this very issue, and felt strongly at that time that the Mascot should not be a devil. As a minister of the Gospel, I would again raise the issue that the mascot should not be a devil, because even though I can understand the argument is not to portray evil as a representation for the school, everyone would readily identify the picture of the devil to represent evil or at the very least evil intentions. People outside the YOHI circles are unable to separate what the picture represents to others and what YOHI Faculty, Staff, Students, and Alumni intend for it to mean. It is the old "appearances issue". In other words how does it appear, rather than what do the above individuals intend for it to mean.
* * 69 * *
Everyone else seems to be weighing in on this subject, so I shall throw in my short and un-illustrious comments.
First of all, I would indeed be interested, before making a final judgment, as to the etiology of the Yo-Hi mascot. Often such knowledge would lead us to consider such an issue a much-ado-about-nothing. Two examples of this would be the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians. Originally the Atlanta team were the Boston Braves, and the "braves" referred to in the title were a collection of political cronies in Boston known by that name, which is to say it had no connection to Indians/Native Americans. The Cleveland Indians, moreover, were named as such to honor Louis Soxalexis, the first Indian/Native American major league baseball player, who played for the Cleveland team before it was known as the Indians. It is quite possible that the "red devil" reference is similarly to something, since forgotten, that would be surprising were it discovered.
Let's assume, however, that the "devil" mascot can be taken at face value. In my life as a Christian I would probably be the last person to downplay or discredit the concept of Satan, the evidence of whose work in ourselves and in the world is as vast as the world itself. I have seen more than one instance of demonic possession, and it is not something to be scoffed at or diminished. Does this mean that one should not call a football team "red devils"? Not necessarily.
1) The use of any mascot is as part of a *game*, whether an actual game such as football or basketball, or the game of school competition. The whole purpose of such competition is the same as any game: to release our aggressive tendencies in non-threatening ways. The mascot cements the non-threatening nature of the event: to call oneself a yellowjacket, gator, tiger, devil ray, Fighting Irish, Viking, Brave, Knight or Red Devil, one is emphasizing the fantasy nature of the competition--it may be emotionally important who wins the game, but it is not realistically important--and so returns fantasy to the nature of the mascot.
This, incidentally, gives the lie to the politically correct over concern with mascots in general--an Indian understandably may not want to be thought of as Chief Wahoo, but I am part Irish, and I certainly do not want to be thought of as Notre Dame's pugnacious leprechaun. The most effective proof of self-esteem, though, is not the ability to cower others into speaking as you want them to speak (something which in a spouse would be called "psychological abuse"), but rather the ability to laugh at oneself, whether or not others are laughing with or at you. I digress, however.
2) In animistic societies people often attempt to be filled with the spirit of something/one else, as in the *loa* of Haiti, and from a Christian standpoint these are greatly to be avoided, since demonic possession often comes thereby. It may be true that the school mascot concept is a vestige of such animism, but it has long lost its spiritual significance in relation to the school--people at Yo-Hi certainly do not want to be filled with the spirit of the red devil, any more than people at Minnesota U. want to be filled with the spirit of the gopher.
3) Martin Luther once remarked that the Devil can withstand anything except laughter. When we take a concept theoretically controlled by the Evil One and turn it into a mechanism for having fun, we spit in Satan's eye in a way that cannot easily be overcome. Those of us who are Christians believe that the Holy Spirit that is within us is greater than the spirit of this world, and it is because of our reliance upon God's redemption and faithfulness that we can be unafraid. As Luther wrote in "A Mighty Fortress":
Though hordes of devils fill the land
All threatening to devour us
We tremble not; unmoved we stand;
They cannot overpower us.
Let this world's tyrant rage: in battle we'll engage!
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure:
One little word shall fell him.
There are enough real devils in the world that require battling to waste one's time and effort fighting a fantasy devil that to no one's knowledge has caused any evil. Such people, to use Paul's words, have a zeal, but not according to knowledge; such zeal should be put to better use than to worry about football mascots.
* * 70 * *
As a 1956 graduate of Yokohama American High School I am asking that the "Red Devil" mascot be kept and taken for what it represents, a mascot. While the politically correct may not agree, I cannot accept the fact that everything must be black or white (or can I even say that?).
For years youngsters who would get into mischief would be called a "little devil" without incurring the wrath of having to apologize to the church. People, return to reality. Sooner or later every single proposed mascot is going to offend someone or other. Would the name "Angels" make anyone feel better about the name or might we risk offending what angels are supposed to represent?
Call me what you want, but I'll be a Red Devil forever!
* * 71 * *
I was at Yo-Hi high school through 72-75 and I have no idea of how the mascot was called "devil". But I, as many of us out here, don't believe that this use of the word has no meaning whatsoever to the evil devil that all of us know about.
I do not agree with the changing of the mascot's name. Let's grow up, we should be there by now, I'm sure they have more problems on their agendas other than this one.
* * 72 * *
As an alumnus of 50's vintage, I would like to keep the mascot. Having friends in low places might help us win more games. People interested in goodness, might focus on more concrete activities.
* * 73 * *
I received a copy of a letter on this issue, and I find it puts it into perspective quite well. Though I am not a professed Christian in the same way, I feel in agreement with his views. I especially like the notion of keeping ones sense of humor and maintaining proper perspective on matters as these. Though I am not particularly attached to keeping the mascot, I believe that the effort to change it makes a mountain out of a molehill.
* * 74 * *
Who really cares about a name???? I think the RED DEVILS were and still are great. I personally feel that too many bleeding liberals etc. today are getting to carried away with names of teams and mascots, i.e. taking hidden meanings or applying meanings to names of teams that have no real hidden meanings. Think of some Indian names etc. ex. for one thing changing the name of crayon color Indian Red, what a crock. Keep the Red Devils.
* * 75 * *
I am surprised that this debate is just coming up now! I know that this mascot has been Yohi's for a really long time and that it would be difficult to change a tradition that has been around for as long as it has. I don't personally think that the mascot-figure itself represents evil... but it doesn't really give a positive light toward the school.
I know that the mascot is just a mascot and not taken more than that, but I can see other people's point of view of where the emphasis in the school's mascot is coming from. In Oklahoma, a lot of school's are changing their mascot names because of Indian kinda' things (changing it to RED STORM or something more sportish) so I'm not one who will argue a whole lot when it comes to change. I did, however, make a small joke when I went to school there that the reason we lost quite a bit was because we had the wrong guy on our side! I don't think that I told many people about that one...
So what am I trying to say... I think that to better the school and the way others view the school and the students, that it might be better to change the mascot. I know that this takes away all of the tradition, but, as a teacher now, I think that we need to also take a good look at how it is going to affect the students.
* * 76 * *
I'm sure that in today's society, every attempt is being made to excuse the system's ineffectiveness in controlling crime, drugs, and alcohol. If you don't know what else to do, I suppose you change school mascots from "Red Devils" to something like, "Mary Poppin's Angels".
I believe that the 'politically correct' objections of today's society to team mascots are a somewhat cowardly attempt to conform to a set of standards which may prove to be of very short duration. Many of the team mascots under fire have existed for generations -- which is more than can be said for the longevity of the 'politically correct' standards themselves.
Certainly, anyone knowing the high moral standards of the YoHiers of the late 1940's and early 1950's would have to believe that the school's choice of mascots had nothing but a positive influence on its students. I believe that is abundantly evident, looking at the careers of these alumni, It seems very clear that they (we) have made it through life very successfully and have lived by the highest standards. What more evidence is needed that school mascots were not a problem with this group of people who originated the YoHi mascot?
Today's Yokosuka YoHi can do whatever they like; it is their school now. Whatever they do cannot change what we did and what we had at Yokohama American High School.
I wish the present school the best of luck; at the same time, I hope there are some there who will be slow to knuckle under to those of the 'politically correct'.
* * 77 * *
I feel it is up to the current YOHI group to make this decision. If a decision is made to re-name our MASCOT I would suggest and vote for "THE REDSKINS".
* * 78 * *
I am a graduate from 1974 - awhile back and probably a simpler time but we did not consider the devil anything satanic but just a symbol for school pride. It's too bad that so many schools are trying to become politically correct when many of these symbols are strictly for team spirit.
I am a mom of two and presently coaching rookies (6-10 yrs old) - girls softball team. They chose their name and it is the terminators! Should anyone read more into this then just a fun name.... I don't think so.
* * 79 * *
I can't believe the debate over the devil is still going on. It's been years and years, and still nothing. I really think that they should drop the subject, and let the devil stay. Have people not heard of the "Blue Devils?" The red devil is apart of Yo-Hi history and nobody should mess around with history.
* * 80 * *
All I got to say is that we grew up with this mascot and I'm not letting any 'class' take it away from us. I'm sure there are going to be many or even all responses that are going to be similar to mine. Yes, the devil does represent 'evil' but we don't practice that kind of evil in our school. We don't have stars with circles around it painted on our walls or any kind of satanic symbol that would convince other people that our school is...I guess...evil. This whole thing is absolutely ridiculous, I can't believe this is taking place. We have no history of practicing this kind of thing or chanting any satanic verses. If anything, I think the only characteristic that we got from the devil is being clever, smart, and always trying to get what you want, that would be it I think. Well, that's my opinion about this issue and i hope that there won't be a replacement for our mascot because if there is a bigger issue may arise. The mascot represents our school and the students of the past and present.
* * 81 * *
Let's see... revisionism at work, or is it just a case of taking oneself too seriously. Let them pursue their foolishness if they wish. It need have no effect on us or any other alumni.
* * 82 * *
Yo-Hi RED DEVIL? What does it mean? It is memories, of countless alumni that have attended Kinnick. This silly and ridiculous debate has risen again. I was on the board my Junior year 85-86 against the changing of the mascot. At the time, I unfortunately could not call myself a faithful Christian, but even now; I do not see a compelling reason to change the mascot. For it is a name, albeit not a biblically correct name. Let us return to a strong reason why the mascot should stay, MEMORIES. YO-HI RED DEVILS!! NILE C. KINNICK RED DEVILS!!!! RED DEVIL!!!!! Perhaps to the new comer or the parent or teacher that has only a short tour in Japan and does not understand the type of FELLOWSHIP that an ALUMNI has/or a present student will have to YO-HI!
Many of the my friends from Yo-Hi have many years in Japan. Myself I have 10 years, from Kinnick Middle School (which also housed elementary?) to Sullivans Elementary and then 6 memorable (hmm? theres that funny word memory again) years at YO-HI!! By changing the mascot you take a connection that I /we have to Yokosuka. The building has changed on numerous occasions but the "WHO WE ARE" stays the same. If the mascot is changed then a strong connection that many of us alumni have to the Kinnick is definitely FRAYED and possibly SEVERED. I returned to Japan in .. on business unfortunately I was unable to make it to the base but I was energized with coming "HOME"! Changing the mascot will not feel like coming home. And what might connect alumni/student wont be there any longer. Better to tell me that the Base is closing down at least it would be an acceptable yet painful reason for the end of an era.
I could continue this debate on a moral, ethical or Biblical level but I feel that emotionally is how us Alumni will be most be affected. And if you are still not swayed Go TEACH/ATTEND OR SEND your child to another school. For all I have to say to you is "LEAVE MY SCHOOL ALONE!!"
* * 83 * *
Politically Correctness, Phooey on those numskulls who created this issue - I do not have time to develop an essay regarding a mascot that has no significant meaning to me at this stage in life. So be it, devil or not. I never thought about it being negative to start. Where is this world going?
Let it BE!!!
* * 84 * *
Just a note to say our title of Red Devils remains with us! Any change goes with the way of the times. Certainly the Nile Kinnick High School is living in a different Japan than we did, perhaps more closely to them. That community feels devils are quite real it seems to me whereas we see them more or less symbolical.
I'm most pleased to hear how the name began. So Go Red Devils GO!!!
* * 85 * *
We need to keep it, if we change it would be like changing history . If a few adults or students cannot separate their beliefs then they should stop and check themselves. If the silly idea that the mascot "Red Devil" represents "evil" , or would cause students to become some satanic cult group. I can say the ratio would not differ from high schools with mascots like , gators, wildcats, tigers, aggies, etc. as I've seen them in my duties as an investigator for a sheriffs office here in Florida as it is not a mascot thing but a lack of parental control. I must say to those who think this way to "GROW UP!!!", "GET REAL" and "FOCUS YOUR ENERGY INTO SOMETHING POSITIVE!!", let it rest. Leave the RED DEVIL alone!!!!
* * 86 * *
I was saddened by the recent email concerning the "political correctness" of the red devil for Yo-Hi's mascot. Recently, our local high school in ......, ... went through the same debate for their mascot, the Indians. I was glad that our local school board chose to keep their mascot.
And, of course, the whole nation is still recovering from the controversy a few years back concerning the "PC" of the tomahawk chop used by the Florida State University Seminoles.
I first consulted the dictionary to determine what exactly a "mascot" is: "any person, animal or thing supposed to bring good luck by being present." While Webster also indicates that there are evil connotations associated with devils, I don't believe that using a "devil" for a mascot necessarily correlates to all Yo-Hi students being the very personification of the devil or its evil characteristics. In fact, a study of the English language indicates that even if students are described as "devilish," they are usually being regarded as "mischievous, energetic or reckless," not "wicked, cruel or diabolical."
In conclusion, the devil has served Yo-Hi well as a mascot for years and years. I think the mascot has brought the school good luck at many sporting events over the years. I see no reason to look for a new mascot.
* * 87 * *
IT IS IRONIC THAT DEVIL BACKWARDS SPELLS LIVED, IS THAT GOING TO BE A SIN????
* * 88 * *
About the only resemblance to our Red Devil these days is that the Kinnick devil is red.
* * 89 * *
On this Red Devil controversy, the revised devil looks like a little cherub type kid in a devil suit. It is not at all like our fierce symbol and the best way to describe it is "cute."
* * * * *
28 MARCH 1999
Simultanious with the receipt and posting of the alumni comments the following letter was sent to the Ms Maureen M Belanger (Principal KHS) asking for information concerning this issue to help us understand what is going on: [note: this letter was not made public to the alumni until 14 June 1999]
Subj: YOHI Alumni seek information
Nile C. Kinnick High School
Yokosuka Navy Base, Japan
Dear Mrs Maureen M. Belanger,
Reference the current "Red Devil mascot" retention issue under discussion at YOHI - to keep or not keep it!
For a number of reason and under the pressing circumstances as we understand them, it is difficult for us to quickly discover all the points of contact for entities we feel are, or perhaps should be involved in this issue. We would like to establish contact with them and determine their position. Time being of major importance to all we assume, we would be extremely grateful if you (or your staff) would coordinate with them to insure this message is provided, and hopefully to assist them if necessary in getting their reply to our inquiry, to us. Replies would be published on the Yohi Alumni Web Site to insure maximum distribution to our alumni who can be reached quickly - the 1,600 on the "internet". The balance of the 3,100 alumni would be informed later.
Alumni are very interested in this "devil" retention matter, and very much appreciate the Administration permitting the alumni to make "comments". New "comments" will be inserted on the YOHI Alumni web site on Wednesday next. We would appreciate it if your staff insures that alumni "comments" are made available to agencies mentioned in this letter.
It is NOT our intent to meddle or cause disruption in far more important school matters.
The extent of our "rights" at the moment with respect to this issue are unclear. Primarily because this is the first time in our history, alumni from 50 Classes have an identity as a "group" - all because of the capability of the World Wide Web - the "Internet". There is much to be learned as we struggle to become alumni of a single school and merge our collective experiences.
However, as "alumni", and tax payers into a federally funded Department of Defense School System, we feel , like parents of students there at Yokosuka, that we need to know what is going on at our school - certainly what may change it's 51 year old history. This relationship is not unlike local schools here in CONUS that are supported by local funds, and where citizens may attend School Board meetings, etc.; or listen to the media to learn and debate relevant issues.
It appears to be the desire of alumni that a public disclosure be made of all the facts about this issue.
Thus, we would appreciate, and respectfully request information from the entities listed below. Information in sufficient detail, to identify the positions of each with respect to this issue - why those positions are taken, and how it is going to be resolved:
1) The School Board.
2) The School Administration.
3) The Student Advisory Council (SAC). (Note: SAC stands for School Advisory Committee. In their flyer soliciting nominations for next year, they describe themselves as "an elected educational advisory committee created to advise the administrations of DoDDS." The committee is composed of an equal number of parents and school employees, with an additional two student members.)
4) The "element/organization/agency" that is opposing the retention of the Red Devil.
5) The Students - not just 7th graders - who ultimately have the greatest interest in this matter, for - as we understand it - it is they who will record forever the evolution, and the possible destruction of the "red devil" alumni knew as the symbol of the "spirit" of YOHI.
Alumni privately are indicating they experienced similar actions in the past at YOHI to remove the "Mascot" - perhaps 8-10 times in 30-40 years. Some understood the issue. Some indicate very little information was provided at the time as to the reasons why the image should be replaced - why it is not appropriate, or should be kept; and admit that perhaps they did not understand the issue at that time. Others indicate it was never explained at all, or accomplished in a clandestine way, while others indicate the identification of the entities making the objections were never known, nor were the reasons they took that position. Remarkably, others indicate that the "win" record (obviously was not good - and a surprise) for the current year was responsible. There is much confusion. Obviously, the truth cannot be determined from within the impressions remembered by the alumni. Other historical documents come into play, like the 1993 "issue" as displayed on the web site. More confusion. The truth must be somewhere between what the alumni know, and the position of those listed above, and who are hopefully going to tell us.
Alumni certainly do not understand the view of those opposing the retention of the devil presently because we don't know what they are; nor, do we understand why the issue persists. As you see from the alumni comments, the pressures of "Political Correctness" are enormous in certain areas. Our experiences in life - as "Brats", and elsewhere - have taught us that those associated with the strong discipline of military life are able to handle those pressures better than most.
Our desire is to insure alumni are fully informed of the present facts as relate to this issue, and permitted to participate; thus, can better cope with the matter and hopefully continue to be proud of the school's rich 51 year heritage. It would truly be regretful if the school were now divided because the whole truth is not revealed, and the issue not put to rest - once and for all.
We regret this late request, and are in hopes that your staff can coordinate matters at Yokosuka on our behalf. Thank you.
Should it be the desire of any agency/office to send replies / data via "snail mail", they can be send to:
Mr. James F Hyatt
12 Bunker Hill Rd
Clarksville, TN 37042
Sincerely, and on behalf of the alumni as a "group",
James F Hyatt
YOHI Alumni Web Site Manager
YOHI Class 1948
27 March 99
20 MAY 1999
During the past two months many questions were asked by the alumni as to "status of the debate". The traffic was so great that the following was placed on the web site with the "journal" [by date] now being kept on the "debate":
As of this date there has been no response from Ms Belanger to our 28 Mar 99 request for information on this matter. However, we have discovered from other sources that the School authorized an article about the matter to be published in the 7 May 99 edition of the Seahawk - see below. Although the article makes no reference to alumni, or "alumni comments"; we were informed prior to the letter to Ms Belanger by a member of her staff that your comments would be considered, and available to those involved in the debate. I regret I am unable at this time to confirm that any alumni input will be considered in this matter.
* * *
CHANGE KINNICK'S MASCOT ?
By Angela Pascual, Seahawk Staff.
Nile C. Kinnick High School Advisory Committee has submitted a proposal for a study to determine if there is a broad-based interest and support for changing the school's mascot. The proposal was prepared by a committee of concerned community members and was endorsed by the School Advisory Council (SAC). The proposal is currently being reviewed by the school administration. Here, it will undergo the process of determination by a committee comprised of two SAC parents, two students from the Student Council, two faculty members from the Teacher's Union and a School Liaison Representative for the military command. The idea is to look for support then offer alternatives.
According to Dr. Constance Hellga, assistant principal of Kinnick, this problem is not new to the school "This problem has resurfaced repeatedly and it is all a matter of political correctness. Just as much as grown women refuse to be called girls, some feel that being represented by a devil, which is an embodiment of evil, is offensive."
The committee that proposed this change asks one question: How do we (the school) want to be represented in the community? "The mascot was chosen by one person during the opening of the school. There was not much thought put into it and no one disagreed with it," Hellga said. "It was also different era then. As I have already said, people are now more focused on the political correctness of things."
This proposal is different from the proposals of the past due to the fact that there is a larger group of people who show concern. It was thoroughly researched and they have given a suitable alternative from the Red Devils to the Hawks. Not only did the committee suggest a new name, they also suggested a motto to go with the new mascot "Flying on the Wings of Excellence."
Bruce Kerr, former Kinnick High School principal, commented, "When this issue came up in 1992, I took a survey on this from students, parents, faculty and community members and the results were overwhelming. Over 70% of those who voiced their opinion on the issue voted on keeping the mascot to the Red Devils. And from what I was told coming into Kinnick, former principal Doug Spaulding also came across the same results when this issue came up during his 23 years at Kinnick."
If this change comes through, it will also cause money issues. Cost will be accrued due to the necessary changing of sports uniforms, as well as other changes the school has to make in order for the transaction to be successful. "I think the people who have thought to change the mascot have not taken into consideration how much money it will take to implement these changes," quoted Mayeth Felicitas, a senior at Kinnick.
Although some see the change as a good thing for the school and community, others aren't very optimistic or are indifferent to the issue. "Some can look at the devil as a cuddly mascot or as evil, depending on their personal perception. Changing the mascot is cosmetic. Someone will always find something wring with whatever it changes to," said Paul Ettl, one of the history teachers.
Coach Jim Ferinden also adds, "The Red Devils is tradition for this school. If we keep going the way we are going, there won't be a mascot for this school or any other school. Indians, Trojans, or even Warriors will be inappropriate. I think some people need to get a life if this is a big issue for them."
Even some of the younger generations attending Kinnick feel strongly about keeping the mascot to the Red Devils. Brandon Jarvis, freshman, reacted to this issue with, "It's absurd. We've had [the Devil mascot] for so long. Why change it now?"
"Whichever way it goes, I see it as a win-win situation. Kids learn to stand up for what they believe and they also learn the democratic process. It will be a great learning experience for the students as well as the faculty, parents and community. I am very optimistic and anxious to see the outcome." Hellga commented.
14 JUNE 1999
The web site is bombarded with inquiries about "what is going on at Yokosuka with respect to the mascot issue".
It is apparent I need to make a final "web site" statement on this matter so alumni will understand the facts, as I know them, and are not waiting on me to provide other information as I had hoped I would be able to do.
As mentioned earlier on this page, I wrote a letter to the Principal in Mar 99 on your behalf - those of you who provided comments were informed of that at the time - and of course it has been announced on this web site since 28 Mar. This is the 1st time that letter has been made public. As I told you, I was hoping to be able to provide a single source for information. I know that the letter was received by the appropriate staff member at the school, was forwarded to the Principal, who was also given a "heads up". Since that time - 2 1/2 months have elapsed - there has been NO feedback from the "school" to me - except a clarification by a staffer on 29 Mar about the title and definition of SAC as I had used it in my letter. Thus, one can certainly conclude with no information provided to me, none from me to you. I don't know why, but my effort failed!
Yes, I am aware of (some of ) the
"traffic" among alumni, and others, who have interest in this matter.
I have received quite a number of "bits and pieces" over the months.
I treat them as "unofficial", and they stop here. However, it is important now
to convey some "data" circulating within that "traffic" that does tend
to confirm that (some) "actions" are in progress in Yokosuka on this matter at
some level. Hopefully this will also reduce the
"rumors" and misconceptions of "possible truths/un-truths" that are spreading - and prevent some from "jumping to conclusions". For example:
* * *
No, to my knowledge, a decision to "change the mascot" has NOT been made. However, "traffic" indicates a school member has predicted THE NEW NAME will be announced in the fall, which could lead one to believe that perhaps a decision has been made - but I doubt it. No, I do not know what the "time line" is for name/decision processing action - or any action. A decision could be made tomorrow - I don't know. You must decide to inquire or not, with respect to this matter.
Yes, it is my understanding that parents are the ones who suggested the (proposed) mascot name (as announced above in the 7 May 99 article - please read that article carefully). No, I don't know if students had any "say" in the issue.
No, to my knowledge, the identification of the "group" desiring to make the change has not been made public. Indications are that the "group" consists of a military official of the Navy religious program - relatives of that official; "church" members, and others, including some parents. No, I have no idea why "they" object to the existing mascot. Apparently the "objections" have never been revealed over the years to anyone except a "select few". Yes, the statement: "that being represented by a devil, WHICH IS AN EMBODIMENT OF EVIL, is offensive", requires a much greater explanation, and justification for obvious reasons.
No, I am not aware that "costs" will prevent the mascot from changing - only Yokosuka knows, ask them about funding. However, it is understood the "group" desiring to change the mascot has acquired substantial funds to assist in offsetting the probable huge cost of "equipment" (and other) changes if/when the mascot is changed.
No, to my knowledge, alumni do NOT have a representative on the "select committee" (?) at Yokosuka to resolve this matter. No, I do not know now if your prior "comments", or "interests" will be considered!
No, I do not know if "meetings" have been conducted at Yokosuka between any parties in this issue, nor am I aware that the "minutes" - if any - have been made public.
* * *
I am not aware of an alumni who is acceptable to the "school" to represent alumni as a group in this or other issues - and until such time as one emerges, and is accepted (by the "school"), perhaps alumni will be denied participation - as a "group".
If you have ANY QUESTIONS - OR COMMENTS - about this issue, or any others pertaining to the Nile C Kinnick High School, then I urge you to contact the school - as indicated below.
Further, it is my understanding that school staffing is limited during the summer months so please give them a reasonable time to respond! I have reason to believe that the Public Relations Office at the school - as indicted on the web site itself and with an e-mail address - may be off line part or all of the summer - I'm sure you can understand that full time staffing during this time of year is not possible. Thus, I strongly urge you, after perhaps trying that, to use "snail mail" - cost 33 cents. Additionally, I understand that since 1 June 99 they have been making modifications to the web site URL - and at the moment may be using two - so this also may hamper contacts with the school and any messages they may insert on the web site to guide visitors/alumni as to how to contact the school.
I am unable to provide any further assistance in this matter - (but will add "official" data from the school as it is received - see bottom, amended 15 June).
POINT OF CONTACT
Nile C. Kinnick Middle-High School
PSC 473 Box 95
FPO AP 96349-0095
E-Mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
(there is indication that this address may not be available all the time or anytime during this summer - but it is all I have)[no longer valid - Oct 99 - use below web site address to reach the Official Kinnick Web Site and then see Kinnick Public Relations for means to contact the school or contact the owner of that site]
Web Site address 1: http://126.96.36.199/kinn/