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Harry Potter actor apologizes for wearing shirt critics say glorifies Japan’s WWII aggression

63 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

The Harry Potter franchise’s Draco Malfoy isn’t particularly worried about whether or not he hurts someone’s feelings, what with all his involvement with evil cults and attempted homicide. The actor who portrays him in the film series, however, Tom Felton, appears to be far more sensitive to the concerns of others.

On March 9, the British-born Felton sent out a tweet to issue an apology in relation to a now-deleted video he’d posted to his Instagram account.

Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 8.34.00.png

Felton’s tweet mentions a T-shirt he wore in the video, and while no specific description is given in the apology, the comment thread makes it pretty clear that it’s the Japanese Rising Sun Flag shirt that the actor can be seen wearing in the screen capture (top) posted by another Twitter user.

From there, it’s not hard to imagine what sort of offense Felton is apologizing for possibly causing. The Rising Sun Flag’s use goes back to at least the late 1800s, as this 1882 painting of a government office in Tokyo shows.

jf-3.png

However, the flag was also prominently flown by the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, both during Japan’s expansionist invasions of other Asian nations in the years preceding World War II and throughout the global conflict. As such, the Rising Sun Flag is seen as a symbol of bellicose Japanese nationalism by many people in Korea, China, and southeast Asia.

Complicating the matter is that the Rising Sun Flag was not exclusively for use by the Japanese military, and variants remain in use today by Japan’s Self-Defense Forces. The Rising Sun Flag can also be seen being waved by some Japanese fans at sporting events, perhaps because its outstretched rays provide more of an atmosphere of dynamic fighting spirit than the plain Japanese flag version.

However, even within Japan the Rising Sun Flag can be divisive, such as in the incident last fall when a middle-school teacher was reprimanded for using an image of it for an attempt to amp up his students’ academic passions. Felton, too, seems to have reached the conclusion that it’s an inappropriate choice for a T-shirt, and so it’s likely that along with removing the video from his Instagram account, he’s now removed the shirt from his wardrobe.

Source: Twitter/@TomFelton via Hachima Kiko

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© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

63 Comments
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Who complained about it - British folk, or just general Instagram followers from all over?

18 ( +18 / -0 )

People these days are way too sensitive.

you can’t say this, you can’t do that - you might hurt someone’s feelings.

harden up & get a life !

13 ( +26 / -13 )

Political correctness gone mad. It's just an image similar to the flag used by Japanese Navy. Tom Felton San: Don't apologize, just keep wearing the t-shirt!

10 ( +23 / -13 )

Good on him to admit he's not knowledgeable on the whole rising sun imagery. I saw a lad wearing an SS t-shirt a few years back, again, I imagine it was down to ignorance, rather than sheer malice. I hope.

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

So is he gonna take out the US flag or British flag shirt as well? Some people find those offensive too. I know, lets replace all world flags with emoji saying "I'm sorry"

16 ( +24 / -8 )

Tooheysnew:

"Harden up..."

I'm not in the mood right now, maybe tonight ;)=

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

So is he gonna take out the US flag or British flag shirt as well? Some people find those offensive too. I know, lets replace all world flags with emoji saying "I'm sorry"

I'm not a huge fan of the butcher's apron, so that would be a great idea. Flags are rubbish, anyway. People use them to aggravate, rather than celebrate, I find.

-4 ( +11 / -15 )

Cowtowing to the professionally offended. Not a great look mate.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

I wonder how people would feel if some posters used nazi flags, ISIS flags or sectarian flags celebrating discrimination of Catholics as their avatars?

-13 ( +9 / -22 )

I know, lets replace all world flags with emoji saying "I'm sorry".

They really are sorry. Why state the obvious?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

My ignorance is no excuse

I disagree. It’s impossible for everyone to know everyone else’s grievances.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Let's just disband the entire nation of Japan, then, so as to not "glorify its World War II aggression."

All of this "political correctness" is getting quite ridiculous.

2 ( +16 / -14 )

I wonder how people would feel if some posters used nazi flags, ISIS flags or sectarian flags celebrating discrimination of Catholics as their avatars?

I’d welcome it. Let the Nazis, Jihadis and bigots display their colours and write what they like.

The rest of us can dismantle these clowns for everyone to see.

Very healthy.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Jimizo bravo.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

you can’t say this, you can’t do that - you might hurt someone’s feelings.

That's right. Learn history and you'll understand why. Like the guy eloquently said; "ignorance is no excuse."

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

It’s impossible for everyone to know everyone else’s grievances.

For sure. But it's not above anyone to politely stand corrected if their folly has been pointed out. I would also add that it should be pointed out politely.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Ignorance is no excuse in the Age of Outrage. Everyone is expected to know everything from everywhere, for all time. If they don't, and they cross one of the rules, they deserve condemnation, nay, damnation.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

I’d welcome it. Let the Nazis, Jihadis and bigots display their colours and write what they like.

The rest of us can dismantle these clowns for everyone to see.

Very healthy.

Appreciate the reply rather than the downvotes (from some offended people, ironically). Thing is, I don't much care for flags in general and you just know that some people wave them about to provoke. It seems emblematic of a far greater inherent stupidity, than genuine patriotism.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

Ah, a celebrity has now made this an issue, and is spreading some awareness. Right-wingers won't like this.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

No excuse for his ignorance. In the age of the internet anyone can google any image or word and if it offends anyone it shouldn't be used and should actually be banned with jail time if used. Peoples' feelings need to be protected as a basic human right. Only hardcore right wingers don't understand this

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Right-wingers won't like this.

Aye. They'll villify him online (Twitter etc) but none will be brave to debate face to face. It's great that he is bringing awareness and context to use of the image.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Not all flags or symbols are created equal. Some evoke painful memories, etc for a large amount of the people in the world. Can't please everyone but it's best to tread lightly. Some who have never been on the other side will never understand though.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

anyone can google any image or word and if it offends anyone it shouldn't be used and should actually be banned with jail time if used.

LOL

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Someone has their finger hovering over the downvote button well sharpish this morning :-)

Not all flags or symbols are created equal. Some evoke painful memories, etc for a large amount of the people in the world. Can't please everyone but it's best to tread lightly. Some who have never been on the other side will never understand though.

Thank you, Mocheake. I've seen how flags can cause division, hatred and even murder. It's good to remind folks that it's not all good-natured vibes when a flag goes up or is waved. I've been places where I could have been killed for having the "wrong" flag, where rationality goes out the window in favour of extreme partisanship.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Toasted HereticToday 08:55 am JSTGood on him to admit he's not knowledgeable on the whole rising sun imagery. I saw a lad wearing an SS t-shirt a few years back, again, I imagine it was down to ignorance, rather than sheer malice. I hope.

In late 2017 I went to a punk fest that featured 5 bands - 2 US, one SK, one Russian, one Greek. Later during that tour the Russian band pulled out because there were douchebags in the club wearing Nazi swastika armbands, a symbol VERY OFFENSIVE to Russians and they told the headlining Greek band they would in no way play that night if those Nazi scum were allowed to be in the club. Arguments ensued and the tour collapsed - the Russian band pulled out and the SK band decided to do the same. I'm sure the Korean band was offended by the fascists in the crowd too, beings Koreans suffered under Japanese fascism - an Axis power in WWII as well.  There are some things that are just not acceptable and we need to learn from history.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

I suspect the complainers were by and large South Korean.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

There are some things that are just not acceptable and we need to learn from history.

Aye, if only we could. People are very quick to chant the pc mantra when it suits them.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Aye. They'll villify him online (Twitter etc) but none will be brave to debate face to face. It's great that he is bringing awareness and context to use of the image.

Well, I just checked Tom Felton's Twitter post about this, and my oh my, the replies are remarkably not surprising. The Japanese spam posters are out in full force, with multiple accounts tweeting the same pictures, and typing the same broken English translations of their common talking points. And I love the typical "history lesson" they give, some even in chronological order, with the years and everything haha.

Because the actor is beloved by fans around the world, the spammers are going a bit easy on him, telling him not to be fooled by "Korean and Chinese propaganda".

I used to think the wumaos were bad, but the Japanese version of them are much more diligent, I must say- filling up the entire Twitter thread, much like what they do on YouTube.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

I used to think the wumaos were bad, but the Japanese version of them are much more diligent, I must say- filling up the entire Twitter thread, much like what they do on YouTube.

The net uyoku would be posting garbled nonsense no matter what but it sure doesn't help matters that the apologists running the government here have emboldened them to come out from under their rocks. Grandsons of war criminals, heirs to companies that used slave labor--it's hard to expect your average Taro will feel ashamed of his views or take a proper view of history when his leaders are literally the offspring of fascists.

What's consistently more remarkable to me is the kinship felt by certain westerners for Japanese revisionists. Imagine American or Australian men defending Imperial Japan against their critics, simply b/c they share right-wing views. "I mean, yeah, the IJA made my grandpa march in Bataan but hey, Steve Bannon wants to partner with aspiring fascists across the world, so I'm determined to forget about that."

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Dirk TToday 10:41 am JSTI suspect the complainers were by and large South Korean.

And as bad as Communism is , and it is - people from NK would be offended too.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Toasted HereticToday 10:45 am JSTThere are some things that are just not acceptable and we need to learn from history.

Aye, if only we could. People are very quick to chant the pc mantra when it suits them.

It's not quite a matter of 'pc' or even suiting anyone. Offensive is offensive. Burning crosses are offensive, period. When Barack Obama got elected some people hung nooses in Black Americans' yards and some idiot in DC hung Obama in effigy. Very offensive, racist and just plain uncouth.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

@ jcapan - right on!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Grandsons of war criminals, heirs to companies that used slave labor--it's hard to expect your average Taro will feel ashamed of his views or take a proper view of history when his leaders are literally the offspring of fascists.

I'm loathe to conflate the sins of the fathers with the sons but it sometimes feels that way. In the case of Felton, I don't believe he wore the shirt with any hint of malice. He just didn't see beyond the bright, pretty colors. And he's apologised for his lack of education.

Compare that to the filth who visited Auschwitz, laughing and giving nazi salutes. Nothing pc about calling them out.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

It's so funny watching all the right-wing haters here complaining about 'PC' - yet adding nothing but pithy downvotes to the conversation. Real big.

But it's not above anyone to politely stand corrected if their folly has been pointed out.

I would like to politely correct myself. It seems that it is above some people to stand corrected once their ignorance has been pointed out. As evidenced in this thread..

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

If he wore it knowingly to offend people, fine, complain. If not, it's just a bleedin' t-shirt!

11 ( +12 / -1 )

starpunkToday  11:03 am JST

Dirk TToday 10:41 am JSTI suspect the complainers were by and large South Korean.

And as bad as Communism is , and it is - people from NK would be offended too.

Chinese communists mus like rising sun flags. It just South Korean and those defending them who 're making fuss about the flag.

https://www.google.com/search?q=%E6%AF%9B%E6%B2%A2%E6%9D%B1+%E6%97%AD%E6%97%A5%E6%97%97&rlz=1C1SNJC_jaJP703JP703&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=LqT1HajJD9V9pM%253A%252CpXtUQ2jjp50RM%252C&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kSkxBB7iUt2vg2kF9ENrf6qKbDZLQ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiCxZLM24DhAhXdw4sBHT6aAt0Q9QEwBHoECAUQDA#imgrc=P61KEZVC42gClM:&vet=1

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's not quite a matter of 'pc' or even suiting anyone. Offensive is offensive. Burning crosses are offensive, period. When Barack Obama got elected some people hung nooses in Black Americans' yards and some idiot in DC hung Obama in effigy. Very offensive, racist and just plain uncouth.

Sure. Let me clarify; when I said pc mantra I meant people who say "this is political correctness". And then they bust a blood vessel when someone insults their leaders or belief systems. Through symbolism, satire or social discourse.

The disgusting reaction to Obama was deliberate and knowing. This young man was clearly not aware of the history of the image and has since apologised. I believe him.

I suspect there's a lot of people following this story very closely today in order to make sure that their beloved imagery remains untouchable. I'm not sure what the Japanese equivalent of hasbara is, but it's in full force with stories like this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sure. Let me clarify; when I said pc mantra I meant people who say "this is political correctness". And then they bust a blood vessel when someone insults their leaders or belief systems. Through symbolism, satire or social discourse.

Good point.

It is worth pointing out that there is a sensible middle ground between those who shout “PC gone mad!” at every opportunity and those for whom being offended on someone else’s behalf is a hobby.

I wish my ‘side’, the left, would see more of its people move into the sensible middle ground.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I wish my ‘side’, the left, would see more of its people move into the sensible middle ground.

Dunno about that. Liberalism maintains the status quo. You need a bit of hard left to shake things up. I mean proper hard left, not the imaginary lib/Dem/Marxist hybrid unicorn that the American right bleat on about.

It is worth pointing out that there is a sensible middle ground between those who shout “PC gone mad!” at every opportunity and those for whom being offended on someone else’s behalf is a hobby.

Ain't my hobby, personally speaking, Jim. Without going into detail, I imagine you can guess why I gave certain examples of avatars earlier in the discussion. In this particular case, it's not so much the t-shirt I find offensive. I actually think it's a fetching design. It's more about the context and how right wingers are happy to dismiss any concerns over any flag/imagery/symbolism.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

You need a bit of hard left to shake things up.

I fully agree. I was brought up by screaming hard lefties.

I don’t think the same delightful people would recognize professional offence-taking as hard left. They were more concerned with less cool ideas like poverty and stuff like that.

I honestly think the left’s preoccupation with virtue signaling ( this is a very useful term ) is something the right continue to dine on.

I’m convinced, along with others, that this was a major factor in Trump’s rise. I hoped that Trump’s victory would be a cold bucket of water in the face to the left.

I don’t think it has had that effect. This is disastrous.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Political correctness gone mad.

It would be easy to blame this on the current climate of hyper sensitive folks, but people have for a very long time been hyper sensitive about various flags. The confederate flag in America is a huge issue for example. So not surprising at all that someone would still nitpick and moan about this particular rising sun flag design.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Ignorance is no excuse, and it is good that he didn't make any excuses or make a non-apology of the "Sorry if you were offended because you misunderstood me" variety. More people should follow his example.

There are many alive who suffered greatly under the regime who flew this flag, and there are those who saw their elder relatives live with the consequences of what this regime did during the war. Since the black vans paste this flag all over their vehicles, we know it has negative symbolism even now.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I honestly think the left’s preoccupation with virtue signaling ( this is a very useful term ) is something the right continue to dine on.

Possibly but virtue signalling doesn't just happen on the left.

I’m convinced, along with others, that this was a major factor in Trump’s rise. I hoped that Trump’s victory would be a cold bucket of water in the face to the left.

In a way, it was. It's built up a lot of resistance from ground level and various like-minded communities, activists and ordinary folk with Redneck Revolt, the DSA etc.

Trump humping the flag as well, look how potent that image is and the positive reaction to it. That's another example of virtue signalling. And unlike Felton, Trump is completely aware of what he's doing.

But all of this flag nonsense is a marvellous distraction from more pressing ills, of course.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There are many alive who suffered greatly under the regime who flew this flag, and there are those who saw their elder relatives live with the consequences of what this regime did during the war. Since the black vans paste this flag all over their vehicles, we know it has negative symbolism even now.

We know but black van man knows as well. And his like-minded travellers are all over this story today.

This is not about being or not being "pc". It's about the far right holding onto their symbols and belief systems and woe betide those who have a problem with it, or merely try to highlight problems with such imagery and use of.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I don't believe the kyokujitsu-ki is necessarily a symbol of Japanese wartime aggression (not like the Swastika or Fasces ).  It is still in use today, no?

I have the same T shirt he has - got it as a gift.  have worn it a couple timkes with no reaction from anyone.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Given the fact that this flag had been used even after WW2 but South Koreans never complained about it until 2011, Rising Sun issue is nothing but one another anti-Japan smearing campaign. Feel sorry for Tom getting involved in this.

http://murawaki.org/misc/flag.html

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Wake up! people around the world. They are the ones who suffer from Hwabyeong, you are not.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Wake up! people around the world. They are the ones who suffer from Hwabyeong, you are not.

What's the Japanese equivalent of hasbara?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Great point tictactogo, no one cared about these things before, not even in China, but lo and behold with the anti-Japan governments in China and Korea's, this all changed.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Hard left? Its long gone. What remains claiming that mantle is a farce. Laughable.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

【Korean Fascism against the Rising Sun Flag】

If you accept the Korean lies, nobody in the world will be able to draw Sun and Sunshine in the future.

http://hontonorekishi.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-25.html

1 ( +5 / -4 )

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1141888.shtml

Japan football club warns fans against bringing army flags to Beijing match

A Japanese football club on Monday warned its fans not to bring political or nationalistic support banners, Japanese army or national flags to Beijing when the club faces a Chinese football club, which sparked mixed reactions among Chinese and Japanese football fans.

AFC has officially banned the Rising Sun Flag from AFC hosted matches, and the Japanese club or the national team gets penalized if Japanese fans bring in the Rising Sun Flag into AFC matches.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Why would we unanimously vilify a swastika t-shirt but not a rising sun one, even though they are arguably both symbols of WWII aggressors / oppressors?

Because the rising sun flag is less well known in the Western world. He probably honestly didn't know.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Quibbles and dribbles regarding obsolete symbols the wearers of which have no idea of past meanings and those that do and still wear them are just twits. It's WAY past time to retire WWII, Taiheiyosenso, NAZIs, BANZAI!, all of that crap and just reflect on all of the Human creativity we destroyed by driving our young people to mass murder each other. Remember those we lost, remember how the psychopaths forced us into war for their profit and insanity, and forget all the rest of it. We still honor many symbols of those who were equally, if not MORE psychopathic, so attacking these symbols of past political Lies is both hypocritical and just idiotic because we recharge their power by teaching their meaning all the time with these reminders. Albert Schweitzer said: "If you want to have a happy life, have good health and a bad memory." Sometimes a 'good memory' is just plain 'bad health'.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The rising sun was only the symbol of the Japanese military,

Would it make such a difference that it was a symbol of the army and not a political party in the government? I am not sure what you are trying to say.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@nasubi

Would it make such a difference that it was a symbol of the army and not a political party in the government? I am not sure what you are trying to say.

Yes it makes a huge difference. The symbol used by Germany in WWII as a symbol of their military, the iron cross, is still in use today and no one ever criticizes it.

It is the same situation with the rising sun emblem. It was the symbol for the military and is still used today. Except that unlike Germany's iron cross, everyone gets upset about it.

The rising sun and swastika represent two completely different things.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The "mob" strikes again.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@extanker

You didn't say why it would make a difference.

It's recognised as a symbol of Japanese wartime agression in any case.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You didn't say why it would make a difference.

Yes, I did, in my original post that was deleted for some reason. It is not a symbol representing the government responsible for the 'wartime aggression'. It is, like the German iron cross, simply a symbol of that government's military. Just because in recent years people have chosen to use it as that symbol, does not make them right.

To be angry about the rising sun emblem and not the iron cross (which is used everywhere) is hypocritical to say the least.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@extanker

You will find that different events happened in Asia to what happened in Europe, obviously. Hence the Nazi Party in Germany, no Nazi Party in Japan, massacre by Japanese Imperial army in China, when German Army did no such thing etc etc

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Toasted Heretic

The disgusting reaction to Obama was deliberate and knowing. This young man was clearly not aware of the history of the image and has since apologised. I believe him.

I believe him too. I've said and wrote some dumb things that offended people but when I found out about I apologized. Sometimes you just don't know, especially if you're a stranger in a strange land.

And yes, the rotten racist reactions and crap that Obama had to take is a clear reminder that some Americans have some serious growing up to do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You will find that different events happened in Asia to what happened in Europe, obviously. Hence the Nazi Party in Germany, no Nazi Party in Japan, massacre by Japanese Imperial army in China, when German Army did no such thing etc etc

Both armies were tools of their government. To blame one and exonerate the other is hypocritical.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@extanker

To blame one and exonerate the other is hypocritical

I did not intend exoneration of anyone here...............

Just the observation that different symbols come about because of different backgrounds.....

I don't know how to put it any simpler...............

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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