national

Teachers reprimanded for using Japanese imperial flag and apparent war propaganda on school test

53 Comments
By Dale Roll, SoraNews24

The Rising Sun flag is a controversial symbol in Asia. The red and white banner of a sun, with its rays stretching out to the edges as thick red streaks, was used by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II, and as such it’s considered a symbol of oppression and aggression by many Koreans and Chinese.

Even today, celebrities that accidentally sport the flag are quickly shunned by their overseas fans, and attempts to pay respect to the Rising Sun flag are likely to prompt controversy, so in general most people avoid using it. Evidently, however, one junior high school teacher wasn’t aware of the connotations of the flag, as he accidentally used it on a school geography test as a message of encouragement for his students.

What’s worse, a slogan that said, “Show the world the utter gutsiness of Japanese people!” was printed over the Rising Sun image, which was placed in an empty corner of the test paper. Allegedly the 20-something-year-old teacher had simply searched for inspiring images on the internet and had selected it without thinking very deeply about its meaning, despite the fact that it very much seems like a graphic sported by Japanese nationalists, or one which could easily have been used as propaganda during the war.

The test had been distributed to 95 second-year junior high school students, and after they had been collected back for grading, another teacher noticed the emblem and notified the principal, who decided it was inappropriate. The teacher who made the tests and another teacher in charge of the same school year’s social studies department were reprimanded, and were asked to gather all of the tests back from the students (who had by then had their graded tests returned to them) and apologize to them for the inconvenience and any distress the image may have caused.

The principal acknowledged that the teacher had not intended for the flag and the slogan to be a political image, but he also understood that the flag had different implications for different people, and thus decided that it would be best to remove the problem out of consideration for the students.

This bit of news has caused a stir of debate among Japanese netizens, who have many different opinions on the issue of the imperial flag.

“What’s the problem?”

“The reason why a teacher could do this kind of thing is because Abe is indiscriminately waving that flag around and touting out the Imperial Rescript on Education.”

“Rather than apologize, they should teach the students where the flag came from and how it’s still being used by the military today.”

“I don’t have the faintest idea of what the mistake was.”

“If the Rising Sun flag isn’t illegal then I don’t see why he couldn’t use it.”

“Hold on. ‘Not a political image’? What is that? How is there a social studies teacher who doesn’t know the meaning of this flag? Why wasn’t he fired?”

“This is Japan. Why should we have to be considerate of Koreans?”

Regardless of whether the teacher used the flag and slogan with political intentions, the principal’s dedication to inclusiveness and consideration of minorities is what’s truly astounding about this story, since it is undoubtedly a rare trait in a Japanese school principal. Considering Japan has a tendency to water down their participation in World War II and get angry at anyone who points out otherwise, this one leader’s acknowledgement of the meaning behind the flag is certainly a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, with many of the Japanese responses being “I don’t see what the problem is”, it’s pretty clear that relations between Japan and other parts of Asia still have a long way to go.

Source: Kyoto Shimbun via My Game News Flash

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- Is Japan overworking its teachers? One exhausted educator says, “YES!”

-- Fukushima teacher threatens students with “Death Note”

© SoraNews24

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

53 Comments
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A person that was educated enough to become a teacher wasn't aware of the connotations surrounding the battle flag? Either the historical revisionists are winning via "education," or this guy is full of shite.

1 ( +20 / -19 )

Allegedly the 20-something-year-old teacher had simply searched for inspiring images on the internet and had selected it without thinking very deeply about its meaning, 

Nothing new here, teacher, not thinking, common occurrence. Just because someone can remember a lot of useless information and what not, does not a good teacher they make!

6 ( +18 / -12 )

was used by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II, and as such it’s considered a symbol of oppression and aggression by many Koreans and Chinese.

and I would add Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, Singapore, Malasia, Vietnam, Burma, India, Micronesia, Thailand, British, Dutch. None of whom had a pleasant experience when confronted by the JIA under this banner.

-1 ( +23 / -24 )

This is an incident that occurred at a school with a young 20 something teacher.

Its only getting attention from the net and now the news, but imo is completely un newsworthy.

They should be more well rounded and as far opinions go...well everyone’s got one.

NEXT!

9 ( +20 / -11 )

thepersoniamnow, history is not opinion, it is facts. The quality of education is really low when history is taught as opinions.

-9 ( +14 / -23 )

Like the swazika, this flag is very useful. If you see someone with one, you can immediately determine their personality.

-10 ( +16 / -26 )

As other posters have noted every country has a past of shame,it's recognising and owning that past that allows a country to evolve for the betterment of mankind, twisting the past to suit it's needs just sets that society into limbo at best, regression and oppression seem the norm. Just recognition that the rising sun flag is a symbol of the worst mankind can do to others would be a big step into the future for Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unfortunately, there are many that have no idea of Japan’s past history and live in a fog of ignorance.

However, Abe likes it that way so no change anytime soon folks......

-14 ( +7 / -21 )

History is written and there are many versions.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

This flag was once known amongst Japan’s enemies as the “Flaming A*hole”.

Highly appropriate in this context, don’t you think.

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

it’s considered a symbol of oppression and aggression by many Koreans and Chinese.

Too bad for them. Not by us.

https://www.newsx.com/world/62259-japan-us-test-anti-missile-ships-joint-military-exercises

9 ( +20 / -11 )

Where the apologists at?

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Akie

”History is not written, it is FACTS”

That is hilarious! My point exactly. Your Chinese “facts” don’t translate out anywhere else.

Westerners forgive themselves and concentrate on the last World War as the major evil and smooth over the 400 years before it.

If history was fact, we would have a more peaceful planet.

History is a storybook that has different versions apparantly in every (20+) nation I have lived in.

15 ( +21 / -6 )

CrickyToday  07:20 am JST

was used by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II,

Wrong. The Imperial Army Flag had the sun in the center and has not been used since WWII. The JGSDF flag has just eight rays. The 16 rayed Japanese Naval Ensign with the offset sun has been use since 1870, and was flown by the IJN 1902-1923 during the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, and WWI. In fact, it was flown by IJN vessels providing security escort for Australian troops being shipped to the European theater.

and as such it’s considered a symbol of oppression and aggression by many Koreans and Chinese.*

Koreans were Japanese citizens 1910-1945 and a great many served in the Japanese military and fought against the allies. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Sa-ik

As for China, the "China" that was a WWII Allied power is now Taiwan which has no problem with it. But the PRC, which now calls itself "China" did not even exist until 4 years after WWII was over.

and I would add Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, Singapore, Malasia, Vietnam, Burma, India, Micronesia, Thailand, British, Dutch. None of whom had a pleasant experience when confronted by the JIA under this banner.

Wrong again. Australia has no problem with this flag.

https://defence-blog.com/news/japanese-submarine-to-take-part-in-australian-military-drills.html

10 ( +21 / -11 )

9 ( +20 / -11 )

Australia has no problem with this flag, try telling that to camp survivors. Families who lost family members in the most brutal way. As for the number of rays? Really that's your argument?

-10 ( +10 / -20 )

the 20-something-year-old teacher had simply searched for inspiring images on the internet and had selected it without thinking very deeply about its meaning

Oh, a Japanese teacher that doesn’t think? Wow! What a huge shock that is, NOT!

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

It is an official Japanese Navy flag. It is perfectly legal to display this flag anywhere anyone wants, including in tests, cars, clothes etc. NOT like a Nazi swastika flag.

10 ( +22 / -12 )

history is not opinion, it is facts. The quality of education is really low when history is taught as opinions.

I would argue that history is subjective.  Open to interpretation and written from multiple perspectives.  As this case demonstrates.

S

7 ( +13 / -6 )

From a comment in the article: “This is Japan. Why should we have to be considerate of Koreans?” How about the Korean pop group member wearing the atomic bombing of Japan shirt? That's OK, huh?

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Japanese nationalism is increasing in number with each passing year. This is an undeniable fact that cannot be hidden. And the appearance of this news confirms this trend.

As far as the issue of the rising sun flag is concerned, I believe that a repressed director is the fairest thing to do. Since the professor did not commit any illegal act.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Don't see what the big deal is, it's a beautiful flag and should be used more often. If people are melting over a piece of cloth, that's their problem

11 ( +21 / -10 )

Westerners forgive themselves and concentrate on the last World War as the major evil and smooth over the 400 years before it.

I think you’d be better being a bit more specific than ‘westerners’ here.

These countries do have different histories and different sore points.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Hallowed, it is very disrespectful to call a national symple a "piece of cloth". Again, educational problem.

-20 ( +5 / -25 )

@thepersoniamnow

History is written and there are many versions.

That's a cope out. History has lots to teach us. There are good historical sources and bad ones. The truth can be derived from the former, but not the latter. And if you can't tell the difference, you are susceptible to being exploited and misled.

Living in Japan has given an acute sense of the importance of the truth.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

I wonder what education level does OssanAmerica have ? Obviously he can't tell the difference between a nation and a govt.

-16 ( +6 / -22 )

thepersoniamnow, education only make people smart, but biased education actually makes people dumb. History is facts, the way to represent it is subjective. Freedom of expression is about opinions. You can't call gravitational law repulsive in nature, because it is not.

-19 ( +4 / -23 )

There are good historical sources and bad ones

Deliberately poor education in history has a lot to answer for in Japan.

-6 ( +12 / -18 )

Unfortunately, Japan still acts like a juvenile. Japan has a unbalanced education system since meiji revolution. China already forgave Japan, it is not necessary to deny the history. On the other hand, Japan feels shamed by what they did 100 years ago, and it is not a bad thing.

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

No they don’t see what the problem is because it was never properly addressed, taught, calmly discussed and looked at from a different variety of historical angles and perspectives. That would mean actually learning how to think.

If they took the time to try, instead of regressing back into a screaming match maybe lessons could be learned and a deeper understanding attained. Use these things as a chance for progress, with the preassumption that you personally do not know it all and may actually still have something to learn or haven’t considered yet. With the right attitude, anything is possible. Unfortunately , simpletons know it all already. Simple solutions to complex problems; the scourge of our times.

Shouldn’t be so hard should it?

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

That means ALL sides of the debate btw.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Yeah yeah, there will always be someone out there who gets triggered by something, no matter how trivial or benign. It's time to grow up and bring this flag back

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Akie

JeffLee

You kinda just reinforce what I say.

You just keep repeating what your own nation taught you to believe...and you are unable to accept anything else.

I’m saying that precisely that is done the world over.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

A military flag has no place on a public high school test. That is all there is too it.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

I’ve no truck with Japanese nationalists. I had family in the Burma campaign so I know all about threat flag and what it means.

If the Japanese here actually speak to some veterans of the WWII Pacific and Burma campaigns, you’ll learn to appreciate the atomic bombings because those veterans would have killed every last one of you and enjoyed themselves in the process.

It may be unpalatable, but it’s the truth.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

“Hold on. ‘Not a political image’? What is that? How is there a social studies teacher who doesn’t know the meaning of this flag? Why wasn’t he fired?” Exactly.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

People are too sensitive in life. They see what they want to see. It was nothing special or hidden meaning behind it,but they had to try to analyze it like it's the bible. They should stop trying to find faults in other people and digging into the past while acting like they are historians who need to always parade facts like it's their duty. Is not like he intentionally insulting other people or anything. Is not like he had committed some horrible crimes. Finding a logo on the net and encourage student to be brave in their test and show their gutsiness? If this is so bad,then the world might as well ban anime from Japan. Clearly there has way more insulting themes.

Why does it always has to turn political anyway? People need to let go of all this hate. Would make life a lot easier and decrease stress. Before my life end i at least would like to see the day when we finally can stop paying the sins of our ancestors,stop feeling ashamed and to be proud of our present nation.

The way i see it that teacher didn't even notices that the logo would be that big of a deal. This is a good sign. Which mean Japan is finally recovering from the past and moving on. While the other teacher that notice the logo and reported it,show that inside him there is still fear and shame. These 2 emotion has gripped our country for a century already. And others still like to use this on us. History are facts. Many sure like to say that,but past is not the present. Our country now is different and we build it up with our own hands.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

The Japanese military still use this flag. Yes, it's a war flag. Militaries fight wars. It's legal. The fighting spirit is what this teacher was trying to encourage in his students. That's all.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

History is written by the winners. History written on books should be facts, but in practice many times it is not.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Hiro* a reasonable argument indeed. Think there’s still some concern about whether the past is being whitewashed and kept out of the education system altogether, but you are right that some do try to bring it up out of spite and a little too often. Finding the middle ground and a calmer dialog should be the goal. Moving forward is where everyone wants to be right, not constantly looking back. You are right, the Japan of today is very different from its wartime past.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

As much as I understand that some ppl will never dissociate the Rising sun flag (or the swastika) from the meaning they grew up with/were taught, I still think they should accept that other ppl do/can.

Personally, I see/think History, Art, culture when I see flags, daggers, helmets, books etc with the Rising Sun or swastika on them. Doesn't mean I don't also 'see' hatred, genocide, imperialism etc.

was used by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II, and as such it’s considered a symbol of oppression and aggression by many Koreans and Chinese. and I would add Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, Singapore, Malasia, Vietnam, Burma, India, Micronesia, Thailand, British, Dutch.

Reckon that the majority of aussies, kiwis, americans or brits (and westerners in general) do not know the meaning of the Rising Sun flag.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@thepesoniamnow

You just keep repeating what your own nation taught you to believe...

I wasn't taught by my "nation." I was educated in a country where public education curricula were set by regional, not central, authorities. This included textbook selection and course content. It varied from region region.

In a locally developed poli sci high school course, a member of the communist party was among the several people invited to lecture and explain their worldview to us kids.

Maybe your nation told you what to believe. Mine didn't.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Maybe your nation told you what to believe. Mine didn't.

Not maybe, definitely. China doesn't teach, they brainwash the party line. Sheep who have been through that system have no concept of the idea that one's country wouldn't brainwash them, as it's the only reality they know, so they just assume everyone has been brainwashed by their countries the same way they were.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Doughthehead13

”Japanese nationalism is rising every year. This is an undeniable fact!”

My man! How off could you be.

Japan has been getting less nationalist and more capitalist every year.

This place was even way more racist and hardcore when I was growing up and Im in my 30s. This used to be the most nationalist nation on earth!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

No mention of which School or even in which prefecture it came from ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

education only make people smart, but biased education actually makes people dumb.

Oh sweet irony.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The number of commentators here trying to defend this teacher's poor judgement is surprising. According to the article, a fellow Japanese teacher, the Japanese principal, and a good number of Japanese netizens all considered the image to be inappropriate. It's no different from the confederate flag in the US.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

CrickyNov. 9  08:46 am JST

Australia has no problem with this flag, try telling that to camp survivors. Families who lost family members in the most brutal way. As for the number of rays? Really that's your argument?

The U.S. had more POWs held by Japan in WWII than Australia. And we don't have a problem. In fact most Australians don't either. Just a few j-haters and CCP supporters.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

BungleNov. 9  11:51 am JST

I’ve no truck with Japanese nationalists. I had family in the Burma campaign so I know all about threat flag and what it means.

If the Japanese here actually speak to some veterans of the WWII Pacific and Burma campaigns, you’ll learn to appreciate the atomic bombings because those veterans would have killed every last one of you and enjoyed themselves in the process.

No you're wrong, That depends on the individual. My late uncle was a Marine and fought on Guadalcanal at the age of 19. He never had one bad word to say about the Japanese people, the reverse in fact. Each person has to come to grips with the horrible and traumatic experience of being in a war. How these veterans felt at the time in 1945 and how they felt afterwards over the next 70 years are two completely different things.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I was sad to read the comments from Japanese citizens that saw no wrong in the teacher's actions. I don't think that the Japanese education system does enough to portray Japan as the aggressor in situations where Japan was definitely the aggressor, the colonizer. This said, I am glad the school principal seems to have his head in the right place...they often don't!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The way i see it that teacher didn't even notices that the logo would be that big of a deal. This is a good sign. Which mean Japan is finally recovering from the past and moving on. While the other teacher that notice the logo and reported it,show that inside him there is still fear and shame. These 2 emotion has gripped our country for a century already. And others still like to use this on us. History are facts. Many sure like to say that,but past is not the present. Our country now is different and we build it up with our own hands.

Just have to be Japanese here, because NOT noticing is a HUGE problem, be like a teacher in Germany not recognizing the swatiska! THAT would never happen, but it would happen here obviously as this teacher didnt know.

It's a hugely BAD sign, Japan moving on isn't the problem, acknowledging the past FIRST, openly and honestly, and THEN moving on is something totally different.

You didnt build the country with your own hands either, at least not at the start. The very country that pounded Japan into defeat, rebuilt it and handed it back to you to further develop. Which is something there is no way in hell the Japan of THAT time would have done. They would have killed every soldier and every politician, if they had won, the proof is on the battlefield!

Example of you not knowing your own history and thinking that you did something but you didnt!

The other teacher, the school, the principal, went over board, and could have handled this better, but they did what they did, and maybe they all learned something from it!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Rising Sun flag with the 16 rays and offset sun known as the Kyokujitsu-ki is not the equivalent of the Nazi swastika flag, which represented a political part, the National Socialists. The equivalent is the Iron Cross which has been in use by the German military and goes back to 1813. It was used by the German military during WWII and is in use today. The Japanese Rising Sun flag was adopted as the Imperial Navy ensign in 1870 and has been in use through WWI and WWII. It was not used between 1945-1968 but is used today by the JMSDF.

Would the navies of the US, UK, Australia train with the JMSDF if there was even the slightest possibility that the Rising Sun flag was the equivalent of the Swastika?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Agree, it would be best not to accusing everyone that doesn’t accept your anger and agree with your strong emotional opinions as being a Nazi. Comparing the Rising sun Flag to the Swasitka? Not particularly productive. This sort of cheap shot is way too prevalent these days and seems again to be just a shortcut to thinking. Moral superiority ain’t a good look folks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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