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Japan to skip naval event after S Korea protests over flag

By Joyce Lee and Kiyoshi Takenaka

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The most important of both the Koreas: a flag. I just read an article also in the Italian press about it.

Apparently they need a common enemy to get closer.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

I meant, the most important problem* of both the Koreas

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Planning to enter flying the 'Rising Sun' flag is an unbearable insult and ridicule to our people

From what I read from those who escaped this regime, I imagine most North Koreans are more concerned with getting something edible for a meal.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Telling them not to fly it is a damn good way to make them want to fly it!

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Really! Oh dear lord get over it! Could this be because the comfort women issues is not yielding any results and this is the latest attempt by both Koreas to keep Japans past on the agenda?

Japan used lots of different flags during its colonial period, why this one in particular? This is nothing but an knee jerk, last ditch attempt by oppertunists who have jumped on an anti-Japan bandwagon without thinking it through or its consequences.

WW2 happened, it was terrible and both sides did awful things but its coming up 80 years ago! Lets move on!

20 ( +28 / -8 )

@joy: If they are not moving on, it's because these anti-Japanese feelings are still useful for their political agenda.

22 ( +27 / -5 )

NK is late to the party as well as this article since JMSDF announced they will not send an escort ship to this event this morning since SK have refused various protocols for the ship to enter port.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Weird. North Korea have a problem with a flag. I have a problem with murderous dictatorships pretending they are a legitimate government just because they are holding tens of millions of people hostage. As for SK's complaint, fair enough, but deal with it. A string of corrupt governments, a penchant for embezzling war/prostitute/slave money and a neglible respect for freedom of speech permeates SK's government. Instead of bemoaning a choice of flags try making a name for your country not based on whining or the success of your chaebols.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

I wonder what the reaction would be if the German Armed forces were to fly the Swastika from their Ships ?

That is of course, should they have been allowed:


But this not for the Japanese equivalent wartime flag:


-10 ( +11 / -21 )

I like geopolitics, and I always try to find out the reality behind the surface. The current situation in the Pacific region is rather particular. Of course, everyone knows that North Korea is supported by China, while South Korea by the US. The fast development between Trump and Kim, from worst enemies to "lovers", in my opinion suggests that China won in protecting North Korea regime, so Trump was forced to change suddenly attitude, and show that he had been able to change Kim, or whatever. Of course, this circus is grotesque. Anyway, my impression is that China won this match, and South Korea got closer to China. Trump lost, but he is trying to save the face with the whole "Kim is a cool guy" thing. This doesn't mean he gave up on the rivalry with China, of course. Indeed, this is why he started immediately after the Koreas debacle, a strong trade war against China, and he keeps high the tension in the South China Sea. Well...lets wait for the next developments with our popcorn.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

@mmwkdw: the difference between the Nazi Swastika and the Rising Sun Flag, is that the first one was born exclusively to represent the Nazi ideology (I am not speaking about the original swastika used in Asia, that is different), while the Rising Sun Flag was born way before than Japanese colonialism. You can compare it with the Union Jack, and despite the UK used this flag also during the British imperialism, nobody is forcing the British to change that flag.

19 ( +26 / -7 )

The only time these three countries are happy is when they are complaining about each other.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

@mmwkdw: the Rising Sun Flag is widely used here in Europe on clothes and stuff, as a decoration. This doesn't mean we support Japanese imperialism. What do the South Koreans want to do about it, maybe to force also us Europeans to see the things under their point of view, despite you can't really compare the Nazi Swastika to the Rising Sun Flag? If someday that flag will become illegal also in my Country, I will be very afraid, because this would mean that South Korea bought our freedom by money. We have used this flag for decades, it would be really weird if only NOW we thought it is a symbol of Japanese imperialism.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Like it or not, the rising sun flag is totally legal. Recognized by the UN and by the international maritime union.

This is the reality.

23 ( +26 / -3 )


17 ( +20 / -3 )

For Koreans, Japan is their enemy No. 1.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Japan has a national flag that represents a pickled plum (umeboshi) on a bed of rice and that is the flag they should use. This flag only serves to remind Asia of Japan's (attempted) imperial rule of Asia. I'm actually quite surprised the Japanese still use it because it is just a reminder of having their country burned to the ground for being foolish.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Well, N Korean is led by a dynastic mass murderer that killed half of his family, and most S. Korean presidents landed in prison. So, you know, why listen to these criminals' opinions ?

18 ( +21 / -3 )

It doesn't matter what North Korea thinks. South Korea is being a bit oversensitive and petty, but as a goodwill gesture Japan should agree on this occasion to fly the regular hinomaru instead of the one with the radiating beams.

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

I see the article was updated. Well, since it wasn't welcome, Japan made the right choice rejecting to join this event.

15 ( +20 / -5 )

The raising sun has been used for centuries. What happened in Korea during the occupation is just a small segment in the history of the flag. Comparing the rising sun with Nazi flag shows complete lack of understanding.

Koreans need to grow some thicker skins and politicians need to stop bashing Japan to bring up nationalistic sentiments to get votes. This is getting old.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

What happened in Korea during the occupation is just a small segment in the history of the flag

Iits apologists like these that make me question whether we ever learn from history. And the only reason japan sneers in disgust is because it had never really performed a genuine cleanse of past acts of aggression against fellow neighbors akin to Germany. The sons of letting a former axis of evil not atone for its sins. Here we are folks.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Out of curiosity, and nothing more, can anybody tell me why the Japanese Navy still use the old Japanese national flag, as an ensign?

And I stress, only out of curiosity.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Since Japan has now refused to take part in this little nautical parade, so should its allies and major trading partners. It is, after all, only a parade.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Out of curiosity, and nothing more, can anybody tell me why the Japanese Navy still use the old Japanese national flag, as an ensign?

Tone deafness regarding their past? Failure to accept responsibility regarding the human attrocities? Misplaced pride? Way of maintaining status quo while keeping the masses brain washed to historical fact? Take your pick really.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

I can only say, “Grow up, Korea, and learn to observe international protocols.”

10 ( +15 / -5 )

I know that South Korean are against this flag, but for me it's just a navy flag and it doesn't mean the oficial Japan's flag raised in international events. I'm a Brazilian Japanese and I'm proud to know my father was in the Imperial Japan's Navy and confronted US, UK and Australian navies with good results in Southern Pacific areas. Never against South Koreans bc they were in the same ship and were braves, my father's word when I heard from him in his life time.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

@TrevorPeace: I disagree with you, it's not like Japan is asking this. It wasn't welcome in South Korea, so it decided to skip the event. This doesn't mean it is forcing the others to do the same.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Japan should create a cerimonial flag for occasions such as this. It would remove the reminders of war from the review and allow relations to improve. No big deal doing such a thing and it shows Japan respects the sensitivities of those countries it wronged in the past.

It is difficult to ignore a victims response to a symbol of past aggression against them and yet maintain a stance of respect.

-11 ( +6 / -17 )

I just read on South Korean press that some politician asked to punish people who wear items with the rising flag with a fine around $ 2,650 or with a prison term of less than two years. Considering how widespread clothes and hats with that symbol are here in Europe, I think European people need to be informed about this danger, if the law will be approved.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Anybody not willing to see that using this flag rimes with previous atrocities commited by Japan is not really being objective I think.

First of all, it might have been used here and here for centuries, but its use with the maritime forces came first in 1870, right before Japan started to fully invade its neighbors. So it totally rimes with war time Japan.

Second, the Japanese themselves abandonned the flag right after the war, so it has not always been natural to use it even in modern Japan.

Finally, and this is where it is not as innocent as it seems, it is one of many drops that constantly add to the strange relationship Japan has with its own past. Just yesterday, the newly appointed education minister shared his view that teaching kids the old "imperialism way" could be very good.

For a lot of policy makers (thanks Nippon Kaigi!) there is a total denial about unit 731, the very existence of the Nanjing massacre, the very idea of sex slaves during the War, honoring war criminals at Yasukuni, and so on.

How can anybody add all of those things and still think "no big deal, get over it" ?

If there was only one left (say the flag), the argument would be valid, it would be overdriven to focus that much over it. But right now, Japan needs to understand the prints it left in people's mind, and how it is not even trying to diffuse anything by not even wanting to acknowledge there is some ground to all those various claims.

Allow me to compare with a person A in a house, and its neighbor B in the next house.

The house where person A lives is a house that has been passed on from relatives to relatives for 500 years. And on the front door of that house, there has always been an ancient symbol hanged, let's say a woodcarved tooth the shape of a dinosaur's tooth.

One day, person A takes that tooth, wears it as a necklace, and goes to its neighbor B. Person A starts to do horrible things, and this goes on for a few years, even ten of years. Everytime with the tooth around its neck.

One day, it gets so bad that realtives to person B are killed while in their own house. Not only killed, but killed in a horrible way.

Police officers are called, there are trials and everything, and things start to look normal again. But the son of person A decides one day to start wearing that very tooth around its neck, and go out on the streets. Not only that, the son person A goes regularly to its backyard where person A is burried, and "honor" the grave and what the person in the grave stood for.

Would you really expect the son of person B to accept all of that withouth even claiming its anger ?

-15 ( +6 / -21 )


Nice story.

Being objective, knowing history, and also being intelligent enough to know what’s propaganda and being fed to you by your own nation to make other look bad...these things matter.

But clearly you believe one side, think they must have been the good guys, and think the other side is bad. Always hilarious talking to westerners who have always been the good guy in their own mind and think that atrocities are things committed by others, certainly not themselves.

6 ( +12 / -6 )


No arguments in your comment ? Would you please elaborate, point out where I a wrong or where there might be things I wrongfully Believe ?

I shared my view with details on a level that we can debate over them, if you are up to the task.

And I am French for your information, with France having done a lot of awful things that it has never acknowledged either (war in Algeria, salvery in Africa, medical annd atomic tests all over the world, etc...). I have no problem admitting it or discussing about it.

Right now, we are talking about Japan, it does not matter where I come from.

This is you judging my reasoning just because I am a foreigner, pretty narrow-minded and far from objective I would tell you.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

@thepersoniamnow: please, remember that not all the western are the same. I never saw any difference between American Imperialism, British Imperialism, Dutch Imperialism, Spanish Imperialism, Portuguese Imperialism, Japanese Imperialism, Italian Imperialism, German Imperialism, and so on.

I know perfectly like double standards work according to which side won some war.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

@Alexandre T.Ishii

Where am I exactly ? To a detailed comment with references, facts and thoughts, you are replying "no need to talk that much, only people who are biased and therefore wrong talk that much". Is this how you engage debates with people around you ? I will let my various 300 page history books know that they are 299 pages too long since apparently it is enough to have one page to appear unbiased and therefore right.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@idir13013: the difference with Japan is that your Country, France, never stopped its imperial policy. Indeed, it is continuing also today. And it will never be forced to pay for anything. Currently, Japanese citizens are forced still to pay for war crimes happened more than 80 years ago.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

And to the people thinking that it was a long time ago, do you say the same when Jewish people argue against something now that remind them clearly about the War ? Or to an afro-american to whom slavery is reminded through a bad choice of symbols ? It is not because people were not around that they cannot say it is wrong. I think many people are mixing "forget" and "forgive". People tend to forget, but when they are reminded (like with unsensitive symbols), they remember they have not forgiven.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )


I'm just saying you're biased because the past is a abundance of biased stories, we are living now in the century to know many thing was wrong, many were staged and forged, especially the power did it, now they are the politicians. Please check what Alex80 commented, I agree with him in this debate. I don't want to be biased with 1000 lies become a truth. I hope you understand what I mean. We have to make history, a real one!

5 ( +7 / -2 )


There is truth to what you said, for sure.

But another difference, and this where the use of the flag is not right, is that the government in France is not trying from time to time to rewrite history. There is a major difference between not talking about things (like in France) and actually saying that there has never been anything wrong, and that it was in fact so good that people should be thankful (reference to the Yasukuni museum where invading Asia has been rewritten to appear as a liberation from western forces).

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Nations that actually fought Japanese naval ships flying this flag over 70 years ago, the Unites States, Britain, Australia etc all have no problem at all with the JMSDF using this flag since 1968.

Yes South Korea, with some 240,000 Koreans having served in the Imperial Japanese Military who fought the United States, Britain. Australia has "a problem" with this flag?

South Korea needs to educate themselves, grow up and get with the program. We're getting tired of South Korea constantly undermining our pacific alliances.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

And one note to people commenting here : we might disagree but at least we talk about such issues. In Japan or in our own countries. Have you ever succeeded talking about such things with Japanese people ? I cannot do it with any of my Japanese friends without creating a vacuum that drains our friendship and our love of each other. This tells something, and as long as that something does not evolve in Japan (or Korea or China for that matter), people will deny everything all the time and it will never disappear. It is not denying the right to claim that make things disappear, it is listening and being the bigger man.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

There will always be people who for some twisted reasonings try and support Military symbolism of past days. @Alex80 didnt read the question relating to how why it is fine for the Japanese Navy to fly under the same Imperialist flag of the War yet the German Navy isn't .... by Law, and if "he" had read the Wikipedia articles he would have seen that the Swastika has existed for a longer time than the Rising Sun within European and Asian countries alike. The fact is, that Japan and Germany were the aggressor nations, and having been defeated by Nations who collectively fought against their corrupt and twisted ideology, such why should they retain the Military symbols of those aggressive times in current days other than to promote their own self nationalistic thoughts which with some harken back to days gone by. I am sure @Alex80, that you may not have had any impact directly to yourself or your direct ancestry, though if you had, such as I have, then you would perhaps be changing your thoughts. And again, I am talking about Military symbolism, not some childish slogan upon a T-Shirt/Cup or whatever.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

@mmwkdw: You didn't read how I already said that I know that Swastika in Asia was already used, but you didn't understand that in Germany it was used ONLY to represent Nazi ideology, unlike the rising sun that wasn't born to represent Japanese imperialism. Anyway, no, sorry. Italy, Germany and Japan weren't the only guilty ones that started WWII, also the UK, France, Belgium, America, etc. were guilty, because all of them were COLONIAL POWERS as well. I don't know how you studied history, but fortunately, here in Italy, while we condemn Fascist ideology, don't learn that three Countries were the Evil, and the other Colonial Powers the heroes. We learn that history is way more complex than this. And WWII has been caused by the conflictual interests between colonial powers, in an age where owing colonies was "normal" for everyone. We learn that imperialism in general is BAD. The biggest colonial powers historically have been Countries like UK, Spain, France, not Italy, Germany and Japan.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

It's just a flag... the Union Flag of my country can be seen as the symbol of oppression for those people that suffered under the Empire in centuries past... but I don't see people demanding that the Royal Navy stops flying the full colours or the White Ensign.

The Rising Sun was used by the Imperial Navy before the war... as least as far back as WW1 (when they fought alongside the Royal Navy as allies in the east).

Germany's pre war and wartime colours of red, white and black have since been altered with the replacement of the white with yellow... but the Luftwaffe and Bundeswehr still have black crosses outlined in white on their AFVs and aircraft (more akin to their WW1 shape than WW2 admittedly).

Should the JMSDF have a new ensign? Or just fly the white flag with red circle... although SK would probably complain about that too.

I fly a little rising sun flag from my Honda's roof aerial... hope I don't offend anyone... bit late, being doing that for years :)

8 ( +12 / -4 )

@Alex80 - the Union Flag ("Jack" can only be used when the flag is flown from the Jackstaff upon a boat), has many variants, but this article is purely upon the Japanese Imperialist Flag of WW2 being used upon current Japanese Warships.  So, how do you think, the South Koreans, Chinese, (Taiwanese/"Formossans") etc should react when seeing these ships sail into their respective harbours flying the same Imperialistic flag of days gone by ? Japan after all does not recognise still, some of the well documented atrocities that were committed in those Countries under that very same flag.  So, I think, those Countries have the right, to raise an objection, and Japan did what it could only but do, and withdraw from participation under those circumstances.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

@Alex80 - you tend to not stick to the point of the article, and instead try to use deflection tactics. This sadly wont work. Focus upon the article in question.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Readers, please stop bickering.

owning colonies*

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Winners write histories. Hiroshima and Nagasaki not atrocity?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

South Koreans will always try to find some excuses to criticise Japan and they will never stop. Let's say if Japan decides to abolish the Rising Sun Flag, then next they will complain about the national flag saying that it reminds them of Japanese occupation etc.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

The fact that Koreans only complain about the naval flag but not the national flag lacks logic as it was the national flag that could be more associated with the Japanese occupation and colonisation of Korea as this was the flag that was flying over many places in Korea during Japanese era. Koreans have nothing to do with the naval flag as they were not fighting against Japan. In fact, as someone already said, many Korean men volunteered for the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy.

If Japan had to change its flags due to its past, then many countries that had imperialistic history have to change their flags. And don't forget that the Germans still use Iron Cross on their military aircrafts and tanks etc. and no other countries that were invaded by Nazi Germany complain about it as they clearly understand that Iron Cross was adopted way before nazism and does not represent Nazi ideology, unlike the Nazi Swastika.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Japan's decision comes after South Korea this week asked participating countries not to fly flags at the bow or at the stern of their vessels, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters.

So they never specifically asked Japan not to fly the offending flag, they asked all countries not to fly flags.

"When it comes to the Maritime Self-Defense Force ensign, domestic laws and regulations stipulate that it must be hoisted at the stern," Iwaya said. "Regrettably, we have reached a decision that we cannot help forgoing the participation."

Japan's domestic laws prevent flying the flag. Perhaps the Koreas had this in mind when making the request not to fly flags at the bow or stern. No problem Japan... quick law change (I know it's incredibly unlikely)... and fly the flag in a different position.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Criticism of the Rising sun Flag is treated as a problem Korea, but behind it is China.

Although the Korean government seems to be silent about to the Rising sun flag,

the extreme South Koreans of the pro-North Korea &Chinese are aims at spreading their thought using international events.

Because Destruction of the US - Japan & US - South Korea alliance makes it easier for China to get the East China Sea from the South China Sea.

By already making the Rising sun flag a problem, there is a case occurred port of South Korea refused entry to the SDF vessels, in multilateral military exercises.

This proves that the alliance can be destroyed. These should consider which country gets the most benefit.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It;s been many time the naval fleet review occur BUT why now? maybe this is 1 of the condition that the North Korea want to the South Korea to stain their alliance(South Korea - Japan).Moon was blinded by the unification of the North. After the Unification who will be the President of the Country? Do you think North Korea(Kim) will be ok when the South Citizen Candidate become the President?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It is silly to be honest and simple to object to events that happened long ago ...it is history. And Past. No one responsible for the events of that time wanted WWII, except for a few nuts. Sadly the effects were profound and still not accurately realized by most of the countries involved. but to protest Japan using treasured symbols of its nation and history is just persecution and from trying to make political credits out of a silly attempt to hold the present hostage to the past. Grow up Korea you have a much greater danger: China. Japan is YOUR friend NOT China which wants to colonize and conquer the entire Far East. Get Smart or start to learn Chinese.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Clearly few people are truly peace oriented. Pride, hurt prides still run deep in their veins. Thin skinned, thick skinned, insensitive, over sensitive, etc., were being defeated by egos. The only thing that evil needs to win is that good people to nothing, paraphrasing a famous quote. We’ve got a monster next door who is doing its best to control the western Pacific, and the only two powers that could technically stop them on this side of the ocean cant get their acts together. Sigh. It’s worse than Trump and Kim calling each other names.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The "Rising Sun" ensign, used by the Japanese Imperial Navy in campaigns around Asia and the Pacific before and during World War Two, was adopted by the Maritime Self-Defense Force in 1954.

Lazy reporters. They should have added that the Imperial Japanese Army first adopted the Rising Sun Flag in 1870 and the Navy in  1880. [From Wiki] The Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy both had a version of the flag; the naval ensign was off-set, with the red sun closer to the lanyard side, while the army's version (which was part of the regimental colors) was centered. 

Koreans have a giant chip on their shoulder when it comes to anything Japanese. A couple of years ago they protested a Japanese manga being sold in France because it had an illustration of the rising sun flag. In France! And the French were so intimidated they pulled the manga out of the stores.

Meanwhile the Koreans named one of their own naval vessels after Ahn Chung-geun, the man who assassinated Japan's first prime minister Hirobumi Ito in October 1909 and provocatively sailed it into Japanese-claimed waters off Shimane Prefecture. More reasons why only about 60 Hundai cars are sold in Japan every year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Basically a non story everywhere out side of Korea, China and Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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