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Do you find Japan's rising sun flag offensive?

48 Comments
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The rising sun flag is not offensive as long as it is used as a Navy ensign. The right-wing use it to symbolize glorifying the old totalitarian regime and current far right activism. The rising sun flag should be left at sea.

Importantly, the rising sun flag is NOT a national flag and should, therefore, not be waved about at the Olympics.

9 ( +21 / -12 )

No, but there should be a third option: Depends

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I personally do not find it offensive, but then I never lived under Japanese colonial rule.

11 ( +18 / -7 )

In the right (not right wing) context, I have no real problem with it. Overall, I'm not a fan of national flags.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

Depends how it's used, as with most things. If it is, which it is, being used as the Naval flag, then not at all. If it's being waved around by nutblags in black trucks telling little children (Zainichi) to "die", or worn by the morons who dress up as IJA soldiers and march around Yasukuni and deny Japanese atrocities, then yes.

14 ( +23 / -9 )

Which version of rising sun flag?

In general, no, I do not find any of them offensive.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

It is an official flag. Japanese Naval Self Defense Force. How can anyone possibly find it offensive?

No one has the right to stop people waving this flag next year at the Olympics. All this publicity will just mean stadiums will now be full of the rising sun flags!

-19 ( +10 / -29 )

It is an official flag. Japanese Naval Self Defense Force. How can anyone possibly find it offensive?

People can find this flag offensive because it carries the stain of Jaian's rape of Asia, which Japan refuses to fully acknowledge or atone for having committed.

-1 ( +19 / -20 )

There is a circle in it - refreshing after sripes, reds, whites and blues and stripes and stars and repetitious Euro-use of colours, union Jacks and so on..

Simple is good, like the 梅節 in the ご飯, or the drop of arterial blood in the snow.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

I don’t have a problem with it, doesn’t bother me, doesn’t offend me and when people display it outside of their homes for whatever reason, go for it. More power to them. I hang my Old glory on certain holidays with pride as well.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

I hang my Old glory on certain holidays with pride as well.

Too much information

5 ( +15 / -10 )

Some people here are thinking of the red sun on a white background, the national flag, displayed outside homes on national holidays.

The question regards one of the versions of the 'rising' sun on the horizon with red rays emanating from it.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Too many people in today's comfortable world have confused "I'M OFFENDED BY THAT" with "I CAN THINK OF WHO MIGHT BE OFFENDED BY THAT".

I suspect that most of the people who most loudly voice their offense at such things are simply trying to be the big hero for whoever they think would actually be all offended.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Yes, there are two different versions, the single red sun dot and the one with red lines streaming out from the sun. That’s the one some countries have problems with still. I’d say it’d be better if it wasn’t used.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

What I find offensive is Japan's continued insensitivity to what the flag represent in the rest of Asia. Like the Nazi flag, the Rising Sun is the military flag of Japan.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

I suspect that most of the people who most loudly voice their offense at such things are simply trying to be the big hero for whoever they think would actually be all offended.

I suspect that most people who post online, these days, are plants.

Doesn't mean I'm correct, though. Overtly militaristic or fascistic flags do cause offence, especially when some of the terrible actions committed under such flags happened within living memory.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Some things should be put to rest. That particular flag reminds too many people of 'the past'. Bad things happened then. Why keep a symbol, or at least one that looks nearly identical, around? It stains the image of the present and future generations of a people. The 'new' flag is good. It represents Japan as a modern, peace-loving nation.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Well given Japan's history with neighbors and their denial of that history ...

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Cool-looking flag. Not offensive at all.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Too bad we cant ask the 20-30million who died shortly after that flag appeared on the horizon their thoughts on it, just sayin!

4 ( +12 / -8 )

The usual protocol is that the host country, during the Olympic event, displays it's national flag.

It is somewhat unusual to display the Naval Ensign, although during the opening ceremony the Navy will probably participate, and carry their Ensign.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Too much information

Yup! Exactly! I’m proud and Japanese should be as well.

Cool-looking flag. Not offensive at all

I agree, as well as the meaning behind it.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

No.  Plenty of other flags are historic symbols of oppression and awful behavior and the like.  Union Jack anyone?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I LOVE THAT FLAG !!!..

BANZAI !!!.. BANZAI !!!.. BANZAI !!!..

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Tissue???

Loooooooool..

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Union Jack anyone?

Sometimes referred to as the Butcher's Apron.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Too bad we cant ask the 20-30million who died shortly after that flag appeared on the horizon their thoughts on it, just sayin!

Oh look, another person that has no idea that the rising sun flag existed for a hundred years before WWII...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

i voted no, but like others already said here : it depends !

it ,s not offensive if we look at it as the Japanese naval ensign, the flag of JMSDF. it ,s also part of Japanese history, long before the war. and it ,s pretty good looking too.

but if it ,s used by those far-right ignorants, we already know what that means and what they,re glorifying. so ... it depends.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

My strongest association with it is WWII. It sounds like it predates WWII, but that association is very very strong.

Since Japan has its regular flag that does not offend people, you have to wonder why people choose to use the one that does offend people. The one that right wingers paint on buses that broadcast all kinds of nastiness about other Asian people. Japan is proud of omotenashi, but waving flags that offend people and putting anti-foreigner literature in hotel rooms (like APA hotel) is not hospitality.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If we're talking about its use at the Olympics, the 旭日旗 (rising sun with rays) is not the national flag and is used by the Self-Defense Forces. Consequently, it is covered by rule 50.2 of the Olympic Charter:

No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas

Anyone flying it therefore risks being ejected from an event.

https://stillmed.olympic.org/media/Document%20Library/OlympicOrg/General/EN-Olympic-Charter.pdf

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I'm not offended by it, and think it is a beautiful flag, but it needs to be in context of the navy. Too often I'll see it hanging off the back of a black can where it is clearly intended to celebrate Japan's military past. In that context it is offensive.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Thousands of Irish suffered under the British Union Jack but you don't hear Ireland calling for a flag ban. How many people have died under the Stars and Stripes banner in the last 50 years? Point is, a lot of flags have caused a lot of deaths in the past so if you ban one, you'll have to ban them all. I say keep it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

No, not particularly. However, if the far right ever takes over the government and the military is calling all the shots again, I might have second thoughts about saying no.

Imagine what a country like Japan would look like with somebody like Donald Trump at the helm. Frightening, truly frightening.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

London_Bhoy

What you write is true. The problem is that in Japan the Navy Ensign, when ashore, has become the symbol of right-wing bigotry and totalitarianism. National flags have different meanings to different people. The Navy Ensign has only two meanings: the correct one used by the Navy and the scary one used the ultra-right-wing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The St George's cross flag in England causes causes extreme love and hatred in different people; in certain contexts it can certainly be divisive.

I agree about the time place and opportunity comments above. Keep the naval version strictly to navy ships and institutions, please.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The flag isn’t offensive, it’s the people who use it to peddle their nationalistic nonsense that are offensive.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Nazi flag is a party flag. It's not a military flag.

The German flag, the Iron Cross, has been used since before World War II

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm not sure if 'offensive' is the correct term. Whenever I see this flag I straight away think of WW2 and Japan's imperial rule of Asia, which I'm sure has the same effect on everybody, especially in those countries that were colonised and ruled by Japan during that period. It's a reputation that Japan seems to not want to shake off with the continued use of this flag. If Japan was serious about shaking the reputation of 'Asia's oppressor' they should ditch this flag to show genuine remorse and regretfulness of what they did to Asia in the first half of last century.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The binary choices are inadequate but in the right contexts it certain can be offensive to me, so I answered yes.

People who whip out that flag at the Olympics and similar events should be permanently banned from attendance. They are trolls and trouble-makers.

Other countries have changed their flags to represent their new national identity and to break with the past. Retention of the rising sun flag and emperor worshiping national anthem I consider extremely poor moves for Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

For the next generation or two it may cause some offense as it was a wartime flag used by Imperial Japan which caused many nations harm. If Germany used the Nazi flag it would also cause many offense.

As time passes it will have less impact but it will always be tied to the Imperial Japanese navy of WWII and carry a stigma because of that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Peter14 - As time passes it will have less impact but it will always be tied to the Imperial Japanese navy of WWII and carry a stigma because of that.

Unless Japan starts another war in Asia after changing their constitution, of course.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You can call it Japan’s naval flag all you like. However, it is a symbol of Japan’s imperial rule of Asia in the first half of last century. Personally, I find it extremely offensive when it is used at sporting matches.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Taking their logic, all national flags of former colonial powers should also be banned altogether.

Radical anti-Japanese activists have been attacking almost everything "looking like" rising sun design, regardless of historic and socio-cultural contexts. It has more to do with infringement on free speech and expression. Rising Sun itself is a free and ordinary design, whose ownership is never claimed by Japan.

The issue has arisen quite recently within SK's parochial backgrounds. Koreans have weaponized own "victim" history for own present-day political purposes.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

All sorts of things can be hijacked by people who falsely use them to advance their cause. That doesn't mean that the things themselves are to blame.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The other day I walked around central Tokyo and didn't see any rising sun flags. I'm not even sure where I should go, outside of the Yasukuni shrine museum, if I wanted to find one. Right-wing demonstrators at Shin-Okubo will wave them, but how do I know when they're going to demonstrate? There's one flying in the park by the old battleship Mikasa in Yokosuka, but that's a long way to go just to see one. For a flag that's so controversial it's pretty elusive.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An interesting point is that the Japanese public NEVER wave the rising sun flag (kyoku-jitsu-ki) at their own emperor!

In fact I think it is forbidden for Japanese people to wave the rising flag at the emperor.

Look at the recent parade for the emperor's enthronement. Not a single rising sun flag being waved by the general public!!

Why is this?

I think the emperor (a very good person IMHO) does not want to be associated with this symbol of Japan's militaristic past.

So it's kind of funny...

... we have comments above from Japanese people saying things like "nobody can tell us what flag to wave" but yet they are NOT ALLOWED to wave the rising sun flag at their own emperor!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In fact I think it is forbidden for Japanese people to wave the rising flag at the emperor.

Actually @Rizdown Japan's Supreme Court some years ago ruled that laws in the penal code specifically related to the emperor are not valid. (Even murdering him would have to be prosecuted as a plain vanilla homicide.) So while there may be some arbitrary practice to discourage anyone waving such a flag, I am quite certain there is no such statute on the books.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@NCIS

Please read people's posts carefully.

I didn't say that it is or isn't against the law.

But I'm pretty sure that the Japanese public are forbidden from waving the rising sun flag (kyoku-jitsu-ki) at the emperor.

This is enforced in various ways.

For example, at events where the emperor appears, the only flag you are allowed to wave is one handed out by event staff. Of course, these are all hinomaru flags.

It's a subtle but effective method of enforcement.

If somebody bought a "my flag" in the form of a rising sun flag and tried to wave it, I am sure the police would surround that person and prevent it.

Have a look at online videos of the recent royal enthronement parade. I couldn't see a single rising sun flag.

Ask a Japanese friend about this... they will likely say "of course we are allowed"... but actually they have no idea what is allowed or not.

In fact, they've never noticed this or even thought about it.

So it's very funny...

As I mentioned, we have comments above from Japanese people saying things like "nobody can tell us what flag to wave" but yet they are NOT ALLOWED to wave the rising sun flag at their own emperor!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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