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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 September 11 - 17  > Wartime Japanese naval ensign brings back bitter memories in countries invaded by Japan
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2019 September 11 - 17 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Wartime Japanese naval ensign brings back bitter memories in countries invaded by Japan

September 14, 2019

Akahata 'current' column

"Like the national flag, the naval ensign is the most important and prestigious flag representing the Empire," a Japanese vice admiral described in a book titled "National Flag and Naval Ensign" which he wrote before the start of WWII.

The book taught the public the need to enhance their respect for the naval ensign or Kyokujitsu-ki as "the portrait of the Emperor" in the same way as the national flag or Nissho-ki (Hinomaru). The book stated that warships hoisting the sacred and majestic flag will be regarded as an extension of the country's territory and thus will not submit to any external jurisdiction.

The Kyokujitsu-ki flag is designed to represent the rays of the rising sun. Whatever the origin of the flag is, this flag was used as Japan's flag of war and the flag of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The flag remains etched in Asian peoples' memories as a symbol of looting and killing by the Imperial Japanese Army as well as the colonial rule and invasion by the Empire of Japan.

Now, the flag with such a painful history has become an international controversy again. South Korea requested that the Kyokujitsu-ki flag be prohibited from being hoisted and waved by participants at venues during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. However, the organizing committee allows the displaying of the flag. Japanese Olympics Minister Hashimoto Seiko also said that Japan will not ban the flag.

In the football world, banners and flags that contain belligerent and provocative signs are prohibited at the stadium. As FIFA rules stipulate, in sporting venues, problematic displays are already banned. Even this sight of the flag stimulates painful memories in countries invaded by Japan and is obviously provocative.

The South Korean prime minister in regard to this issue said, "Japan should take into consideration what kind of effects the Kyokujitsu-ki flag could have on Korean people's emotions." To sincerely listen to such opinions and strive to make the Summer Games a celebration for everyone to be able to share the happiness of peace is the responsibility of the hosting city.

Past related article:
> Tokyo 2020 organizers refuse to ban flag symbolizing Japan’s war of aggression at Summer Games venues [September 5, 2019]
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