This 6 September 2019 video from South Korea says about itself:
The International Olympic Committee has said recently that it does not plan to stop Japanese fans next year at the Games in Tokyo from flying the so-called Rising Sun flag, a symbol highly offensive to people throughout Asia whose countries suffered under Japanese imperialism.
The IOC, so far, has said simply that the Olympics should be free of political statements, and that the flag itself is not inherently political.
Our Kim Bo-kyung takes a closer look at the issue.
To people in China, Korea and other countries in Asia, the Rising Sun flag was the symbol of the Japanese Empire as it took over their countries in whole or part in the early 20th century.
According to Alexis Dudden, a historian in the University of Conneticut, it is both unnecessary and unfortunate to see this flag still used by Japan’s self-defense forces, some sports fans and right-wing political groups.
She compared the use of the Rising Sun to the Confederate flag in the U.S., flown by the South in the American Civil War.
Like the Rising Sun, she said, the Confederate flag is now discredited not only because that side lost the war, but also because it causes deep pain and suffering to descendants of the victimized.
In her opinion, the IOC should reconsider allowing the Rising Sun flag next summer in Tokyo.
“It really is important IOC learns why this hurts so much. I mean, imagine this Los Angeles stadium Olympics full of American confederacy flags. That would be terrible.”
In fact, the design Japan has chosen for next year’s medals at the Paralympics feature elements that strongly resemble the Rising Sun, which Professor Dudden thinks is intentional.
“I find it deeply unfortunate that the Paralympics medals will have the Rising Sun flag on the medals that is displaying right now. I think that is a specific political act and it is up to IOC to recognize that there really is historical distinctions going on here.”
To settle the issue, she said it’s important to have an international conversation to educate people on how much suffering this flag still causes.
Along with that, she said she hopes the South Korean government can navigate the challenges Japan keeps putting in its way, and she urged the South Korean athletes who’ll be competing in Tokyo to rise above any provocations they encounter there.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
South Korea has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban the ‘Flag of the Rising Sun’ around next year’s Games in Tokyo. The country expressed great concern about Japan’s plans to allow the flag in the stadiums.
South Korea finds the impact of the flag similar to what Nazi expressions are for Europeans, and calls it a symbol of Japanese aggression during the war in the first part of the last century.
The flag, with a sun in the middle and sixteen rays around it, has been the official war flag of the Japanese armed forces.
“The flag is a direct violation of the Olympic spirit, which promotes world peace and love for humanity,” writes the Asian peninsula country, which was occupied by Japan from 1910 to 1945.
Flag forbidden in football
The same discussion about whether or not to allow the flag took place earlier in football matches, after which FIFA decided to ban the flag in stadiums.
The IOC has only confirmed that the request from South Korea has been received in good order.
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