ENTERTAINMENT

Claims continue against use of Imperial Japan’s Rising Sun flag

By Cho Yun-myung
  • Published : May 17, 2018 - 15:21
  • Updated : May 17, 2018 - 15:21
While Steven Yeun’s “flag controversy” has yet to settle down, a music video from Puerto Rican singer Ozuna also stands accused of using the disputed symbol of the former Japanese Empire.

Seo Kyoung-duk, professor of general education at Sungshin Women’s University, said Thursday that he has sent a letter of protest to Ozuna’s official Instagram and Facebook accounts regarding the official video of his song, “Siguelo Bailando.”

A screenshot taken from the official music video of Ozuna's song, "Siguelo Bailando" (YouTube-Yonhap)

In the video, the pattern of the Rising Sun flag pops up several times on the bandana of a dancing bear. The video has been viewed more than 660 million times on YouTube since its release in November 2017.

According to Seo, the Rising Sun flag, which was used as a symbol of the Japanese military during World War II, has similar implications as those of the Hakenkreuz swastika used by the Nazi Party. Changes had yet to be made to Ozuna’s music video as of Thursday afternoon.

There have been other recent cases where the disputed symbol, whose connotations remain largely unknown to the Western public compared to the swastika, has appeared in foreign pop culture. 

A trailer video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" was altered after protests on the design of the shirt that one of the actors was wearing. (Yonhap)

In a trailer video released Tuesday for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a documentary on British rock band Queen, one of the actors appeared wearing a shirt bearing a similar symbol. The footage was later altered to show the actor wearing a plain red shirt after protests from Korean online commentators. 

The flag of the Rising Sun also appeared in the music video of “Colors” by Jason Derulo, a theme song for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but was deleted after similar protests.

“There are many cases where global pop stars like Ozuna use the Rising Sun flag out of ignorance of its meaning,” said Seo. He has worked to protest against using the symbol and to publicize its connotation.

Seo receives reports on the misuse of the Rising Sun flag via ryu1437@hanmail.net.

By Cho Yun-myung (yunc39@heraldcorp.com)