Japan’s use of the Rising Sun Flag in 2020 Olympics brings back offensive memories to surrounding Asian countries

Alyssa Chang, Staff Writer

   People all over the world are looking forward to watching the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. However, most people are unaware of the controversy and tension between Japan and South Korea. 


   While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regularly receives flag submissions from over 200 countries, there was an unexpected flag submitted by Japan. 


   Instead of their current Nisshoki flag with a white background and a red circle in the center, they submitted the “Rising Sun” flag, an offensive symbol of militarism and imperialism to many. In the past, Japan used this flag while invading nearby countries, mainly South Korea. 


   Although the Olympics and IOC constantly emphasize working towards a better world through sports, the IOC decided to approve Japan’s use of the controversial flag. 


   According to CNN, “The Rising Sun flag is akin to a symbol of the devil to Asians and Koreans, just like how the swastika is a symbol of Nazisim which reminds Europeans of invasion and horror.” 


   This flag reminds many Asian countries of their ancestors who suffered under the violent, brutal life of Japan’s control. Though the Rising Sun flag’s meaning is like that of the swastika, it is unknown by most of the world and freely used by the Japanese. 


   When South Korea requested the IOC to ban the Rising Sun flag, the IOC responded by saying,  “sports stadiums should be free of any political demonstration.” But the IOC is letting the Japanese slide by without stopping them. Although the Japanese claim that the flag is a part of their “culture,” it is also a hurtful memory for many countries. 


   The problem between the two countries has led to a bigger issue: The tension has risen to a trade dispute in the recent months. 


   According to CNN, “The standoff began in July when Tokyo placed controls on exports to South Korea of three chemical materials which are used to make computer chips, among other things.” 


   Japan removed South Korea from its preferred trading partner list. In return, South Korea decided to also remove Japan from their list of trusted trading partners. 


   Currently, South Korea has announced that they would be ending the 2016 military sharing agreement signed with Japan. In addition, South Korea has alerted that the global supply chain of smartphones and electronic devices could potentially be threatened. 


   The incorporation of the “symbol of the devil” flag in the 2020 Olympics has brought back painful memories for not just countries in Asia, but also the world as a whole. Beginning as a flag submission, this event has grown to a problem of lacking electronic supply for parts of the world. There are and will be more negative influences brought forth by bringing back the use of the Rising Sun Flag. 


   Make sure to be alert for the negative influence of the flag in the 2020 Olympics.