Some Langley students say allowing a Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag in their classroom is offensive

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom (updated)

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

  • Nov. 18, 2018 8:40 a.m.

An online petition against a “rising sun” Japanese flag in a Langley classroom has collected thousands of names.

Since the Change.org petition “Take off the Sun Rise Flag in an Educational Environment” was launched by Walnut Grove Secondary School Grade 9 student B.J. Moon, more than 5,700 signatures had been collected as of Sunday morning.

In an online statement, Moon said he and other students who complained about the flag after a history teacher pinned it to a wall, are “all Koreans and descendant of a country that was colonized by Japan.”

“Thinking of the tragedies my grandparents went through, we cannot imagine how someone wouldn’t find this symbol as inhumane and unethical,” Moon said.

Moon said the teacher declined to move the flag and told them that other “Asian-descendant” students in the school might find it “disrespectful.”

They want the flag removed, “or at least [moved so it is] not widely visible from our learning environment.”

“If possible, the flag should not be on the wall, where it is seen from the hallway.”

Moon said the flag was considered “extremely offensive in countries of former Japanese imperialism as it reminds [us of] Japan’s former war crimes.”

“ … it is absolutely necessary to remember the atrocities that the Japanese committed” the message said.

Among the crimes the petition referred to was the thousands of ”comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied territories like Korea, China and the Philippines.

Japanese governments have in the past apologized and offered compensation for the forcible prostitution of women in Korea, but both the apologies and amount of funds are viewed as inadequate by many Koreans.

“[These] are historic events that aren’t taught in school — at least not with the same degree of importance as that of the Holocaust,” Moon said.

According to a Wikipedia online entry, Korean campaigns against the Japanese flag gained intensity in 2011 when a Korean athlete accused of making an offensive gesture said it was because he was annoyed at having seen a rising sun flag in the stadium.

One year later, “war crime flag” was coined to describe the banner in South Korea.

Japanese commentators have rejected the campaign, saying the United States, who fought Japan, has not protested formally against the Rising Sun Flag.

After the war, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force continued to use the rising sun flag as its ensign.

READ ALSO: Long-time trustee takes on School Board Chair

School board spokesperson Ken Hoff said the flag was meant to serve as a “talking point” for a history classroom and was “not meant or intended to give offence.”

Hoff said the issue would be followed up further with the students on Monday.

Moon said he didn’t expect the response the petition generated, and that he hoped the issue could be worked out.

Just Posted

Historic Hat Creek Ranch in state of uncertainty

B.C. government will proceed with public process to seek new site managers for Hat Creek

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Closures for Ashcroft Hospital over long weekend

Hospital will be closed for two shifts from May 18-20

Cache Creek council proposes 10% property tax increase, pool closure

Pool scheduled to close after 2019 season unless a funding source can be found

NHL star Eric Brewer to return to Ashcroft for public event

Olympic gold medallist and former Ashcroft resident comes back to his roots

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Most Read