Nazi Flag vs. Rising Sun Flag
by Christopher Sayas
There is nothing that can spark quite so much controversy than the Nazi flag. Its black swastika and red backdrop can produce a strong flurry of extreme emotions to many around the world. The flag itself was made famous as it became the official state flag for Nazi Germany and became a potent symbol of Axis aggression during the Second World War.
(continued) With the Third Reich’s racially motivated goals of cleansing the world of the Untermenschen, or what they viewed as the undesirables most famously through the concentration camps, the Nazi Flag, or Hakenkreuz, has transformed into a symbol of hatred and far right extremism at its peak. Despite the fact that the Third Reich did not last for quite the intended one thousand year reign, its symbols and imagery have left lasting impressions on the modern world.
Although it has been 72 years since it has been used as an official state flag, extreme-right wing organizations around the world have appropriated it when they can. They have used the swastika as a whole to proudly display their so called racial superiority and as a symbol for others to join their hate for immigrants and minorities. It has also been used as a favorite for more extreme far right political groups who utilize its strong imagery to rally more people to hate as well as a symbol to defend so called ‘white culture.’ Knowing the power of this toxic symbolism both France and Germany passed legislation outlawing the use of Nazi insignias, symbols, and the flag directly following soon after the end of the Second World War. Western society, media, and mainstream culture demonize the symbol of the Nazi regime yet there is more of lukewarm feeling when it comes to Germany’s old Axis ally.
The flag of the Rising Sun was first originally used throughout feudal Japan and during the Meiji Reformation officially became a battle flag for the new imperial military. During the Second World War and well before, the Empire of Japan used the Rising Sun flag for not just state use or functions but also naval jacks and army banners, cementing its image as a symbol for an aggressive and imperialist Japan. To many Koreans, Filipinos, Chinese, and countless Asian ethnicities, the Rising Sun Flag occupied the same moral space as the swastika and the Nazi flag. Yet although Japan was also an Axis power responsible for heinous war crimes, Japan did not seem to go through the same deep cultural cleansing of its official and state symbols the way that Germany was following the end of the war. The flag did not receive an official ban from the government nor from the allied occupation forces.
The Rising Sun, although a symbol of the Japanese Empire would see its official return again in 1954 when the Japan Self Defense Forces were officially founded following Soviet military and nuclear threats. Less than a decade earlier it had been used for militaristic and imperialist motivations by an aggressive government seeking to build an empire and enrich itself by any means necessary. To many throughout the Asian continent, the Rising Sun symbolizes hostility and serving unwillingly to an empire. To many it also brings images of comfort women, the Rape of Nanking, and the brutality of a warmongering military.
Yet, the image of Imperial Japan’s flag however seems at least to the perspective of much of western society to be a much more benign emblem than the swastika. It can be found throughout Japanese culture and products around the world; from toys, to poster, and clothing the image of the Rising Sun is a pervasive symbol that permeates on a global scale and in turn seems to become a more innocuous design without any negative connotations. In this regard, the Rising Sun flag occupies a seemingly grey area here in the west in which it is not only a symbol of oppression to some but also a symbol of globalized Japan. It has been transformed into what kind be described as an innocent symbol devoid from its historical roots of aggressive nationalism.
The danger here lies in the lack of education regarding the history and nature of the Rising Sun flag. Symbols do have immense power in that they serve to represent ideals, ideas, and whole nations. The Rising Sun often serves to represent to some the past crimes of a world war and a refusal to face the history can be a painful reminder of justice denied. Although the Rising Sun had been used well before the advent of the Second World War, its continued use signals to some that the past sins of a previous imperial government were not totally wrong. To toss symbols around without knowing the events surrounding even something even seemingly harmless such as a flag design would only be irresponsible to not just the victims of the atrocities but also to the past as well.
7/17/2018 11:39:04 am
Thanx for announce the truth.
You have no brain too. Just believe liar football player that made a racial gesture and told lie.
please shame on you
1/29/2019 09:35:02 am
So what how many times you guys use Rising sun flag even if you guys use in our country A match is it okay to use nazi flag in France soccer stadium. I am sure if use nazi flag in France, someone kill you. Please said thx for Korean because we do not kill you guys. Also you guys subscribe looks like monkey in ancient Chinese history book. Why you guys blame us stupid
Shame on you
3/14/2019 09:21:55 pm
Wtf? You believe that only a football player made that up? Lol anti rising sun flag movement has been real since 1950's. You wiki fool.
9/23/2019 11:59:38 pm
you are known unit 731?
Go get to sleep
12/30/2020 08:27:45 pm
You know what?
3/9/2019 07:34:46 pm
The whole world except Korea and Political conspirator doesn't care Rising Sun Flag.
8/10/2019 05:51:14 pm
Maybe they seem not to care because they do not know. So articles like this suppose to educate people to care about certain issues.
8/22/2019 06:12:22 pm
You must be educated Korean history and Chinese's!
9/24/2019 12:00:45 am
do you known uni 731?
Citizen of the Earth
9/26/2019 03:08:06 pm
People in the world start to know the truth about Japanese War Crime Flag more and more.
8/10/2019 06:40:38 pm
심장이떨리고 손이바덜바덜 떨리네요 개년들 어떻게 조져야하지
9/15/2019 11:35:27 am
Lots of European nations committed atrocities under their flag too. Countries such as Britain, Netherlands, France, Italy, Belgium, committed tons of war crimes during their colonialism era. Yet, they still fly their flags without any criticisms from their former colonies. I think Japan should consider the victims' feelings when using the Rising Sun Flag, but I also find it ironic that Korea complains to Japan for the use of their "war crime flag" but doesnt care at all about the "war crime flags" of European nations.
9/23/2019 05:33:24 pm
Please explain and share what are the other war crime flags?
9/29/2019 08:48:22 pm
The germans still uses Iron Cross which was seen all over Europe during the war time. Why? because it represents Germany as a nation. Rising sun flag represents Japan. The big question is that the Korean started to making fuss on Rising sun flag since 2011. So why kept quiet in the last decades? Get you brain back.
10/10/2019 08:29:54 pm
8/6/2022 08:26:07 pm
You say other flags that were in war crime still in use today. I cant agree but lets say its true. But the thing is even if it is true, the history of japans war crime is not going to go away or be forgiven.
9/30/2018 01:01:56 pm
So true! Great article!
Chris LEE (Different Chris from above)
10/1/2018 09:36:53 pm
Thanks for the great article. Well...speechless and deplorable that Japan and those countries lack of historical awareness of it. The Rising Sun flag must be banned and the world should lambast Japan for NOT acknowledging it with one voice. People will wait for the right time to pay back.
1/19/2019 06:23:42 pm
Do you also demand to German forces to ban Iron cross?
8/10/2019 05:53:04 pm
10/18/2018 05:01:50 pm
It's a very poorly-written article in need of editing, but it makes an important point about the "rising sun" flag.
10/23/2018 08:20:58 am
You don't know original meaning of this flag.
8/15/2019 02:32:51 am
Nazi symbol was also used widely used in middle Asia. Which means 'well being' in Sanskrit language. Europeans imported that in the early of 20th and was also used in Nazi flag.
9/8/2019 08:15:29 pm
Well, From Japanese aspect, you are right. However, you also have to see from other side too, if you want to say something, or study history more. I don’t know where they used the flag, but the fact is that they also used that flag when they invaded other countries. Under the that flag, lots of innocent people were killed. Lots of people were experimented as a Marmotte to develop chemical weapons. Why you can see the that flag while Nazi’s flag is banned?? Like you or like Japan education, they act and describe themselves as a victim. They exaggerate and hide their past. Since they have lots of money and power, they successfully hide and act like the victim even though they did lots of wrong thing to other Asian countries. I will study Japan’s history, but you also should study more not only from Japan. Think about the victims. For them, that flag is nightmare.
11/18/2018 11:22:30 pm
Nazi germany was not “far right” or “extreme right”. This is a false misconception that keeps being spread around today... it was a socialist and nationalist party. Back then every country was pretty much nationalist. It was the norm back then. But hitler was very much a socialist and hated capitalism. You can hear it in his speeches. He also blamed the Jewish people and the banks for ruining Germany and binging it to financial ruin in the 30s. Everyone was poor and upset and wanting to place blame on someone.
11/20/2018 12:34:20 am
The swastika (as a character 卐 or 卍) is also ancient icon and a symbol of good luck until the 1930s. But Germany prohibited its use because it is associated with Nazism.
Supporter of Lai Dai Han
3/9/2019 07:50:57 pm
You know Lai Dai Han, right?
7/29/2019 01:08:12 am
I apologize for the war crimes made by Korean Soldiers during the Vietnam War. Inhuman acts cannot be forgiven.
8/15/2019 02:32:38 am
No Vietnamese would say that 'Statue of peace' is wrong beacause of
12/19/2018 06:59:21 am
Origin of South Korea's anti-Rising Sun flag campaigns
7/29/2019 01:10:10 am
The Issue regarding the "rising sun flag" may have become an issue since 2012, but it doesn't mean that it is still was ok for the koreans in the past.
1/2/2019 02:07:15 pm
Chinese People try to brainwash everybody like they do with there own children,WWII is history let it rest and leave symbols for what they are !! But what about tibet What china is doing there that is Criminal,People from tibet are the "Untermenschen" from china !!! And what about Taiwan ?
4/13/2019 01:12:53 am
Japanese Rising Sun Flag is not relevant to Nazi's swastika.
7/29/2019 01:12:02 am
Learn a little bit more about your own history in the 21th century.
8/15/2019 02:36:08 am
It's not only South Korea that shows anger to rising sun flag. Lots of Chinese and Vietnamese are angry too.
10/10/2019 08:38:01 pm
Could you show me the statistics?
7/29/2019 01:13:43 am
I found out this blog by chance when i was trying to find a picture showing both the "Swatiska" and the "Rising Sun Flag".
Proud Rising Sun
8/11/2019 12:43:47 am
Korean is still Japan colony! Already, Japan give many money to South Korea in 1965! But Korean people this generosity forgeting! They are lying and calling Japan Nazis, but Koreans real Nazis!
8/11/2019 04:07:25 pm
Im sorry about our guilty
9/3/2019 09:55:37 am
Not sure if Japanese people are learning the historical facts from the school or not... Especially with the current Abe Shinzo's movements to omit their wrongdoings during the WW2 or before from their history book (despite all the world wide supporting documents and witnesses). Pitiful people that can easily be manipulated by a few warmongers. I wish Japanese people can wake up to seek the truth and peace in Asia.
9/8/2019 12:20:39 am
That not much money was given as reward not indemnification, colluding with Korean pro-japan dictator at that time.
9/8/2019 01:26:56 am
Need to add one more;
8/12/2019 11:21:15 am
Japanese, please be ashamed of not knowing history and getting a wrong education. Don't pretend you don't know the great suffering that the ancestors, us and our descendants of victimized country because of you. Why do you make shame yourself? Only with sincere reflection will you make progress.
10/10/2019 08:52:02 pm
How do you know the history which is taught in Korea is absolutely correct?
2/26/2023 11:00:50 pm
8/21/2019 06:41:44 am
The Republic of Korea has been ruled by human beings not being treated by Japan. I think there will be a lot of people talking about it and saying that it's a pride.
8/27/2019 04:42:59 pm
9/19/2019 11:52:56 pm
Is there anyone who know Asian history? Is there anyone who know about what Japan did China and Korea? If you know about Asian history, you cannot say the rising sun flag have no problem. Of course, Rising sun flag is traditional flag of Japan. I don't think it's bad when they use it on legal festival or something. But some Japanese use Rising sun flag when they have Korean - hate - assembly. How do you think about that?
9/27/2019 10:44:56 am
한국뿐만아니라 일본은 동남아시아 및 중국,미국,러시아, 특히 유럽 네덜란드 여자들도 위안부로 많이 끌려 갔지만 정작 유럽에선 일본문화를 좋아한다. 대한민국만에 문제는 아닌듯... 독일 나치라고 하면 영국 프랑스 벨기에 폴란드 이탈리아 등등 대부분 유럽국가들은 질색을 하는데 이건 좀 대한민국 외 네덜란드까지 국가들은 일본을 너무 사랑하는듯 하다
3/15/2020 06:00:39 am
Koreans can't answer these questions.
7/2/2020 09:27:12 am
I'll give you a simple answer.
2/26/2023 11:07:16 pm
You said rising sun flag is a military symbol. Then, I think it’s not problem because Nazi’s military symbol was iron cross, and it has been used until today.
Did you say your name Justice FOR Japan? that was reaaaally funny Hahaha
9/11/2020 08:53:33 am
Japanese can't answer these questions.
2/26/2023 11:28:06 pm
I can answer them as a Japanese.
9/24/2020 09:25:56 am
9/24/2020 09:33:02 am
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