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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii resident upcycles glass into ‘quarantini’ tumblers

Faye Laidlaw of Queen Charlotte making tumblers, candleholders to keep glass out of landfill

Kwuna cancels late Monday sailings

BC Ferries making schedule adjustments on Aug. 10 to facilitate arrival of new crew

Power restored for more than 1,300 BC Hydro customers impacted by outage

Outages left hundreds of BC Hydro customers on Haida Gwaii without power on Aug. 9

Haida Gwaii libraries resume inter-branch deliveries

Users can once again access materials from entire Vancouver Island Regional Library system

Masks mandatory in Old Massett as Haida Gwaii COVID cases total 26

Old Massett Village Council says curfew will be enforced with community service

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic high-water levels that halted migration runs

B.C. marine ecologist wants Canada to sink its teeth into shark protection

Gulf Islands scientist says top predator under shocking threat from human behaviour

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help Surrey boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Most Read