British rockers Muse have a new music video out. It was shot in Tokyo, and it's lighthearted and fun. Oh, except for the part that pissed people off.
On YouTube and 2ch, commenters are pointing out that the video briefly featured Japan's Rising Sun flag—something that angered people online. For many, it symbolizes the country's imperialistic past and everything awful associated with it.
After the video debuted, some on YouTube began criticizing the imagery. Others defended it. The comments section turned into a hot mess.
"To the people who can't understand why some are mad, I guess you can compare the Rising Sun flag with the Confederate flag," wrote commenter Naenuu on YouTube. "Some people can go on and on about how the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern heritage, but come on now, you know that's not what people associate it with. Same with the Rising Sun flag. Both are rife with controversy and history."
A few YouTube users went further and compared the Japanese military flag to the Nazi swastika.
"Past is not past, man. If you are Korean or Chinese, You can still feel anger in your mind," wrote Michael Sanghyuk Jang on YouTube. "There are still many war victims in Korea and China, especially old woman who had been raped by Japanese troop during WWII. You should understand and respect neighbor countries' sorrow abyss [SIC]."
On 2ch, Japan's largest forum, some commenters pointed out that the flag is still used by the Japanese Navy as its official ensign. What's more, Asahi beer also uses the flag's imagery as does Asahi Shimbun and Asahi taxicabs. "Asahi" (朝日) means "morning sun" in Japanese.
The flag, obviously, has a very different meaning in Japan. Some on 2ch also pointed out that they think the Rising Sun Flag's design is better than the current flag's, adding that this is probably why Westerners, such as Muse, often seem to use the imagery.
The controversy over the Rising Sun imagery comes after Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, one of Japan's most popular singers, posed with a Rising Sun Flag earlier this year. These images were intended as New Year's greetings, but angered Korean fans so much that Pamyu Pamyu had to cancel her South Korean tour last month.