Politician Uses Japanese Imperial Flag on Business Card

Saenuri Party candidate Min Kyung-ja's business card

Saenuri Party candidate Min Kyung-ja has sparked fury among Korean netizens this week for using a graphical motif strongly resembling the Japanese Rising Sun Flag on her campaign business card. The flag (which is potentially very offensive in the eyes of many Koreans) is a painful reminder of the Japanese occupation during the first half of the 20th century. This will come as an embarrassment for the renamed conservative Saenuri Party (known as the Grand National Party until February 2012), as the former leader of the party was Park Geun-hye (daughter of former President Park Chung-hee who was trained as a military officer in Japan) considered to be favorite to win next year’s presidential election. Netizens were quick to question her motivations for using such a flag with some labeling it as a revealing pro-Japanese statement.

From The Financial News:

Business card of Saenuri Party candidate Min Kyung-ja bearing Rising Sun flag proves ‘controversial’

Saenuri Party contender Min Kyung-ja has sparked controversy among netizens, for including the design of the Japanese Rising Sun flag on her business card.

While the front of candidate Min’s business card includes her name and career experience inscribed with the party’s symbol, the back of the card uses as background a design symbolizing the Japanese Rising Sun flag.

Today the Rising Sun flag is a symbol that represents both Japan’s militarism and Self-Defence Forces. However, Min’s camp is using a design similar in both shape and color to that of the Rising Sun flag.

Reacting to candidate Min’s business card, netizens accused her saying “what on earth were you thinking?…shouldn’t you recognize straight away what that design means?”, “are there no other politicians out there?”, another adding “I wonder what her intentions were. In any case, she succeeded in standing out.”

However, some netizens also argued over the authenticity of the business card. They responded by saying that “we don’t know whether this was a montage until we know for sure what her exact point-of-view is”, and “to say that it unconditionally IS the flag just because the shape and colors resemble it is somewhat far-fetched.”

In the meanwhile, because of the continual controversy on candidate Min’s side, an official told through a press release that “the shape that shows a rising sun is nothing more than a symbol to emphasize the #1 sign.”

Candidate Min said that “all my life I have lived committed to the natural security of our nation, and I would rather produce words ahead of the nominations than thieve the Rising Sun flag and be pro-Japanese, and anyone can see this is nothing but slander,” adding that “with the party [already] being in difficulty, I decided to serve the party and the people with a spirit of gratitude for the sake of our country, thus running for election; but suffering from this kind of childish slander is somewhat sad and pitiful.”

Furthermore, she asked to “please not use the business card, which was designed by a young lady a little over thirty who has a heart of gold, politically.”

Comments from Nate:

김광석:

They cannot hide their [pro-Japanese] roots

이형희:

Those people have always been pro-Japanese~~~ Park Geun-hye’s father too was pro-Japanese~~

김영관:

Her photo and name were published in this article ke ke ke Saenuri Party’s political candidate Min Kyung-ja [some websites and newspapers opted to blur her face and name]

김주영:

Shouldn’t the sign be used for Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party?

최우람:

amazing…a right wing party that is in fact a pro-Japanese New Right movement

이성재:

Am I mistaken to say that it is clear her roots are pro-Japanese?

김영복:

People say they will change their policies – what’s happened to that? A pro-Japanese party right down to the bone…ke ke ke

Comments from Daum:

희망찬세상:

Which one of the two is it~ a person who has an ignorant view of history and doesn’t know what the Rising Sun flag is? Or is she a person who holds values that take pro-Japanese activities for granted? I’d say she’s an ignoramus who clearly doesn’t even know what the flag means, even though she got her Ph.D. from Chungnam National University ~~ doesn’t this [business card] just show the roots of the Saenuri Party?~ huh

김하늘:

So now we come face to face with a pro-Japanese? If you were abroad, you’d think this is a Japanese election…..

파란꿈:

I knew from the start that the Saenuri Party liked Japan as well as the States, but this confirms the extent to which they love them – I’m gravely offended…. ㅠㅠ Like the people around me, there shouldn’t be a single person who casts a vote for those scumbags

바람:

It’s their identity – she applied to the right place

리타와 삼순이네:

Needn’t say it but… it’s the Saenuri Party, so what did you expect?

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  • dudeweed

    AAAAAAnd I claim this sofa in the name of Beavis and Butthead

  • lonetrey

    Huh. I had no idea that the anti-Japanese sentiments were still that strong in South Korea!

    • Brett Sanbon

      really strong… just remember what the Japanese did to the Chinese and Koreans. People over at chinaSMACK say the “Rape of Nanking” was bad…. But the Japanese really fucked up Korea for about half a century.

      • Kai

        Both Korea and China have a lot of popular anti-Japanese sentiment as both were fucked up by Japan. I’ve always heard of modern day Korean nationalism and pride as being something of an overcompensation for a long history of being stuck between China and Japan, influenced and bullied by both.

        I have a question: Are Koreans on average like the Chinese in generally acknowledging the quality of Japanese technology and products?

        Chinese people in China may regularly express resentment over history but are still practical enough to often prefer and trust Japanese brands and products over their own. However, since Korea is further along in its industrialization, modernization, and overall economic development of its domestic brands than China, do Koreans still look up to Japanese stuff or have they started feeling they’re equal now and no longer give as much weight to Japanese products?

        • Tiffany

          I don’t think, they look up to japanese products since they have so many of their own that are of value. their own car brands like hyundai, and technology from samsung that keeps most south koreans ahead of everybody else before the technology hits the west. i know i drive a korean car and have a korean phone as well as other things. i had always thought that samsung was a japanese brand until a year or two ago.

          • Kai

            Yeah, I’m thinking there’s a much stronger “buy domestic” sentiment in Korea, more so than in China, because their domestic brands are actually very competitive and mainstream now. I’m just curious how Koreans in Korea think.

            In the West, Japanese products were first derided until they improved to the point where they become competitive, accepted, mainstreamed, and even dominant. Korean products have gone through the same process and are reaching the same competitive level. We make fun of Chinese products now but if Japan and then Korea developed out of their stigmas, will the Chinese be next?

  • burntmetal

    “Reacting to candidate Min’s business card, netizens accused her saying “what on earth were you thinking?’”

    Yup. That says it all.

  • blackflagnation

    nothing but sounds of crickets chirping in KoreaBang…need some more crazy stories to get people passing through

  • burntmetal

    How predictable that people are taking this as a sign of anti-Japanese hate. If Americans express outrage at the Nazi swastika does that mean they hate Germany? Would they support a pro-Russia politician? I’m not saying there’s no antagonism between Korea, Japan and China at all but some people like to exaggerate it. It confirms their Asian stereotypes.

    • mr. wiener

      Still, given the amount of antagonism from Koreans towards the Japanese, you’d think she’d be a bit more careful with her business cards yeh?

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