‘Rising sun’ flag flap in B.C. high school sparks counter-petition

Few people have yet signed the petition to keep up an Imperial Japanese flag in a Langley classroom

A popular petition that saw a flag associated with Imperial Japan and the Second World War removed from a Langley classroom has attracted a counter-petition.

The petition titled “Bring back our history flags” so far has only 29 signatures.

The controversy erupted last week when a student at Walnut Grove Secondary posted a petition on change.org after seeing the flag in a history classroom.

The first petition called for the flag to be removed because of its association with Japanese Imperialism, and particularly with some of the war crimes committed by the Empire of Japan during the Second World War.

The original petition currently has more than 11,000 signatures.

The flag was taken down temporarily to allow “further discussion,” said district spokesman Ken Hoff.

The student who originally created the petition, and some of those who objected, are Korean or Korean-Canadian students.

Japan conquered Korea and thousands of women from Korea and other conquered territories were used as sex slaves by the occupation, dubbed “comfort women.”

The counter-petition said the flag was used in a history classroom for educational purposes, and that the flag should be a reminder for people of “the mistakes of those crimes and take action so it doesn’t happen again.”

“We all understand that this is a touchy subject but the best way to improve as a society is to keep the flag up,” the petition reads.

The name on the counter-petition is an anonymous “WGSS student.”

The “rising sun” flag has a red sun on a white field, with red rays coming out from the center of the flag. The current national flag of Japan is a simple red sun on a white background.

READ MORE: Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

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mclaxton@langleyadvance.com

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