SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Korea Bizwire) – The Hakenkreuz or swastika, better known as the Nazi symbol, is rarely used for commercial purposes for its obvious ties to the horrors of Nazi Germany and World War II.
And while the Japanese Imperial Flag, alternatively known as the Rising Sun Flag, is also symbolic of WWII and the war crimes committed by the Japanese military in Asia and the Pacific, its use is not as regulated or publicly denounced.
In fact, more than a dozen companies and businesses, Japanese and non-Japanese, have frequently used the symbol in their products, albeit mostly without proper knowledge of its deep roots.
In order to raise awareness of the symbolism and the historic significance of the flag, professor Seo Kyung-duk of Sungshin Women’s University sent parcels including letters and information related to the Rising Sun Flag to 10 global enterprises, asking them to discontinue the use of the symbol in their products.
Seo began his campaign in March, and asked Koreans across the world to report use of the symbol upon discovery. Over the next five months, he received some 50 accounts of the symbol’s use from countries including the United States, Australia, Britain, Italy, and France.
According to Seo, the companies that he sent the parcels to included audio maker Skullcandy, surf company Billabong, and sports equipment manufacturer Asics. He also sent letters to companies including Byron Hamburgers, Bialetti (an Italian coffeemaker brand) and Zara, which have been criticized for their use of the symbol, asking for their cooperation to prevent similar controversies in the future.
Seo noted that many of the companies were using the flag without comprehensive knowledge of its symbolism, so instead of merely criticizing them, he wanted to raise awareness by properly informing the global population of the flag’s former uses in violent wars and colonization efforts. He also said that he is joining international Korean students across the world to spearhead a campaign at a much more organized level.
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)