More than 10,000 people have signed a petition for a London restaurant to remove the Rising Sun flag from its logo due to its imperial history.
Sugoi JPN, which has Latin-Japanese restaurants in Chelsea and Wimbledon, has faced backlash for the flag’s links with Japan’s Imperial Army.
In 1870 the Rising Sun was adopted as the military flag for the Imperial Japanese Army who invaded and colonised Korea.
This was followed by the Sino-Japanese wars in which millions were killed under the banner of the Rising Sun flag.
RFRA spokesperson Haram Jang said: “This flag has not been seen for what it truly is: a symbol of the Asian Holocaust.
“Seeing this used for a business is very hurtful to our community, because the symbol left big scars in Asian history.
“Similar to the unforgettable pain Nazism caused in the West.”
Sugoi JPN addressed the backlash in the FAQ section of their website.
It denied embracing the flag meant taking pride in Japan’s military history and suggested objections to it were driven by political motives. The restaurant also highlighted the flag’s alternative uses in Japan including the celebration of childbirth and seasonal festivities.
Jang counteracted this by making parallels with the Swastika which has peaceful origins but is deemed taboo on account of its use by the Nazi party.
He claimed it was not just the flag’s history which posed a problem but its continued use in anti-Korean and anti-Chinese hate speech in Japan today.
RFRA believe the flag hinders international reconciliation efforts.
Jang added: “The United Kingdom lost nearly 30,000 men defending the Far East from what had become a state-sponsored death cult marching under that banner.
“We will be eternally grateful to those men who gave their lives for us so it hurts to see that symbol used frivolously and unchallenged in their homeland.”
Sugoi JPN are not alone in facing criticism for their use of the Rising Sun, in 2019 Liverpool Football Club apologised for using the symbol in images online.
ITV and Anne-Marie also apologised for the flag’s appearance during a recent performance on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
Sugoi JPN declined to comment.