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

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

  • Nov. 19, 2018 1:20 p.m.

A Langley school has removed a Japanese “rising sun” flag from a history classroom after a student-created online petition against it generated thousands of signatures over the weekend.

Since it went up on Saturday, the Change.org petition “Take off the Sun Rise Flag in an Educational Environment” launched by Walnut Grove Secondary School Grade 9 student B.J. Moon has so far collected 9,700 names.

READ MORE: Furor over Japanese flag in Langley classroom

Moon said he and the other students who complained about the flag were “all Koreans and descendant of a country that was colonized by Japan.”

Korea has painful memories of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War that, among other things, forced thousands of women into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army as so-called “comfort women.”

School board spokesperson Ken Hoff said the flag was being temporarily taken down to allow “further discussion” with the students who objected to its display and their parents.

“It’s a little unfortunate that this was taken out of context” Hoff said Monday.

“The flag is being actively used as a teaching tool … you can’t start editing and censoring history.”

While there have been many messages condemning the use of the flag, a lot of them are from well outside the school district, Hoff said, and the district has also received emails supporting the decision to use the flag.

Hoff said the teacher who pinned the flag to a classroom wall was a “well-respected history teacher.”

“It’s [the decision to use the flag] not coming from a place of ignorance,” Hoff said.

Moon, Hoff added, was not a student in the history class where the flag went up, but had observed it from the hallway.

Moon did not immediately respond to Black Press requests for comment on the decision to take the flag down.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Princeton man on motor scooter refuses to provide breath test to police

The scooter did not have a license plate and was not insured

In this file photo, snow is seen falling along the Coquihalla Highway. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Weather statement issued for Coquihalla, Hwy 3, as arctic front approaches

The early season snowfall expected to hit Fraser Valley, Friday, Oct. 23

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
No reported injuries in Highway 3 rollover

Traffic interrupted for three hours

File photo
EDITORIAL: The power of a single vote

In the Oct. 24 British Columbia election, every vote is important

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Kelowna RCMP investigating unexplained death of cattle

Cattle found dead near gravel road, east of the Kelowna Airport

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read