Political stunt in Korea game angers Japan

Protest lodged with soccer body over huge banner in crowd


Japan has lodged a protest with the East Asian Football Federation demanding an investigation into a politically charged banner that was displayed at the East Asian Cup finale against South Korea on Sunday.

During the match in Seoul, which Japan won 2-1 with an injury-time goal, South Korean supporters raised a long horizontal banner referring to Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula that read: “There is no future for a race oblivious to history.”

The banner, which stretched across a wide section of the stands and was written in Hangul, was displayed for about an hour from kickoff.

“I was hoping something like this would not occur this time, so it’s unfortunate,” Japan Football Association chief Kuniya Daini said Monday. “We ask the East Asian federation to thoroughly investigate the matter and act in the appropriate fashion.”

Daini said that he asked the organizer during halftime to have the banner taken away.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters the government “will respond appropriately based on FIFA rules when the facts are revealed.”

Meanwhile, during the match, Japanese supporters briefly waved a Japanese rising sun flag, a symbol of Japan’s militaristic past, but put it away after organizers asked them to do so, according to several Japanese fans and South Korean media.

The Korea Football Association told Yonhap News Agency on Monday that the organization has no plans to take action over the issue.

FIFA prohibits political statements of any kind during games. Soccer’s world governing body punished South Korea earlier this year for a similar event at last summer’s London Olympics when Park Jong-woo raised a sign saying, “Dokdo is our territory” after the bronze-medal match. Dokdo refers to a pair of rocky South Korea-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan that Japan claims as Takeshima. The sign was apparently not his.

FIFA, jointly with the International Olympic Committee, banned Park for two games and withheld his bronze medal until February.

It remains to be seen how thorough the EAFF probe will be. The federation is headed by a South Korean, Chung Mong-gyu.

South Korean fans also tried to bring a similar banner into the finale of the East Asian Cup’s women’s competition on Saturday night, but were stopped by the Korea Football Association, South Korea’s soccer authority, according to South Korean media.

  • http://ameblo.jp/cluttered-talk/ Michiko

    “There is no future for a race oblivious to history”, is which Hangul meant to be, didn’t know that, though I’m thinking and writing the same thing usually, and frequently, even nobody listens.
    Hopefully, better do this in Japanese from next time so that any of us can understand, almost of us couldn’t do it at this time till news tells so.
    There’s no future for us unless we’re going to have an imagination with what neighboring people’re feeling, of when our politicians go to Yasukuni, or some stupid mayor says some stupid thing, or Zaitokukai rants kill Korean, or many else, only after we’ve improved our education system of history.
    I think how about we’re going to invite a history teacher at least one person per school, from China or South Korea, as long as we couldn’t have ever taught students or children what happened as it is by ourselves, also inviting teachers could be some help to mend the relationships with neighbors.

  • Peter Lööf

    The Koreans are obviously still pissed off and rightfully feel that Japan hasn’t done enough to make up for what they’ve done.

  • Anders Wrist

    A crude and distasteful act, with racial undertones not altogether uncommon in Korea. Nothing good will come from these kind of provocations.

  • IanPG

    Aren’t Japanese and Koreans actually the same race? The Korean banner used the word race as an incorrect analogue for ethnicity/nationality.

  • King Rat

    Or could it be a message referring to young Koreans obsessed with western pop culture and Japanese comic books who don’t remember who they are?

  • An Sha

    Why do Koreans always assume that their version of history is always totally correct? Do they ever consider that the Korean government might have used a slanted view of Japan to deflect criticism of the government?

  • Ron NJ

    It’s not as if the statement on the banner is factually incorrect.

  • Hitokiri 1989

    Lol its football. A couple of banners and everyone here is overreacting. This is actually pretty tame compared to other footballing rivalries, such as Serbia-Croatia, Russia-Poland or even USA-Mexico.

  • Guest

    I can’t understand why Korean fans showed a banner during the game.
    First of all, hanging any political banner is prohibited.
    I wonder if stadium staffs had a question what that stuff was used for because it was so big.

  • Shojun

    I say this is justice. Koreans are pissed at the Japanese for what they have done during the past and now the Japanese are acting as if nothing had happened. Same feelings come from China, Russia, and the whole Southeast Asia.

    “There is no future for a race oblivious to history.” Cannot be less correct.

  • Steven R. Simon

    Simon says that South Korea and Japan are allies of necessity due to the geo-politics of Northeast Asia so these infintile stunts have got to stop.

  • Fastvue

    Hey Korean fans rock !

  • Lephtis

    First of all, we fans are prohibited from hanging a banner during games. I can’t understand why these Korean guys needed to show the stuff at that moment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/haberstr John Haberstroh

    There will always be self-important fools in Japan making ahistorical and racist comments, and is it any different anywhere? But the banner is itself racist. There is no future for those who generalize about entire populations of other countries.

  • Dennis Kawaharada

    “There is no future for a race oblivious to history.” I guess everyone is doomed–the Koreans along with the Japanese, Chinese, Americans, and Russians. Oh, well….

  • wrle

    this was certainly overboard for korean fans.. but japan also has a fair share of radical stunts like the constant use of their rising sun flag only when there is a match with a korean team. Both countries just need to stop otherwise its probably best for everyone to watch at home.

  • Stack Jones

    It’s ironic that a racist, and hateful nation like Japan, with its leaders constantly committing atrocious attacks on its neighbors like posing in airplanes with 731 on its side, calling for the extermination of all Koreans, etc. on and on, is so pathetically weak that it can’t take a little bit of well-earned smash mouth itself.

    And these whiners want to become a warmongering nation hell bent on taking on China, Russia, and Korea?


  • Edwin Johnson

    hey, its a stunt so stunt them back don’t take it to heart

  • Sean

    Waiving the rising sun flag isnt a political statement. Koreans are the only people in the world that take offense to this flag, they’re oversensitive if you ask me. Saying the rising sun flag is comparable to the German Nazi flag is laughable…acts like this from Korean fans are petty and pathetic. Im glad Japanese people are above this sort of action and do not stoop to the level of Koreans. I dont know about history, but Koreans need to move on, you do not see Japanese complaining with banners about USA bombing them, theyve moved on forgiven and forgotten, the Koreans should take a page from the Japanese book and do the same instead of radically protesting and spreading more and more hate which is not matched by the people of Japan. From an American.

  • http://getironic.blogspot.com/ getironic

    There’s no future for countries who are so drunk on collectivism that they make the sins of the past into the guarantees of the future.

  • Sue Hiraki

    As to the comments about Japanese history textbook, please refer to the report of the Stanford University, “Divided Memories and Reconciliation” upon textbooks of USA, Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan, where Japanese textbook is evaluated as most fair and calm, offering no strong narrative about the war.


  • Jay Wilson

    Again, this is South Kore trying to get Japan to fall to its knees and beg for forgiveness over Japan’s colonial administration of Korea. It has been said that South Korea wants a high-ranking official like the Prime Minister or Emperor to perform “dogeza”, even if they did do this, South Korea will not let Japan move on