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SEGA Removes ‘Rising Sun’ Sonic the Hedgehog Hoodie From Online Store After Causing Offense to Korean Fans

SEGA has removed a Sonic the Hedgehog hoodie from their webstore after backlash from Korean fans, who took offense to the use of Rising Sun flag imagery.

A hoodie featuring a design inspired the Japanese ‘Rising Sun’ flag has been removed from SEGA’s webstore after Korean fans took offense to the use of the flag’s image due to its associations with World War II military actions.

Originally available on the SEGA Shop, the hoodie featured a red, stylized image of the double-tailed Miles “Tails” Prower from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise against a circular background featuring ‘sunbeams’ reminiscent of the historical Japanese imagery:

SEGA Removes ‘Rising Sun’ Sonic the Hedgehog Hoodie From Online Store After Causing Offense to Korean Fans

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On May 21st, the hoodie was brought to widespread attention by Korean Twitter user @isa_yfn415, who took offense to the use of the Rising Sun imagery, arguing that it’s historical associations were “no different from the Nazis flag in other countries, especially in Korea,” and demanded that SEGA “delete that product.”

The Rising Sun has its origins in the early 7th century Asuka Period in Japan, being adopted as a symbol of the Asian nation that reflected its reputation as “the land of the rising sun” and expanded upon the design of Japan’s national sun flag.

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In 1870 the iconic red-and-white variation, was adopted by the Imperial Japanese military, where it would remain in use until the dissolution of Japanese forces under the Potsdam act.

The imagery is currently flown as the naval ensign of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and a gold-bordered variation has since been adopted by the modern-day Japan Self-Defense Forces and Ground Self-Defense Forces.

101210-N-7191M-031
PACIFIC OCEAN (Dec. 10, 2010) U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ships underway in formation as part of a photo exercise on the final day of Keen Sword 2011. The exercise enhances the Japan-U.S. alliance which remains a key strategic relationship in the Northeast Asia Pacific region. Keen Sword caps the 50th anniversary of the Japan-U.S. alliance as an “alliance of equals.” (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jacob D. Moore/Released)

The flag also has cultural relevance in Japan, appearing in numerous video games, manga, and anime, as well as being used as a rallying image at Japanese sporting events.

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The call for the item’s removal was soon joined by other users, primarily Korean and Korea-residing, who similarly found the imagery to be offensive based on its use during World War II.

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SEGA quickly capitulated to the fan demands, removing the hoodie the next day.

This decision was celebrated by @isa_yfn415, who claimed a moral victory and asserted that “if there’s something wrong, we have to fix that!”

What do you make of SEGA removing the sweatshirt design?

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