Unessay Project Overview

For my Unessay project, my goal was to expose the meaning of the Rising Sun flag while comparing it to the Nazi Swastika flag. I was interested in this topic because as South Korean, I grew up learning about the remnants of Japanese colonial period that still remains in South Korea. Also, as one of handful of Asian students who went to a private Jewish High School, comparing Nazi flag and the Rising sun flag was something that naturally provoked me a lot. The dichotomy of the two flags, how one flag is considered as a taboo and other one is merely as a ‘cool’ design, always made me feel frustrated. One thing that I wanted to gain a clear perspective on was about how German and Japan is remembering and repenting their war victims and war crimes.

Throughout my research, I learned that how each country reacted to their past is polar opposite of each other. Compared to Japan, Germany’s sincere action of penance and apology was able to show what a leader of nation can do to make up for the past mistakes their predecessors have made. For Japan, even though the action of penance and apology was all that the victims have asked for, but they have never delivered that long-overdue apology. Instead, Prime ministers of Japan have been attending the memorial service at the Yasukuni shrine on the 15th of August every year to pay respect to their war criminals and war veterans, whose remains are buried with the victims they have killed themselves during the colonial period.  

As I chose the PowerPoint presentation format as a mean to deliver my Unessay project, I mainly used the photos from the WW II era and post-war era to depict the similarities that the Germany and Japan shared and how the ideas behind the flags are almost synonym for one another. For example, I thought that this photo clearly depicts the connection between the Imperialism and Nazism during the war

One main thing that I am taking away from this project is about how Japanese government is reacting to the international criticism of their denial of war crime and history. As I mentioned in my presentation, Japanese government is still trying to erase significant portions of World War history and their exploitation of colonial victims from their textbook, while denying their crimson history. I think that we learn history to learn from our own mistakes. We learn history to not repeat the nightmares that many have gone through without a reason. If no one is willing to learn from their mistakes, what future do they have?

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