AKB48 Criticized by Korean Netizens for “Right Wing Activities”

Recently, a Korean netizen site, Pann, had a post about an AKB48 concert. The post was titled “Legendarily right-wing idols.” The post contains photos from their concert while the group performed the song “Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai.” That performance referenced World War II. Given that the song translates as “We Won’t Fight” and has a message of peace, the use of WWII imagery makes sense as a contrast to show what the world should be. The post also tried to link the performance to the 106th anniversary of the execution of An Jung-geun. He was a Korean freedom fighter who assassinated former Japanese prime minister / former Resident-General of Korea Ito Hirobumi.

Check out the comments after the jump!

They displayed ‘1945’ and sang a song ‘We Don’t Fight’. The leader wore a rising sun flag. Today is 106th anniversary of An Joong Geun.

Pann: Legendarily right-wing idols

1. [+104, -0] Are they out of their mind ㅋㅋ

2. [+100, -0] I used to find AKB48 likeable… bye. One of the members is said to like Korea but they’re throwing away their Korean fans like this ㅋㅋ I don’t want to see them anymore.

3. [+78, -0] This needs to be a top Pann

4. [+37, -0] This is also very controversial on their fancafe… No one is shielding them, fans are leaving, and a lot of them are bashing the staff. I stopped stanning them the moment they said, “Just like the lyrics of this song say, all we can do is unite through the song” before singing. I’m upset as a Korean. I’ve stanned them for 5 years but my biases all graduated and I’m also leaving this fandom, bye.

5. [+31, -0] Are they insane?

6. [+29, -0] They’ll never advance to Korea then

7. [+22, -0] In Korea, AKB48 was only known by fans, weren’t they? Now they’re nothing but an unlikeable group in Korea… Gross.

8. [+20, -0] Two of the members worshiped the yasukuni shrine


  • Comments

    • CuriousGeorge

      Guys, educate me please. Why is the land of the rising sun flag undesirable? Thanks!

      • John B

        It was used by imperial Japan before and during WW2 and is associated with militarism and ultra-right wing nationalism. So to some people (particularly Koreans/Chinese) it may cause offense in a similar fashion to a Nazi flag.

        • It’s still used.

        • rrrr

          The Nazi flag is still used as well.

          • By the German government? No.

          • Kanjo Maru

            The Nazi flag was used for a limited timeframe by a limited group. That’s why we can call it the Nazi flag.

            The Rising Sun flag was, and currently still is, being used for more than just “militarism and ultra-right nationalism”.

      • lwavesurfer

        A sign of Japan imperialism.

    • tbh, akb48 was never marketed towards Korea anyways. As always, they only market towards their own country.

      • mika

        oh please. their ‘home base’ is obviously japan but they’ve performed overseas (twice for music shows mostly watched by Koreans) they’re aware of their overseas fanbase. they’re not marketing to the rest of the world but the rest of the world is watching them.

      • Alf

        By your standards then, an American show bringing up Hiroshima imagery for the sake of doing so isn’t offensive because it’s not marketed to Japanese audiences???

      • Microcat

        SDN48 had a K-pop aesthetic originally, even their debut song was called Ai Juseyo. They flopped though, do that might be why you didn’t know about them

    • anne

      this is so tacky of them

      If you wanted to have some ant-violence/anti-war message… fine. but why tf would you bring a tank on stage and use imagery that, above all else, depicts war? if they wanted to go the peace-toting route than they should have done as much

      but then again paruru was in that military commercial so they’re as obtuse as ever

      • starlightshimmers

        I understand the Rising Flag is equivalent to the Nazi Swastika for Koreans but for the Japanese it doesn’t hold the same meaning. Most people seem unaware that the Rising Flag is still the military flag of Japan.

        Here’s the current flag to the Japan Self Defense-Force.

      • starlightshimmers

        The Rising Flag is still the military flag of Japan. I can understand why South Korea may be offended but for the Japanese it’s their military flag.

        Here’s the current flag to the Japan Self Defense-Force.

        • anne

          tbh they should’ve opted for a different flag design after the war
          it’s a flag they used in their imperial army so people have every right to take issue with it lol

          • starlightshimmers

            Yes, people have every right to take issue with the flag. But at the same time Japan also have every right to use it since it is their military flag.

            It was the USA who decided that Japan shall keep the Rising Flag and the Emperor, not Japan. The USA occupied Japan from 1946 to 1952.

            • anne

              they requested to keep using the flag though

              kimigayo and the rising sun flag have conflicting, gross histories and japan’s majority gov’t isn’t self-aware, bottomline.

              • starlightshimmers

                But here’s the problem, what would Japan change the flag and their national anthem into? The Kimigayo (literally “His Majesty’s Reign”) is an ancient poem from the Japanese Imperial court and as a monarchy Japan is no different from the United Kingdom with “God Save The Queen.” The Rising Sun flag is associated with Shinto mythology, as the Emperor is believed to be the direct descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu. Essentially, removing these symbols would entail removing the role of the Emperor which would only destabilize Japan. Furthermore, the Emperor is also the head priest of the Shinto religion.

                Literally removing these symbols isn’t as easy when you consider how all of them are tied with the Emperor, religion and culture. You’re asking for Japan to change it’s ancient culture? I mean even in modern times people in Tokyo still flock to Meiji Shrine, where Emperor Meiji is enshrined as a god (the great-grandfather of the current Emperor Akihito), this isn’t something that you can easily just erase.

                • anne

                  kimigayo has an oppressive history, east/southeast asians under japanese rule were forced to sing it. you’ve got folks in places like the chugoku region that are aware of that much too so they should’ve opted for a different song/omitted the lyrics

                  the current japanese flag has a conflicting history as well but it’s not nearly as bad as the rising sun flag – something east/southeast asia slaves/laborers had to sees everyday. the rising sun flag can be switched out tbh. the repercussions aren’t nearly as bad as you’re making them out to be…
                  you’re reaching when you said it would remove the role of the emperor/destabilize japan

                  • starlightshimmers

                    Removing the Rising Sun Flag and the Kimigayo, which are all centred around the Shinto religion and the Emperor, would destabilise Japan because whether you like it or not the Emperor and the Shinto religion is a vital part of the current Japanese national identity. The major political party of Japan, the LDP, and the current Prime Minister as well as the Cabinet have links with the Jinja Honcho (Shinto Association). Jinja Honcho is one of the biggest lobbyist in Japanese politics. If you really think this has no political consequences, remember that the Yasakuni Shrine is also owned by the Imperial family, and it is part of the Jinja Honcho as well. The current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Cabinet makes annual visits to Ise Shrine at the beginning of the year, skipping obligatory government duties. In fact Japan chose Ise Shrine as the venue for the current G8 summit, the shrine of the Imperial family, you’d have to be completely ignorant to think that removing these symbols would have no political consequences.

                    • anne

                      Whatever argument that was happening is lost lol
                      I said that they shouldn’t have integrated Kimigayo as the national anthem in 1999 – that was a bad move. Requesting to use the rising sun flag again was a bad move as well and didn’t do any good in adjusting to a postwar era/absolving nationalism

                      Removing them right now would cause problems, yeah. That much we can agree on

                      • starlightshimmers

                        The Jinja Honcho (Shinto Association) was the one that lobbied for the integration of the Kimigayo and the Rising Sun Flag. These symbols are related to the Shinto religion. Their integration was inevitable. The vast majority of Japan participates in Shinto rituals and traditions. You’d have to be advocating for the complete elimination of Shinto if you want those symbols removed.

      • palechibi

        agreed 100%

    • Kreans are so sensitive aren’t they?

      • mika


        • Sorry but I find this ridiculous.

      • yo

        You must be Japanese.

        • murr

          They are…

    • Alexis Reyes

      They think that everyone revolves around them.

    • (◕__◕✿)

      like sm didn’t show japan getting bombed in red velvet’s mv

      • Alf

        Yes because every Korean person works for SM. They’re allowed to be upset over this as Japanese people were with that music video.

    • Alf

      As usual arama’s commenters show their ass when it comes to Korea.

      • rrrrr


      • OhSoDarling

        I don’t get why people can’t understand why it can be considered offensive. A lot of the comments on here are childish.

      • yo

        It’s because a lot of the commenters on here are Japanese. The racism is just subtler here because there are more international eyes.

        • Kanjo Maru

          >repeatedly accuses race of people of being racist.

          Good job, genius.

          • yo

            You’re quite “sensitive, aren’t you?”

            • Kanjo Maru

              I’m Irish, not Japanese.

              I never get upset when I see the Union Flag. Nor do I pretend to be for political reasons.

              One of us is hateful and sensitive, but it’s not me.

      • starlightshimmers

        I’m kind of neutral to this, I can understand why Korea is upset but at the same time for Japan the Rising Sun Flag is still used as their military flag.

    • yo

      Ugh terrible

    • Ryusei

      Why would they wanna advance to korea? Lol

      • guest

        MTE. They still sell millions in Japan so why the hell would they care? LOL

        • rrrrr

          It’s so easy not to give a fuck. It’s so easy not to give a fuck when one country insults another. But when it’s your country, when it’s you…all hell breaks loose….Then, all fucks are given.

    • Kanjo Maru

      Incidentally I watched a bit of the concert. Didn’t catch this bit but I caught up on a chat that explained they were going through history with various songs. I only caught like 60’s+ but apparently they went pretty far back.

      If they wanted to promote violence or WWII politics, they probably wouldn’t have chosen the year Japan did nothing but lose. No, this is clearly supposed to be something they opposed (speaking about management decisions, of course, but that’s still the clear intent).

      • mochichan

        Also the 60s part was when Yui wore that jacket with the sun design, not during Bokutachi, with poodle skirt/Grease concept tap dance to Mae Shika Mukanee and have nothing to do with the war connection like knetz are saying. The part with the actual war reference was during the 1945 slide and the tank alluding to the war since it’s the biggest one Japan been in while singing Bokutachi wearing white dresses looking somber af like they’re at a funeral. They’re singing a song about anti-fighting so they’re obviously not supporting the war or fighting but obviously that flew over some head…..

        At most this is an oversight but really nothing to have these knee jerks AKB MUST BE RIGHT WING reaction or even mentioned the Korean fighter like it’s related…….but then Knetz still drag Mizuhara Kiko just bc she posed in front of a sun design once…even tho she’s part korean…and date korean guy…..and took a pic of korean flag when she went to korea…..

    • Anon

      Koreans just love throwing around the right-wing thing. They also assume that everyone either loves or hates Korea (when the majority has no opinion lol) Like seriously, if you google “일본 연예인 우익” (japan celebrity right wing) they literally list people for appearing in dramas. So sorry but I’m not taking this seriously.

      • Mia

        Same with Japan, honestly. They assume that everyone either loves or hates Japan. Especially if you’re a gaijin saying anything less than flattering. Clearly then, you’re a stupid gaijin who hates Japan. So, I get what you’re saying.

    • Arashi

      Tbh going to Korea is not considered ‘advancing’ imo o3o

      • Hal Novemille


    • fransfebri

      Also I think it is a bit insensitive to use the war background and year 1945, but again, the sole target is Japanese market. Also I don’t think there are any agenda in this concert. It just that the song has a war theme and they wanted to associate a song with a year, thus war happens in 1945 and they ran with it. Yes, the concept was made with contrast between the visual and the song. Just look at the MV.
      Sometimes I wonder about people who have this kind of thinking. Aren’t they tired of living with hatred? It is like they are brainwashed to automatically hate the Japanese (or performer) when they do the slightest thing that can be considered (by them!) to be right wing activity. Personally, I don’t mind if there are less that kind of people liking AKB/other groups/celebrities. It is for the better.
      This is not limited to Korean vs Japanese. I generally don’t like people that are oversensitive to something like this, especially the young people where they didn’t experience the event them self. Inheriting history is okay, but inheriting the hatred is not okay.

      • It really is only the Koreans and Chinese who still openly hate Japan. The rest of Asia is over it.

        • anne

          They’re not “over” it all. Their anti-Japanese sentiments just aren’t nearly as heavy
          They’ll always condemn the rising run flag and people aren’t quick to forgot the Manila massacre and Wushe

          I see a lot more Taiwanese youth referring to te country’s colonial history and criticizing Nihon

          • I know several people from various countries in Asia, and the only ones who had a problem were the Chinese and the Koreans. And even they said it was more governmental indoctrination, a boogeyman to blame their problems on. A lot view China as an enemy more since they’re being problematic now as opposed to being bothered over something that happened 70 years ago that they never experienced.

            • anne

              i’m taiwanese, i based that comment off my own observations and family life – i’m not really a history major or someone that looks at foreign policy haha. people blame others for their problems, yes, but there are plenty of people in east/southeast asia take issue with modern japan (abe’s messy ass mostly)

              i get what you mean about china though lol

              • Hal Novemille

                I’m half Asian/Caucasian and travel to South Asia every 3-5 months for business. I’ve traveled all over the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, etc…. a majority of the people there that I talk to do not have any problems with Japan. Each of these countries suffered heavy losses from Japan during WWII but they also understand it was war and it was in the past.

                Today, most, if not all SEA nations including Indonesia have a problem with China, especially with their militant stance on the South China Sea (building military island fortresses, harassing fishermen vessels, and enforcing a Chinese border near sovereign territories on international waters).

                Politics aside, I’ve met Japanese businessmen who are trying to set up shop in SEA countries, have met Japanese engineers who are trying to help with these countries’ sanitation & water probs and how to convert garbage into energy. I’ve also recently worked with Japanese university students and engineers who are working with Philippine officials recover after the worse recorded typhoon that hit the southern region hard. And if I’m not mistaken, I also recently read, producer of AKB, Akimoto, has officially proposed extending the 48Group into Taipei, Bangkok, and Manila.

                • anne

                  thanks for the insight
                  i have my fair share beef with china as well lol

                  i’m mostly talking about recent political convictions in taiwan, but the rising sun flag still stands to be a negative symbol in many of those countries.

                  i’m not saying that they’re anti-japanese, snh48 is getting bigger and bigger lol

        • Vindichio

          In relation to japan’s take on WW2, i think all of asia is in one voice. Our pm openly condemned whenever japanese pm tried to overwrite history and its aggression during WW2.

          • That part is true, but not everyone is as bothered as China and Korea. They’re especially bothered.

            • Vindichio

              I think it is more like japanese media do not bother to publish voices of other asian countries. We are as angry as chinese and koreans when it comes to acts like those distorting historical facts. So a lot of japanese are under the illusion that only china and korea hate them and the rest of asains likes them

              • But it’s not as if I’m getting what I’m saying from Japanese media…

      • yo

        People deserve to be criticized for wearing that flag though. It’s still a symbol of pain and hatred akin to the confederate flag or the swastika, regardless of whether you think it’s used to motivate existing anti-Japanese sentiment or whatever.

        A lot of Japanese people were upset over the Hiroshima war imagery in RV’s Happiness MV. Koreans are allowed to be upset over this as well.

    • I don’t think AKB needs Korean fans anyway.

      • yo

        yup they should just keep pandering to their v nationalistic, right wing domestic fanbase lol

      • Kanjo Maru

        It’s only been a little over 10 years since Japanese music was unbanned in Korea. And as far as I know it’s still banned from TV/Radio?

        Yeah, if I was a Japanese act I’d be running to infiltrate the Korean market /s

        • guest

          Arashi, KAT-TUN and Yamapi appeared on Korean TV programs. I don’t think it’s still banned.

    • maguro

      Haha. Gotta love Korean netizens. Are they ever not upset?

      • jj

        MTE. It’s like they actively look for stuff to be offended about. They make a issue out of the smallest thing and sometimes out of nothing at all.

    • my777

      and Knetz drag AKB this time lmao

    • OhSoDarling

      The jacket was worn a couple of songs before BwT. When I saw it, I couldn’t stop staring at it. With AKB spreading to different corners of Asia, it left a bad taste in my mouth. The camera even zoomed in on it and i prayed it was advertisement for something, but… the camera zooming in on it. Like literally, I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

    • Vindichio

      I feel bad to read those ignorant comments. If japan keeps educating their youth that they were the victims of WW2, i don’t expect them to get a lot of respects around the world. As a singaporean whose great granpa died from japanese military invasion in 1942, japan really needs to educate the history that we all know not the one they create/want to be.

    • What

      Isn’t the rising sun flag also used to represent good fortune or something?
      But yeah.. Anything related to Japanese history always turns out messy lol

    • Bombastar

      Yeah I don’t like akb so I like this newshate