Rising Sun flag in online game angers Koreans

A Belarusian online game company has stirred up a heated controversy in South Korea due to its upcoming title incorporating the Rising Sun flag of Imperial Japan.

Enraged by the game's adoption of the flag, a group of Korean gamers plan to launch a campaign to collect signatures from some 40,000 users to protest against the game developer.

Belarus-based Wargaming.net is developing the game titled "World of Warships", one of the massively multiplayer online game series including "World of Tanks" and "World of Warplanes". The warship version centres upon naval battles along with aircraft carriers and submarines, based on combat during World War II.

A Korean gamer watched a promotion preview of the naval combat game, whose official release is set for next year, and called on the company to delete the Rising Sun from the Imperial Japanese warships. The flag is often deemed offensive in Asia as it symbolises Japanese militarism and imperialism.

In response, an administrator of Wargaming's official forum page left a comment on June 19: "We will be removing the Rising Sun flag from the game in the future. There has been quite a bit of discussion recently regarding this sensitive topic and I hope this clears some of the confusion."

The company decided to delete the flag from the promotional video clip but is still using it in the non-Asian versions of the game, explaining that the flag is not a legally forbidden symbol, unlike the swastika in some countries.

Wargaming Korea, a local unit of the company, expressed concern over the dispute since it erupted even before the official release.

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