Id like to preface this post by saying this is my very first fan post and thus there are sure to be mistakes. This is actually more of a re-post of Maggie Hendricks (Cagewriter for Yahoo Sports) post on Yahoo. I saw this post about 6 hours ago and I've been waiting to see if it got re-posted here or other popular MMA sites etc. but it hasn't, as far as I can tell, so I went ahead and created this fan post for those who might have missed the story on Yahoo Sports ™.
I wasn't a history major in college or anything but I've watched every WWII documentary I could get my hands on for years now and I've also read dozens of books on the Civil War, WWI, WWII, The Korean War, Vietnam etc. Most recently I watched the movie "The Flowers of War". After I watched the movie I checked my Fathers library and sure enough I came across The New York Times best Seller "The Rape Of Nankang" by Iris Chang. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to know more about The Rape of Nankang after watching "The Flowers of War". There are some really terrifying, disturbing and thought provoking images in the book as well. This book is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart. What the Japanese army did in their conquest for land and power was on par with almost any of the War crimes committed by Russia or Germany during WWII.
So when I saw GsP walk out with a huge Rising Sun flag on his Gi I was really disappointed. He claims to be such a student of history with his love of Dinosaurs but clearly he has allot to learn about the atrocities committed by the Japanese Military during WWII, what that flag stands for and why it was banned in 1945. The worst part is how many guys emulate and imitate everything GsP does like Mike Ricci for instance. I'm pretty sure that guy wears GsP's underwear to bed every night. It's pretty ridiculous I think. I really hope both fighters and fight fans get educated and quickly before the next UFC event (Especially in Canada.with GsP headlining again). When GsP fights in Canada the imitators come out in droves like the Locusts every 17 years.
PS. Thanks to Maggie Hendricks - Cagewriter for Yahoo Sports and Bloody Elbow
UFC featherweight Chan Sung Jung has a fight with Ricardo Lamas coming up in July. The fight will likely have title implications, and will give "The Korean Zombie" a chance to prove he belongs at the top of the UFC's 145-lb. class. But the upcoming fight didn't keep Jung from speaking up to one of the UFC's biggest stars.
Jung posted a letter on his Facebook page to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre about the Rising Sun symbol GSP wore to his fight with Nick Diaz.
Dear Mr. Georges St. Pierre
Hi, My name is Chan Sung Jung from South Korea. As one of many Koreans who like you as an incredible athlete, I feel like I should tell you that many Korean fans, including myself, were shocked to see you in your gi designed after the Japanese 'Rising Sun Flag'. For Asians, this flag is a symbol of war crimes, much like the German Hakenkreuzflagge. Did you know that? I hope not.
Just like Nazis, the Japanese also committed atrocities under the name of 'Militarism'. You can easily learn what they've done by googling (please do), although it's only the tiny tip of an enormous iceberg.
Furthermore, the Japanese Government never gave a sincere apology, and still to this day, so many victims are dying in pain, heartbroken, without being compensated. But many westerners like to wear clothes designed after the symbol under which so many war crimes and so much tragedy happened, which is ridiculous.
I know most of them are not militarists. I know most of them do not approve unjustified invasion, torture, massacre, etc. They're just ignorant. It's such a shame that many westerners are not aware of this tragic fact. Wearing Rising Sun outfits is as bad as wearing clothes with the Nazi mark on it, if not worse.
The Imperial Japanese Army war flagSince you're influenced by Japanese Martial Arts, your wearing a headband designed after Japanese flag is understandable. But again, that huge 'Rising Sun' on your Gi means something else.
Many people say GSP is the best Welterweight fighter throughout history, to which I totally agree. This means you have a great influence on every single fan of yours all around the world. And I do believe your wearing 'the symbol of War Crime' is a very bad example for them, not to mention for yourself.
So, what do you reckon? Do you want to wear the same Gi next time as well?
The Rising Sun flag was used by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II, and it was banned by the United Nations in 1945. Jung is not the only person to have an issue with seeing it used by an athlete. During the 2012 Olympics, Japanese gymnasts wore a leotard that was inspired by the Rising Sun, and some South Koreans were not happy about it.
When one-time MMA sponsor Hoelzer Reich used Nazi imagery on the gear UFC and WEC fighters wore into the cage, the promotions banned their items from the cage. Jung has the courage to speak up to a fighter he admittedly admires. GSP and the UFC owe him a response.
UPDATE: Both GSP and Hayabusa, the company who made GSP's gi, have apologized. GSP posted a statement from Hayabusa:
Since Georges St-Pierre wore our walkout gi at UFC 158 we have received attention surrounding the negative connotation of the rising sun graphic used. The last thing we want is to offend or alienate anyone with the choice of design on our products.
We at Hayabusa have the utmost respect for culture and history and appreciate all of our customers worldwide. As such, we accept full responsibility for this design and are taking all complaints and comments very seriously.
The gi worn by GSP will not be brought to market. In addition, we will be very conscious of this specific design element when developing future communication materials and products.
Please accept our sincerest apology for any offence this has caused. If you have any questions or comments regarding this matter, please feel free to discuss it with us at email@example.com. One of our representatives will be happy to assist you.
And GSP added:
I'd like to also personally apologize to anyone who was offended by this. I am very sorry, that was never my intention.
Both GSP and Hayabusa acted quickly to apologize. Though it would have been better if the symbol was never used, Jung used the moment to educate others on the issues with the symbol. For that, he should be commended.
Thanks, Bloody Elbow.