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Korean activists offended by public school mural 'similar' to Japanese 'rising sun' flag. But district isn't budging.


'It's in the middle of Koreatown'

Image source: KABC-TV video screenshot (left), YouTube screenshot

Korean activists aren't happy with a mural painted outside a Los Angeles public school because they say part of it looks similar to the Japanese imperial flag known for its "rising sun" rays.

Image source: KABC-TV video screenshot

"It's in the middle of Koreatown on public school, not private property, and the sun ray thing, from Koreans' view it looks so similar, enough to remind us of the rising sun flag," Chan Yong Jeong with the Wilshire Community Coalition told KABC-TV.

Image source: KABC-TV video screenshot

Korea and other nations suffered greatly under Japan's World War II regime, and many say the rising sun flag is akin to the Nazi swastika.

Indeed, the Los Angeles Unified School District was ready and willing to remove the mural, the station said — that was, until more controversy broke out.

What happened?

Artist Beau Stanton painted the mural at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in 2016 and said the Japanese rising sun flag played no part in his creative process, KABC reported. Rather the mural depicts actress Ava Gardner and was inspired by the Ambassador Hotel's Coconut Grove nightclub where RFK schools is located, the station added.

Image source: KABC-TV video screenshot

But once word got to fellow artist Shepard Fairey that Stanton's mural would be removed, he stepped into action. See, Fairey also painted a mural at the school — of RFK — and said he'd remove his if Stanton's mural is removed, KABC said.

Fairey said in a statement, which reads in part, "I sympathize with all victims of injustice, including Koreans who suffered at the hands of the Japanese, but perpetrating another injustice by removing Beau Stanton's mural based on false claims that it represents the Japanese battle flag where no such connection exists, is foolish and selfish," the station noted.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has also voiced support for keeping Stanton's mural, KABC reported, saying it's in line with his father's beliefs.

With that, the district on Monday backed off its plan to remove Stanton's mural, the station noted, saying it wouldn't take immediate action and would instead continue the conversation.

What did the artist have to say?

"I think that the district made a decision based on a perceived route of least resistance," Stanton told the station of LAUSD's initial plan to take down his mural. "They just wanted the problem to go away. Now, it's kind of backfiring."

He added to the station that the rays in the flag are "a universal representation of the sun's rays that's all over the place. It's in a lot of my work, a lot of Shepard Fairey's work. I saw it on a billboard off the 10 freeway in a Sol Cerveza ad."

(H/T: The College Fix)

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