Changing of the flags

LIHUE — Flags can create a firestorm of controversy, Jane Gray, director of the Kauai Museum discovered Monday afternoon.

Outside the museum, an American flag flew alongside the Japan national flag.

“When we received a phone call about people being concerned about flying the other Japan flag, we swapped out the flag with the American flag,” said Gray. “We learn about these things every day.”

Prior to the switching of flags late Saturday afternoon, the museum flew both the national flag Hinomaru alongside the Japan Rising Sun flag, the banner of the Imperial Japanese Army.

“I have a real concern regarding the Japanese Imperial battle flag being flown in front of the Kauai Museum in preparation for the Japanese Cultural Festival, Aug. 27,” a concerned citizen emailed The Garden Island newspaper. “This can be seen as extremely offensive to victims of Imperial Japan, particularly people from the Philippines, China and Korea.”

On learning of this concern, the flags were switched out Saturday afternoon.

“It is not the intent of the Kauai Museum to offend anyone,” said Chucky Boy Chock, the Kauai Museum’s director of exhibits.

Gray said the flags were erected last week Wednesday or Thursday to bring awareness of the Japanese Cultural Festival.

“No one has said anything until the weekend,” she said. “I’m glad the staff did the right thing by changing out the flags when they found out about the concern.”


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