South Korea’s Olympic committee said Saturday that it removed flags at its Olympic village in Tokyo that recalled a centuries-old conflict between Korea and Japan.
The South Korean delegation said it was complying with the order to remove the banners which referenced a 16th-century battle and drew protests from Japanese far-right groups, according to the AP.
The flags, which were displayed from the balconies of South Korean athletes’ rooms, collectively spelled the message: “I still have the support of 50 million Korean people.”
The implied reference was to the words of a Korean admiral who told a Korean official, “I still have 12 battleships left,” before decimating a larger fleet of Japanese ships during the 1592-1598 Japanese invasion of Korea.
The IOC also banned the Japanese “rising sun” flag at stadiums and other Olympic venues. The flag, which shows a red sun with 16 rays jutting out of it, is resented by many in Asia where it is seen a reminder of Japan’s militaristic past.