The Rising Sun Flag at the Olympics: Determining South Koreans’ Perspectives Using Semantic Network Analysis

SAGE Open, Volume 13, Issue 2, April-June 2023.
The political conflicts between South Korea (from now on, Korea) and Japan occurred whenever the Rising Sun Flag (RSF) appeared at sporting events. This study investigates why Koreans react sensitively to the RSF and how Koreans perceive the RSF. This study gathers the data using TEXTOM, a big data text mining program and uses UCINET 6 to conduct a semantic network analysis for drawing diagrams of social networks. This study confirmed that the RSF reminds Koreans of Japanese militarism and the colonial period; thus, displaying the RSF in sports is problematic from the Korean perspective. This paper contributes to the literature on mega sport event-related politics and provides academic evidence that supports prohibiting the use of RSF at sporting events. This study also serves to raise awareness of how the use of symbols can be embedded with historical associations and politically sensitive at sporting events.

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