S. Korean court rules ‘One Piece’ show can go on after all

July 22, 2014

By TORU HIGASHIOKA/ Correspondent

SEOUL--A South Korean court said an exhibition of the popular Japanese pirate manga “One Piece” can be held here as contracted after it had been canceled over allegations that the original comic book includes questionable militaristic images.

The ruling by the Seoul Western District Court came July 17, after the War Memorial of Korea, which was scheduled to host the showing, announced on the eve of the start of the July 12 event that it was canceled.

The museum said it received complaints that some of the images in the original manga were reminiscent of Japan's Rising Sun flag, which is considered a symbol of Japanese militarism in South Korea.

The court’s written decision said the popular "One Piece" cannot be considered a manga that “hails Japanese imperialism” just because it contains images similar to the flag, describing it simply as a full-length comic book.

It also said that even if the images are those of the Rising Sun flag, the images are used in the manga mainly in scenes that depict an adversary of the protagonist, therefore the scenes treat the images negatively rather than positively. Taking these reasons into consideration, the court concluded that the museum cannot unilaterally cancel the showing.

Although the exhibition would not have displayed any images of the Rising Sun flag, the museum notified the company organizing the event of the cancellation on July 9, after the museum received complaints about the images.

The event company, in turn, applied to the court for provisional disposition, demanding that it nullify the validity of the notification and ban on the exhibition.

By TORU HIGASHIOKA/ Correspondent
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A “One Piece” exhibition held in the Osaka Tenpozan special gallery in Osaka's Minato Ward in 2012 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

A “One Piece” exhibition held in the Osaka Tenpozan special gallery in Osaka's Minato Ward in 2012 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • A “One Piece” exhibition held in the Osaka Tenpozan special gallery in Osaka's Minato Ward in 2012 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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