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Maroon 5 accused of using Rising Sun flag in world tour poster

July 4, 2022 - 13:48 By Jie Ye-eun
Maroon 5 (Universal Music Group)
Rock band Maroon 5 has been embroiled in controversy for using the design of a disputed Japanese Rising Sun flag in its world tour poster.

The band recently announced through its official website that it will kick off the tour in Quebec City on Saturday and travel to Asia to perform in Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Manila and Bangkok. The five-piece act’s Seoul concert is scheduled for Nov. 30 at Gocheok Sky Dome.

While the upcoming visit to Korea marks a return for Maroon 5 after nearly four years, following its last concert in February 2019, many local fans are enraged over the group’s poster that features a design based on Japan’s Rising Sun, though the sun and its rays are in black and white. 

The Rising Sun flag, formerly used by the Japanese Imperial Army, carries a strong negative connotation in Korea. Since the poster was released, many Koreans have flocked to online communities to discuss boycotting the band’s upcoming Seoul concert.

It is not the first time Maroon 5 has faced backlash over the sensitive issue. In 2012, the band used the controversial imagery in the “One More Night” music video. 

A screen capture shows Maroon 5’s upcoming world tour poster from its official website includes a design resembling the Japanese Rising Sun flag. (
In 2019, keyboardist Jesse Carmichael engaged in an online tit-for-tat defending the use of the flag. He wrote on social media in support of New York-based singer-songwriter Sean Lennon, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who had posted a photo of his girlfriend wearing a T-shirt with the Rising Sun flag design online.

His actions drew harsh criticism from Korean fans and many turned their backs on the Maroon 5 member.

The popular US rock band has scored numerous hit songs, such as “This Love,” “Sunday Morning,” “Payphone” and “Moves Like Jagger,” that have made the act a household name.

The song “One More Night” released in 2012 is more widely remembered locally as it peaked on the Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 1, having pulled ahead of Psy’s global hit “Gangnam Style” that same year.