Ottawa

Canadian War Museum turns off 'insulting' flag exhibits

After months of protest from a group of Japanese-Canadians, the Canadian War Museum on Wednesday turned off part of two exhibits that allowed visitors to walk over images of flags.

After months of protest from a group of Japanese-Canadians, the Canadian War Museum on Wednesday turned off part of two exhibits that allowed visitors to walk over images of flags.

The flag was projected on the floor of the museum since it opened in 2005. ((Bill Kent/Canadian War Museum))

"The heritage protocol experts we consulted suggested that even a virtual representation of a flag on the floor could be interpreted as inappropriate," Christina Selin, a spokesperson for the Ottawa museum, said after the Union Jack and the Japanese military "rising sun" flag projected on to the floor were removed.

It may be projected onto a nearby wall in the fall, if space can be found, she added.

Dozens of visitors and Japanese cultural associationscomplained over the past two years that the projections were against flag protocol and made it seem like people were trampling the flags.

"It was insulting," said Jack Nakamoto, a Japanese-Canadian from Ottawa who served for Canada during the Second World War.

Frank Moritsugu, 84, one of those who led the charge to have the projection of the flag removed, said he was pleased by the museum's decision to turn off the flags, but hoped for morechanges to one of the exhibits that he and the National Association of Japanese Canadians have been pushing for.

"This is a good sign," he said. "It's the beginning, one hopes, of more adjustments and revisions to bring the Japanese-Canadian exhibit up to the level it should be."

The association met with Dean Oliver, director of research and exhibitions for the museum and then museum CEO Joe Guerts on June 1 to complain about the flag and the way the exhibit depicts the suffering of their community.

They say they were told then the flag, which has been projected on the floor since the museum opened in May 2005, would be removed from the floor within two weeks.

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