PUBG Apologises For Rising Sun Imagery In Mobile Game

Screenshot: PUBG Corp

This past Saturday, a weapon and mask pack was released for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile. That same day, PUBG’s creators recalled the item pack, released an apology, and began issuing refunds.

The pack included a pilot’s mask, which you can see below, via South Korean site Bzit.

Screenshot: Bzit

The pilot’s mask appears to have rising sun imagery. While the off-centre Rising Sun still might be the Japanese Navy’s official ensign, the imagery is offensive in many parts of Asia where it represents Japanese military aggression.

PUBG was originally launched by Seoul-based Bluehole, which spun off a subsidiary called PUBG Corp to manage the property.

According to The Korea Times, Korean gamers noticed the imagery, prompting PUBG Corp. to remove the mask and issue an apology.

“We apologise for causing concerns over a pilot mask item,” the company stated (via The Korea Times). “We will conduct an overall re-examination of our image production process to prevent such a recurrence.”

Redditor Jpeyatt got the following message after purchasing the pack.

Screenshot: Jpeyatt, Reddit

As Kotaku previously posted, PUBG Mobile seems to be bot-central. The same day the Rising Sun mask was discovered, a bot with the ID “Unit 731" was found while a well-known streamer was playing the mobile version. The Imperial Japanese Army’s Unit 731 was responsible for heinous war crimes, such as human vivisection, among numerous other atrocious acts (more here).

PUBG Corp. apologised for the bot’s unsuitable name, adding, “We will enhance procedures to scrutinize game items before their releases and hold the person in charge responsible.”


    Not all that different from Nazi flags, it has a place in certain games, but as a skin no.

    It's a shame that the rising sun flag is viewed by Japan with the same shame/disgust that everywhere else views the nazi germany flag, because it is honestly a pretty sweet design.

    How did Red Alert 3 get away with it?

      Guessing the issue is in context, a skin has none but a game where the Japanese military is part of the story then there isn't as much of an issue.

      Like Nazi flags in ww2 games acceptable (except in Germany) but having a swatztica as a skin...

        Yeah. I feel like this is the right answer. There's a big difference between displaying the imagery on, say, World of Warships which allows people to pit somewhat abstracted but still reasonably historically-based ships against each other vs Rando-the-Commando air-dropping into a battle royale for a chicken dinner wearing the flag as a t-shirt or bandana design 'because it's cool'.

        (That said, the underlying principle of, "It's not cool to wear their flag for fashion/a statement because atrocities were committed under it," is the height of hypocrisy. The Japanese military committed atrocities, so their flag is off-limits? Only because they lost. Over time, during and since WW2, ongoing, the US has committed far more and far worse atrocities, but their flag's 'just fine?' Nah. That's pure 'history written by the victors' horse shit. It teaches us that 'win at all costs' is the best option, because you'll never be held to account so long as you win.)

    So since it's still the Japanese Navy's official ensign then people are either underreacting about that, or overreacting about it being part of a video game skin. It's hard to know where to draw the lines with these things sometimes but it's clearly not a very consistently drawn line. Not that this is an issue confined to video games, mind you.

    Here we go again, the never ending crying of the right-wing Korean side. They'll push their anti-Japan agenda even at the cost of dragging down another Korean company.

    How stupid and insensitive do you have to be to actually greenlight that design. Jesus christ

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