Muse Causes Outrage with Rising Sun Flag Imagery in “Panic Station” Video

Jon Wiederhorn
Stop The Presses! (NEW)

By Jon Wiederhorn

Apparently American artists aren’t the only ones that occasionally put their feet in their mouths by accidentally insulting other cultures and nationalities. When they released their new video "Panic Station" on April 22, British rockers Muse caused a mini-panic among politically correct viewers in Korea and China by including a shot with an image of the Japanese Rising Sun flag in the surreal, sci-fi clip.

Unbeknownst to the band or video director, the Rising Sun flag is traditionally related to Japan’s imperialistic history, and was used as a military symbol until the end of World War II. Since the flag was flown during the Japanese occupation of East Asia during the Pacific War, many people are still offended by the imagery.

As soon as the video was released, Muse’s Twitter was flooded with complaints. Some argued that its inclusion was comparable to using a Confederate flag or even a swastika. Almost immediately, the band pulled the video from circulation. "Sorry for the mistake re the intro graphics for the 'Panic Station' video," Muse wrote on its Twitter page. "We are fixing it now. We will upload a new version very soon."

A few hours later, a revised version of the "Panic Station," came out, which replaced the Rising Sun flag with the current Japanese flag. The video, which is filled with special effects, features the band members beamed into the streets of Tokyo and strutting around the Shibuya Crossing area. It includes footage of Muse performing "Panic Station" in Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant along with animatronic dinosaurs and a fuzzy purple octopus:

"Panic Station" is from Muse’s sixth studio album The 2nd Law, which was released October 2, 2012. The record debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 album chart, selling 101,000 copies in its first week.