NewJeans Faces Backlash For Using Murakami Flowers As Album Cover

A netizen’s recent post on the popular online community theqoo has ignited a passionate discussion about NewJeans’ newest collaboration with renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.

The dispute centers on the cover design of their album “Supernatural”released in Japan, which prominently displays Murakami’s well-known “Smiling Flower”symbol.

Supernatural/Murakami
Supernatural/Murakami

Murakami is renowned for his lively and whimsical artistic style, and he designed the “Smiling Flower”as a symbol with significant historical connotations.

The post states that the flower’s meaning goes beyond just a cheerful design and instead reflects the artist’s contemplation of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It represents the contrast between the facade of happy faces and the underlying sorrow and suffering experienced by the Japanese people impacted by these devastating occurrences.

The netizen’s explanation provided information that the flower is called the ‘Happy Flower’ or ‘Murakami Flower’ in English-speaking countries, but in Korea, it is known as the ‘Rainbow Flower’ or ‘Smiling Flower.’

The post highlighted that Murakami’s artwork consistently addresses Japan’s historical trauma, which makes the use of such imagery a sensitive and contentious decision.

Numerous replies from other netizens inundated the comments section, showcasing a variety of responses.

Upon learning the true significance of the flower, several individuals admitted to previously being unaware, bringing attention to a potential lack of cultural awareness by NewJeans and those involved in the partnership.

Many have drawn parallels between this situation and past controversies in which groups have received criticism for using imagery related to historical tragedies in a thoughtless manner.

  • “I didn’t know that the smiling flower has such a meaning.”
  • “Some other groups even apologized for wearing T-shirts with bomb images. NewJeans and Min Hee Jin should apologize, too.”
  • “You need to check very carefully whatever you do in Japan. That’s why I hate Japan.”
  • “If it were another group, the collaboration would have received a lot of criticism.”
  • “Didn’t Min Hee Jin plan this? Whoever planned this, shouldn’t you have researched more carefully? I have nothing to say.”
  • “Are there any positive articles about NewJeans lately?”
  • “Oh… I didn’t know this. I hope Korean groups can check the information more carefully when doing promotions in Japan. That’s disappointing.”

The comments showcase a combination of astonishment, dissatisfaction, and demands for responsibility, as some individuals question the lack of consideration in the research and planning process that resulted in the utilization of culturally significant imagery without fully comprehending or acknowledging its implications.

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