Dear Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten TV,

Dear Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten TV,

We are writing to express our strongest protest and deepest concern regarding the recent promotion of lyrics that have been associated with the aggression and genocide in Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has come to our attention that such lyrics have been used in promotional materials for Novak ?okovi? covered by Rakuten, and we would like to seek clarification on your company's stance on this matter. The rendition of a war-mongering hymn of Serb extremist forces “Mars na Drinu” was a scandalous insult to the victims of aggression and  genocide in Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This particular war-mongering song was used to inspire ethnic and nationalist hatred against non-Serbs and was used as a tool to inspire the murder and rape of thousands of non-Serb civilians, culminating in genocide in Srebrenica, Zepa and elsewhere in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

A chilling example of this comes from the US State Department Seventh Report on War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia:

“Day and night, soldiers came to the house taking two to three women at a time. They were four to five guards at all times, all local Foca Serbs. The woman knew the rapes would begin when ‘Mars na Drinu’ was played over the loudspeaker of the main mosque. (‘Mars na Drinu,’ or ‘March on the Drina’, is reportedly a former Chetnik fighting song that was banned during the Tito years.) While ‘Mars na Drinu’ was playing, the women were ordered to strip and soldiers entered the homes taking the ones they wanted. The age of women taken ranged from 12 to 60. Frequently the soldiers would seek out mother and daughter combinations. Many of the women were severely beaten during the rapes.”

It is deplorable that the same song echoed in promotional materials for Novak ?okovi? is publicly featured and promoted by Rakuten TV.

Mr. Mikitani,  we urge your company to publicly distance itself from promoting hate-filled lyrics that have a history linked to genocide and ethnic cleansing. 

We remind you that it is highly distressing and offensive for victims to see nationalist song linked to mass rapes, ethnic cleansing and genocide be featured as promotional material for Novak ?okovi?  on Rakuten TV.

We hope that Rakuten TV will take a responsible approach when it comes to the content you promote.

We kindly urge Rakuten TV to publicly disassociate itself from such offensive material and make a clear statement regarding your commitment to ethical and responsible programming. This would not only be a responsible action but also a step towards fostering a more inclusive and respectful environment.

We look forward to your response on this important issue.


Dr. Emir Ramic

Director of the Institute for Research of Genocide Canada


Dear Dr. Emir Ramic

Thank you for bringing this photo to our attention.

I have inquired with Rakuten TV and we are unaware of any use of that photo by Rakuten TV or any other service in the Rakuten Group. Additionally, Rakuten is no longer involved in the Davis Cup. We would be grateful for any additional information you could share on where the photo is from.

Rakuten has taken strong action to combat disinformation and hate speech, and our Viber messaging service has joined the European Union’s Code of Conduct on Countering Hate Speech Online.


Mark Mowbray
Rakuten Group, Inc.
Corporate Communications