Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Justin Bieber 'doesn't appear to know what the Yasukuni Shrine is...'

It's a longstanding Shinto shrine memorializing those who fought in Japan's wars since the Meiji Restoration, although it controversially commemorates 14 "Class A" war criminals from World War II. Japanese prime ministers visit regularly, at which countries like China and Korea throw hissy fits. But Justin Bieber? He's just a 20 year-old pop star. But oh boy, don't tell his millions of fans from across Asia, lol.

At the Washington Post, "How Justin Bieber inadvertently stepped into one of the world’s greatest geopolitical controversies":
Justin Bieber has a habit of getting into trouble, but nothing may have quite prepared the Canadian pop star for the scale of the geopolitical situation he just got himself into in Japan.

The problem arose when the 20-year-old posted two photos to his Instagram page that appeared to show his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Both pictures have now been deleted, but not before they spread around the world. For example, the image above was posted to the Beijing-based That's Magazine. The reaction has been largely negative. "Say sorry to Chinese," one user writes in the screen grab above, while others swore at the pop star.

Bieber doesn't appear to know what the Yasukuni Shrine is – he says simply "thank you for your blessings" with the first picture, and in a follow-up post he explained he had been "mislead to think the Shrines were only a place of prayer." But to many of his 16 million Instagram followers in Asia, Yasukuni is perhaps one of the most offensive locations on earth.

Yasukuni is a shrine to the 2.5 million men, women and children who died serving the Japanese Empire between 1868 and 1945. Controversially, those honored include thousands of soldiers from World War II – and, as of 1978, 14 Class A war criminals.

For many in China, Korea and other Asian nations, Yasukuni represents the worst of Japan's imperial militarism...
Also at London's Daily Mail, "Now Justin Bieber alienates 1.3 billion people: Teen popstar forced into grovelling apology after he visits controversial Japanese war shrine that is a bone of contention in China."