News

Justin Bieber angers Asian community with visit to shrine

Justin Bieber angers Asian community with visit to shrine

'THANK YOU FOR YOUR BLESSING:' The tweet and photo were deleted and Justin Bieber said he wasn't aware the shrine was dedicated to war criminals. Photo: Associated Press

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) – Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber, whose tumultuous life has landed him in trouble more than once, on Wednesday apologized for a visit to a Tokyo shrine at the center of a bitter international row over Japan’s wartime aggression.

Bieber, 20, posted a picture on social media of himself visiting Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine with the heading, “Thank you for your blessings”.

The picture was later deleted, although it was republished elsewhere on the Internet, including by a Bieber fan group, and drew criticism from South Korea and China.

The shrine honors 14 Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals after World War II along with Japan’s war dead, and visits to the shrine by Japanese politicians anger victims of Japan’s past aggression, including South Korea and China.

Chinese officials have compared Japanese politicians’ visits to the shrine to the idea of German politicians laying flowers on Hitler’s bunker.

PHOTOS: Top 20 Bieber ‘bad boy’ moments | Justin Bieber through the years

The subject of Yasukuni is especially touchy this week, when about 150 lawmakers visited and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a ritual offering to mark the shrine’s annual spring festival.

Bieber later said he had visited Yasukuni by mistake after spotting a beautiful shrine and asking his driver to stop, believing it was “only a place of prayer”.

“To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry,” he wrote on his Instagram site. “I love you China and I love you Japan.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang earlier said he hoped Bieber had learned something from his visit.

“I hope that this Canadian singer, after visiting Yasukuni Shrine, can have an understanding and knowledge of that period of militarism of Japan’s history of invasion,” Qin said.

Bieber is popular among some in China, and has performed there, although his popularity does not approach that of the Hong Kong and Taiwan stars many young Chinese idolize.

Earlier, some people took to China’s Twitter-like Weibo to register their displeasure, with one writing: “We should run him out of Asia for this.”

South Koreans flooded Twitter with angry comments that people like Bieber should not be allowed to perform there.

Bieber has been visiting Japan this week with his mother, according to postings from both on social media.

He faces a May trial in Miami on charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest and using an expired license after police say he was caught drag racing in Miami Beach.

(Reporting by Ruairidh Villar and Kevin Krolicki in TOKYO, Christine Kim in SEOUL, and Ben Blanchard and the BEIJING newsroom; Writing by Elaine Lies; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Recent Headlines

3 hours ago in Local

Granite City Man Convicted of Murder in 21-Month Old’s Death

gavel2

A Madison County jury deliberated for three hours Friday before finding 42-year-old John Holman III guilty.

3 hours ago in Local

North Mac Elementary School Evacuated After Strange Odor was Detected

school house clip art

No gas or carbon monoxide leaks were detected but a new temperature control system was installed in the building.

14 hours ago in Local

Lawmakers Honor Lincoln at Lincoln’s Tomb

2-12-16 Lincoln Tomb

Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, says a Republican like Abraham Lincoln is still someone for which we should place great honor.

14 hours ago in Local

Grant Encourages Better Farm Conservation

farm

If you're a farmer in the 21st Century, you're probably hearing about - if not practicing - "precision farming." And that extends to conservation practices, too.

18 hours ago in Local

Rauner to Close Juvenile Prison

juvenile justice

Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration says it will close the youth correctional facility in Kewanee, near Peoria and the Quad Cities.