Justin Bieber apologises for visiting Yasukuni Shrine in Japan: Site at centre of international row honours convicted WWII war criminals

 

It was only a matter of time before Justin Bieber managed to ignite a minor diplomatic incident in Asia.

So many were only mildly surprised to learn that the singer had issued an apology, after coming under heavy fire from Chinese and South Korean fans for visiting a Tokyo shrine at the centre of an international row over Japanese wartime aggression.

Of course no-one would have known about his controversial trip, had he not posted photographic evidence of himself at the site in question up on his Instagram account, which currently has an audience of over 15million.

“Thank you for your blessings,” read the caption.

Unfortunately for Bieber, Yasukuni was not in fact "only a place of prayer", as he claims to have mistaken all shrines in existence for, by way of apologising for asking his driver to stop at it so he could have a look around.

The shrine actually honours 14 late Japanese leaders, who were convicted of war crimes after the Second World War, as well as scores of Japanese soldiers who died during the conflict.

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

His posts were particularly poorly timed, because they came just days after 150 Japanese politicians visited the shrines for its annual spring festival.

Chinese officials have previously compared such visits to German politicians laying flowers on Hitler’s bunker.

"I don’t know the political stance of this Canadian singer, but China’s view on Japanese leaders visiting the Yasukuni Shrine is clear and consistent," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang told the South China Morning Post.

"I hope this singer can learn more about the history of Japanese militarism, and the wrongful historical and militaristic views promoted by the shrine after the visit."

His Twitter feed was promptly flooded with tweets from angry Chinese and South Korean fans, some of which called for the pop star to banned from performing in their home countries, while others demanded he be "run out of Asia" permanently.

This isn’t the first time Bieber has stumbled over a fairly obvious cultural hurdle.

Last April, he sparked outrage on a visit to the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, where he wrote in the guestbook that the famed diary writer would have been a fan of his work… Had she not been a victim of the Holocaust.

"Truly inspiring to be able to come here," he penned in tribute. "Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a Belieber."

He was also deemed disrespectful by Chinese fans in October last year, when a video of him being carried across the Great Wall of China by his body guards surfaced online.

Read More: White House Offers No Comment On Bieber Petition
Bieber Arrested & Bailed For Alleged Drag Racing & DUI
How Shia LaBeouf Managed To Plagiarise Justin Bieber
 
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee