Bieber says sorry for Yasukuni Shrine visit
Updated: 2014-04-24 07:01
By Agencies in Tokyo (China Daily)
Pop singer Justin Bieber apologized on Wednesday to those he offended by visiting Japan's Yasukuni Shrine this week, saying he was misled into believing it is only a place of prayer.
The Canadian posted a photograph of himself at the shrine on his Instagram account - tweeting the link to his 51 million Twitter followers - with the message "Thank you for your blessings".
The Shinto shrine in Tokyo is a symbol of Japan's lack of penitence for its aggressive past.
A museum there presents a view of World War II deemed unpalatable by most mainstream historians, casting Japan as a victim.
A storm erupted across social media after the posting, with fans lambasting the 20-year-old star for historical ignorance.
China's Foreign Ministry suggested the singer should educate himself on the issue.
As the story gained traction and was picked up by the mainstream media, the picture was removed. About 13 hours after the original tweet, Bieber issued an apology on his Instagram feed, saying he had been misled into thinking the shrine was only a place of prayer.
"To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry. I love you China and I love you Japan," he said.
The apology came after irate users flooded social media networks with complaints.
"Hey Justin, do u even know where that is?" wrote Instagram user vivien_kong.
On Sina Weibo, one user wrote, "I would like to scold him and beat him like a child." Another wrote, "China should ban Bieber, that would be a sensible decision."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, speaking on Wednesday, said he had not been aware of Bieber's visit to the shrine.
But he added: "I hope that this Canadian singer after visiting the Yasukuni Shrine can have a clear understanding of Japan's history of invasion and militarism, and of the source of Japan's militarism."