Justin Bieber has apologized and removed an Instagram photo of his visit to a controversial Japanese World War II shrine after the image outraged Chinese and South Korean fans.
The Yasukuni Shrine honours Japanese soldiers killed in World War II — along with some convicted war criminals. Chinese and Koreans were subjected to violent atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers during their World War II occupation of those lands.
Bieber originally tweeted a link to the shrine photo with the words “Thank you for your blessings.” He later removed the image from his Instagram account, by then “liked” 666,000 times, after Chinese followers on social media asked him to take it down, Time reports.
Justin Bieber dropped by Yasukuni Shrine. There goes his Chinese, Korean market.
— Toon Seri Anthraxxxx (@anthraxxxx) April 23, 2014
On Wednesday, Justin Bieber explained in an Instagram post that he visited the shrine because he was struck by its beauty and didn’t realise what it represented. “While in Japan I asked my driver to pull over for which I saw a beautiful shrine. I was mislead to think the Shrines were only a place of prayer. To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry. I love you China and I love you Japan,” he wrote.
Visits to the shrine by 150 Japanese lawmakers earlier this week reportedly angered China and South Korea. Although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did not visit the shrine with those lawmakers, he made an offering to the shrine this week that has strained relations with those countries.
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