|Justin Bieber visits Japan war shrine
Justin Bieber courted controversy once again on Wednesday, posting a picture of a Japanese war shrine after an apparent visit to the contentious spot that counts convicted war criminals among the fallen warriors it honors.
The troubled Canadian pop prince posted the snap of the Yasakuni shrine on his Instagram account -- tweeting the link to his 51 million Twitter followers -- but later took it down, AFP reports.
"Thank you for your blessings,'' the 20-year-old star tweeted as he posted the picture, showing the backs of two people standing in front of the massive shrine pavilion.
The post sparked a social media backlash, including in South Korea and China, where the shrine is seen as a symbol of Japan's perceived lack of penitence for its imperialist past.
An attached museum peddles a view of World War II deemed unpalatable by most mainstream historians, casting Japan as a victim and a frustrated liberator of Asia.
"Hey Justin, do u even know where that is?'' wrote Instagram user vivien_kong.
"Yasukuni shrine is the place where to worship the Japanese WWII soldiers. And do u have any efing idea that how the Japanese Nazi killed American and other Asian countries innocents?''
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang, speaking at a regular briefing 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.''
The backlash recalls Bieber's visit to the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam a year ago, when he sparked a furore with a message in the guest book at the house of the Jewish teenager, who died in a World War II concentration camp.