Chinese star Zhang Zhehan blacklisted for photo of Japan
Zhang Zhehan at Yasukuni Shrine in Japan. Photo / Supplied
Chinese actor and singer faces serious repercussions after photos of him visiting shrines in Japan were published.
Images of Zhang Zhehan at the controversial Yasukuni and Nogi shrines in Tokyo have sparked a firestorm in the star’s homeland.
Zhang’s profile was deleted from social media and his scenes were cut from films.
All movies and dramas that Zhang appeared in, including Demon Girl and Word of Honor, have been pulled from Chinese online video platforms, the Global Times reported.
Scenes of Zhang in the historical drama Nirvana in Fire have also been removed.
Music platforms, including QQ Music and NetEase Music, have removed all of his music and deleted his personal profile.
He disappeared from the Chinese social media platform Weibo, which said in a statement that public figures should be “well informed of the story.”
It was also dumped by corporate brands including beverage company Wahaha, Jewel Pandora brand, and Shanghai fabric brand Mercury Home Textile.
The photos were taken in 2018 but reappeared on Weibo recently.
Zhang apologized, saying he attended a friend’s wedding in Japan and was “ashamed” for his “misconduct.”
“I’m not pro-Japanese, I’m Chinese!” he wrote.
“I have never made any objectionable remarks to my homeland on any occasion. I love my homeland deeply.”
He promised “to study history and culture more seriously.”
“I solemnly apologize (for ..) for the content of my photos which has seriously hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” he wrote.
The Yasukuni Shrine venerates the war dead who served the Emperor of Japan during the wars from 1867 to 1951.
It contains the remains of 14 convicted Class A war criminals, including War Prime Minister Hideki Tojo – who was executed by a military court by hanging.
Nogi Shrine is dedicated to Nogi Maresuke, known for the Lushun massacre in Port Arthur during the First Sino-Japanese War.
Sino-Japanese relations have remained sour due to Japan’s pre-WWII invasion of China, with revisionist comments by Japanese officials about incidents such as the Nanjing Massacre increasing tensions.
China has become increasingly nationalist in recent years, with the Foreign Ministry criticizing Lithuania for allowing the Taiwanese authorities to open a “representative office” under the name of “Taiwan” instead of “Taipei” .
In April, Communist Party spokesperson People.cn blasted NASA for the “unforgivable” crime of including “Taiwan” in the “country” option of the “Submit your name” program application page on Mars”.
China has also asked fashion giant H&M to change a “problematic” map on its website.
The fashion retailer was asked to study various Chinese laws, “to strengthen its knowledge of the national territory, and to actually ensure the standardized use of the Chinese card.”