For some, the painful memories of World War II remain fresh in their minds.
Ayumi Hamasaki was the reigning queen of J-Pop in the early 2000s, whose music helped shape the J-pop scene in not only her home country, but in many parts of Asia as well. Once considered Japan’s Madonna, Hamasaki isn’t as popular as she once was, but she still retains a sizable fanbase.
Recently though, Hamasaki managed to irk some loyal fans during one of her live concerts. According to South Korean news outlet MyDaily, the singer donned a jacket she borrowed from one of her backup dancers and uploaded a video of her wearing it onto Instagram. The jacket had a Japanese flag emblazoned on it, but unfortunately for Hamasaki, it was actually a war flag.
That particular flag is called the Rising Sun Flag and is considered by many to be a symbol of Japanese Imperialism, as it was predominantly used by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
Korea suffered oppression under the Japanese during that tumultuous period, and having fans see their favorite singer wearing a symbol of that brutality — even if unintentional — was like a slap in the face.
South Korean netizens were incredibly upset:
“I’m so disappointed.” “It’s a sin if you don’t know about it.” “Didn’t you realize it when you saw the jacket?”
Some netizens were willing to forgive, but some were not so quick to forget:
“It’s too late. You shouldn’t have uploaded it in the first place.” “Good thing she managed to correct her mistake.” “She didn’t have ill intentions.” “So it’s all right if you just mosaic it? I don’t think the video has any meaning at all.” “I don’t understand why you have to mosaic it then upload it again.”
One would have to wonder why no one decided to take it out on the backup dancer, since he was the one who wore the offensive jacket to the concert. Perhap it’s the curse of celebrity, but in any case, here’s hoping Hamasaki’s good intentions win back her fans.
This isn’t the first time South Koreans have their feathers ruffled though, as Bill Gates’ infamous handshake with their president proved to be just as controversial.