Bieber’s Controversial War Shrine Visit

via Daily Mail

Justin Bieber has once again sparked controversy during his travels—this time by visiting the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Japan. Chinese and South Korean fans were outraged on Wednesday after the Canadian pop star posted pictures of his visit on Instagram. (The picture has since been deleted.)

The Yasukuni Shrine, which enshrines 2.5 million war dead (including 14 convicted war criminals), has been a place of political controversy between Japan and the international community. China and South Korea in particular view Yasukuni as a symbol of Japan’s past imperialism and military aggression. Over the years, Japanese officials have received a lot of criticism whenever they visit the shrine.

Bieber’s visit shows that anyone is able to cause political controversy. If looking at public diplomacy at an individual level, one can argue that political figures run into the risk of hindering diplomatic relations by being oblivious to another country’s historical culture. Understanding a country’s culture is essential for successful and effective public diplomacy.


One thought on “Bieber’s Controversial War Shrine Visit

  1. The severity of this incident was dramatized and blown out of proportion. Justin Bieber is an American-Canadian pop star that is known for his for his questionable choices regarding illicit drugs, speeding through residential neighborhoods, and an undying fan base, not as an official actor of the United States.

    His actions should not be considered as an act of public diplomacy. This is an example a barely 20 year-old kid being unaware of the implications that taking this picture would have.

    The Yasukuni Shrine in Japan is a monument with sentimental value to both the Japanese and Chinese populations. Bieber probably thought posing with the shrine and captioning the image with “Thank you for your blessings” would soften his insensitive image. Early in the year Bieber was criticized for leaving an insensitive comment at the home of Anne Frank. This was an example of the stupidity of an unaware pop star rather the insensitive actions of an unofficial diplomat.

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