Chinese star blacklisted over Japan photo

A Chinese actor and singer is facing serious repercussions after photos emerged of him visiting shrines in Japan.

Images of Zhang Zhehan at the controversial Yasukuni and Nogi shrines in Tokyo have started a firestorm in the star’s native country.

Zhang’s profile has been deleted on social media and his scenes cut from films.

All film and drama series that Zhang Zhehan has appeared in, including as Demon Girl and Word of Honor, have been taken down from Chinese online video platforms, the Global Times reported.

Scenes of Zhang in historical drama Nirvana in Fire have also been deleted.

Music platforms, including QQ Music and NetEase Music, have taken down all his music and deleted his personal profile.

He has disappeared from Chinese social media platform Weibo, which said in a statement that public figures needed to be “knowledgeable of history”.

He’s also been dumped by corporate brands including beverage company Wahaha, Jewel brand Pandora and fabrics brand Shanghai Mercury Home Textile.

The photos were taken in 2018 but remerged on Chinese social media site Weibo recently.

Zhang has issued an apology, saying he was attending a friend’s wedding in Japan and was “ashamed” for his “misconduct”.

“I am not pro-Japanese, I am Chinese!” he wrote.

“I have never made any remarks harmful to my motherland on any occasion. I deeply love my motherland.”

He promised to “study history and culture more seriously”.

“I hereby solemnly apologize [for..] some content in my photos that seriously hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” he wrote.

The Yasukuni Shrine venerates the war dead who served the Emperor of Japan during wars from 1867–1951.

It contains the remains of 14 are convicted Class A war criminals including war time prime minister Hideki Tojo – who was executed by a military tribunal by hanging.

The Nogi Shrine is dedicated to Nogi Maresuke, notorious for the Lushun massacre in Port Arthur during the First Sino-Japanese War.

China–Japan relations have remained soured due to Japan’s invasion of China prior to World War II, with revisionist comments by Japanese officials regarding incidents like the Nanking Massacre raising tensions.

China has become increasingly nationalistic in recent years, with the Foreign Ministry slamming Lithuania for allowing Taiwanese authorities to open a “representative office” under the name of “Taiwan” instead of “Taipei”.

In April, Communist Party mouthpiece People.cn blasted NASA for the “unforgivable” crime of including “Taiwan” in the “Country” option of the application page of the “Send your name to Mars” program.

China also demanded that Fashion giant H&M change a “problematic” map on its website.

The fashion retailer was told to study various Chinese laws, “bolster its awareness of the national territory, and really ensure the standardised use of the Chinese map”.

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