Justin Bieber apologizes for visit to controversial shrine honoring Japanese war criminals

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Image Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Once again, Justin Bieber is making headlines for a photo he posted on Instagram. Luckily, this one has nothing to do with Anne Frank or urinating. It does, however, involve World War II. Intriguing, right?

While visiting Tokyo, the young Biebs paid a visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. As you may know, the Yasukuni Shrine is a big point of dispute between China and Japan, because it honors Japan’s fallen WWII soldiers — including those who committed major atrocities in Asia during the war. So when Bieber posted a photo of himself bowing his head at the entrance to the shrine with the caption, “Thank you for your blessings,” he offended many of his Chinese fans.

Bieber eventually caught on when Time wrote about the “controversial” visit, after which the singer posted an Instagram apology that read, “While in Japan I asked my driver to pull over for which I saw a beautiful shrine. I was mislead to think the Shrines were only a place of prayer. To anyone I have offended I am extremely sorry. I love you China and I love you Japan.”

But the backlash had already begun. Chinese fans told Bieber he was no longer welcome in their country — and finally, the Chinese government weighed in. According to the Wall Street Journal, Qin Gang, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, spoke up at a briefing saying, “I’m not aware of this situation and I don’t know the political opinion of the so-called Canadian famous singer. But China’s position on the Yasukuni shrine is clear-cut. We are firmly opposed to the Japanese leaders’ visit to the Yasukuni shrine, where World War II second-class criminals are honored.”

So, where does this rank on the Justin Bieber scale of “I hope Anne Frank would have been a Belieber” to peeing in a bucket?

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