Two more Chinese actors caught up in Japanese war shrines controversy

Zhu Yilong and Gong Jun Photo: VCG

Two other Chinese actors have been caught in a social media controversy over alleged photos of war shrines in Japan, just weeks after a Chinese actor was boycotted for his visit to famous Japanese shrine Yasukuni.

Such a growing trend has underscored the Chinese public’s strong sentiment towards Japan due to the latter’s escalating political provocations against China, which could be a dangerous sign for intense relations between China and Japan, have warned Chinese observers.

Some netizens criticized actor Gong Jun for presenting a peristele written “Kyoto Ryozen Gokoku Shrine” when he recorded a Vlog in front of cameras. Some have even accused Gong of visiting the shrine while in Japan just upon seeing the section of the Vlog, calling for a boycott of the industry.

Gong co-starred with Zhang Zhehan in TV martial arts drama Word of honor. Zhang faced an industry boycott last month, after posing for photos at Yasukuni Shrine, angering the Chinese public.

Although Gong and his studio denied the charges on Thursday, the topic remained popular on Chinese social media platforms. The studio clarified in a statement that the scene captured in the Vlog is a popular tourist spot and that Gong just walked past without paying any attention to the background after buying an ice cream.

“I have never been to the shrine and will never be this well,” Gong told her personal Sina Weibo account.

Another Chinese actor Zhu Yilong also faces a similar controversy on social media. Some netizens criticized Zhu for visiting a shrine, known as the Heian Shrine, after the actor allegedly took selfies there in 2016.

Zhu has yet to respond to the controversy at press time on Friday, but related topics on social media have garnered more than 92.3 million views at press time. And voices calling for a boycott continue to be heard.

Da Zhigang, director and researcher at the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies of the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that Japan’s more proactive tone towards China, especially Regarding the Taiwan issue, inflames the feelings of the Chinese public towards Japan, causing a little dissatisfaction and annoyance. It could be a dangerous sign for Sino-Japanese relations, Da warned.

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