Japanese 1st Lady in Korean Musical Furor

      May 13, 2013 13:58

      Akie Abe

      Akie Abe, the wife of rightwing Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, came in for a storm of criticism when she said on Facebook that she went to see a Korean musical.

      Last Wednesday night, Akie posted the seemingly uncontroversial comment, "I had an enjoyable time watching Korean musical 'Caffeine' currently on stage in Tokyo," with a photo showing her in front of the poster.

      "Caffeine" has been running since April 25 at the Amuse Musical Theater in Roppongi, Tokyo, which is dedicated to Korean musicals.

      But Japanese patriots were incensed by her "careless" conduct as the wife of the prime minister at this "sensitive time."

      Shinzo Abe's government has been busily pushing a flimsy colonial claim to Korea's Dokdo islets and whitewashing Japan's World War II atrocities, which has caused an ire among Koreans. Japanese netizens said his wife must "learn more about anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea."

      But supporters said her hobbies are nobody else's business.

      Akie Abe on Friday responded by saying she had "already braced myself for criticism" when she publicized her visit to the musical. "I hope you understand that it was my own way of pursuing my ideals," she added.

      A fan of Korean soaps, the Japanese first lady at one time tried to learn Korean, but since bilateral ties soured she claimed to have stopped watching Korean TV series.

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