Junhoe of iKON apologized on Instagram recently after posting about a gift from director Kitano Takeshi/Beat Takeshi and also for comments he made to fans.
On the Kitano Takeshi front, Junhoe posted on Instagram about a gift he received.
Junhoe had posted an image of a gift given to him by Japanese movie director and comedian Kitano Takeshi on a now deleted Instagram post. In the photo, Kitano Takeshi had given him a package with a note that said, “For Junhoe. From Takeshi Kitano.” A famous director in Japan, Kitano Takeshi had previously gained attention for allegedly making disparaging comments about Korea.
Fans were not happy about this, as Kitano Takeshi has allegedly said some disparaging things about Korea before, but Junhoe dismissed concerns and clarified he just liked him as an artist.
In response to Junhoe’s Instagram post, fans flooded his comments to inform him of the director’s reputation. When one fan asked him to delete his post, Junhoe responded, “Don’t tell me to do this or that~~ No.” To another fan, Junhoe wrote, “I like him as an artist, so no. Whenever something happens, do I have to chicken out and delete everything?” In another comment, he added, “I also have emotions, so please respect that. There’s nothing wrong with me liking [him] as an artist.”
In the end, however, he released an apology.
“I’m sorry, he was an actor I liked, so I didn’t know of any other information. Because my fans are like my friends, I didn’t realize talking comfortably would become like this. I’m truly sorry. In the future, I’ll become a Junhoe that speaks carefully. I’m sorry for causing concerns.”
And that is where this hopefully ends, but based on the response, I’m skeptical.
As far as Kitano goes, I honestly can’t find any receipts at the moment for him being shitty about Korea, but it wouldn’t be hard to believe given that he hates anime, video games, computers, e-mail, cell phones, social media, modern society, gay marriage, and even his own Japanese film industry (1/2/3/4). I’m not saying I know Kitano said anything truly terrible about Korea, I’m just saying if he did, there’s no excuse to be surprised cause he’s kind of a mess anyway.
That said, I do think any Kitano mess with Korea is a bit more complicated than people are letting on given that any lashing out might stem from him allegedly being Korean himself and his mother using that fact to berate him as a child.
At the Pusan Film Festival in Korea last year a journalist asked if it was true my grandfather was Korean. I answered honestly that I could well be one-quarter Korean. I got this idea because when my mother scolded me she used to say, “What can we expect? You’re the grandson of a Korean!” This was a term of mild abuse – at the time, especially among people of my mother’s generation, it was very common to discriminate against Koreans. I concealed this belief that I was part-Korean until I reached some level of maturity and began earning my own living. Then I asked my mother again if it was true that true that my father was half-Korean. She answered: “Worse than that! He was an abandoned child, a foundling.” The fact that she thought this worse than being Korean made it very hard for me to talk about it in Korea – I couldn’t tell the journalist what I’ve just told you, it would have been impolite, if not insulting. Anyhow, it seems to be true that my father didn’t know his own parents, which means he had a very low social standing in Japan.
It’s not an excuse, but it’s not hard to understand how that might play into identity issues that he has hopefully since worked out. But maybe not, I dunno, honestly.
Anyway, I don’t think what Junhoe did was necessarily smart at all — even assuming he actually didn’t know about Kitano, the replies to the fans were still ill-advised — but I understand the broad sentiment he was trying to get across. Like I’m not gonna sit here and pretend as if I also haven’t enjoyed a bunch of Kitano’s work, from ‘Hanabi‘ to ‘Takeshi’s Castle‘ to ‘Outrage‘, as he clearly knows what he’s doing. More importantly, it’s not as if Junhoe really did or said anything terrible here himself, so it’s hard to buy into people being overly critical to the point where this becomes a thing.