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Leehom Wang Blasted for Endorsing Nikon

By on October 15, 2012

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The dispute over the ownership of Diaoyu Islands stirred up a widespread anti-Japanese sentiment in China. When American-born, Taiwan based Leehom Wang (王力宏), a spokesperson for Nikon, posted and praised on his Weibo about the new Nikon camera he received, he was immediately attacked by Chinese netizens.

Some comments were a bit more mild: “Showing off your Japanese products at this time, are you looking for a scolding?”

Many left nasty messages on his blog: “Stepping on this land mine will end up in death, doesn’t matter if you are a super star!”

However, Leehom’s fans came to his support by posting he is just a casualty of unawareness. The netizens and the fans traded over 20,000 commentson-line. After filming a bath product commercial shoot for a Chinese company, Leehom remained offline. His company said he cannot be reached, and they cannot comment for him regarding his controversial endorsement of a Japanese brand during the sensitive Diaoyu Islands dispute.

Getting Shot in the Crossfire

As a spokesperson for Nikon (China region), Leehom reportedly made over $30 million NT, or about $1 million USD. He has a good marketing image in China. The trouble started when he posted on his Weibo yesterday about how happy he was with the new Nikon camera he just got, and how it will help him improve his photography skills.

Many Chinese netizens immediately got upset with his posting, and start blasting Leehom’s Weibo with negative comments such as, “Japan causes so much pain in China,” and “Showing off your Japanese products in such a sensitive time, don’t you know what’s going on; We are disappointed!”

Leehom’s fans were more more logical in the situation, leaving comments such as, “In times like this, it’s so hard to avoid getting in the crossfire,” or “Let’s not discuss politics here.” One netizen even said, “Nothing is wrong with Leehom’s comment, whether he’s a spoke person or not. Nikon and Canon both make very good products.”

Other fans offered the best advice for Leehom: Remain more low key as this is a sensitive time.

Source: Sina.com

This article is written by Lance for JayneStars.com.

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  • Readers' Comments (64)

    1. stephenschow says:

      Spongebob meme- “Nobody Cares”

    2. TVBFanatic says:

      lol… pathetic. I hope everyone that complained on his Weibo has thrown out or destroyed all their Japanese products. Otherwise, they need to STFU. (and I mean that in a nice way :D)

    3. Funn Lim says:

      Yeah, and sale of sushi dropped to zero in these same countries.

      Yeah right. If I had to boycott Japanese products, my house will be devoid of all electronics.

    4. Kidd says:

      This anti-Japanese sentiment has turn into hysteria liao.

    5. AC says:

      People are getting way oversensitive.

      It reminds me when people in the US refused to call a food “french fries” anymore and insisted on calling them “freedom fries”.

      • Funn Lim says:

        Very funny! Why not just call them fries? Or potato fries?

        • AC says:

          lol, I believe they just wanted to display their patriotism.

        • Josie says:

          B/c burgers and fries are considered all American-our country’s favorite food.
          And also b/c we need to differentiate btwn regular French fries and curly fries, shoe string fries, sweet potato fries, etc…

          But seriously, nobody really called them freedom fries. It was just the media.

    6. Cloud says:

      The only good cameras are Nikon and Canon, and they both are Japanese companies. Don’t blame Leehom if those are the only cameras that are worth buying or mentioning.

    7. Darren says:

      hey china, why don’t you guys regulate your food industry. the food you guys made kill so many people. better to focus on internal problem than fight for something so trivial. my family doesn’t dare eat anything made from China. We have to look for made in usa, japan or korea. heck even stay away from Vietnam too!

      • trustno1 says:

        I agree w/ you 100%, Darren. Same deal here..

        Also, if China is so against the Japanese, why don’t they stop manufacturing Japanese brands? Why not ship the jobs back to their country? Or when it comes to money, their so-called patriotism is set aside?

    8. Linnh says:

      Lol it’s so ridiculous that I have no clue how to react anymore.

      It’s sad to see that people can’t separate Politic from entertainment and personal life.

    9. skinnymocha says:

      China are behaving like such spoilt brats/bullies. Even if Japan budge an inch, China’ll want everything. And more.

      • trustno1 says:

        Yup, then they’ll claim that the Japanese islands had belonged to them a few thousand yrs ago and want to take them back. If the Japanese won’t budge, they’ll keep bringing up the Japanese invasion that happened 70 yrs ago and how much they had suffered from it (never mind that most of them were not even born yet at that time). Next we’ll probably see them trying to stake claim on Mongolia and claim how they had invaded China 700+ yrs ago, blah, blah, blah…

        • star says:

          LOL so true! They will just demand more and more and they’re targeting the oil in the Arctic region now, which is so far from them.
          Talk about boycotting Japanese products, I think they should boycott their own products more to send a sign to their inhumane companies. News of their toxic and fake food and items just continue.

        • Jenn Jenn says:

          Your comment reminds me of how blacks in the US are still bringing up the topic of slavery.

    10. shu says:

      on the one hand i can understand why the chinese hate the japanese so much but i think the war is so far behind us.remember how many wars has been fought between the chinese people themself in centuries,because only we are all chinese we can forgive and forget it? and why not the japanese? we need to think forward and collaboration is the only way to peace and prosperity.

      • Funn Lim says:

        Shu, difference is Japanese never said sorry or paid compensation or admitted the atrocities. One thing at a time. Google and you will see why it is still a sensitive issue.

        • Kidd says:

          I remember reading that the Japanese prime minister has apologise. Also, Japan help China a lot in it development in the past. I guess they used this help as compensation?

        • Funn Lim says:

          He didn’t truly apologise from what I know. And a compensation is a compensation. It isn’t tied to helping China in development, that is for mutual economic benefit. As far as I am concerned, Japan has yet to admit to the atrocities and I read has yet to admit to the comfort women issues. It is still the same.

        • skinnymocha says:

          You have politicians who deny the issue and that the comfort women did it voluntarily… The main issue is the lack of education on the matter; people don’t fully comprehend all the war crimes Japan has committed as there will always be things omitted from the history books. Admittedly, most counties will try to paint themselves in a positive light anyway (and China/Korea, etc. will make themselves seem as victimized as possible). They just need to take the right steps in embracing their history, whether it be good or bad.

          Also, Japan has given out money after the war. Take Korea, for example; it has helped them rebuild their economy, but I wonder how much of the money the Korean government allocated to helping their citizens/war sufferers…

          (Anyway – although unrelated – China are such hypocrites.)

        • skinnymocha says:

          There isn’t a difference. Does China admit to their mistakes either? I’d say the censorship in China is far greater.

        • Funn Lim says:

          You don’t get the point. It is different issues of different war and different atrocities. China isn’t a saint but just because they aren’t a saint does not wipe clean other’s atrocities against them. Money as compensation is a must but the issue everyone has with Japan is simply denial. At one point they admit and yet they do not make it official. They do things contrary. Textbook whitewashing the events. They only need to do what the Germans did and I am sure they will be looked upon like the Germans have. I am not saying the new generations bear the sins of the past but the government representing the nations do. However much Japan helps economy etc don’t forget isn’t China lending money to everyone now? Japan did not help out of atonement, it was economic.

          Atonement means do it 100% and do it openly. Stop using Chinese atrocities to cover others atrocities against them. As for China, there’s the issue with Tibet and many more that are being addressed.

        • Funn Lim says:

          “Admittedly, most counties will try to paint themselves in a positive light anyway (and China/Korea, etc. will make themselves seem as victimized as possible). They just need to take the right steps in embracing their history, whether it be good or bad.”

          They were victimised and however much they were painted, they were victims. So was the Japanese in America when they were rounded up.

          As for embracing history, the only way to embrace history is to tell the history as it is. In ancient past there is no pictures. WWII is not that long ago, there are still the victims alive and well, they’re the testament of the truth. But Japan won’t admit because that will mean their emperor was wrong. It is not a matter of money (as you pointed out they gave money for whatever reason) but pride. And it is for that pride that many are still angry with Japan although new generations now think “Why bother with the past? Let’s move on”. I am not those who say ban toshiba! Ban Sushi! Don’t marry Japanese! Boycott Japan! No. I am one of those who wants to see accountability. Forgive but never forget. There was recently an article about a Japanese man who participated in the torture of a Scots in WWII. That story is one of those where I feel that man did quite enough to atone for what he did and participated which isn’t much. It is that sense of regret, that sense of need for atonement and spendin 50 years that made me kow tow to that man.

          An amazing read here;


        • clamine says:

          It took me many false attempts before I finally finished reading the book by Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking. I just couldn’t get past the collection of pictures. And as horrifying as those sepia photos are her words were even more horrifying and heartrending. Allegedly, so depressed was she by her researches on Nanking and her last book she took her life.

        • skinnymocha says:

          I’m not comparing the LEVEL of crime/atrocities – that would be grossly disrespectful – and of course I realise Japan’s wrongdoings is exclusive to China’s wrongdoings. Japan has to apologise. No matter what China did. What I’m calling the “same” is China’s failure to apologise (especially to their OWN people) and censoring part of history. Japan omit their mistakes from text books, but China takes it even further and censors the internet (and reports of people “disappearing”… how true that is, I’ve no idea). Why aren’t they allowed to read up on the Tiananmen Square Massacre, for example?

          I agree about the “forgive but never forget.” History is an important lesson to us all. The important thing for Japan is to TEACH their people, to let it be known. People have a basic right to know their own history and identity, and a responsibility to not let such horrors repeat itself ever again.

          Thank you for the link – it was a very nice read. I wish more people adopted his mindset.

        • TVBFanatic says:

          Japan has apologized several times over the years…


          You’ll see China mentioned several times.

        • TVBFanatic says:

          And I just wanted to point out that war is war. Atrocities are carried out on both sides, but the victor is the one that gets to write history. It’s always been that way.

          I’ve lived in Japan, and the Japanese people I spoke with know and understand what Japan did in WWII. I see the problem in being that many still hold even this generation responsible for it. It is true that you shouldn’t forget the past, but it is also true that you can’t live within it. Holding a grudge will do nothing more than perpetuate the hate and stereotype and neither side will ever get over it.

        • skinnymocha says:

          I don’t think all Japanese people are oblivious to it, but how much they know can vary greatly. I know people who teach over there and some who claim their students are shocked at the extent of Japan’s past actions. There is also the issue of comfort women (and Unit 731?) that has yet to be addressed. The stupid thing is Japan has offered a number of apologies over the years, but *some* politicians chose to undermine that and claim “it never happened.” How on earth did they keep their jobs…

        • skinnymocha says:

          Actually… the issue of history textbooks:

        • Hmmm says:

          @ TVBFanatic

          “And I just wanted to point out that war is war. Atrocities are carried out on both sides, ”

          That’s a very dangerous equivalency. The difference between Japanese and Allied atrocities is, when Allied soldiers did such things, they were going against the values of their society. When the Japanese committed atrocities against conquered peoples, their actions were totally in line with the values of Imperial Japan. It’s the same as when Nazis killed Jews they were doing what any good Nazi were supposed to do.

          “but the victor is the one that gets to write history. It’s always been that way. ”

          I’m so tired of hearing this. The Japanese are free to write their own history and they do, to the chargrin of their former victims.

          Don’t think the US is against Japan in this. On Gen. MacArthur’s recommendation, America helped to cover up Japanese war crimes in order to cultivate them as an ally against Communist China.

          Anyway, you can hardly call China & Japan’s former colonies the victors in this case. They were the vanquished vis-a-vis Japan.

        • Butterbuttercup says:

          The Japanese NEVER admit to it, let alone apologize for what happened. Also, don’t compare censorship to murders!

      • Hmmm says:

        Two reasons why Japan, China and Korea can’t move forward

        1) Japan continues to downplay her war crimes. Historical revisionism is enjoying a resurgence in that country from what I know.

        2) Chinese and Korean govts continue to flog anti-Japanese sentiment.

        Until these two factors are fixed, Asia won’t be able to move forward like Europe. You’ll notice that anti-Japanese feeling is much less in other occupied countries. Even the Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia don’t hate the Js so much even though they suffered horribly under Japanese occupation. That’s because factor 2) is missing. However, Japan’s continuing war crimes denial is still preventing full reconciliation.

        • Butterbuttercup says:

          Malaysia and Singapore didn’t have it as bad as China and Korea did. Particularly, China.

        • Daniel says:

          Dear BBcup, I am a malaysian chinese now in my late forties. We were told when young how my grandma (even though she cut her hair short) was molested by the Japanese occupying force in the state of Perak during WW11. That was wrong choice of words you use here. Apparent to everyone the Japanese in wartime do not distinguish between Chinese from PRC or Malaya. Sama-sama. Note: Malay ladies from the same kampung do not suffer the same fate.

          BBCup, how I wish what you said is true.

        • popsicle says:

          @ Butterbuttercup, are you from Malaysia? Do you have anyone or close relative telling their ordeal? Do you know even a pregnant woman was not spared? Do you know how much the Chinese suffered? What a widow has to do to survive and towing along with her were small children? Don’t simply push off other countries lightly.

        • Hmmm says:

          What a callous comment. Read up on Japanese rule in Malaya and Singapore before replying. Read up on the Sook Ching. The Japanese didn’t distinguish between those from China and overseas. For them it was about race. At least large swaths of the Mainland population didn’t personally experience Japanese rule because they only occupied some parts of the motherland. Almost all Chinese Malayans & Singaporeans experienced their brutality first hand.

        • Butterbuttercup says:

          Daniel: Yes, wrong choice of words on my part. Sorry if I aggravate anyone, wasn’t my intention.

    11. sue says:

      leehom is not even a prc, why would he care about the diaoyu islands conflict? those who condemn him should throw away all the japanese-made goods from their houses first!

      • Funn Lim says:

        He’s Chinese. That counts.

        • skinnymocha says:

          Being blindly patriotic is not a good thing.

        • Funn Lim says:

          The only blind loyalty are those making bombs and killing civilians. Other than that everything else is up to the person’s choice.

        • skinnymocha says:

          Do they have a “choice” or are they being spoon-fed whatever the government wants them to know?

        • trustno1 says:

          Many Chinese have moved out of the country. Their loyalties should be for the country they are citizens of. Why should they remain blindly loyal to a country that had caused them nothing but grief in the past? The reason many Chinese moved out of China was because they want freedom & a better life elsewhere. Why remain blindly loyal to a country that wants nothing, but to take away their human rights?

        • star says:

          I’m also a Chinese but I definitely don’t support China, though I don’t support Japan either. I don’t see why Chinese who are not China citizens should support China, it’s not even our country and has no relevance to us, except the trade with our countries.

        • Terminator says:

          So, should we hold Obama accountable for anything going on in Kenya?

          Leehom might be entitled to an opinion; but he does not necessary have to be involved and side with the PRC in any international squabbling.

        • Butterbuttercup says:

          I travelled to mainland and HK quite a bit. From what I watched on CCTV, I don’t think they’re that anti-Japanese. It’s the people themselves, what with all those past bloody history. Also, even though the anti-Chinese movement in Japan is not as huge, but they’re just as crazy. Just that most of what we see on international news will just show you how crazy the chinese are.

        • Butterbuttercup says:

          Terminator/Sue, as a celebrity or any celebrity at all, I think it’s best to step back from political issues. Even if they don’t they PR team will advise them to step back for obvious reason. It has the potential to hurt their image or sale!

        • sue says:

          i agree with trustno1. i’m chinese, but i wasn’t born in china and don’t see china as my motherland or whatever. so why should i be loyal to china and support them in their conflicts with other countries? it’s just stupid. and in my personal opinion, they should let the government and politicians deal with this matter, rather than incite the laymen to hold rallies and protests.

          and Butterbuttercup, leehom is not even trying to be involved in any political issue, so how to step back from it leh? he endorses the brand, so he is just doing his job. it’s the netizens who are too sensitive and blindly following and accepting whatever information their government feeds them.

        • Butterbuttercup says:

          Sue, I know it was unintentional on his part, obviously. Never said that he tried to be involved in that political issue. Just that he/other public figures shd be abit more careful knowing how tense the issue is in the mainland now. Knowing how they destroyed Japanese-related stuffs or even bash up regular people who might be somewhat pro-Japan. Even, Li Bingbing cancel her appearance for Resident Evil in Tokyo, as well as many others.

          Yes, the netizens are a tad sensitive. But it’s not so much of what infos their govt feeds them, having seen/read some of it while I was there, nothing extraordinary. It’s all haunts back to the past again, those wars. Some of them still can’t get it out of their system. If you were to read up comprehensively on the Germans and the Japanese during the World Wars. You find that what the Japanese did in the past makes the Germans looked like nuns. If ppl think the Germans were horrific then, the Japanese were alot worse.
          Anyway, also a Chinese here. But not made-in-China.

      • Hmmm says:

        He’s Taiwanese FWIW. Don’t forget the Republic of China is also claiming Diaoyu. Although I think many Taiwanese are on Japan’s side in this conflict.

        (No, I don’t agree with PRC netizens getting on Leehom’s case. I think they’re being too sensitive.)

        • Butterbuttercup says:

          This might sound strange, but this is the 1 cause where Taiwanese and HKgers actually come together to fight for Diaoyu. Ask any HKger and they’ll mostly tell you Diaoyu belong to the Chinese.

        • Cloud says:

          Former President Lee said Daiyou belongs to Japan.

        • Butterbuttercup says:

          No doubt about that, Cloud. Lee has always had a strong affinity with Japan. His dad and his brother too worked for the japanese! But from talking to the regular ppl I met, they seem to support the idea that the island belong to the chinese..

        • trustno1 says:

          Of course HKgers have to side w/ China. They don’t wanna antagonize the mother country for fear of political consequences. At this point, they practically have to kiss up to China.

    12. ALovesFung says:

      Can’t we all just get along!?! Leave politics alone and just enjoy and support our idols. LF Love Fung!

    13. skinnymocha says:

      What I hate most about this is people who don’t accept the fact that there are others who don’t wish to take sides. They don’t want to be drawn into any conflict – they just want to go ahead and live their own lives, full of happiness and stability. It reminds me of how men who refuse conscription are branded “cowards”, and in this case you’d be a “traitor” for not siding with your own country.

    14. Grifis says:

      If this guy apologize for his “behavior”, that would sad. China needs to stop fighting for rocks because those ain’t their rocks. And it also needs to give some rocks they took back from others. Really.

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