Lee Seung Chul, famous singer and star judge on one of the longest-running audition shows, Superstar K, has been denied entrance into Japan. Various media outlets have reported that this may have to do with the Dokdo Island controversy.
It is presumed that Lee Seung Chul’s denial of entrance may be Japan’s response to his recent concert in Dokdo Island. The concert consisted of refugees from North Korea who released a new song,”That Day,” which wishes for the unification of Korea.
On November 9th, Lee Seung Chul left for Japan to visit a friend. Following his arrival at Japan’s Haneda Airport, Lee Seung Chul was detained for four hours in the immigration office. When he asked for the reason of his detainment, one of the employee answered, “It’s because of recent media exposure.” However, when he asked why his wife, Park Hyun Jung, was being detained as well, the employee was unable to answer definitively.
Later, when Lee Seung Chul said that he would not let Japan get away with such unfair treatment, the airport’s employees stated that they are denying his entrance based on his past history of marijuana use, years ago. Ironically, Lee Seung Chul has entered Japan on more than 15 separate occasions over a period of 20 years, after his arrest for marijuana use in Korea. He has even held a concert in Japan in the early 2000s. Even Paul McCartney, who was arrested in Japan previously for possessing marijuana, had no problems entering Japan last April.
There were similar cases to Lee Seung Chul’s in the past as well. In 2012, the vice minister of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yamaguchi Tsuyoshi, said “I believe it will be very difficult for Song Il Guk to enter Japan,” after the actor took part in swimming to Dokdo to raise awareness of the controversy between Japan and Korea’s ownership of the island. To this, Song Il Guk retaliated by updating on his SNS, “I would just like to call out my three sons’ names Daehan, Minguk, Mansae” (The phrase “Daehan Minguk Mansae” translates to “Hooray Republic of Korea”).
Also, in 2011, when Korea and Japan were at a state of dispute regarding the issue, many idol groups, such as BEAST and CNBLUE, were denied entrance to Japan. On the surface, Japan stated there were visa problems, but various entertainment outlets have presumed that it was due to the air of hostility between Japan and Korea.
Currently, Lee Seung Chul has cancelled one week’s worth of schedules in Japan and is taking a break in Korea. In an interview, he stated, “If Japan is going to act in such a way against my rightful actions of voicing my opinion regarding my country and my country’s land, I am going to fight against Japan on this issue even if it means I will never again be able to step foot in Japan.”
Source: Ilgan Sports