Thanks to an on-going trade war, tensions between Japan and South Korea are higher than usual. The countries have a long history with one another that wasn't always peaceful. Nowadays, the trade war growing between the countries has the public on edge, and an artist from Neon Genesis Evangelion is taking heat for words they shared about a South Korean memorial.
Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, the character designer for Evangelion, was criticized by fans around the world for a string of Twitter posts. The artist shared several controversial comments on an art exhibition at the Aichi Prefecture Museum of Art which included a statue honoring South Korea's "comfort women" forced to work in Japan during World War II.
Taking to social media, Anime News Network reports Sadamoto called the statue "dirty" and "vulgar" amongst other things. The artist went on to say the statue was included as propaganda with little "aesthetic value" if any.
"A dirty statue of a girl. A movie that shows the Emperor of Japan's photo being burned and then crushed underfoot. It's indistinguishable from a certain country's style of propaganda," the full tweet reads.
"It has absolutely none of the interesting, beautiful, eye-opening, heartwarming, or intellectually stimulating aspects of what we seek from modern art. It's just vulgar and tedious," Sadamoto continued before adding: "I wanted it to be an art event with academic contemporary art at its core: pottery, bicycles, motorcycles, films, comics, fashion, architecture, and all other kinds of things that were showing up in the prefecture around the same time all showcased and spread out like a stamp rally. Remove the crazy [propaganda]-affirming media and the exhibition could still be redeemed."
Fans were quick to respond to the controversial thread with one Korean fan saying they were disappointed in Sadamoto as an Evangelion fan. Other fans from Japan, the Philippines, the United States, and beyond conveyed their disappointment as well. However, it appears Sadamoto's view was not singular; The exhibition featuring the statues was cancelled just three days after opening as more than 700 complaints were filed by locals.
The statue, known as the Statue of Peace, has been controversial with part of the Japanese public since it debuted in South Korea in 2011. The statue was widely criticized in Japan as the topic of "comfort women" is considered taboo. The issue, which involves the Japanese Imperial Army forcing underage Korean women into sexual slavery, has been in headlines regularly since the Japanese prime minister and South Korean president formally settled a payment dispute apologizing for the act, but the topic continues to be hotly debated.
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