NEWJEANS member Hanni is facing criticism online for referring to Japan as “sushi land”, with Bunnies urging ADOR to protect her. The matter has also become to topic of discussion among Japanese netizens, who appear to be split upon the offensiveness of the remark.
NEWJEANS were in Tokyo last weekend to perform at the Summer Sonic 2023 festival. They managed to draw a massive crowd, who braved the heat for a chance to watch the girls perform. It was a momentous occasion for the girls, as it marked their official Japanese debut.
The girls, Hanni, Haerin, Hyein, Danielle and Minji, have also been sharing photos of their time in Tokyo. Just a few days ago, they posted several images showing them exploring the city and enjoying some ice cream.
A post by Hanni raises some eyebrows
On Aug 23, 2023, Hanni made a post on the members’ official X (formerly Twitter) account. She included two images that showed a collage of photos taken in Tokyo. The images showed Hanni along with other members of NEWJEANS, as well as several food items and landmarks. The caption read: “Our short trip to sushi land.”
At first, the post received positive comments from fans, but later drew some negative responses. Many of them took offense to the term “sushi land” to describe Japan, and voiced their disappointment of Hanni. Some even asked if it would be okay to refer to Korea as “kimchi land”, and asked that Hanni amend her caption or apologize.
The reason for the furor stemmed from the fact that “sushi girls” is said to be a derogatory term used by Koreans against Japanese women (it should be noted that Hanni is of Vietnamese-Australian origin). Some pointed out that none of Hanni’s photos showed any actual sushi, implying a less innocent reason for using the phrase.
Japanese netizens weigh in
The situation was also discussed among Japanese netizens. A Japanese YouTuber reportedly held a poll among his fans, and the results showed that 82% felt it was “not offensive”.
However, many others felt that as an idol, Hanni should have been aware of the implications before making the post. They pointed out that any negative backlash can have an effect on the rest of the group. This is especially true for NEWJEANS, considering they only recently made their performance debut in Japan.
At the time of writing, Hanni’s post is still up on the account, with around 20.8 million views, 78.1k likes, 15k reposts and just under 7000 quotes.
Bunnies demand ADOR take action
The negative comments to Hanni’s post have angered many Bunnies, who are demanding that ADOR address the issue. They have begun an email campaign to draw their attention to the issue.
In their email, they pointed out that the post has attracted a lot of hate aimed at Hanni and NEWJEANS. They added: “As a way to resolve the situation, we ask you to please investigate [those] making malicious comments and … calling her names. Also, if it helps, consider changing the caption of the post or just address the situation in a respectful way to clarify everything.”
So far, there has yet to be an official response by Hanni or ADOR on the matter. We hope that the situation resolves itself peacefully.