Japan’s First Lady Defends South Korea

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 Diplomatic relations between South Korea and Japan are frosty to say the least, but that didn’t stop Japan’s first lady Akie Abe from defending South Korean culture in response to a recent backlash.

Abe’s Facebook followers criticized her when she posted a photo of her stirring a pot of South Korea’s famous rice dish, bibimbap. The post was met with vile reactions from some of her 41,233 followers.

“I feel uncomfortable” and “this is unpleasant” were familiar sentiments from the dozens of critics, according to the Asahi Shimbun. “One person wrote: ‘I cannot believe you interacted with South Korea.’”

Ties between the two countries have been strained in recent years due to a territorial dispute over Dokdo, also known as the Liancourt Rocks, and Japan’s wartime use of comfort women, the Korean women forced into sexual slavery during World War II.

Although her husband actively stands at odds with South Korea on various geopolitical issues in East Asia, Abe responded to her critics by defending her avid interest in the culture of Japan’s neighboring country.

“It seems like there are many opinions,” Abe said. “But since [South Korea] is next door to us, I would like to get along with them.”

This is not the first time Japan’s first lady showed her willingness to embrace South Korean culture. Her interest in Korean music and dramas is well documented by Korean media and she previously revealed that she has studied the Korean language in the past. Read more here.