One thing every K-pop fan must prepare for is when their idols leave for military service. It’s a common occurrence, so most of the time, international fans have no trouble with it. However, this can sometimes stir controversy.
Recently, EXO member Park Chanyeol (박찬열) paid homage to his grandfather by visiting his grave. Chanyeol wore his military garb during the visit, as they had both served in the same unit. Unfortunately, his actions displeased Chinese fans.
Chanyeol visited his grandfather’s grave at the Daejeon National Cemetery on 22nd February. The date marked the anniversary of his paternal grandfather, Park Jun-Geun who passed 11 years ago. Chanyeol apparently chose to pay homage to his grandfather in his military uniform, as they had both served in the same unit, the White Horse Unit.
Many were moved when photos of Chanyeol paying respects at his grandfather’s grave were released. However, Chinese netizens apparently did not feel the same sentiments. Several felt upset as the White Horse Unit had participated in the war against the Chinese. Additionally, Chanyeol’s grandfather had commanded the unit which only worsened his image in netizens’ eyes.
“Wearing a military uniform to (pay homage) means (Chanyeol) accepted his grandfather’s army (and) their crimes,” one netizen stated viciously. Another pointed out that Chanyeol claimed to “inherit (his) grandfather’s spirit” and decided to be a “true soldier” for as long as he served in the military. This only cemented the likelihood that Chanyeol approved of his grandfather’s actions. “Of course his grandfather couldn’t chose, but (Chanyeol) can chose not to (pay homage) to him,” one comment stated.
However, some Chinese netizens see nothing wrong with Chanyeol’s actions. To them, he was merely honouring his grandfather. Unfortunately, defending Chanyeol has left them vulnerable to Chinese keyboard warriors. “Of course it’s not wrong to (pay respect) to your family members, but your position in supporting (Chanyeol) is wrong as you are Chinese!” one scolded. Another pointed out that Chanyeol honouring his grandfather for serving in the army was similar to Japanese who visit the Yasukuni Shrine.
It seems Chanyeol may have lost a few Chinese fans over this. In fact, several netizens are questioning if the K-pop idol actually cares for his fans from China. The artist himself has yet to say anything in regards to the matter.