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- AKB48 / J-Pop / Japanese TV / Justin Bieber / Music
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Whether it's a charismatic performance or puking, Justin Bieber has a knack for grabbing headlines. Cameras, spotlights, and legions of fangirls tend to form a conga line to follow the Canadian pop-star, and that ability is definitely not limited by borders. Case in point: Bieber's recent trip to Japan to perform on the popular weekly television program, Music Station.
Bieber Fever still runs strong in Japan, where it's not simply an appreciation for music and looks, but also gratitude. In the wake of the tragic 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Bieber was one of the few foreign acts who did not cancel scheduled appearances out of fear for the Fukushima disaster. The feeling is mutual, as Bieber was reportedly asked why he liked Japan and said to have replied, "People don't throw eggs at me at the airport and nobody punches me when I walk around town."
That said, the Bieber's latest performance brought with it some of the controversy that he has become known for. The source of this internet commotion occurred backstage, after performing his summer single "What Do You Mean?"
That's Bieber planting a kiss on the cheek of Minami Takahashi, who just so happens to be the "lead director member" of mega-pop and idol group AKB48. In general, Japan tends to be a bit more conservative regarding PDA gestures, so this was a bit of a buzz in itself, but really no foul. More importantly--idol groups like AKB48 are known to have extremely passionate, and sometimes downright scary fans. Needless to say, internet reaction was quite animated.
Well, that's one way to voice disapproval.
"Justin you sly dog...she's still just an idol--you can't do that!"
Idols have somewhat of a pure and untouchable image in Japan.
Some were surprised by just how close he got to everyone.
He blew them kisses, and some fans were relieved that they took it in stride.
There he is popping in again!
Responses range from laughter, to frustrated jealousy, and even to downright nasty threats. It's pretty stupidly overblown in a classic case of East meets West, but the only reaction that really matters is Takahashi's, so here's our translation of the original tweet:
So while Beliebers and hotshot idol fans might be sparring with each other, we're pretty comfortable saying this was all harmless fun for those involved.