Apparently, the Chinese rom-com No Other Love has even more problems than just its former lead actor’s political affiliations. Japanese-American actress Audrie Kiko Daniel, also known as Kiko Mizuhara, has issued a somewhat disturbing apology video to angry Chinese fans threatening to boycott the movie because of some controversial posts she has made online.
“I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone in China and clarify a few things in this video,” Kiko says in English at the beginning of the nearly 5-minute long video which was posted to her Weibo on Friday.
She begins by describing her family background. Kiko’s father is American, while her mom is a Korean born in Japan. In the past, her background has made it difficult for Kiko to win over fans — some Japanese don’t think she is truly “Japanese,” while some Koreans think of her as “right-wing Japanese” thanks to nationalistic posts she has made online in the past. Meanwhile, she hasn’t exactly been well-liked in China either, thanks to her alleged former relationship with G-Dragon, a member of the incredibly popular South Korean boyband Big Bang.
However, Kiko says that this diverse background has helped her to learn to respect different cultures and make friends from all over the world while growing up in Japan. She says she has many Chinese friends and considers Chinese culture “amazing.” She also describes herself as a “a global citizen” and “a supporter for world peace and definitely anti-war.”
Kiko then gets to the first of three online allegations against her, holding up a picture showing the back of a woman’s head at Japan’s infamous Yasukuni Shrine in Toyko, Kiko says, “I’m confirming this is definitely not me in the picture.” The shrine honor’s Japan’s war dead, including those executed as war criminals after World War II. For China, it is seen as a symbol of Japan’s past wartime aggression and atrocities.
She also denies that she is in another picture, which shows a woman posing in front of Japan’s old Rising Sun Flag, another symbol of past Japanese imperialism. “I would also like to confirm that I am absolutely not in the picture,” she says.
Finally, Kiko arrives at the third incident. Back in 2013, she liked a photo on Instagram showing a middle finger directed at Tiananmen. In the video, Kiko explains that she had urged a friend to try out Instagram and to encourage him to post more pictures, she always gave his posts likes.
“But regretably [I] had found out that he had posted an extremely inappropriate picture. I deleted my like within an hour, and my friend also deleted the picture after realizing that he was wrong. In addition, to say 对不起 [I’m sorry] to everyone,” she says.
Kiko ends her video by encouraging anyone who has been misunderstood to speak up and apologizing again for upsetting anyone. “I truly believe that with more mutual understanding, love and peace will bring us together and make the world a better place,” she concludes.
Watch the video below:
On Weibo, the apology video has already received nearly 160,000 likes, 89,000 shares and 140,000 comments. Most netizens were appalled that Kiko had been forced to issue this disconcerting apology, blaming misguided nationalists and people looking to damage the career of director Zhao Wei.
“I would like to ask, are we in the middle of the Cultural Revolution?” one Weibo user commented receiving 44,000 likes.
“I feel sorry for you. You have nothing to apologize for Kiko,” reads another comment with 26,000 likes.
After a list of actors emerged in late April, Chinese director Zhao Wei’s lighthearted romantic comedy No Other Love became the target of a boycott engineered by China’s Communist Youth League because of its “questionable” casting. In addition to Kiko, the film was going to be starring veteran Taiwanese actor Leon Dai; however, the Communist Youth League questioned Dai’s political activities and participation in the pro-independence movement, leading to an online campaign to boycott the movie.
Instead of filming an eerie apology video, Dai wrote a series of long messages on Weibo, claiming that he was not a member of any political organization. However, these messages didn’t do enough to “clarify” Dai’s politics for Zhao Wei and the film’s backers, including Alibaba. Dai was removed from his lead role in the film last week.
Which seems like it could be a problem, because the movie had already wrapped up shooting. It’s unclear who will replace Dai, but he will certainly need to undergo a thorough background check.