Korean Soccer Fans Celebrate Japanese Earthquake
The owners of South Korea’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors soccer team have apologized after some of its fans displayed a banner celebrating an earthquake that caused over 15,000 deaths in Japan:
A paper banner reading Let’s celebrate Japan’s big earthquake! in Japanese was hung from the stands occupied by Jeonbuk supporters during Tuesday’s Asian Champions League quarter-final second leg against Japan’s Cerezo Osaka.
The banner was removed about 20 minutes into the game in the southwestern city of Jeonju after Cerezo lodged a complaint with organisers. The Japanese club sent a letter of complaint to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The grammar wasn’t 100% correct (お祝い isn’t a verb), but the message is still obvious.
When Fuji TV showed images of the sign to Japanese people (including some earthquake survivors), many couldn’t believe what they were seeing:
Although the South Korean media has widely reported the incident, Fuji TV notes that one Korean newspaper criticized the Japanese media for not censoring the faces of the fans.
This isn’t the first time that Japanese soccer players have faced ugly disaster-related taunts from non-Japanese fans. In August, Belgian soccer fans taunted a Japanese goalkeeper with a “Fukushima” chant. The team later apologized and was forced to pay a fine.