Date
26 September 2017
Sun Yang called the Japanese national anthem unpleasant, sparking a storm of criticism from Chinese netizens who denounced his remarks as 'narrow-minded nationalism'. Photo: AFP
Sun Yang called the Japanese national anthem unpleasant, sparking a storm of criticism from Chinese netizens who denounced his remarks as 'narrow-minded nationalism'. Photo: AFP

Chinese blast own swim hero for Japan anthem slur

Chinese swimming champion Sun Yang is under fire from his own countrymen for controversial remarks about the Japanese national anthem after he shared the Asian Games gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay, RTHK reported.

Sun said it felt good to beat the Japanese, adding: “Frankly speaking, the Japanese national anthem is so unpleasant”.

The comment triggered a flood of criticism from Chinese netizens who called his remarks “narrow-minded nationalism”.

“People may have different views on whether the Japanese national anthem is pleasant or not. But the spirit of sports is respect and Sun’s remarks showed his narrow-minded nationalism,” one commenter said.

Others blamed “systematic failure” in breeding an athlete like Sun. “I’m ashamed of him,” another netizen said. “Go back to primary school.”

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, declined to comment.

Sun and his teammates beat the Japanese and Koreans in 3:13:47, a new Asian Games record, the report said.

The Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo, features the world’s oldest lyrics for a national anthem.

It is also one of the shortest with just 11 measures and 32 characters. Its lyrics are based on a waka poem written during the Heian period, sung to a melody composed during imperial times.

It symbolizes Japanese nationalism but is also controversial for celebrating the country’s imperialist and militaristic past.

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JZ/JP/RA

Freelance journalist

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