Karina, the member of kpop group Aespa, found herself facing heavy criticism from Chinese fans after she recommended My Hero Academia anime on Bubble app on June 24, 2023.
Chinese fans flocked to her social media accounts and called her out for making a controversial recommendation and demanded an apology for hurting their sentiments, as the anime was banned in China.
The ban arises from the release of MHA chapter 259 in 2020, which introduced a new villain named Dr. Daruma Ujiko whose real name was “Maruta Shiga”.
The name “Maruta” (which translates to log) is a codeword used by Japanese army for test subjects of human experimentation during World War II (Unit 731), killing many Chinese and Korean soldiers.
“Pls, pls can you guys stand up? Do you guys need to have had experienced the 731 matter (unit 731), to know how cruel the incident was to China? We don’t need to persuade those who are still speaking up for Yoo Ji Min anymore either. Because they are already so insane to have thrown their own country aside. There’s no harm to yourself in learning more history. Because you’re not the one who went through 731. That is why you cannot imagine the situation that it was back then. I’m not either. I too, cannot imagine the pain they felt, but at least I respect the dark history that was 731. I’m sorry that china has people like you all – it’s too bad for china.“
“Chinese fans bought over 400,000 albums for you. Around 30000000 RMB, it calculates to over 500m KRW. Is this how you repay Chinese fans? You could’ve solved this matter through a single sentence on Bubble at the start of the matter. You left it alone up to today without a single care, so it resulted in a terrible result that cannot be undone.“
Following the sea of backlash, Karina took to Bubble to apologize to the fans on June 27, 2023, stating that she wasn’t aware of the controversy and that there wasn’t any ill intention in her recommendation.
“I found out that there was an issue with the anime I recommended. I think because the character’s name is different so I didn’t know that there was issues with it before. I did not recommend it with any intentions, so I hope there’s no misunderstandings. In the future, I’ll become a more careful Karina such that I can share more good information with MYs.“
After the introduction of Maruta Shiga in My Hero Academia manga, readers were furious at Kohei Horikoshi and issued an apology. The character’s name was then changed to Kyudai Garaki, and the manga was re-released with the new edit.