Zhang Zhehan says sayonara to his entertainment career

Zhang Zhehan makes it onto the censors’ blacklist in less than 48 hours.

Zhang Zhehan, a breakthrough star thanks to Word of Honor, is set to say goodbye to a career in the entertainment industry after previous Instagram posts showing him posing inside the controversial Yasukuni Shrine and attending a friend’s wedding at Nogi Shrine were shared online.

The actor was supposed to star in military film Formed Police Unit 维和防暴队, but it seems like the producers will either edit the character out of the story or find an actor to replace him.

37 thoughts on “Zhang Zhehan says sayonara to his entertainment career

  1. I think China and South Korea will not forgive any of their celebrities who visited Yasukuni shrine, ignorance or not. Just the past few days both Chinese & South Korean governments made strong statements against Japanese Minister of Defence’s
    visit to Yasukuni shrine. This has been a very sensitive issue for many years. I first heard about this back in 2006 and it always makes the news every single year. Not to mention the issue of comfort women. ZZH was either ignorant or naive or he downplayed the significance of his actions as a Chinese celebrity. I read on another site that he was warned by his fans back then after posting these photos. To be human is to err. I hope he can move on with his life, even if he’s no longer in the entertainment industry.

    • Some Japanese politicians must eat this up. Heading over to that shrine is an easy and no-skin-off-one’s-back way to show your people that you are strong and you stand up to foreign bullies.

      Instead of, “Look, some Chinese person visited so it shows that Chinese people really don’t care about this.”, it’s probably more like “See how they protest, denounce, scream and yell but the only thing they can do is take their frustrations out on their own people.”

      For some reason, ZZH’s selfies outside the shrine feel disrespectful to me. If I were a believer and that place sacred to me, I would think what has happened to him is Kami using his own people to punish him.

    • I’m pretty sure it is’nt true and if anyone is going to say where is the proof there is also no proof he did definitely do it.

  2. Zhan An 斩鞍, author of the novel being adapted into the Novoland drama “The Princess from Plateau” 九州朱颜记, had his social media accounts pulled for Weibo comments under coverage from Xinhua’s 半月谈 in which he questioned why the Shrine should be off-limits. (He later elaborated that a visit could serve to educate young Japanophiles about the cruel history of the country, but the impression that he was unpatriotically defending Zhang’s visit had already taken hold.) Show producers released a statement distancing them from the author and threatening legal action against him for any losses they suffer as a result of this flap.

    • Cancel culture ahoy!
      ZZH condemned by Chinese Art Association quicker than Kris Wu, who is facing criminal charges.

      • The Kris Wu thing has to follow due process eg investigation, collect evidence, etc. With ZZH the evidence is already there in terms of photos taken by ZZH himself, previously posted on his account by ZZH himself.

    • Japan and China had long and cordial historical ties until ww2. Chinese only hates rightist Japanese who deny their war atrocities in China

  3. This is getting too ridiculous. What he did was dumb af. But losing one’s entire career over this is too extreme. It was just a stupid mistake, not criminal like what some other celebrities did. Hopefully, he keeps a low profile then make a comeback in the future.

    • Nvm, according to recent news, his shows are being removed. And state media referred to him as a “bad artist”. His career is over..

      • Not that I watch more than a total of couple eps of his dramas. Except for “Nirvana in Fire”, in which he has about 4 min screen time according to Chinese netizens. That’s why he looked kind of familiar when I tried “Word of Honor” ep 1.

        Almost a day after this “news”, his starring dramas (?) on Youku are still there, including “Word of Honor”.

        What’s the holdup? “The Guardian” was taken down suddenly without notice surprising/confusing many, for re-editing.

        As for his career, who knows?

        • Just came out a few hours ago:


          • People seems to forget that China is a comunist, not democratic nation. The party rules the life of everyone. The suposed liberty of the artist we see and like is nonexistent just a facade to the rest of the worid. He made a mistake, let him rectify, but no punishment like the dictatorial tirany it is. Sorry if anyone outthere thought otherwise. Things are what they are. That” the facts.

            • ZZH only lost his job. He’s not going to prison or anything like that. He’s still free to find work outside of acting.

              Like another poster mentioned, if a South Korean actor did the same, he would get kicked out of South Korea’s showbiz as well.

              Generally speaking, businesses usually have a clause in their employment contract if the employee gets himself/herself into a scandal that damages the company itself, he/she can be fired right away.

              I mean, yeah, the punishment sucks. But there will always be consequences for one’s actions. As a celebrity, he should have known and done better. Most rational people would not get involved with political/historical issues. ZZH just really screwed up here..

            • Top-tier celebrities are well paid with more privileges and idolized by impressionable young people. The Chinese government and public expect them to conduct themselves as worthy role models. I doubt the cancelled Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and many others will ever have the freedom to return to Hollywood.

  4. Rumors have it that his suing, or intent to sue, one of his fan club leaders caused the person to release “old” damaging materials.

    I know about that part of Chinese history but don’t know anything about those Japanese shrines because most textbook history tend to contain selective pieces of information without much overall wide/multi-side perspective. Luckily it’s unlikely I’ll ever visit Japan so will avoid such “landmines”.

    And then, there are living people whom all patriotic Chinese people should know to avoid.

    With increasing internet regulatory pressure in the past few years and people keep losing what they enjoy, Chinese netizens have become like powder kegs. Everyone demands the government to censor/control/regulate/blacklist whatever or whomever they don’t like.

    • Yikes. I feel like its an extreme version of cancel culture in the western world. I also think he should be given a second chance and not be relegated to the same category as the other two because one seems like an ignorance of history vs. The two with serious moral and maybe even criminal issues? Am I missing something?

      • State media only chastised him for ignorance, short of official calls to blacklist.

        Self-proclaimed patriotic keyboard heroes, bots and cybertroopers calling him “Japan lover” (?) and traitor are demanding him to be blacklisted. They don’t believe the ignorance excuse saying every single Chinese person would know. (Some are then “shocked, really shocked” that there are actually those who don’t know.) Some comments seem to be more about his being “too ugly” to deserve fame than anything else.

        He has been dropped by all companies.

        “Scavengers fighting over carcasses” is how I see these recent developments.

        • Zhao Lixin hasn’t been back since he got blacklisted for making politically insensitive comments a few years ago. On the other hand though, Zhang Zhehan’s boss Zhao Wei has been involved in similar scandals, and she’s doing just fine. We’ll see what happens after a year.

          • Netizens are saying that she was lucky her incident happened before Chinese online “culture” has “advanced” to this point.

      • I also believe that people who truly reflect and feel remorse should be able to come back as long as they haven’t committed severe crimes. But also…these actors make massive amounts of money. It’s not like he’s going to destitute and living off of scraps, so I struggle to empathize.

        I remain extremely confused about ZZH’s state of mind though. As a Chinese person, he would have to have just woken up from a coma (the type where you are completely unconscious and can’t hear people talking around you) to not know about the Yasukuni Shrine. I can maybe see the wedding + photo with the right wing Japanese politicians as an accident, but the man is fluent in Japanese–he has to know the misinformation being spread at the shrine. Also, all of this combined with that photo of him doing the nazi salute is just too many coincidences to ignore.

        • All the contracts that got cancelled might have a moral clause that requires him to compensate these companies if the situation fits.

          He was not well-known prior to “Word of Honor”. Probably didn’t take much salary from it as an exchange for greater exposure. Given that his fame hasn’t been long, can’t say how much money he actually made.

          Don’t know the general sentiment toward Nazis in China. If I remember correctly, a rather high-up Nazi officer helped some people in Nanjing during Japanese massacre. There is/was a statue of him? On the other side, Japanese left alone European Jewish refugees in Shanghai against Nazi Germany’s wishes.

          For me, at least, it’s not hard to avoid knowing what “everyone else knows”. For instance, I’ve come to know, just within this past year, cancel/woke culture as well as Britney Spears conservatorship and the events that led up to it.

          • From what I understand, ZZH reached out to the companies and let them know that they could drop him without paying him a fee (which was very professional of him to do), so he was hardly penalized for that. Zheng Shuang was out here getting paid $300k a DAY, so although ZZH is not at her level, I promise you we do not need to worry about his finances.

            You are probably referring to John Rabe–he’s the Nazi who helped save 200k people during the Rape of Nanking. There’s a statue of him in Nanjing and people are very grateful. However, people in China know that the Nazis were bad. Like…that’s not up for debate. Up to today I also thought it was generally accepted that Class A War Criminals were bad and shouldn’t be venerated as gods and worshipped in the Yasukuni Shrine, but I guess my standards for people were too high.

        • I agree about the not empathising part and that this will probably not cause him to have to live on the streets etc.
          I agree with your comment about those who truly reflect and feel remorse being able to come back. I guess what kind of frightens me is that it feels like the popular culture is that those who are role models need to be super-human and perfect, they can’t make any sort of mistakes in their lives. I guess with that thought, I choose to believe that he is truthful in saying that he was ignorant and genuinely did not know the history behind the location (I’ve seen comments from others arguing about signage, but I don’t know what to say because I’ve never been or seen the place). And not everyone may have been good at history in school.

          I feel like it would be a better lesson for him and everyone if he were educated on the matter and if he is truly remorseful and becomes an ambassador of this period of history or something and educate everyone on the shrines?
          Sorry, I’m just rambling now. All this to say that of all the scandals I’ve seen in recent years in c-ent, this one seems

            • People found a photo of him doing what looks like the nazi salute while holding a cup of coffee/milk tea in the other hand. There is honestly a chance that it was a coincidence and he came up with a random pose that happened to look like the nazi salute, but coupled with all the imperialist Japan stuff, it just makes people think that he is just an Axis Powers sympathizer.

              • I see, I see. Thank you for the explanation!
                Imperialist Japan stuff meaning the shrine photos?
                He’s seems either to be a sympathizer or just extremely unlucky and/or with someone targeting him

                  • Sorry, accidentally pressed too early. He only recommended as reading material to his fans two books on shrines, which would include Yasukuni. So his ‘ignorance’ card doesnt seem to hold well, unless he doesnt read his own recommendations?! I think it’s more than just the wedding photo and the ‘touristy’ thing.

  5. Damn it.
    That means we’ll probably never ever see Zhao Ge (we’ve been waiting for so long with hope and now this hope was cruelly crushed)
    Jeez, we’ve already lost 3 stars this years in Chinese entertainment, this is sad…

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