Two Japanese virtual YouTubers (VTubers) were suspended by their employers on Sunday after mentioning Taiwan and showing the national flag during a livestream, stoking controversy that was inflamed further when it was discovered that their management company issued distinct apologies in Japanese and Mandarin.
While reading YouTube analytics over livestream on Thursday and Friday last week, Hololive VTubers Kiryu Coco and Akai Haato named Taiwan as contributing a high percentage of viewers.
Users on the Chinese video streaming platform Bilibili were quick to criticize the two and report their accounts, prompting Hololive’s parent company, Cover Corp, to suspend the streamers for three weeks until Oct. 19.
Photo: screengrab from YouTube
In its Japanese statement, which was also translated into English, Cover cited “divulging confidential YouTube channel analytics information” and “using said data for their own purposes” as reasons for the suspensions, in addition to making statements “that were insensitive to residents of certain regions.”
It also vowed to improve “compliance training” for its talent, although it added that it did not find either to have acted deliberately.
The firm posted a separate statement in simplified Chinese on Hololive’s Bilibili channel in addition to a translation of the original statement apologizing for its “incorrect content” and adding that the incident does not reflect the views of the company.
“Cover has always respected Chinese sovereignty and territory ... and resolutely supports the one China principle,” the statement said.
The absence of “one China” from the Japanese version did not escape the attention of Chinese Internet users, who have left more than 1.8 million comments on the two statements and are calling for a boycott of the company’s other channels.
Cover’s suspension of the entertainers angered other netizens, who denounced the company via comments and memes.
“So you really want to give up the rest of the world for China’s 0.02 percent market share? That’s just absurd,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Some threads discussing the incident on the official r/Hololive subreddit were removed, drawing more anger from fans.
The videos have been taken down from YouTube and Bilibili.
Hololive is one of the biggest agencies specializing in VTubers, or streamers who adopt a character persona and use an animated avatar instead of a video feed.
The company in November last year opened an account on Bilibili, where it has more than 4 million fans, Hololive said.
TAIPEI REACTIONS: Joanne Ou decried China’s ‘gangster diplomacy,’ while MOFA said its Fiji counterpart dealt fairly with the incident and protected the trade office’s rights The world should denounce the actions of Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji against a Taiwanese diplomat during a National Day celebration in Suva, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday as it thanked the Fijian government for its help after the Oct. 8 incident. Two Chinese diplomats tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Oct. 8, and a Taiwanese diplomat who tried to stop them taking photographs suffered a head injury. MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing that the ministry
The US, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Monday, the US Seventh Fleet announced yesterday. It was their fifth joint operations this year in the fleet’s area of operations, it said in a statement. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain joined the JS Kirisame of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Arunta. The Arunta’s commanding officer, Commander Troy Duggan, said that Australia was continuing to build on its already close relationship with Japan and the US. “This activity is a valuable and important opportunity for all three nations,”
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
Seabed waste off the west coast is 1.5 times higher than the global average, with the mouth of the Tamsui River (淡水河) nearly 90 times dirtier, the environmental consultancy IndigoWaters (澄洋環境顧問) said yesterday. The firm in September last year began collaborating with local oceanographers on Taiwan’s first survey of seabed waste off the west coast, collecting 6,000 samples from near the mouths of eight rivers and conducting 215 inspections. Of the samples, 83.3 percent were found to contain trash, the group said. Based on the survey, every square kilometer of seabed had about 121,074 pieces of trash weighing 102kg, IndigoWaters chief executive Yen