Tiffany's Japanese Flag Scandal: Despite Second Apology, Opinions Among Netizens Mixed -- Is The Career Of Girls' Generation K-Pop Idol Over?

On Sunday, August 14, Stephanie Hwang -- better known as Tiffany of the popular K-pop girl group So Nyeo Shi Dae (SNSD) or Girls' Generation -- was suddenly under fire by Korean netizens for a couple of posts she uploaded on her social media accounts. The reason why they were angry with Tiffany was because she utilized Japanese emoticons, something which makes sense given the fact that she was performing in Tokyo at the time. Unfortunately, the use of said Japanese emoticons were seen as insensitive given that the next day was Korea's National Liberation Day.

Tiffany quickly hand-penned a sincere apology and uploaded it on her Instagram. Unfortunately, Tiffany suffered for her mistake first as she was blasted by a news anchor followed by netizens calling for her removal from Unnies' Slam Dunk. Apparently, Tiffany is experiencing even more suffering and hand-penned another sincere apology. The opinions of netizens after reading the second apology was mixed. With no resolution in sight, one question must be asked: Is Tiffany's career over?

At this moment, Tiffany is currently reflecting on her actions as she has stayed out of the public eye. Apparently, her transgression was so tantamount that there are reports that the other members of Girls' Generation, and even Jessica Jung, are remaining silent on the matter, as reported by AllKpop. The former makes sense since Tiffany is still one of their members, but the latter is peculiar since Jessica technically has nothing to do with Girls' Generation ever since she was "forced out" back in 2014. Nevertheless, Tiffany is reflecting so much that she will not even attend SM Entertainment's 20th Anniversary Celebration, as reported by Korean outlet Sports Chosun.

"Tiffany, who recently stirred up controversy with her SNS posts regarding the rising sun flag, will not be attending SM Entertainment's 20th anniversary trip to Hawaii."
Upon reflection, Tiffany wrote a second apology letter and uploaded it to her Instagram account on Friday, August 26. Just like the first apology, it was handwritten. This time, however, the letter was far more intricate and intimate as if Tiffany were exposing her soul.
It should also be noted that the second apology letter might have been uploaded because many Korean netizens were unsatisfied with the first. Nevertheless, the letter written in Hangul is translated below.
"Hello, this is Tiffany.

On top of making such a big mistake, I was unable to muster the courage to give a sincere apology for 10 days after I wrote you all, who I've disappointed and hurt, a lacking apology letter.

Firstly, I ask for your forgiveness for being late with a fearful and trembling heart. I'll do my best to deliver a sincere apology to you and what I should've given earlier on the day I made a big mistake.

On the National Liberation Day of Korea, I made the mistake of posting a design that included the Rising Sun Flag to social media. I've made a mistake that should not have been made when thinking of the meaning of Independence Day.

As many people have already warned me, I was not knowledgeable about the history of the Rising Sun Flag, and I was not sensitive to the history of that pain. I'm very sorry for breaking your hearts due to my horribleness and carelessness. I bow my head in apology to those who believed in me and cheered me on.

I've been able to do music because of your unchanging support and love until now, which I'm thankful for. However, despite being loved by you all for so long, I did not know basic Korean history well. I'm very embarrassed that I did not study in more detail.

Though I've always been thankful and felt pride as a singer who spreads Korean culture, I've once again realized how much more I need to feel responsibility and study. I won't forget that responsibility as someone in the public eye.

I once again would like to extend my apologetic heart for causing concern on Independence Day because of the mistake I made. After realizing my mistake, the quick apology I wrote at the airport was not careful, and I apologize again for how lacking it was. I've spent each day regretting and feeling sorry for losing the chance to give a sincere apology. It's late, but I earnestly hope my sincerity is delivered.

This incident has let me know what's most important. I'll do my best to study and learn the things that are more important than singing and dancing from now on.

Thank you very much for reading my long, late letter."

The second apology letter is receiving mixed reviews among Korean netizens. Some are encouraging Tiffany with positive comments, claiming her second apology shows she is taking responsibility for her mistake and sending her encouragement and hope for the future. Unfortunately, the positive comments are mostly from Sones (official fan club of Girls' Generation) and Fanytastic (official fan club of Tiffany). For the general K-pop community, they are not accepting it. With that in mind, we must ask if Tiffany's career as a K-pop idol for Girls' Generation is possibly over?

Park Bom, 2NE1, K-pop, YG Entertainment, 2014 Drug Scandal
Park Bom, a member of 2NE1, was in a drug scandal in 2014 for supposedly "smuggling" amphetamines, which are illegal in South Korea, into the country. Two years later, she is still in reflection, but she is still a part of 2NE1. [Photo by Kin Cheung/AP Images]The answer to the aforementioned question is most likely "no" at the moment. Though Korean netizens are all up in arms over the matter, they usually will not demand anyone's livelihood to be cut off unless said transgression is really bad (stealing, murder, etc.). Look at Park Bom -- better known simply as Bom of 2NE1 -- for example. A couple of years ago, Bom was busted for "smuggling" amphetamines, a controlled substance illegal in South Korea, into the country. Though the details of the matter reveal an honest mistake in which the amphetamines were legally prescribed to Bom in the United States and were shipped to South Korea for her well-being without prior knowledge of it being a banned substance, Korean netizens crucified her nonetheless.

Two years after the drug scandal, Bom is still in reflection (with the exception of certain appearances like at the Mnet Asian Music Awards 2015), and Korean netizens are still getting on her case, but she is still signed to YG Entertainment and a member of 2NE1.

Relating Bom's situation to Tiffany, the K-pop idol of Girls' Generation might be in reflection for a long time, but she will most likely remain with SM Entertainment. The only discerned reason for Tiffany's removal from Girls' Generation and SM Entertainment would be if the situation got so out of control that the careers of the other seven members of Girls' Generation were affected, especially Taeyeon who has a successful solo career now. Besides that, Tiffany, Sones, and Fanytastics will have to wait until the dark cloud made from the Japanese flag controversy passes by.

[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]