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Anti-Korean Manga Causes Controversy

posted on 2005-08-16 04:08 EDT
"Hating Things South Korean" an Instant Best Seller

Mainichi reports "Kenkanryu," a new manga whose title translates "Hating Things South Korean," has become a best seller in Japan and is causing controversy in a country already suffering from image problems with its Asian neighbors.

Despite anti-Japanese sentiment in Korea, Korean exports, particularly TV dramas, have become very popular in Japan in recent years.

Byon Jil-il, managing editor of the Tokyo-based "Korea Report," said that he isn't surprised by the manga's success, stating that "Kenkanryu" effectively "taps into" sentiments of resistance against the Korean cultural imports.

Kenkanryu tell the story of a Japanese student who becomes interested in Japan-Korea relations when the two countries co-host the 2002 World Cup of Soccer. The boy joins his university's history club and debates the two countries' past issues with Japanese born Koreans. He goes on to denounce the Japanese government's apparent weakness in the face of Korean demands related to Japan's 1910 annexation of Korea, comfort women and territorial disputes.

Several Japanese publishers refused to publish the manga before Shinyusha accepted. The initial print run of 30,000 copies sold quickly, and a second run of 70,000 more copies has been ordered.

Mainichi Shimbun, one of Japan's largest newspapers refuses to even carry advertisements for Kenkanryu.

Korea's three largest newspapers have already run editorial commentary condemning the manga, which went on sale July 26th.

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