Concerns of South Korea Boycott of Japanese Products Extends to Butt Detective, Detective Conan Films

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

A battle over trade agreements has ignited a boycott in South Korea of Japanese products including anime films.

The Butt Detective anime film Eiga Oshiri Tantei: Curry Naru Jiken opened in South Korea on July 11 to lower than expected ticket sales. The film is based on a series of children's books by the author Troll. The books have sold well in the Korean market but the film adaptation was overwhelmed with negative consumer reviews asking theatergoers to skip the film.

Box Office Mojo shows the Butt Detective film ranking at #5 in South Korea for the July 12–14 week with US$640,708 earned on 561 screens. The following week the film was dropped to 203 screens and came in at #10 with an -81.3% drop in overall ticket earnings.

A film promotional firm in charge of promoting Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire told progressive newspaper The Hankyoreh that it was in an "awkward position" prior to the film opening on July 24. The company representative said, "There are comments on our message board suggesting that Koreans shouldn't go to see Conan because it's a Japanese anime. This is worrisome and makes us wary about promoting the film. I guess we'll have to see how things go after the film comes out."

Box Office Mojo shows the film ranking at #19 in South Korea for the July 19–21 week with US$22,813 earned on nine screens. The website does not have last week's results up yet. The Korean Film Council's box office site shows the film at #6 for the July 24-26 weekend with a total weekend gross of US$592,461 and 83,679 tickets sold at 576 screens. The film has earned US$1,369,664 in South Korea so far.

Comparatively last year's Conan film, Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer also opened at #6 and earned US$1,904,278 in its first week.

Japan placed export restrictions on chemicals, chemicals essential to the South Korean's tech business, on July 1. These restrictions included a new license application requirement for exporters that could take up to three months to process. Japan is also considering removing its Asian neighbor from its "white list" of countries thus jeopardizing South Korea's previous preferential trade agreements.

The trade war was sparked by Japan's accusations that South Korea's lack of oversight of hydrogen fluoride--sometimes used for weapon's development-- led to North Korea obtaining the chemical. South Korea denied these allegations.

South Korea's boycott of Japanese products have included fashion retailer UNIQLO, tourism, cars, and convenience stores.

Source: The Washington Post (Tom Le), Korea JoonAng Daily (Park Kwang-Soo, Kim Young-Joo), The Hankyoreh (Shin Min-jung, Yu Sun-hui) via Jonathan Cheng's Twitter account

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