Korean Protests Call for Hetalia Anime's Cancellation (Update 2)
posted on by Egan Loo
A number of online Korean protestors are calling for the cancellation of the upcoming Hetalia - Axis Powers anime series, although the anime's Japanese television channel insists that the anime does not have the controversial Korean character from the original manga. The "cynical gag" story takes the stereotypical characteristics of about 20 countries and regions, and anthropomorphizes them as (mostly) bishōnen characters. The protestors say that part of the story, which re-imagines various historical eras but focuses mainly on the World Wars, is insulting to Koreans. As of Monday, one portal site has collected 10,000 names in protest.
Kids Station, a cable television channel aimed at children, issued the following statement: "[Kids Station] was unaware of the criticism in Korea. However, a Korean character does not appear in the anime version." The series of five-minute weekly anime shorts is slated to premiere on the channel on January 25.
The creator of the original manga, Hidekaz Himaruya, is a 23-year-old design student and manga artist living in New York. After the web-posted manga gained popularity, Gentosha Comics, Inc. printed them into volumes and said the manga sold over 500,000 copies.
Image © 2008 Himaruya Hidekaz/Gentosha Comics, Inc.
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun
Update: The Yomiuri Shimbun paper posted the full, seven-paragraph article on its website. The Yahoo! Japan News website re-distributed a shorter version of the Yomiuri Shimbun article that does not include the last three paragraphs. Those last three paragraphs include the statement about one portal site that has collected 10,000 names and Kids Station's statement that the anime does not have the Korean character.
The image above, k_r2.gif, comes directly from Himaruya's website. It is the second of three GIF files for a particular comic strip. The full comic strip, with all three GIF files, is at the bottom of this page.
Update 2: The petition is located at the Daum portal site. As of January 14, it has over 15,000 unverified names.
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history