Chinese netizens fight back against ‘copying Korean Hanbok’ accusations on social media

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/5 17:28:40

Photo: screenshot of the tweet

The controversy concerning Chinese and Korean traditional costumes ignited by a hit Chinese web comic is still raging online and has encompassed even more people and companies, including a well-known Chinese scriptwriter and a Chinese game company. 

On Sunday, Chinese comic book artist Old Xian tweeted a drawing of four characters from his popular web comic dressed in traditional costumes, stirring up a fiery debate between Chinese and South Korean netizens about which country this kind of costume originated from.

Old Xian replied on Monday that his reference for the clothing, especially a wide brim black hat, was an ancient painting unearthed from the tomb of a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) prince that is currently in the Shandong Museum as well as some Chinese films taking place during the Ming.

However, even days after this statement, the controversy has not ended yet. And now a Chinese game company has been swept up in the storm after Chinese netizens have started a boycott  of it over virtual costumes in its online dress-up game Shining Nikki. 

The company had planned to launch a suit of traditional Korean clothing, or Hanbok, for South Korean users, but Chinese netizens became enraged when it was found one of the six clothing sets was actually from China's Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Also in the game, the characters wearing the Ming costume referred to themselves as subordinates of the South Korean players, which increased Chinese netizens' discomfort. 

"Why did the company not verify that the design of clothing was inspired by the style of the Ming Dynasty? Are they afraid to anger South Korean players? Please remember this is historical fact and that you are a Chinese company," one netizen commented on Sina Weibo.

The company has canceled the new clothing and apologized on Sina Weibo on Thursday, saying that a mistake had occurred during game development and that the company did not properly carry out its social responsibility as a Chinese enterprise.

Yu Zheng, a famous Chinese scriptwriter who produced the hit drama Story of Yanxi Palace, also got caught up in the controversy after the lead actor of his new drama Royal Feast, which is set during the Ming Dynasty, posted a set photo online.

In the photo, the actor can be seen playing the role of Zhu Zhanji, a Ming emperor, and wearing a hat that some South Korean netizens said was styled after traditional Korean clothing.

To show that the hat originated from the Ming Dynasty, Yu uploaded nine photos of historical materials on Instgram to show how the Chinese dynasty influenced traditional Korean wear.

Yu's act earned him numerous compliments on Chinese social media.

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