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Hate the Korean Wave 嫌韓流 혐한류

September 5th, 2005 . by Matt

korean wave
My new copy of Kenkanryu. Despite pre-ordering, it took awhile to get it. Luckily Kinokuniya was able to source it from their Malaysia store for me

I finally managed to get hold of the controversial comic ‘Kenkanryu’ (Hate the Korean Wave). Having just started reading, my initial impression is that it does not contain anything too radical. I will reserve final judgement about the comic until I have read it all (I will probably finish it in a few days).

Kenkanryu has been causing controversy all over the Korean net. Still, I doubt the authors of the articles have actually read the book because I had mine pre-ordered before it was released and became controversial, and I just recieved the comic today. There is also the usual debate about it on marmot, with Koreans and ethnic Koreans declaring the comic bad without even having read it.

I will update with my thoughts on it when I am finished.

korean wave

UPDATE: Finally finished reading Kenkanryu!

After reading the context of the title of the comic, it is apparent that ‘kenkanryu’ means ‘The Hate Korea Wave’, not ‘Hate the Korean Wave’. Here is my verdict – this comic does not contain any prejudice or racism against Koreans. There would be no problem in translating this comic into Korean.

The comic starts with a group of friends, the main one called ‘Kaname’, and the other main one whom happens to be a 4th generation zainichi Korean (Korean permanent resident in Japan), called ‘Kouichi’.

The plot is propelled forward by having the two main characters join different debating clubs. This allows the author to present the Korean arguments and the Japanese counter arguments on all manner of things, like the World Cup, Zainichi history, apologies and compensation, forced labor, forced military service, anti Japanese media, Hangul as the ‘worlds greatest inheritance’, Voting rights for non citizens, the annexation of Korea, the Takeshima/Dokdo problem, Koreans claiming Japanese culture, and Korean-Japanese friendship.

Much of what is written is already familiar to me, but the stuff about Zainichi history was particularly interesting, and I learned a lot. This is a good primer for people that want to know about Korean-Japanese issues.

The most controversial thing about this comic is the title. What the comic explains is that with the ‘Korean Wave’ making the Japanese more aware of Korea, its also creating a ‘Hate Korea Wave’ because some Japanese people have been exposed to outrageous Korean claims (like Kendo and Tea Ceremony is Korean, not Japanese), and have become aware that Korea is anti Japanese. While Korea used to simply be the closest country on the map, the Korean Wave has made people more aware of Korea, both the good things, and the bad things. Thus, a ‘Hate Korea Wave’ is taking place at the same time as the ‘Korea Wave’.

If you can get your hands on Kenkanryu, then I recommend it.


207 Responses to “Hate the Korean Wave 嫌韓流 혐한류”


  1. […] Initial review of Kenkanryu Kenkanryu in the New York Times A ‘final’ word on Kenkanryu A full copy of Kenkanryu, translated into Korean […]


  2. […] Initial post: Hate the Korean Wave (5 September 2005) […]

  3. comment number 3 by: Bboy_J

    I haven’t got time to read all the comments but still I was able to read some texts.

    Before I write anything, sorry for my bad grammer mistakes. Still learning…

    Here is the thing.
    I’m Korean student who is studying at Frankfurt International School. And I’m really suspicious about all these arguments about history. And hey, seriously, wts wrong with this Matt-Lover guy? Please don’t judge all koreans are like him (or her, possibly).

    Well, I think the problem is that both koreans and japanese people believe what they know is truth. Koreans say that Japanese are lying and Japanese say that Koreans are lying (Based on what I’ve experienced and read from this webpage).

    I would relly like to know which side is correct. And I doubt no one here will tell me the answer for it, because most of you are on Japanese’s side. But it really is interesting to find how Japanese people think about the book and all those history controversials.

  4. comment number 4 by: Matt

    Hi Bboy_J,

    I think the best way is not to trust what I say or anyone else says, but just go and read it for yourself. I provided the Korean version of the Manga here. Go and have a read.

  5. comment number 5 by: Bboy_J

    Hi Matt_

    Thanks for the manga you’ve uploaded. Can you tell me where did you find the Korean version of Manga? I would like to read a whole book.

    Im trying to stay neutral sided for this kind of issue (although it is hard… being korean…). But I think knowing information from both sides would be helpful for me. And this is great site to do so. I’ll keep visiting this infomation to furthur my knowledge.

    Just random question here:
    Is this sites object is to share information of japanese side?

  6. comment number 6 by: Matt

    Hi Bboy_J,

    The object of the site is not to present the Japanese opinion, but sometimes I use Japanese sources, especially in the information is available in English.

    In addition, Japanese people have a wide variety of opinions, so it would be impossible to present them all anyway. For example, on the Takeshima/Dokdo issue, there are a lot of Japanese people that would be willing to let the islands go. Unfortunately, that is impossible because it has become a focal point for anti-Japanese activism. Giving up the claim on Takeshima/Dokdo would probably cause Koreans to react negatively, as if Japan giving up Takeshima/Dokdo proves that Japan was wrong (and evil/bad/etc) all along.

    I don’t think there is any hope in the short or medium term for real Korea-Japan friendship. I think the best thing to hope for is a business like relationship. Friendship will not work as the Korean side will take friendship to mean that the Japan side must agree with them. The Korea-Japan friendship year, for example, was the worst for Korea-Japan relations in recent years.

    I think it is partially Japan’s (or the politicians, rather) fault as they don’t seem to have the cultural knowledge to deal with Koreans.


  7. […] post: Hate the Korean Wave (5 September […]