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“Stop Stealing Our Culture and Calling it Ancient Korean”

February 19th, 2007 . by Matt

Some of you may remember I posted a negative comment from a “Dokdo is Korean land” group on facebook. This time I found another group on facebook, this one demanding that Koreans stop appropriating other countries cultures and labeling it Korean.

stop stealing culture
stop stealing culture2

They go on to give a whole lot of examples and have plenty of members. Some of the members are angry Koreans that affirm that the stolen culture is Korean with comments like this –


I would say the most important of the 4 points there is number 3, the one about informing foreigners about the truth of the matter. Koreans are quite aggressive about spreading their point of view everywhere, so if it is not corrected, all these things will come to be popularly thought of as Korean.

Go and check it out for yourself.

105 Responses to ““Stop Stealing Our Culture and Calling it Ancient Korean””

  1. comment number 1 by: klobaltelekomm

    Greetings everyone,

    I’m somewhat new to this forum, as I’ve been following up on the posts and its subsequent comments for a short while now.

    I was particularly interested in this post because for one, I log on to Facebook a lot (just until my recent graduation I was still a college student); moreover, I’m also interested in Korean issues in general, since I’m also currently a native English instructor working in the ROK.

    I’m sure my words which I’m about to write have already been written elsewhere, but as a Chinese/Taiwanese-American, I naturally engendered some resentment at some of the outrageous claims made by Korean ultranationalists. But I want to stress the fact (well, stress my observation) that a lot of Koreans think and feel otherwise, and my students and co-workers are good examples.

    But I do agree with the purpose and aims of Occidentalism.org. Ultranationalists need to be countered. Furthermore, their (Korean ultranationalists) inferiority-complexes seriously need to be addressed urgently.

    I say this because while I was checking out the Facebook group brought to public attention by this post, I encountered another Facebook group “Korea’s Got Seoul”. At first, I thought, “Hey that’s cool,” because I personally hold Seoul to be an above-average city (I get a better vibe in Busan though). But then the description continued to say:

    “Face it, Seoul is better than Tokyo, and better than any of those polluted Chinese cities. Whether you want drinks, electronics, food, clothes, fun, or a great place to hang out, Seoul IS THE BEST….”

    This description was complemented with some comments like: “personally i been to shanghai and beijing and it sucked compare to seoul yeah things might be cheaper but the atmosphere was blah*** like its not even a city when u have to wear masks to just get around its called a DUMP and thats what Shanghai and Beijing is so…”

    “Korea’s Got Seoul”

    I mean, man, these people can hold Seoul to be their favorite city as much as they like, but why disparage and put down others and their homes? I know not everyone (and hopefully, not many) hold these nationalism/inferiority complex infused views, but I can see how more and more people, including me, are getting not just concerned, but ticked off.

  2. comment number 2 by: torren

    Hey guys, haven’t posted in a while and this caught my attention. This thread is pretty long so if I made errors in summarizing the posts, my apologies before hand.

    All I can say is that I visited S. Korea a few years ago, and most of what has been said on the facebook site, such as beliefs that Chinese characters were invented by Koreans, Confucious’ geneology, and even miso being labled as teongjan or w/e is quite inaccurate. I don’t really know much about taekwondo, though that it was based on karate, but I remember hearing from friends that it wasn’t the successor to traditional Korean martial arts, just that it was the most popularized and had the most money. Stores that I do see Korean’s running in Canada that have Japanese names have so far been only been with sushi stores, and I haven’t seen what has been suggested.

    You know jion, I used to believe a lot of this stuff a while back, but when I actually met a lot of korean’s in school and visited, I can only conclude that a large number of these claims seemed to come from hearsay, but I accept that you might have some experience which differs quite a bit from mine. However, I’m not denying all of the stuff, it’s pretty obvious that tech designs and such have been ripped, but that’s quite different from claiming it as Korean Heritage, and it’s ironic that it’s coming from Chinese students, since the same could be said about China.

    Also, one last note on that facebook site. I know that in high schools where there are a lot of asians, especially in suburbs, there is at times a lot of east asian racial division. The high school I was at in OAC, I recall the class being divided between the Chinese, Vietnamese and a small number of Japanese…I don’t even know how it ended up like this, but there were a lot of stupid history fights and insults daily. It was so petty, and I think the schools these kids are from are in a similar situation. Not quite the best material to base blog stuff on…

    Anywho, peace everyone :), and enough generalizations on people just by their race.

  3. comment number 3 by: jion999

    OK. Let me explain about that.
    Korea had been governed by Japan for 35 years. When Japan surrendered, all of Japanese was kicked out from Korea and Japanese factories of miso, shoyu(soy source), sake, rice fields, tea garden, etc were succeeded by Korean who was educated as Japanese. After the independence, Korean tried to have its own identity and started to fabricate the history of all of cultures which they succeeded from Japanese.
    If someone admits the Japanese origin, he must be criticized as “chinirupa” (traitor). So everybody tried to hide Japanese origin.
    It is difficult to explain to foreigners because all of evidences are written in Japanese. The history written in Korean is fabricated at all.
    That is the reason why I explained the fabricated history of Taekwondo fast.
    Taekwondo has become the international sports and there are many evidences in English. The old practitioners of Taekwondo in America still remember the old form of Taekwondo was exactly the same of karate’s.
    If you read the evidences I put on the above, you would understand the reason why Korean fabricated the history of Taekwondo and similar fabrications could happen in the other cultures also.

  4. comment number 4 by: jion999

    There is one interesting evidence about miso and shoyu written in English. The commercial share of Korean original kanjang and doenjang are very low. Korean top soy source company “sempyo” was established after succeeding Japanese factory just after independence.

    According to the 2001 national food consumption survey in Korea, amounts of commercial production for traditional meju, kanjang, doenjang, kochujang, and chunggukjang were 23,438 ton, 2503 ton, 26,223 ton, 111,695 ton and 2,630 ton, respectively. Traditional fermented kanjang product portion of total kanjang consisting of brewing kanjang, amino acid kanjang, and blended kanjang was only 1.4%, but traditional doenjang was 28% of total commercial doenjang production

  5. comment number 5 by: torren

    Hi jion, I think it was the wording that got me, I simply said that the two products were not labled the same or that it is said that miso is the same as doenjang. The history of the two I did not comment on…though I think most attribute it as being Chinese origin, even if Japanese style is used. It probably is due to the language barrier so no harm done. Also, many of the old practitioners say taekwondo is based off karate, the lesson seems to be known by many who are into martial arts. However, as I mentioned there is a language barrier, but when you say, “…why Korean fabricated the history…”, you should use the creator’s name or followers, generalizing a people is quite rude as if you meet more people, you will see that not all think alike. Anyway, still interesting links jion. Adios