A few people on staff have been monitoring a disturbing trend for a while now, but it never became so apparent as it did when the controversy over 2PM‘s Nichkhun‘s Thai commercial was covered by both allkpop and Soompi.
We were waiting for the story to be published ever since we saw it hit the top of the Korean portal sites, and we agreed that the difference in coverage between allkpop and Soompi lies in Soompi’s preference to publish articles with anti-Japanese sentiments.
allkpop: “JYPE responds to Nichkhun’s controversial Thai CF”
Soompi: “Anti-Korean Fans Call 2PM’s Nichkhun Pro-Japanese over CG Mishap”
allkpop’s story primarily revolves around JYP Entertainment clearing up a misunderstanding involving a CF aired in Thailand starring 2PM’s Nichkhun.
Soompi’s story, on the other hand, focuses on what Japanese nationalists think about the CF aired in Thailand, and revolves around them saying that 2PM’s Nichkhun supports (Imperial) Japan.
Let’s start by dissecting the opening lines:
allkpop: “Some controversy has sparked up around a CF that 2PM‘s Nichkhun filmed for a Thai beverage company, the CF has received some negative remarks online.”
Standard for an article regarding a controversy.
Soompi: “2PM’s Nichkhun has been involved in an anti-Korean controversy after his recent drink commercial in Thailand emerged as containing pro-Japanese sentiment. In the commercial, Nichkhun speaks a line in Japanese after performing in front of a screen that shows Japan’s ‘Rising Sun Flag’, which is perceived as offensive in a lot of Asian countries for its association with Japanese Imperialism. Some of the extreme anti-Korean netizens in Japan are even reported to have mocked Nichkhun by calling him, ‘A K-Pop star trying to be Japanese in Thailand.’”
Why would you even take this angle? Besides the fact that it’s irrelevant what Japanese people or Japanese nationalists think about this, it doesn’t reflect well on 2PM’s Nichkhun to immediately start off by involving his name with an “anti-Korean controversy”, especially when he’s not Korean himself.
It’s just pointless all around.
allkpop: “The controversy in the advertisement is during a segment where Nichkhun appears to be dancing in front of a ‘Rising Sun’ Imperial Japanese war flag.
The ‘Rising Sun’ flag is the military war flag of Japan, and was ‘heavily used during the colonization of East Asia in the first-half of the 20th century, it is seen offensive to countries that were under control of Japan at that time, especially because of the war crimes that were committed.’ The ‘Rising Sun’ flag is one that is considered extremely taboo in both China & Korea.
As a Hallyu star representing Korea, the image of Nichkhun dancing in front of what looked like a Rising Sun flag came across as inappropriate and offensive to some viewers.”
A correct explanation as to why the commercial was considered offensive and why it was a controversy.
Soompi: “On February 21, a Japanese anti-Korean site posted the 46-second video of Nichkhun’s commercial under the title, ‘Thai CF starring Hallyu star enjoys great popularity, but in Japanese, laugh out loud.’
In the video, at the 30-second mark, Nichkhun does say a line in Japanese which roughly translates to ‘Let’s enjoy the moment with me!’ In the scene that immediately follows, Nichkhun dances on a stage that has the controversial Japanese ‘Rising Sun Flag’ in the back screen. The use of the ‘Rising Sun Flag is considered seriously offensive in Korea since it represents the Japanese military during World War II and the war crimes they performed.”
Once again focusing on Japan, but how is this a Japanese story at all?
Japan didn’t make the commercial, Japanese idols weren’t involved with the commercial, and seemingly everybody except a cell of Japanese nationalists didn’t even know this issue existed, yet 75% of Soompi’s article revolves around Japanese nationalist netizens talking about the commercial? The fuck?
I mean they hardly spend any time talking about the commercial itself, how it relates to Korea, or how it relates to 2PM’s Nichkhun, which were the three parties actually involved in this controversy.
Needless to say, dragging Japan into this is a stretch, though I suppose it shouldn’t surprise anybody given the recent tone of Soompi’s articles.
Like with Kim Tae Hee in the “Kim Tae Hee’s Japanese CF Event Cancelled Due to Anti-Korean Sentiment?” article.
The current question being asked is “What happened to the CF Event that got cancelled?” On February 21, Kim Tae Hee was supposed to have a CF event which would basically have been a press conference, but it got cancelled. The cancellation occurred just one day before the actual event on February 20!
The Japanes sports newspaper “Sponichi” said the event got cancelled because of hateful comments on internet community boards. The negative comments had issue with Kim Tae Hee being used as a CF model. “Sponichi” also reported that Japanese Netizens are still continuing to attack Kim Tae Hee.
So many details! I am overwhelmed by the importance of this.
Or with Jang Geun Suk in the “Jang Geun Suk Expresses his Frustration Regarding Alleged Sexual Comment” article.
On February 21, Jang Geun Suk tweeted, “This is it!” along with a photo of a large plate full of sushi, expressing his frustration over the issue. Shortly after, he tweeted, “끝! おわり! finish!” (finsh in Korean, Japanese, and English) and uploaded another photo, this time of himself glaring into the camera.
Obviously Jang Geun Suk tweeting about sushi is a wonderful reason to connect it to a past story involving negativity and Japan.
I bring this up because apparently they find a ton of articles on Japan hating on Korea, yet I don’t see these news items anywhere else. I don’t see Tokyograph or tokyohive talking about it, nor do I see blogs like Arama They Didn’t or Omona They Didn’t latching on to it. In short, I don’t see any evidence these specific articles with an anti-Japan slant were major issues in Japan or Korea at all, so somebody has to be digging for this shit.
The hilarious part is that nobody can prove Soompi right or wrong, because of course nobody knows what article they are translating or who the commenters are since Soompi doesn’t cite any of their sources … ever.
Look, allkpop deserves to be held accountable for a lot of things, but at least they adjusted and included sources at the bottom of their articles years ago. As a consequence, they are open to people double checking their shit and calling them out on errors, but that should be standard operating procedure. Soompi? Just take our word for it, bro!
The problem with that, of course, is that Soompi can make up anything they want if so inclined.
Besides, it’s not as if this anti-Japan issue is Soompi’s first foray down this road either, as I previously addressed one of their editorials on the matter.
Anyway, point being, Soompi’s motivation in this seems to be aimed at creating a more reactionary and bombastic story. How? Because anything involving Japanese and Korean relations will generate more commentary and views because of idiots like this:
Naturally, the problem is that the tactic represents horrid journalism and it slants news coverage by causing people to believe things are significant issues that actually aren’t to anybody but them and their readers.
Much like the relentless hyping of K-pop that both sites use to indirectly pump up the loyalty of their consumers to their own respective sites, the problem with the tactic is that it creates a false sense of reality.
The main issue isn’t whether Soompi is anti-Japan or anti-Japanese though, the primary concern is that a mainstream media outlet is more occupied with making their articles as controversial as possible to draw attention than actually focusing on reporting the reality of the situations at hand.
Look, it’s obvious to everybody that Japan and Korea have a rocky relationship, and as I’ve stated before in regards to Japanese/Korean netizens fighting over stupid shit, they generally end up proving to the world that they are both dumb as fuck.
Would it surprise me if certain Japanese netizens hate Korea? Absolutely not, since these groups do exist. However, it’s odd that Soompi only chooses to highlight negative comments stolen from the dregs of the Internet, as their actions are akin to writing an article saying Americans hate Asians and then pulling quotes from a KKK message board or something. It’s like, yes, those people exist, but if it’s not anywhere near mainstream, what relevance does it have?
Ironically enough, this “Japanese are hating on the Hallyu Wave” trend on Soompi runs counter to the “Japanese love everything Hallyu Wave” bit they attempt to run concurrently.
After all, how can Japanese people hate Korea and K-pop so much when Soompi runs trumped up article after trumped up article about how K-pop is taking over Japan?
On one hand, Soompi wants readers to believe that Japanese resent K-pop, harass Korean celebrities, and hate Koreans. Yet at the same time, they want to make clear that Japanese buy K-pop in droves, worship Korean celebrities, and that Korean pop culture is taking over the Japanese mainstream.
Geez Soompi, at least pick a single narrative if you’re going to write fictional tales instead of telling the truth. Trying to run with clashing narratives just makes it too easy to point out the bullshit.
Guess propaganda isn’t as easy as it seems.