Nakanishi Chiyori of HKT48 and a ‘Produce 48‘ contestant made news recently in Korea due to a video from 2014 in which he group visits Korea and she remarks at the airport that it smells like kimchi.
She was caught telling the members “It smells like kimchi” while one of the members said “It doesn’t smell like kimchi”
But Chiyori kept on making those excessive expressions saying it smells like kimchi
You can watch the video of the exchange in question here around 9:46.
As you know, I’m a big proponent that using culture/society as a shield against basic moral judgment is usually silliness. However, that doesn’t mean cultural/societal context is irrelevant, not by a long shot. And why Koreans take offense to stuff like what happened here appears to be one of those things many international netizens don’t seem to grasp because they lack context.
Japanese referencing kimchi in regards to Koreans is one of those things used when discriminating not only against Koreans in Korea but Koreans in Japan as well. It’s frequently associated with ultranationalists groups who are openly and loudly racist towards Koreans. Factor in that political relations between Japan and Korea are frequently contentious due to the past, and a Japanese person using that type of language against Korea is not a great look any way you cut it.
So I get the apologist claims that Korean netizens are trying to dig up any dirt they can on AKS contestants, that this is ultimately a two-second sequence, and that knowing Chiyori’s personality it’s far more likely she was just trying to make a lame joke than trying to echo right-wing sentiment. They’re not necessarily wrong either. However, lecturing Koreans on why they should just get over it is comically misguided, as it’s completely reasonable for them to read this as insulting, or worse it may have been something they heard from Japanese while being discriminated against.
As you may know, I’m one of Chiyori’s supporters due to the fact that she’s quite hilarious and has made ‘Produce 48’ better for viewers, and up until now she seems to have been getting on well in Korea, but this is one of those things that could use an explanation and apology.
Other than that, I gotta say, watching Koreaboos and Weeaboos operate is fascinating. Weeaboos effectively serve as apologists for Japan’s past, siding with ultranationalists on the right for … some reason. Meanwhile, Koreaboos read right-wing nationalist netizen comments and start parroting that shit as well. I’m not saying this unfolding is a GOOD thing, I’m saying it’s just interesting as hell (and entertaining in a ‘well a meteor ending humanity wouldn’t be the worst thing’ way). Soft power is real, bitches.
I knew ‘Produce 48’ was a grand idea.