K-pop rookie girl group NewJeans has faced malicious comments from Chinese online users after promoting Korea’s traditional paper “hanji” and its papermaking technique.
Chinese users claim “cultural appropriation” by saying Korea is trying to “steal” its traditional culture because China invented paper, while Korean users counter the claim by saying the group did not claim paper originated in Korea but simply talked about Korea’s own papermaking tradition.
The girl group appeared in the hanji promotion video that was organized by the Korea Craft & Design Foundation, an affiliate of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and posted on the foundation’s YouTube channel on Friday.
In the 13-minute video, the five members, clad in traditional Korean dress or “hanbok,” talked about the distinct features of hanji, which is made with the inner bark of the mulberry tree, such as its durability, long history of more than 1,300 years, and its use in restoring cultural assets worldwide, including at the Louvre. They also experienced hanji making with hanji expert Ahn Chi-yong.
After the experience, the members said that they’ve learned more about the traditional paper, expressing hope that people will use hanji more often in everyday life.
The promotional video, however, drew a flood of negative comments from Chinese online users on NewJeans’ social network channels for “cultural appropriation.” 토토사이트
Saying that papermaking originated in China, they claimed that Koreans are trying to steal China’s traditions. “You Koreans never studied history and so have a low understanding of it,” one user wrote. “Why do Koreans always steal?” another posted, while a different user wrote, “Koreans earlier stole China’s traditional knotting, they are now stealing papermaking, and maybe they will steal Chinese characters next time.”