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Hetalia Anime causes a storm in South Korea

Date: 2009 January 26 17:16

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The Daily Yomiuri are currently running an article about Hetalia causing an uproar among South Koreans.

The show was set to be broadcast on Japanese satellite channel Kids Station on January 24th 2009. However on January 16th the station cancelled their plans to run the show.

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The article states that:
"The Hetalia production committee said the sudden cancellation was decided at the "convenience of the broadcaster," and the animation channel said the decision was made "due to various circumstances," giving no detailed explanation. But according to prevailing views on the Internet, the decision was made in consideration of protests against the content of Hetalia."

The article compares the show to OS-tan, but with anthropomorphic countries.

"Main characters include Italy, depicted as a nation that is weak in war but is bright and adorable and loves food and women. Germany is a serious man who loves rules, while Japan is infatuated with European nations. The United States is a country who likes to always be No. 1 and Britain is a snobbish man."

Hetalia is a combination of hetare, the Japanese word meaning a sense of helplessness or uselessness and Italia. It originally started as a webcomic before becoming a published manga.

South Koreans internet users started a petition against the anime show after production was announced. They felt the South Korean character was a negative stereotype.

"In the manga, South Korea is depicted as a man who 'is weak before the United States, calls China his elder brother and hates Japan.'"

The show was cancelled immediately after the petition was reported in Japan.

The article states that Japan's otaku culture often changes inanimate subjects into cute moe characters and that Hetalia should be seen in this light.

The article then goes to mention caution with depicting nations or ethnic groups, mentioning the Danish News paper which produced a cartoon that offended many Muslims.

The Daily Yomiuri staff writer concludes that Hetalia Axis Powers does have an appeal, especially the character of Chibitalia, but that it may be better to limit the distribution to inside of Japanese shores.

Source: Daily Yomiuri
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