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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Is Anime Big in Korea?

korean anime the fake with the main character and other korean old men looking creepy with dry burnt forest background

People who have been to Japan and even those who dream of visiting the country one day, knew about its eccentric culture and way of living. The Land Of The Rising Sun exhibits many things one can't find anywhere else in the world. As such, many tourists storm the region, especially at peak seasons.

Apart from the inviting atmosphere, beautiful cities, and rich history, Anime and manga, as part of Japanese pop culture, dramatically contributes to the country's popularity. Thousands of animation became famous worldwide. A database launched in 2015 with catalog information on all media art included Japanese Anime, manga, video games, etc. The anime catalog contained over 9000 entries.

With plenty of anime out there, the fandom kept growing through generations. Looking at the current Google search trends, the queries for anime in different regions across the world are continuously breaking out.

In social media, it's plain to see that the interest of anime has dominated the United States, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Peru, Brazil, and many more. Surprisingly, many people in these areas embraced the Otaku tag and are ready to defend their beloved series or anime from haters.

But a few might want to check as to how other countries we did not mention above, deal with the anime craze, especially Korea, another region producing pop sensations. How do they see anime and how the industry popularized by Japan, fare in the Land of the Morning Calm.

It may sound like we're starting another death battle between K-drama or Kpop fans versus the anime fandom. But rest assured, this is for educational purposes only.

So let's start answering the bigger question that inspired this article: Is Anime Big In Korea?

Relationship Between Japan and South Korea

The two countries share a lot more in common than they think. Despite all the posturing, racism, and grudges that date back to over a hundred years ago, constant travel and continuous business are still pulling through between the two countries.

Ongoing trade wars remain an issue with the two countries, probably due to post-war grievances. However, these issues don't necessarily mean people from both countries no longer appreciate each other's art and culture. People from both countries fall in love with each other's culture, one of which is Japan's anime.

Has The Anime Culture Taken Root in South Korea?

Technically, Yes.

There is an existing anime culture in South Korea, and anime fandom in the region is continuously on the rise. A large chunk of Korean audience are young males.

One Piece, for example, has amassed a significant percentage of the audience from the Korean anime fandom. Although it is not hugely popular as it is in Japan, Koreans in their twenties would have watched an episode or at least heard of it.

Other well-known animes in Korea include Naruto, Dragonball, and Bleach, which are very popular among teenagers and young adults. However, even popular animes can get banned in Korea like Hetalia and Attack on Titan.

Koreans Are Very Conservative When It Comes To Anime

Koreans are generally conformists when it comes to Anime, so explicit animes are not accepted. South Korea's Supreme Court ruled that sexually suggestive illustrations of teens in animes or manga are at par with child abuse.

A court fined a man with a substantial amount of money due to charges of distributing images of mistreated young anime girls wearing school uniforms. The defendant has been previously found guilty for profiting from pornography for nearly three years. Due to these kinds of incidents, the Korean government passed legislation in 2014 that prohibited the possession of sexually suggestive images of child abuse.


Shirtless anime guy walking with strange red aura while wearing sexy bunny costume and other boys blush while watching him come over in Hetalia anime

South Korea doesn't exercise restraint when banning Anime they find offensive. Hetalia: Axis Powers is one example of an anime forbidden due to its portrayal of Korea. The anime personifies different countries during the 2nd world war and portrays them as cute guys. It follows a storyline that occurs during historical events, including the events of World War II.

Although the Anime generally portrays all of the countries during the 2nd-world war, Korea took offense, considering the events during the war mostly gave terrible memories to the Korean People. The Korean government deemed it extraordinarily offensive and started a petition to have the series banned, which garnered over 16000 signatures.

Attack On Titan (Shingeki No Kyojin)

Giant titans attacking a village on fire and brutally devouring and killing humans.

Another famous anime banned in Korea is the overwhelmingly popular Attack on Titan series. The anime features a world where humans live in territories surrounded by enormous walls that serve as protection from man-eating giants referred to as titans.

To their defense, Korea wasn't the only country that banned the anime. Attack on Titan was known for its extreme violence, which made the series successful. This same reason is what made other countries move to have it banned. China took the most offense as the series seemingly portrays societies that are strikingly similar to Japan and China relations.

Do Koreans Make Their Own Anime?

Hordes of anime zombies covered with blood run from different direction

Korea and Japan do have their difference. However, both still share trade and business investments. You may refer to them as dysfunctional siblings.

Aside from trade and business, their relationship included the anime industry as well. During the early development of Korea's anime industry in the 1960s, Japan outsourced work to Korean animators to the point where Japanese anime studious invested in Korean animation studios.

Over the years, Korean animation studios progressively developed their skills in the animation process. However, Korean anime production still occurs in either Japan or America. It was around the 1980s when Korean animation became an industry of its own.

It was during this time when Korea's entertainment industry started to progress. Korean dramas, movies, and music started to enter Japan. Unfortunately, this rapid growth affected the Koreans animation industry the least.

Even with this setback, The Korean animation industry was able to hold its place as the third-largest anime industry in the world. Korean animators are currently striving to make a name for themselves. Some popular Korean anime include:

  • Leafie: A hen into the wild
  • The King of Pigs
  • Green Days: Dinosaur and I
  • Seoul Station
  • Yobi, The Five-Tailed Fox
  • The Fake

Korean Anime has genres for most niches. Seoul Station, for instance, is a Zombie-thriller series that serves as a prequel to the live-action movie Train to Busan. It provides enough horror and thrill for the zombie genre enthusiasts.

Leafie: A Hen Into The Wild is another famous Korean anime inclined to a more moderate anime genre. It is a movie about a chicken that experiences difficult obstacles while caring for an adopted duckling child.

There are plenty of Korean anime genres available. Although it is not comparable to the number of Japanese animes out there, there is still enough to give each audience plentiful options.

With all these anime stuff happening, it's just safe to assume that there are Korean otakus that exist. And for travelers, South Korea is also home to big arcades and fantastic places, and we guarantee that you won't get bored in the country.

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