Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 67

ARTS & INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS propriate apology issued by the head of the company and subsequently doing justice to Tzuyu should be put ahead of business interest. Korean netizens’ support for the Taiwanese K-pop star, also, reflected Korea’s historical experiences with Japan. The fact that Tzuyu had to apologize for holding the flag of her country reminded some netizens of Japan’s colonization of Korea, when Koreans were not allowed to show any national identity. The symbolism of the flag associated with national identity brought back the memory of the time when their identity was stripped and holding their own flag was not permitted: “I am not a Taiwanese person, but I came close to getting tearful. Our ancestors would have faced the same kind of repression in the past” (Yupiyu, 유피유 , 395 likes, 11 dislikes). To another netizen, “Carrot Bat,” the Tzuyu Incident evokes Sohn Kee-chung, a Korean athlete during Japanese colonial rule. The netizen speculated on how Sohn felt when he had won the gold medal in the marathon at the Berlin Olympic in 1936. Although Sohn was a Korean, he had to participate in the Olympic as a member of the Japanese delegation: “This reminds me of Sohn Kee-chung who was standing firmly on the podium with his head down. It’s not that I don’t understand at all JYP’s position to choose China due to business interests, but it’s so cruel to force a 16-year-old girl to openly reject her identity. I hope that the issue gets resolved well without forgetting our painful history of long oppression under Japan” (Carrot Bat, 당근빳따 , 17 likes, 0 dislike). Other netizens expressed similar laments about a lack of historical consciousness in contemporary Korean society 17 : “While Taiwanese punish Huang An so forcefully, Korean people in the TK region 18 are too generous to pro-Japanese collaborators” (A Bowl of Dongchimi, 동치미한사발 , 690 likes, 47 dislikes). “It’s so disappointing that JYP forced her to apologize. As a Korean, I am so sorry to Tzuyu. It’s not normal that she has to apologize. We 17 The issue of collaboration with Japanese colonial rule was not tackled seriously under the authoritarian regime of South Korea, when conservative collaborators disguised as patriots in the context of national division and the Cold War (Chung 2002). Although the issue has become one of the recurring themes of Korea’s memory of Japanese occupation since the 2000s (Feffer 2009), it has not been completely resolved. 18 The TK region refers to the area of Taegu City in Kyongbuk province, located in southern South Korea. That area is known to largely support conservative politicians, some of whom are descendants of those who collaborated with the Japanese under colonial rule. 66