If you’ve been scrolling through Twitter today, then you may have noticed that the hashtag #cancelkorea is the number one trending topic. ICYMI, this so-called rally against the land of K-drama and K-pop actually started on TikTok.
As reported by Koreaboo, it began with Filipino TikToker Bella Poarch, whose video revealed a tattoo on her arm that resembled the Rising Sun flag of Japan. The rising sun flag was originally used by feudal lords and was later on adopted as the war flag of the Japanese imperial army. It is thus associated with imperialism. In 1910, Korea was annexed by Japan and would be under their rule until 1945.
It is this part of history that led Korean netizens to take offense at Bella Poarch’s tattoo, pointing out in the comments section why the design is problematic. “Do you know the meaning of the tattoo? I don’t think so,” writes one user.
Bella replied explaining that she was inspired by American singer-songwriter, Jhene Aiko. However, she quickly apologized to those who were offended by the tattoo, even saying that she’ll remove it or cover it up.
Although some Koreans appreciated Bella’s apology, others couldn't simply let go of the matter. The turning point was when one Korean user not only commented on her tattoo but attacked Filipinos in general, “Poor country. Non-educated people. Short people,” the user writes. Filipino netizens were enraged by the racist remark, and thus, the #cancelkorea conversation was born on Twitter.
Filipinos, particularly K-pop fans, stormed Twitter to air their disappointment. The general feeling is that as much as Filipinos admire Korea, they are drawing the line in defense of the Philippines. “It’s time to put your light sticks down and raise your flag.”
Many wanted to remind Koreans of how the Philippines is one of the largest K-pop fanbases that helped grow Hallyu culture.
Others tackled the morena side of the remark by posting pictures of some of our local celebrities, including Nadine Lustre, Kathryn Bernardo, and Lovi Poe.
Still in line with championing the beauty and intelligence of the Filipino, netizens referred to the many times the Philippines took home the Miss Universe crown.
Others pulled out the history card by pointing out that the Philippines was the first to send in troops during the Korean War, which took place from 1950 to 1955.
Many netizens also demanded respect, since Filipinos have always admired Korean culture. People have also used the hashtag #ApologizetoFilipinos.
Others even showed their gratitude to Korean celebrities like Sandara Park and Ryan Bang, who have always shown respect to the Philippines and constantly talked with pride about having "pusong Pinoy."
One Filipino even highlighted a Korean netizen who also demanded that Koreans should apologize to Filipinos for insulting them. Proof that at the heart of this backlash, #cancelkorea is all about mutual respect.