Recently, an ongoing online dispute between Korean and Chinese netizens over the origins of Korean culture is garnering attention as a heated topic of debate.
Particularly, the issue of Chinese netizens claiming that Korea's traditional hanbok originates from China has angered numerous K-netizens.
One well-known Weibo influencer recently garnered attention as she claimed that Korea's hanbok was basically the same as China's hanfu, arguing that "It is obvious Korea's hanbok took inspiration from China's hanfu. When countries are situated in close proximity to one another, they can't help but influence the other."
In another instance, an actor of an upcoming Chinese drama shared a post on his SNS in an outfit which confused many people, as it was difficult to distinguish whether or not the style was hanbok or hanfu. In response, a producer of the drama commented, "Of course it is hanfu. Korean hanbok is just a copy of Chinese hanfu that officials from the Goryeo dynasty took and used as Goryeo was a tribunary state of Ming China."
(There are still rampant historical debates about whether ancient Korean kingdoms such as Goryeo, Koguryeo, and Joseon were "tribunary states" of China.)
A popular Chinese mobile game called 'Shining Key' also enraged Korean netizens, shortly after launching in Korea and incorporating Korean hanbok styles in character designs.
Chinese netizens first voiced their protests, claiming that hanbok originated from China and demanding explanation/action from the game company .
In response to Chinese netizens' complaints, the game company halted all service of the game in Korea, stating, "We will uphold the dignity of our nation as a Chinese company."
In Korea, analysts have brought up the theory that China is attacking Korean culture, including Korea's hanbok, based on emotions of jealousy, rage, and inferiority. So called the 'Steal Korean Culture Movement' by Korean analysts, issues such as China's claims that hanbok is Chinese, Chinese netizens' criticism toward K-Pop artists like BTS, BLACKPINK, and more are being perceived in Korea as behaviors of jealousy.
One scholar commented, "BTS filmed their performances outside of Kyungbuk Palace. Other artists such as BLACKPINK wore hanbok while performing on international stages. Korean hanbok is garnering massive attention due to K-Pop and Hallyu, but the Chinese can't help but notice how similar these things are to Chinese culture. It seems that to China, they cannot endure seeing Korea overtaking them in terms of cultural outreach, when in the past, China was the superior force."
Numerous netizens also agreed to these theories, commenting,
"I literally don't understand why China thinks everything was theirs in history."
"Obviously they're trying to steal it now that it's famous."
"Can they stop stealing other people's culture and do better about protecting their own."
"What a bunch of thieves with no pride or dignity whatsoever."
"It's true that all they can do is argue with words since so much of their history was burned up by their own hands."
"China = the nation of fake goods."
"To China, everything is theirs. Korea, Japan, all of Asia, the United States, and the moon kekekeke."
"They must be jealous out of their wits."
"I'd be so embarrassed if I were a Chinese citizen right now."
"They're so red with envy because K-Pop is huge right now."