Koreans take issue with scene from Pixar’s ‘Turning Red’ that allegedly depicts hanbok as Chinese hanfu

turning red
  • Pixar’s upcoming film “Turning Red” has caused a stir amongst Koreans who are criticizing the movie’s alleged portrayal of hanboks as traditionally Chinese.
  • In a teaser scene meant to illustrate Chinese folklore and culture, a scroll painting of two children being held by a red panda is shown. Korean internet users have pointed out that the childrens’ attire closely resembles a hanbok, a traditional Korean dress, rather than a hanfu, a traditional Chinese dress.
  • Online communities in Korea posted illustrations of traditional Chinese attire to draw comparisons with the film’s depiction of a hanfu.
  • These claims have surfaced amid ongoing controversies, including with Vogue and at the Olympic opening ceremonies, surrounding the differences between Chinese and Korean traditional attire and the origins of the hanbok.

Korean online communities are claiming that Pixar’s upcoming film “Turning Red” depicts a Korean hanbok as traditional Chinese clothing after a teaser trailer showed two children wearing attire that allegedly resembles a hanbok rather than a hanfu.

In the film, a 13-year-old Chinese Canadian student, Meilin “Mei” Lee, learns about her Chinese ancestry after developing the ability to transform into a giant red panda. The teaser trailer shows a scene in which Mei looks at a scroll showing a red panda with children to illustrate the historical connection between the red panda folklore and her Chinese heritage.

Many Korean internet users, however, pointed out that the scene shows the children wearing hanboks rather than the traditional Chinese dress, a hanfu, and criticized the film for allegedly depicting traditional Korean attire as originating from Chinese culture.

One Twitter user, @ja_ryo_retweet, uploaded a post that has garnered nearly 4,000 retweets claiming that “Turning Red” was using “the Goryeo clothing as Chinese style” while accusing the film of using the hanbok to “promote” the film.

“I’m really annoyed and this is ridiculous,” the user wrote in their post.

Users on the Korean online community platform Theqoo posted illustrations of traditional Chinese clothing to draw comparisons with the film’s depiction, reported Koreaboo. One user pointed out that the children in the film are wearing short jackets on top of a long dress, drawing claims that the film was depicting a hanbok and “disguising” it as “Chinese style”.

This criticism is one of many recent hanbok versus hanfu controversies, as tensions have risen over frequent debates about the historical and cultural origins of traditional attire. A similar debate occurred during the Beijing Winter Olympics when a woman was seen wearing a hanbok during China’s opening ceremony.

Feature Image via Pixar

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