A tattoo of a Filipino-American TikTok star has sparked a virtual word war between social media users from South Korea and the Philippines.
Online backlash: A TikTok dancing video of influencer Bella Poarch caught the attention of South Koren users who spotted her Japanese rising sun flag tattoo.
@bellapoarchSo I decided to make a dance for this sound & I’m not even good at dancing♬ The Banjo Beat, Pt. 1 – Ricky Desktop
- In Korea, the image of the flag is offensive and considered to be similar to the Nazi swastika.
- Many South Koreans see the flag as a reminder of the atrocities done by the Japanese imperial army during World War II.
- South Korean TikTok users called out the 19-year-old influencer for the tattoo, accusing her of being ignorant about historical conflict.
- Some of her critics resorted to name calling and went as far as generalizing the Philippines as a “poor country with non-educated, short people.”
why #cancelkorea is trending?
bella poarch, a well known tiktoker (a former navy), had a tattoo of the rising sun flag (shown in the picture) and it symbolizes the war flag of the imperial japanese navy. this explains why koreans are mad to her (by calling ph&pearls harsh words) pic.twitter.com/ZDCfzwgHf7
— ًkali ⁷ (@kalibtxt) September 8, 2020
Poarch’s apology: Poarch, who was born in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. six years ago, apologized for her tattoo in response to the criticism.
- Poarch shared her apology to her 17 million followers on TikTok.
- In her message, the influencer expressed her love for Korea and promised to have the tattoo covered or removed.
@bellapoarch##greenscreen Here is a photo of my arm tattoo. I love Korea I would never do anything to hurt anyone.♬ The Banjo Beat, Pt. 1 – Ricky Desktop
#CancelKorea: Filipinos online took offense to the comments and voiced their outrage via the hashtag #CancelKorea, which became the top trending topic on Twitter.
- Many Filipinos who participated in sharing the hashtag admitted to being K-Pop fans.
- They shared that as much as they love K-Pop, they are putting the love for their country first.
— riane² (@Lianefei) September 9, 2020
Imagine,you’re calling Filipinos dumb and uneducated but you chooses to study here in Philippines.
— armygirl⁷⟭⟬ ᵇᵗˢ (@banqtanz_) September 9, 2020
— . (@chaeglow7) September 9, 2020
- Some Filipino users, however, called for calm and restraint and advised to understand where the reaction was coming from.
— twilight jhem velaso (@TVelaso) September 9, 2020
#SorryFilipinos: Responding to the hashtag, some Koreans expressed sadness over the issue and have since shared positive messages on Twitter.
— 유주유주 (@jennyyyouare11) September 10, 2020
— 아프리스 (@123456siho) September 10, 2020
— 김우우 (@kim__oo614) September 10, 2020
— 리한나 (@Swaegbts7) September 10, 2020
I’m so sorry as a Korean. Please note that it was only a small number of young Koreans who said violent things to the Philippines. I’m sorry, Philippines. We love Philippines. The Philippines is such a wonderful country. #SorryToFilipinos pic.twitter.com/I6karRBOCc
— 규리 (@l_loveyou_all) September 10, 2020
- Some Filipinos appreciated the messages and responded with understanding and compassion.
Saying sorry in a sincere and respectful way is what we wanted. We’re humans too. Deserves to be respected and loved.Apology accepted in behalf of my co-filos.Let’s spread love and kindness everyday. After all,we’re still bestfriends and family
— CJ (@egoisticbts_) September 10, 2020
I also apologize about how some Filipinos addressed this issue and made it worse by fighting back and generalizing all Koreans Thank you for this ❤❤ We really really admire your country!
— gia cassidy ⚘ (@iconicgia) September 10, 2020
Please stop the #cancelkorea and forgive them. #sorrytofilipinos is currently top 2 trending in Korea. So man up and let’s forgive each other.#Philippines #Korea #Peace #sorrykorea pic.twitter.com/ybybzIhZGU
— Aiowa (@Ai0wa) September 10, 2020
Feature image via Bella Poarch