More Nazi Imagery in Korea

What do they like about Korea? I don’t get it. First there’s Rhie Won-bok’s Distant Country, Neighboring Country, with its entire chapter about the Jews running America, then there’s the Nazi figurines at the Apple Store in Coex, and now cosmetics company Coreana is getting in on the act with this ad:


Even Hitler didn’t have the East and the West.

Both moisturizing and relaxing at the same time,

Containing extract of green soy beans

The 28 day revolution, Nokdu 28 Empul.

See it at the skin care experts, Mi-PL

This was brought to my attention by Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who also sent the following letter to Coreana President Chan-Won Park:

Sang-Ok Yu April 2, 2008
Chan-Won Park
Coreana Cosmetics

Your renowned company is all about beauty. In your own words you want to promote “Beauty, hope and happiness in your life”. It is therefore incomprehensible to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and its constituency of 400,000 families that you would launch a campaign using Nazi symbols and a reference to mass murderer Adolf Hitler in selling your product. Frankly put, these images and references are insult to the memory of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, when 6 million innocent Jews were systematically murdered and the millions of other innocents who perished at the hands of the Nazi regime, its SS and military. Further, the survivors of those atrocities are outraged that their suffering at the hand of these racist murderers is being mocked by such a campaign. As you know, the Jewish and Korean people have much in common in their long histories, including the terrible tragedies experienced during the years of the second World War. We can only assume that such a campaign was mistakenly undertaken.
We therefore urge Coreana to immediately cancel this campaign and pull all advertising elements that use Nazi symbols and references to Hitler. Please advise us of your decision as soon is possible. I am available by cell phone at .
Rabbi Abraham Cooper

“Even Hitler didn’t have the East and West.”

I for the life of me cannot understand this fascination with Hitler and Nazis. I assume that they represent a sort of Nationalist Militarist ideal, the country of gleaming idealist expansionists surrounded by enemy nations that really appeals to Koreans on some level. I also don’t think Koreans consciously associate Hitler and Nazism with the Holocaust with any kind of consistency. Their role in the Korean mind seems to be more as an example of a plucky put-upon nation that went a little too far by aiming at world conquest.

Anyway, I encourage you to share this with those you know and especially explain why this is bad to any Koreans you may know, because there is a good chance that they won’t get what the big deal is.

Incidentally, I walked into my East Asian Political Economy class today and found one of my classmates reading Chapter 10 of Rhie Won-Bok’s antisemitic comic Distant Country, Neighboring Country. I went ballistic, lecturing her about the evils of Rhie Won-Bok’s easygoing, matter-of-fact racism. To anyone out there who ever doubted the popularity of Rhie’s book, now you can see: even grad students read it.


~ by Joshing on April 4, 2008.

3 Responses to “More Nazi Imagery in Korea”

  1. You may want to avoid putting people’s cell phone numbers in your blog. While you may think that only like minded people read your blog, you can never tell. Plus there’s google. Especially when you mention Hitler and Rhie Won-Bok many times.

  2. Good looking out, Tom.

  3. One of my adult students in Korea, a prominent businessman, looked at me matter-of-factly when I mentioned Hitler and the Nazis. “He’s kinda my hero,” he said. (This guy didn’t run the country by any stretch of the imagination, but he does control a tidy parcel of the economy there.)

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