Korean Netizens Defend “Boys Planet” Trainee Who Received Backlash For Wearing A Specific Badge

The badge carries a historical significance for both countries.

Lee Seung Hwan, a trainee on the Mnet survival program Boys Planet, recently received adverse reactions from Japanese fans for wearing a pin dedicated to comfort women.

Lee Seung Hwan | mnetplus.world

The term “comfort women” refers to women forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II. The phenomenon occurred in the occupied lands of Imperial Japan, including Korea, the Phillippines, Vietnam, China, and more. The topic of comfort women still remains a point of tension in the South Korea-Japan relationship, and ordinary citizens on both sides mostly carry opposing views on the topic. Over the years, South Korea has honored the struggles and pain of its comfort women by commemorating them through monuments, statues, and a dedicated memorial day (August 14). Memorial pins are another way of honoring the victims, especially popular among young Koreans.

A group of high schoolers from the Gangwon province went viral in 2017 for designing this memorial badge for comfort women | The Hankyoreh

Lee Seung Hwan was recently spotted wearing a similar memorial pin at the Gangnam Subway Station. The idol trainee had gone to the station to see the ads his fans had put up for him. Some fans were lucky enough to spot him there and shared his pictures online. In one of the photos, the memorial badge for comfort women could be clearly seen on the strap of his bag, which eventually invited a lot of backlash from Japanese fans.

The pins are sold by a Korean brand called ANYHUMAN, run by “The House Of Sharing,” a nursing home in Gwangju for surviving victims of sexual slavery by Imperial Japan. The company has been selling such items since 2016 to promote a campaign that supports those victims.

The badges are sold in a set of three by ANYHUMAN | anyhuman.co.kr

A particular chunk of the Japanese population isn’t a fan of South Korea bringing up the topic of the atrocities caused against its women by the Imperial Army. The backlash that Seung Hwan received was along the same lines. Some fans claimed they wouldn’t be voting for him anymore on the show because his pin equated anti-Japanese sentiments to them.

I know you’ll be promoting in Japan soon, so it’s best not to mention things like this at times like this.

—User @9cwD5fNCAUeP2Bl, Twitter

I quit watching Boys Planet. Thank you.

—User @watasihubabuda, Twitter

‘I will put my all to become a Kpop idol who is active globally through Boys Planet!!’ ⬅️ I don’t think Japan is not included here.

—User @cahtrly, Twitter

However, Korean netizens and some international fans have extended their fervent support to the trainee after this incident. Some even called for Japan to be excluded from voting on the show to ensure that Seung Hwan is not unfairly eliminated for honoring comfort women.

  • “F*ck, can somebody restrict Japanese fans from voting? Why are they acting up?”
  • “They should be embarrassed and acknowledge their history. I hate how they never acknowledge what Japanese people have done to us. I’m rooting for Lee Seunghwan.”
  • “I’m rooting for Lee Seunghwan. Let’s rise higher ~~”
  • “He’s on the verge of being eliminated. He’s in big trouble if Japanese fans stop voting for him…Please vote for Lee Seunghwan ㅜㅜ”
Source: Nate Pann

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