NewJeans Receives Flak From Chinese Netizens For Their Promotional Video For Hanji

Most of the comments had the same objection.

Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Korea Craft and Design Foundation released a video promoting the Korean traditional paper, Hanji, featuring NewJeans. After the video’s release, it started to get flooded with negative comments from Chinese netizens.

| @kcdf2011/YouTube

In the promotional video, the NewJeans members learned about Hanji’s history and its distinctive features. Hanji expert Ahn Chi Yong also joined them in the video to teach the process of making the specific type of paper.
Overall, it was a fun and educational experience for the group as well as the viewers.

| @kcdf2011/YouTube

But soon after the video’s release, Chinese netizens flocked to the association’s Instagram, accusing them of “cultural appropriation.” Most of the angry comments were directed at Korean people, who were supposedly trying to take credit for inventing paper making, which in fact, belongs to China.

| Naver

Though factually Korea did import paper-making from China, there are fundamental differences between Chinese and Korean traditional paper. Hanji is made using the inner bark of the mulberry tree and is noted for its durability. The most notable use of hanji is in restoring cultural assets worldwide, including paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. 

Hanji sheets | antiquealive.com

Korean netizens defended the group and their culture by pointing out that nobody in the video claimed that Korea invented paper-making. The point of the video was to promote the specific type of paper that Korea makes, and it is nonsensical to gatekeep fundamental human knowledge.

You can watch the full video here:

NewJeans