South Korea comics controversy
Last month, blogger Tim Leong reported about South Korean comic author Rhie Won-bok, who wrote in Meon Nara, Yiwoot Nara (Far Countries, Near Countries), his so-called educational comic book series about different countries, that "The Jews are the invisible force that controls the U.S." At the time, Rhie stood by his words, adding, "I wrote the chapter to let people know that you can’t understand the U.S. without knowing the Jewish community."
Now that he’s actually met some members of that community, he’s singing a different tune.
AP reports that Rabbi Abraham Cooper from the Simon Wiesenthal Center met with Rhie at Gimm-Young Publishers’ offices in Seoul, confronting him with copies of the early 20th century Nazi magazine Der Stuermer to show its similarity to caricatures in Meon Nara. Also present was Richard Choi Bertsch, a member of the National Korean-American Coalition, who condemned the book’s content, as well as raising questions about drawings of African-Americans (something Cheryl Lynn has noted on her blog and at the Black Panel at NYCC), prompting the publisher to pledge an extensive review of the entire series.
"I’m sorry to see things like a frog in a well," Rhie has now admitted, referring to a traditional Korean saying that a frog in a well is unaware of the larger world outside. "In the future, I will write books in a more responsible way." In addition, Gimm-Young has agreed to translate into Korean a book by the Wiesenthal Center that aims to reveal anti-Semitic mistruths, as well as sending officials to the U.S. to meet with Korean-American and Jewish communities.
So they can, you know, actually get to know them before writing about them.