I'm probably going to get flack for this, especially being Korean and calling out my own. And probably white people will object (yes, yes, not all, but yeah, I did this once and already got tons of fragility over it.) So let me preface this with a few things.
I am legit Korean. I was born there, raised for a number of years there.
I also know the history of this, which I will outline and I will add it to my objections later.
I LOVE the show on all counts OTHER than this sticking point for me. I am not trying to ask for a cancel, but more for awareness, discussion and ways that my fellow Koreans could do it better. Because some of the writers and directors hang out in soompi. Despite this, I know someone out there will be mad no matter how much I outline my comment with the history of Korean-black relations and how much they want to say, "But the comic." Yeah, the comic, too.
I also know Cultural Anthropology and have a degree in it, which I concentrated in systems: racism, sexism, etc.
So, I know this discussion is on page 12 already. Let's get into it.
To understand my objections, you kinda have to understand Han:
en . wikipedia . org/wiki/Han_(cultural)
I know it as a Korean as Japanese imposed permanent victim syndrome. (I'm not alone in my absolute hatred of it.)
Part of the problem with Han, the cultural, idea, not the ethnic group of China. (Just in case people didn't bother looking) is the idea that Koreans suffer MORE than anyone else on the planet. And I'm saying here NO. In an effort to do this, there are points where things like Les Miserables was renamed Jean Valjean just to get around it. Where Koreans try to equate themselves to black people. And head on keyboard. !@#$ No. NO.
This starts my solid hatred of it because it's NOT empathy ya'll, it's oppression olympics Korean style, and I get to say that as a Korean and call my fellow Koreans out.
Look, Koreans did not suffer a transatlantic slave trade. They did sufer comfort women, but do you really want to borrow Han from the people that brought you comfort women? Do you really want to celebrate Japanese ideology in Korean thought when we have cooler concepts like Jeong and nunchi which are native to our shores? (And no, this isn't saying hate on Japanese either. It's saying why celebrate Japanese occupation and subjugation?)
Koreans tend to view reggae and Jamaica as this mecca of "Han" they can appropriate because you know what *sarcasm* Koreans suffered more than black people and I'm here to say NO. NO. STOP. PLEASE STOP.
The thesis is faulty from the first, but did you have to bring it there? You don't even like gangja. You don't even believe in Rastafarianism. There is no way, a religion designed to bring back Nelson Mandela, would be celebrated by a Korean. It's like telling me that someone non-Korean can be a Musin. Or someone non-Japanese can be Shinto.
So I'm pulling out all of the excuses and calling this what it is: appropriation.
And to the Koreans out there: We are so much more awesome than to try oppression Olympics on other peoples. We can admire the music, the struggle, without having to try to steal it and lord that our oppression is greater. Can't we do that? Oh and stop calling the Book "Jean Valjean" already. Call it the Miserable, like it's supposed to be called.
For the white people that are disturbed by this (and notice it's a specific segment of white people). Look, it mostly doesn't affect you. Sure Hollywood imported this poor idea to Korean shores, but you didn't import han to us at all. That was all Koreans. So this is my social responsibility to bring it up and call my fellow Koreans out. It's mostly not about you.
Oh and there are black actors in Korea, but I doubt they'd sign to play this role. Because *cries to self* I hope Yoon Mirae isn't getting subjected to it.
I stand in solidarity with black people, especially the Jamaicans and double for the Rastafarians. I'm sorry, though I can't change much right now. I hope that the people do better in the future for you. We did cool things globally together, more than apart for social rights. So I'm sorry. Really sorry.
Beyond that, I really like the other character set ups. The plot is intriguing, and I love the acting. It really stands out. It's shot well, the lighting is awesome and subtlely adds to the piece. Props to the often forgotten props department--I noticed your work. It's really well done. Just asking the writers and crew and the manhwa jakkanim to maybe, maybe consider the feelings of the people you are trying to represent. Use some nunchi, ya know, so they can feel jeong about your work. Otherwise, good job.