Otaku Fury at “Korean Meddling” with Sakura-sou

samgyetang-na-kanojo-002

flagless-graduation-002

Fans of useless heroine anime Sakura-sou no Pet-na-Kanojo have been enraged by a series of suspect changes made to the original light novel, which most seem to ascribe to nationalist meddling by Korean interests.

The anime first caught the attention of viewers in November when it featured a curious change – the original light novel features a nursing scene in which a “simple rice gruel” (okayu) is served.

In the anime this became “samgyetang,” a Korean chicken soup dish traditionally widely believed to prevent illness due to its ginseng content, along with some praise of healing powers:

samgyetang-na-kanojo-001
samgyetang-na-kanojo-002
samgyetang-na-kanojo-003

Samgyetang is not widely known in Japan, and the fact that cooking spots on at least 5 channels suddenly began featuring it during October and November soon had many speculating that the change was far from coincidental:

samgyetang-stealth-marketing-1_0
samgyetang-stealth-marketing-2_0
samgyetang-stealth-marketing-3_0
samgyetang-stealth-marketing-4_0
samgyetang-stealth-marketing-5_0

It was also observed that the second half of 2012 saw over 120 blog posts on Ameba extolling the merits of the soup – after a grand total of 3 in the 3 years previously.

With the considerable overlap between creepy late night anime fans and crazed Korea-hating online right-wingers, a scandal soon ensued, culminating in calls for a boycott, although whether the addition really was a crude attempt at stealth marketing by the media keiretsu involved was never conclusively established.

The next episode of the show to inspire a similar controversy was even more overtly political, and all the more incendiary to nationalists: a graduation ceremony, which in the novel featured references to the (normal for Japan) national anthem and flag, had both elements excised completely:

flagless-graduation-001
flagless-graduation-002
flagless-graduation-003
flagless-graduation-004

There has been a fair amount of relatively thoughtful speculation as to what is going on – although few are left who doubt that such changes are intentional:

“A repeat of the Samgye episode?”

“With them going this far you can’t help but think it deliberate.”

“Both the people doing this and the people noticing it are pretty crazy…”

“Is this because they want to sell DVDs overseas?”

“It’s being sold in Japan so why would a flag be a problem?”

“Even K-ON! had the flag so I don’t see why this would be a problem.”

“It is pretty jarring to have no flag at the ceremony like that!”

“The poor creator, having his work hijacked for propaganda purposes, and now the whole thing is hated because of what they did.”

“The production committee just got taken over by filthy Koreans, end of story.”

“If it is being produced in Korea they probably won’t let them include the Japanese national anthem. Though in any case the anime is still rubbish either way.”

“Maybe this is an attempt to market it with controversy?”

“Most works disappear into obscurity… perhaps manufacturing some controversy like this is a good marketing strategy for them?”

“I hope the studio responsible stops doing any more adaptations.”

“They must have thought nobody would notice – considering the Korea allergy afflicting anime otaku and the fuss they made over the soup, you’d have thought they’d have learned their lesson.”

“The poor author getting his work kimcheesed like this!”

“Why couldn’t they learn from what happened the first time.”

“The one I really feel sorry for in all this is the poor author…”

Leave a Comment

263 Comments