Actress Kim Tae Hee has been experiencing a lot of hate in Japan after news about her role in the drama “99 Days with a Star.” In fact, over five hundred angry Japanese citizens participated in a protest and over 20,000 individuals signed a petition online to prohibit her from acting in the Japanese drama. The reason for such protest and apparent hate is that Kim Tae Hee and her brother have supported the claim that Dokdo Island belongs to Korea and both were seen handing out CDs to support the cause in Switzerland approximately six years ago.
The dispute around Dokdo Island has always been a sensitive and historically charged issue and both sides (Koreans and Japaneses) strongly argue that they belong to their respective countries for various reasons. In fact, both countries have so much hate and resentment towards each other that the success of the Hallyu wave in Japan should have been considered a miracle.
The Japanese petitioners who are participating in the protests are arguing that because Kim Tae Hee does not support Japan and its claim regarding Dokdo Island, she should not be allowed to work or make money in Japan. In fact, some news outlets are making the claim that Kim Tae Hee is just a selfish individual who crossed over to Japan to just make money. I guess they forgot that every Korean act that crosses over does so with profits in mind, especially their beloved Yonsama. This is a very interesting turn of events, given that only a week ago the Japanese media was very surprised and pleased that the actress in question was fluent in Japanese.
Despite such protests, the casting decision seems to be firm for the time being, so Kim Taee Hee won’t be going away any time soon. However, I anticipate that this specific incident will have a bigger impact on Korean celebrities down the road where many Korean stars will eventually turn away from making any controversial statements regarding Japan or Korea, because they may want to resume their promotional activities in Japan.
Although I want to argue that the individual’s opinion regarding Dokdo or any other historical event and whether or not they chose to voice it should be separate from their professional activity, the two are tightly linked when it comes to Hallyu and Japan. What do you think about these chain of events? Are Japanese folks over reacting to Kim Tae Hee’s stance on Dokdo or are they right in accusing her of crossing over just to make more dough?