During the latest WBC (World Baseball Classic) match between Korea and Taiwan, netizens spotted a plethora of anti-Korean banners being waved by Taiwanese baseball fans, and were insensed by a controversy surrounding a Taiwanese commentator who cried after Taiwan’s defeat against Korea, allegedly calling Koreans ‘Kimchi’.
Some social commentators blame irresponsible East Asian media outlets for fueling antagonism between regional neighbours, and the tabloid nature of East Asian online news portals and communities that give disproportionate coverage to otherwise small issues (Korean netizens have been perplexed at increasingly strong anti-Korean sentiment from Taiwan over the last few years.).
In the below article, baseball journalist and blogger Park Dong-hee criticised the ‘yellow journalism’ in East Asian media yet, ironically, he himself was heavily criticised by Korean netizens for the ‘Statiz incident’ (whereby one of his articles allegedly led to the closure of a popular free Korean baseball statistics website, Statiz).
[Park Dong-hee’s WBC Mail Bag] Japanese and Taiwanese Yellow Journalism that tainted the WBC festival
Q. Team Korea failed to advance to the second round of the third World Baseball Classic (WBC). Many baseball fans who expected good results were dissapointed. What’s more hurtful is the incomprehensible attitude of some Taiwanese baseball fans. They were holding banners saying ‘bangda gaoli’. I learned it means ‘beat Koreans with a stick’. In that banner, a Taiwanese player in a tank is running over a Korean player with a napa cabbage face. I was upset and wonder why Taiwanese fans were supporting their team irrationally like that in the WBC, a festival for international baseball fans. I want to know the true reason.
A. There is a saying that ‘a person changes when he wears a military uniform’. It means no matter how decent you are in society, you become a totally different person when you wear a military uniform. I don’t think it disparages the military but just reminds that people behave differently according to the circumstances they are put in.
You can see that in Taiwan. I was deeply impressed many times by their kindness when I visited Taiwan to report on the WBC. Hallyu [the Korean Wave] is popular in Taiwan, and most Taiwanese people can even cite many Korean celebrity names. However, when it comes to baseball, they seem to become totally different people.
As we’ve seen many times in the past, when Taiwanese people enter a baseball stadium and especially if their opponent is Korea, they show strong hostility beyond patriotism. This WBC match was not different. ‘Bangda gaoli’ was just mild. There was even a banner that says ‘kill Koreans’, and some fans brought portraits of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with them.
Taiwan’s ‘anti-Korean’ sentiment is well-known. It seems they have mixed feelings toward Korea because Korea, who they once thought was behind them, achieved rapid economic development and emerged as an Asian economic powerhouse. Above all, it seems they still feel betrayed because Korea abruptly cut off diplomatic ties with Taiwan without notice in 1992 in order to establish diplomatic relations with China, as in a spy movie.
I personally think Taiwan’s below-par media plays an important role in promoting the anti-Korean phenomena in Taiwan. It was a newspaper company who distributed the ‘bangda gaoli’ banners. Some Taiwanese media outlets have poured out malicious reports related to Korea during this WBC period.
One example is the article that claimed the Korean team blamed Taiwan’s food and weather for their poor performance.
Taiwanese reporters kept asking Korean team coach Ryu Jung-il whether the Korean team’s slump was because of Taiwan’s food and weather, which was a leading question. The coach replied, ‘We are eating and sleeping well. The weather here isn’t bad. It’s just regretful that we lost to the Netherlands.’
However, Taiwanese media intentionally ignored Ryu’s comment and for some reason only put out articles that claim ‘Koreans blamed Taiwan’s food and weather for their slump.’ One of Taiwan’s biggest portal sites, Yahoo Kimo, hosted only such articles and mislead readers to believe that the Korean team disparaged Taiwan.
Predictably, Taiwanese baseball fans, who were agitated by the article, showed anger toward the Korean team and their online communities were flooded with Korea-bashing comments. Taiwanese media skillfully used the nature of the internet where many people take rumors that sound plausible at face value.
Japanese media wasn’t different. A Japanese media company NEWS PostSeven directly quoted the Taiwanese article and even advised the Korean team to ‘have at least minimal respect for the opponent team who did their best’.
What’s interesting is that Taiwanese and Japanese media go hand in hand.
On March 8th, Taiwan and Japan had a great WBC round 2 match that went into extra innings in Tokyo Dome. After this match, Taiwanese media happily reported that ‘Japanese baseball circles praised Taiwan’s great performance’.
They were touched even by the fact that some Japanese media called Taiwan ‘Taiwan’. In fact, major Japanese media outlets have used ‘Chinese Taipei’ as the official name of Taiwan. Taiwanese people might as well like the use of ‘Taiwan’.
However, Korean media have always used ‘Taiwan’ in any occasion. That’s a fact. Even after diplomatic relations were severed, Korean media used ‘Taiwan’ which implies independence instead of ‘Chinese Taipei’ that means Taiwan is one region of China. It feels a bit regrettable that they are moved by Japan’s quirky use of ‘Taiwan’ but have not much feelings about Korea’s consistent use of ‘Taiwan’.
Also, the Taiwanese media must be clearly aware of the praises many Korean media sent to Team Taiwan after round 1.
Before the match with Taiwan, some Japanese media put a focus on a netizen’s suggestion that Japanese baseball fans should express gratitude to Taiwanese people visiting the Tokyo Dome for Taiwan’s relief aid effort after the Tohoku earthquake. The situation is straightfoward.
When the Tohoku earthquake happened in 2011, Taiwan ran a nationwide donation campaign to help the disaster areas in Japan. A Japanese netizen recalling it suggested to not use any sign that would agitate the Taiwanese team but instead to express their gratitude. This was brought to attention by some Japanese media.
Upon such reports from Japanese media, Taiwan was once again moved and their major media excitedly commented that ‘this is the true meaning of sports’.
However, as you know, the Korean public as well as corporates also donated for Japan. It’s known that Korea even donated a few times more than Taiwan. [Ed. This is incorrect. Whilst both South Korea and Taiwan collected record amounts of domestic donations for the disaster relief, Taiwan donated more than any other country: (source 1, source 2)] I haven’t heard any Japanese netizens or media recalling it and campaigning to express gratitude for Korea. Anyways.
Sports media should also keep ‘fair play’ and ‘sportsmanship’ in mind to promote friendship and harmony between countries, which is the true meaning of sport events.
Comments from Naver:
As if Korean media has very high standards and there is no yellow press in Korea? I’m talking about YOU, Mr. Writer.
Blabbermouth [nickname of Park Dong-hee], if you just keep quiet, you won’t get bashed as least. ㅡㅡ
Pot calling the kettle black. ㅡ,.ㅡ As if our press has high standards, tsk tsk.
Taiwan disparaged Korea with malicious reports when Korea was hosting the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics even before diplomatic relations were severed. They should stop using that as an excuse. They have stronger sino-centrism than mainlanders. Their politicians and media have been using Korea as a scapegoat, stirring up anti-Korean sentiments.
Our media doesn’t sink as low as the Taiwanese media. Japanese media is busy turning their people to the right. If you want to compare the media in these three countries, Taiwanese media hits the rock bottom. They can’t even go any lower. In Japan, the government is distorting history…
I would’ve just nodded if it was an article from Park Dong-hee writing for Sports 2.0 but I’m cynical about articles from Park ‘Pele’ as a Naver power blogger now.
I logged on just to write this comment after several years. The article was good. I agreed with it but then I noticed it was written by Park Dong-hee while reading comments. As soon as I realized it was actually written by him, I couldn’t help but think – ‘Pot calling the kettle black. What are you gonna do about Statiz, you blabbermouth~’
Trash journalists are a problem anywhere…
Now Park Dong-hee is talking about yellow journalism…
Our media isn’t better but it is true that island janggaes and waenoms hit it off. Taiwanese say ‘thank you, master~’ to Japan wagging their tail for colonizing their country and making them well off as a result. Waenoms have good feelings about such Taiwan, the only country friendly to Japan in East Asia.
Tearing and burning the Korean flag was inexcusable, island janggaes.
I don’t feel anything no matter what crazy shit Taiwan does…
There are many *** writing comments brainlessly. Is Korea’s beef with Japan the same as Taiwan’s beef with Korea? When did Korea ever colonise Taiwan, rape their women and call them prostitutes? For severing diplomatic relations? It was Korea who remained loyal until the end. Japan cut their diplomatic ties with Taiwan very early. Taiwan’s mentality is simply trashy. They go apeshit because we are doing better than them and we don’t care about them. The diplomatic reason is just a front. The real reason is their inferiority complex.
What’s the matter? Who cares about island janggaes? Only a backward Japanese colony in South East Asia.
Does anybody know Taiwan’s self-proclaimed name is the ‘Republic of China’? Most people in the world don’t even call them Taiwan, let alone ROC. Many people don’t even know their existence. In the Olympics or Asian Games, their official name is ‘Chinese Taipei’. It is a pitiful place. You have to win after all.
It seems Taiwan does have a weird inferiority complex against Korea. It was Korea who didn’t switch diplomatic relations to China until the last…