Foreign Student in South Korea Accused of “Cultural Misappropriation” for Wearing Hanbok

I asked a few months ago if the progressive term “cultural misappropriation” would eventually makes it way to Korea and now it has arrived over the wearing of a hanbok which the vast majority of Koreans love to see foreigners wear:

Maria, 20, studies the Korean language in Seoul. In her post, she included a caption referencing SHINee’s Taemin, who wore a similar hanbok in KBS’ variety show “Hello Baby”.

Apparently, not everyone was pleased to see Maria donning the dress. According to Koreaboo, some angered netizens accused her of cultural (mis)appropriation. One reportedly called her a “White Devil.”  [Next Shark via King Sejong]

You can read the rest at the link, but I learned another new progressive term “white passing privilege”.  If this is what people in college are concerned about no wonder they have a hard time finding a good job in today’s economy.



I am a US military veteran that has served all over the world to include in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Korea. I have been blogging about Korea, Northeast Asia, and the US military for over 10 years.


  1. Ah, Fake Anger. Gotta love it.

    For years and years, Koreans have loved playing dress-up with the foreigners, but NOW it’s a problem?

    I love the Internet, but it has given a voice to the most twit-like individuals.

    Maybe I’m too old. Never downloaded Twitter, never saw the point. But you read a news article these days, and somewhere there are always Tweets or whatever sprinkled throughout like randomly tossed in spices. When did random musings become newsworthy?

  2. @MTB Rider, don’t let your white passing privilege blind you to the outrage some people feel seeing a foreigner in a hanbok. wink

  3. Does this mean I don’t have to wear the one my wife made me buy for our wedding? Please….

  4. Hate to break it to you guys… but…

    Non-Koreans wearing hanbok is wrong because cultural appropriation is wrong.

    It is incorrect for anyone who identifies with a certain race, culture, or nationality to appropriate the attributes of others.

    These vigilant Korean netizens have identified this problem and voiced their valid opinion.

    It is certain they are running around with no shoes while avoiding associating with motor vehicles, dressed in dingy white clothes, and staying away from pasta and burgers while eating only kimchee in their thatched hut.

    I’d hate to see them culturally appropriate western clothes, customs, diets, or habits.

  5. ChickenHead, those aren’t Korean netizens. Those are people from Kpop fan sites from outside of Korea. Most Koreans either don’t care or they think it’s cute for foreigners wear hanbok.

  6. “ChickenHead, those aren’t Korean netizens. Those are people from Kpop fan sites from outside of Korea.”

    I see.

    Non-Koreans appropriating Kpop which was appropriated from western white pop which has roots appropriated from black music.

    Oh… the irony runs levels and levels deep.

  7. Smokes, they are just worried whitey will appropriate their culture, polish it up a bit, and sell it back to them with a slick marketing campaign.

    Give the poor coloreds a break. They have so few success stories.

    I could write more on this topic but I am late for my Klan rally.

  8. Have you heard about the ban (Vietnamese Sandwich) kerfuffle from a few years back? I saw a SJW online try to defend that BS and somebody pointed out the ban was an appropriation of French culture which had appropriated British cuisine. Not surprisingly the snowflake had excuses galore for that bit of civilizational theft…

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