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Korea
韓国
Korea
Name: Republic Of Korea (Daehan-minguk) (대한민국)
Human Name: Im Yong Soo (任勇洙, Imu Yon Su)
Alternative Spelling(s): N/A
Age: 15-16
Gender: Male
Birthday: August 15
Hair Color: Black (manga), Brown (unused anime design)
Eye Color: Brown
Height: Unknown
First Appearance (volume): Volume 1
First Appearance (strip): Korea Joke Series
First Appearance (anime): Episode 14 (non-speaking animation error - other scenes cut from series)
Japanese VA: N/A
English VA: N/A

Korea (韓国, Kankoku) is a character in the series Hetalia: Axis Powers. He represents the country of South Korea. In 2008, Himaruya gave out human names to some of the characters and he received the name, Im Yong Soo (任勇洙, Imu Yon Su; Korean: 임용수). He was originally slated to make an appearance in the anime, as evidenced by an early character design on the site (which was later removed), but was cut from the series, due to becoming controversial enough to warrant online protests, and for the series to be declared very offensive by the South Korean government for in their thoughts was his clothing was incorrect, his birthday was wrong, his behaviour was to be a pervert, not understandable, and his praise for Japan were the main reasons; as Hetalia is staged in WWII where Korea was forced to become part of the Japanese empire.

Appearance

Kannosuke

South Korea wearing modern day attire


Korea has short black hair, with a flyaway curl on the right side of his head. The curl is often drawn with a face in the middle, to represent his "Korean spirit". He dresses in a white and navy blue hanbok with long oversized sleeves, though it appears to be a mixture of the male and female styles of hanbok as well as hanbok from different eras of Korea, and his jeogori seems to be in two pieces rather than one.

His actual height is not stated, but it is mentioned that he is significantly taller than both of his "brothers", and that he happens to be very muscular due to his experience in the military.


It is revealed that South Korea is actually photogenic. While he and China were "making" an anime, he accidentally fell asleep while China went out to get dinner. China got out a camera, threatening to get revenge for the Beijing Olympics, but once he aimed the camera at Korea's face, his expression became somewhat handsome. China, however, thought Byung Hun Lee was in the room.

Personality and Interests

Korea is a free-spirited type, obsessed with video games, dramas, studying abroad, and the internet. He always claims credit for others' inventions, and feels that his older brothers should call him their older brother.

Though he is fundamentally serious and likes to put the family first, he can't keep his hands off his brothers. He often uses phrases like, "Da-ze!" or "Uri nara mansae!", which means roughly "Hooray for our land!". When speaking to elders, however, he adopts more formal and polite speech.

It is said that he loves kimchi so much that he took it up into outer space, causing France to become pissed off.

Korea has also been shown to be very good at drawing, as can be seen in a comic strip with China in which he tried to teach his older brother how to draw anime.

It is also shown that Korea is very bright seeing that he was able to create the Mind-Reading Binoculars perfectly when Japan failed to do so. But the same comic strip also reveals how clueless he is when he tries to use the binoculars to see what China was thinking of him, only devastated to see that China is glad that Korea took the stuffed animals because he didn't want them. Korea concluded that "Korea didn't make them" because he believed they didn't work.

Relationships

China

Main Article: China

He is obsessed with China and wants to be acknowledged by him, but his feelings are unrequited. When he "invented" a pair of mind-reading binoculars and saw that China despaired of his very presence, he believed that they were broken and as a result, he denied making them.

In another modern strip, he and China worked together in animation production.

Japan

Main Article: Japan

Korea claims to hate him, but is constantly copying his style and creations, and believes that he has ownership over his breasts. At one point, he wanted to dig a tunnel to connect both their countries. He tried to justify his complicated relationship with the claim that tsundere originated from him.

In the original World Conference strip, it is shown that he will go out of his way to disagree with any of Japan's opinions, preferring to side with America instead - even when Japan and America have already agreed.

In The Anime

KoreaAnime

The unused South Korea anime design, later removed from the official site.

Korea was originally part of the cast for season 1, and was shown in various promotional images for the series, as well as appearing in the official site's lineup of characters.

However, several South Korean citizens, after learning of the existence of the series, found the character to be mocking and in poor taste. Reasons for the controversy ranged from the character's bluffing and perversion (which was taken as a slight against Korea for its claims about ownership of the Liancourt Rocks, which Japan also claims ownership of), to his hanbok being drawn incorrectly.

An online petition was launched to get the series banned, and over 16,000 signatures were collected. The case gained enough media attention to be brought before the government of South Korea, and the series was deemed to be a "national crime".

Kids Station, the TV network that was to air the Hetalia anime, responded that there were never any plans to include a Korea character in the series. Despite the claim, the protests continued and the anime adaptation wound up pulled from Kids Station's lineup due to "various circumstances". It is believed that reported death threats (and a bomb threat) from the protesters may have played a part in those circumstances, though it is unknown exactly how many of the reports were of serious threats and how many were just netizens trolling their "intentions" on sites.

Though he appears in the ending theme, Korea is noticeably absent from the actual anime. A brief animation error in Episode 14, depicting him as part of the supermarket line from behind, shows evidence that he was originally animated into the series, but that Studio DEEN had to remove any references to him, presumably due to the protests. The part he played in the rest of the episode was completely removed, as was a brief cameo he would have had in Episode 01.

The Cast Commentary track on the third drama CD, Prologue 2, contains an appearance by the seiyū Kaoru Mizuhara, in the roundtable discussion of recording for the characters in both the drama CDs and anime. Mizuhara's section was thought to suggest that she was to voice Korea in the upcoming anime version, though a translation revealed that it was only a "what if" type of idea if she was cast in the anime, with a "Monaco" character being suggested first.

In his unused anime design, Korea's dark hair was changed to a chestnut brown shade, and the "Korean spirit" in his haircurl was removed. The navy blue part of his hanbok was also changed to violet.

Name

The Western ordering of his name would be Yong Soo Im, while the Eastern odering is Im Yong Soo.

Though the correct Korean rendering would be Im Yong Soo, the variants Im Yonsu, Im Yong Su, and Im Yun Soo have been seen in some Japanese fanworks. Some spellings of his human name included Ren Yong Soo, Lim Young-soo, and Lee Young-soo (derived from how the name is spelled out in katakana) . The full human name Im Yong Soo means "brave and great" in Korean.

Trivia

FemaleKorea

The original female South Korea.

  • An initial character design by Hidekaz Himaruya reveals that Korea was originally going to be a female character. In the early design, the female South Korea is depicted wearing a hanbok with long, flowing oversized sleeves. Her hair appears to be tied back into braids. Further liner notes in the special edition of Hetalia: Axis Powers volume 2 suggest that the female Korea was to be an aspiring idol who decided to travel to the United States. The design for the female Korea was later reused for the character Sena, the lead of another, short-lived webcomic by Himaruya, entitled MoeKan. Himaruya's initial design of a male South Korea had no haircurl, though some later preliminary designs presented a Korea that looked more melancholy than how he appeared in the series.
  • Korea's birthday was originally listed as being May 1st, 1919. The date was later retconned to August 15th (no year given) by the time the published version of the manga was released. The retconned birthdate corresponds with the date for the Korean Liberation Day in 1945, as well as the date for the formation of South Korea in 1948.
  • Although referred to as simply Korea most of the time, the nation name being listed as Daehan-minguk (Republic of Korea) on his original profile first indicated that he is meant to represent the southern half, which also tends to be referred to as simply Korea. Though he has only appeared in one modern-day strip, his flag confirms that he represents South Korea (though the original Korean flag was similar before the split). In 2007, Himaruya stated that he had a male North Korea character in mind that would be a musician who was fond of reading and dancing, as well as being more timid in personality than South Korea. However, it is unlikely that he will appear any time soon due to controversy, as well as a friend of Himaruya's (on whom he was based) having moved away. The unused female South Korea design is sometimes substituted by fans as a possible "North".
  • While the nation of Korea has been around since 2333 BC, Korea is portrayed as seemingly the youngest of the Asian nations (though he claims they should call him their big brother). It is currently unknown if he represented ancient Korea and the Three Kingdoms in the past as well, or if a character (or characters) for them will exist.
  • Though Korea has been cut from the anime series, he briefly appeared as a chibi in the ending song Marukaite Chikyuu.

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