Rising Japan, South Korea Tensions Prompt Anime Boycott

It looks like anime is in the midst of a trade war it never signed up for. As political tensions between Japan and South Korea grow, the anime industry has been hit with retaliatory moves from one of its biggest consumers.

As a new piece by The Hollywood Reporter breaks down, South Korea has started putting pressure on Japan in light of recent trade restrictions. Not only have a couple highly anticipated anime films suffered at the South Korean box office, but one major release has been postponed indefinitely.

Doraemon's upcoming film has had its release date pulled in South Korea. The movie, Nabita's Chronicle of the Moon Exploration, was expected to debut shortly. However, South Korea has decided to yank the film. This decision comes after the South Korean box office targeted the anime film Butt Detective: The Movie as well as Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire.

According to reports, the Butt Detective movie had been praised by South Korean websites, but the trade debacle soured those sentiments. Sites were flooded with user reviews urging South Koreans to avoid seeing the anime's film, and many did listen to the plea. The same is happening to Detective Conan as the famous franchise is ruffling feathers abroad. A firm hired to promote the film in South Korea says it has been put in an "awkward" position because of the trade war which makes them "wary about promoting the film."

For those unaware of the catalyst which sparked the trade tiff, it began on July 1 when Japan announced export restrictions will be placed on materials going to South Korea which are used to make semiconductors. As the deal went through, executives in Tokyo accused South Korean officials of breaking sanctions in aid of North Korea, but reports circulated the restrictions were made after a Korean court said Mitsubishi must compensate Koreans who were forced to work in its factories.


This tension was only taken up a level when reports went live suggesting Japan is about to take South Korea off its preferred list of trade partners. To retaliate, the South Korean public has taken it upon themselves to boycott Japanese products. Japanese stores, cars, food, and vacation deals have all been impacted by the boycott with some gas stations refusing to even fill Japanese cars. Now, it seems Doraemon's new film will be kept out of South Korea entirely until tensions lessen or a deal can be struck between the two nations.

What do you make of this on-going spat? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!