Why #CancelKorea and #ApologizeKorea is trending

Korean netizens’ criticism of Filipina TikToker Bella Poarch sparks online backlash

Filipina TikTok star, Bella Poarch, drew flak on social media after netizens took notice of her left arm tattoo, the Rising Sun flag of Japan.

The flag is associated with Japanese imperialism, as well as the East Asian nation’s actions in the Second World War. Due to Imperial Japan’s treatment of Korea while under its colonial rule, the flag to this day remains offensive for Koreans.

Korean netizens took offense at the Pinay’s tattoo, and explained why it’s problematic. Bella had apologized online on Sept. 6, and clarified that she loved Korea and she did not mean to hurt anyone. She also promised to have her ink removed to correct the mistake. “I will have the tattoo removed or do a cover up. I did not know the history behind the tattoo and I will educate other’s about it,” the content creator wrote.

While some Koreans expressed their feeling respectfully, others attacked Bella with racial slurs that insulted not just her, but many Filipinos, which led to #CancelKorea and #ApologizeKorea to trend on Twitter Philippines today, Sept. 9. The hashtag has garnered over 164k tweets as of writing.

While many Filipinos are K-Pop fans, they are putting the love for fellow countrymen and nation first.

Some Twitter users are sharing their own experiences of discrimination from the Koreans, while others are posting comedic content. Here are some of the Tweets.

Before the issue surfaced, the Philippines is known as one of the biggest supporters of South Korean entertainment. On the other hand, South Koreans are attracted to the low cost of English-language education and housing in the Philippines, as compared to those offered in their country. They also love the warm climate of the tropical island.

The similarity between the political histories of the two countries is uncanny as well. Both were colonized nations in the past, with Korea under Japan from 1910 to 1945, and the Philippines under Spain and later the US. The two also embraced the democratic form of government after World War II.

The 19-year-old influencer and TikTok celebrity is best known for her account Bellapoarch on the video sharing social network. She has 15.8 million followers on TikTok, and 2.1 million on Instagram.