Lawmaker Complains About Images of Korea on U.S. Soaps

      October 23, 2010 08:26

      Images of Korea in popular American TV dramas such as "Lost," "24" or "CSI" tend to be full of inaccuracies, with Buddhist temples and traditional Korean-style houses looking distinctly Chinese or Southeast Asian. Now Grand National Party lawmaker Hong Jung-wook, a member of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee, has had enough.

      Speaking during a parliamentary audit on Thursday, Hong said, "It is difficult to overlook the image of Korea being depicted on American TV dramas. It's a problem for Korea's image to be distorted this way in American dramas with more than 10 million viewers and being exported around the world."

      This video grab from an episode of "Lost" depicts the Han River as a small stream and the Han River Bridge as a small walkway.

      In the case of "Lost," whose cast includes Korean actress Kim Yun-jin, the Han River looked like a small stream and the Hangang Bridge like a small walkway. A scene supposed to show Namhae in South Gyeongsang Province looked more like somewhere in Southeast Asia, and a Korean fisherman was wearing a Vietnamese straw hat.

      Other inaccuracies Hong picked up on were related to the possession of guns in Korea and the custom of women adopting the last name of their husbands. In "24," a brutal torture scene took place in Seoul, while an episode of "CSI" set in a Korean neighborhood in the U.S. featured a North Korean propaganda song in the background.

      "Even though we are hosting the G20 Summit and no matter how many nuclear reactors we export, foreigners will continue to have an inaccurate view of Korea given the speed with which popular culture is disseminated these days," Hong complained.

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