On March 1, a Korean national holiday that celebrates the country's independence movement from Japan, a magazine article was published that would later put Kang Dong Won in a hot, grueling spot. Here's everything you need to know about this controversy.

Film magazine Max Movie honored Independence Movement Day with a list of actors whose ancestors were independence activists or pro-Japanese anti-nationalists. Among the latter was Kang’s great grandfather Lee Jong Man, who had accumulated his wealth from being actively pro-Japanese in a country under Japanese rule. In 1939, Lee funded and sent Korean mercenaries to aid Japan’s war.

After the Max Movie article was published, Kang Dong Won asked the magazine to remove his name from the article citing defamation, according to Dispatch. The netizens, who are often sensitive about topics related to the pro-Japanese anti-nationalists, criticized Kang’s move to get his name removed instead of acknowledging and openly talking about the pro-Japanese side of his family.
In fact, in a 2007 interview, Kang had talked up his great grandfather, who had become a legend in his family, oblivious to the great grandfather’s anti-nationalistic deeds

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Kang’s agency YG Entertainment quickly intervened to end the netizens’ turmoil, elaborating the nature of the request followed by an apology. YG Entertainment had filed an inquiry to get the said story deleted on behalf of Kang under his name because the article’s content was “in many parts far from the truth,” a YG representative explained.

Today, Kang Dong Won apologized and shared his perspectives on the issue. Below is a translation of his letter.

“Hello. This is Kang Dong Won. First, I would like to sincerely apologize for causing an uproar about my great-grandfather. Ever since I was little, I grew up hearing positive stories about him. My grandmother was the descendant of an independence patriot, so I accepted the stories about my great-grandfather without much thought. In 2007, at the time of the interview, I did not properly understand his wrongdoings. I apologize once again.

“This incident was chaotic, and it was a big shock for me. Moreover, it is related to my family, and I had to figure out the accurate details about the issue, so I needed time to look into the related documents. I apologize to the people involved for my inability to respond adequately, and I also apologize that I was not able to announce my position in a timely manner.

“Before I am an actor, I am a Korean citizen, and I have always thought that wrongful history had to be corrected, and that such shameful deeds should never be repeated again. For that reason, I am truly ashamed about this incident.

“I now know about my great-grandfather’s shameful past. Through this incident, I will study more about our history and reflect on myself. Even if it’s something small, I will search for things I can do. Once again, I apologize to anyone I made feel uncomfortable.”

Some netizens say it’s not Kang Dong Won’s fault that his ancestor was a pro-Japanese anti-nationalist. Others, though they agree that the ancestry isn’t to blame, still argue that Kang Dong Won shouldn’t have tried policing the article citing defamation. Instead, they wish he would’ve disclosed everything to the public and apologized first.


What do you think of this controversy?

Source: via

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