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Worsening relations between Seoul and Tokyo affecting cultural events Updated: 2019-08-14 04:07:21 KST

The worsening relations between Seoul and Tokyo are not just affecting the economy, but have also spread to cultural events.
A Facebook post shared by a veteran Korean artist last week is getting attention, as it said that he received a notice from exhibition organizers saying they would cancel his art exhibition which was scheduled to be shown at the Iksan Jewelry Museum on August 7.
The background of such a decision was due to his art pieces which portrayed a Japanese woman dressed in a traditional Kimono.
The notice was received a day before the exhibition,… and the veteran artist called it utterly ridiculous.

"There should always be freedom when it comes to publishing art. It doesn't matter if I draw a Japanese woman or a Western woman,… freedom of expression comes first. And given the fact that the organizers knew what I was going to exhibit a couple of months ago,… the sudden cancellation shouldn't have happened."

The Museum organizers explained that they canceled the exhibition due to the public sentiment which could easily be provoked amid the worsening political relationship between the two countries. But the artist says,… culture must be separated from politics.

"No matter how odd the political relations are right now, there is no border when it comes to cultural exchanges."

Meanwhile, the Korea Publication Industry Promotion Agency said on Tuesday that it had canceled a book fair organized by the Korean Cultural Center in Tokyo.
It explained that after listening to public opinion, it took the decision to cancel the event, which was scheduled to take place early next month.

So far, there have been no signs that K-pop events in Japan would be affected by the bilateral diplomatic and trade strife, as exchanges of popular culture between the two countries have tended to remain immune from any political tangles.
However, if the spat keeps growing, and spreads further into cultural events, it could someday damage the high-flying careers of K-pop artists in Japan.
Won Jung-hwan, Arirang News.
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