Hanbok-clad Chinese game characters spark controversy

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A Chinese game featuring a female character wearing a hanbok in traditional Korean costume has sparked controversy over plagiarism and theft of intellectual property in South Korea.

A hanbok designed by Baekoaksoo in the Korean game “Girl Globe” (left) and an item of clothing featured in the Chinese game “Blooming Moonlight”. (Air cap)

According to industry sources on Thursday, Blooming Moonlight, a game run in Korea by Chinese game developer Zishi Technology, features a character wearing a hanbok outfit with the exact same design as that of Baekoaksoo, a famous hanbok company based. in Seoul, who previously designed the outfits featured in the music video for BTS member Suga’s single “Daechwita”, released last year.

Cho Jin-woo, chief executive of Baekoaksoo, raised concerns, saying it was more than just a case of intellectual property theft.

“The Hanbok is the national dress imbued with the identity of the Korean people, and using it without permission is to steal our unique spirit,” Cho said. “I hope the Chinese video game company apologizes with the utmost sincerity.”

Aircap, a Korean game company that owns the exclusive rights to use Baekoaksoo’s hanbok design in games, also denounced the Chinese game developer.

According to Aircap, the stolen hanbok costume is one of the reward items given to users in the early stages of Girl Globe, the company’s mobile dress-up game. The Chinese developer copied the costume and simply changed the name of the item to “Lake Fog” from the original “Purple Scent”.

“Every detail of the costume was plagiarized, even the flowers actually used in (Baekoaksoo’s) photoshoot,” said Han Ji-min, general manager of Aircap.

“Although we have asked the Chinese games company to make corrections, we have not received a response. If we don’t fix this, there will be another case like this. We will take action based on legal consultations, ”Han said.

Recently, Chinese games have made several attempts to dress their characters in hanbok, which has infuriated Korean users who see it as an attempt by China to steal Korea’s cultural heritage.

A hanbok costume worn by Korean singer-songwriter and actress IU in the drama series

A hanbok costume worn by Korean singer-songwriter and actress IU in the drama series “Moon Lovers” (left) and a garment from the Chinese play Call Me an Emperor. (Online capture)

In April, a Chinese mobile game Call Me an Emperor was embroiled in controversy for dressing a female character in a hanbok dress worn by Korean singer-songwriter and actress IU in the drama series “Moon Lovers”.
Controversial hanbok outfit items introduced in Shining Nikki.  (Paper games)

Controversial hanbok outfit items introduced in Shining Nikki. (Paper games)

Last November, Shining Nikki, of Chinese game company Paper Games, shut down its Korean server just two months after a controversy erupted over the clothes featured in the game that looked like hanboks.

By Kim Byung-wook ([email protected])


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