Discussion: Is Hetalia Offensive to You?

If there’s one thing I really hate in this world, it’s having to an argument or discussion with a mention of my religion, the loss of my family in the Holocaust or just mention of the Holocaust in general. If I never had to do it again, my life would be billions of times better.

Earlier this evening I had to. (Edit: The owner of the blog linked in the comment I just linked is apparently not the author of the comment that spurred this post. He was kind enough to apologize for whomever trolled All About Manga and his information doesn’t match the original comment, so please remember that the blog post and the rude person who commented are not the same as you read this. He’s deleted the offending post seeing as people were giving him a lot of grief for his views and the blog is of a more personal nature.)

Normally, I wouldn’t post about immature fandom wank or single out one of my readers in a bad way, but I feel like this poses an important question:

Is Hetalia offensive to you at all?

I find it inoffensive for a lot of reasons, beginning with the fact that most of Hetalia’s material is based on pre-World War II events. The initial concept is firmly rooted in it, but it seems like Hidekaz Himaruya did this for two reasons–people are familiar with the time period and Japan was involved. Would Hetalia have been as big a hit if Himaruya began with his characters in the midst of the Seven Weeks War? Let’s be honest, do you even know what the Seven Weeks War was about off the top of your head? Plus, with Japan there, Himaruya’s primary target audience feels like they can relate to a character. On top of that most of the strips about World War II events fall into these categories:

1) Comedic spying on each other,

2)  Not fighting battles because it’s Christmas and everyone should be friends on Jesus’ “birthday”,

3) Training sessions in which Italy spectacularly fails at proving his military might.

I have a lot of trouble getting offended by the pretty non-violent depictions of World War II mentioned above. Being as realistic about history as I can here, these are the things that would have happened with or without the genocide happening in the background. Killing the Jews, Gypsies, gays, handicapped and others wasn’t the only reason Hilter started a war and saving those innocent lives was definitely not the main reason why the Allied Powers fought back against the Nazi regime. The Allies wanted to keep Hitler off their lawn, Hitler wanted to rule the world and the German people were poor, miserable and in need of someone to blame. What we don’t realize is that we still point fingers and make scapegoats out of those who we don’t agree with; the treatment just isn’t usually as violent and the scope not as large.

Now the scene at the end of Hetalia volume 1 where Italy visits Germany on the start of the war has the potential to be very offensive. It’s actually the only time in the published manga that Nazi swastikas are seen. In my reading of it, I felt that Germany was hesitant and nervous about going to war. This would make sense historically as the Germans at the time were still suffering from World War I and the economic troubles that were brought upon them afterward. War is a huge undertaking and I don’t think any country’s started one without a lot of its people feeling trepidation. On top of that, all the countries are seen as different characters than their leaders in any given time period, which means Germany the character doesn’t automatically equal Hitler or Otto von Bismark, etc.

Thus, that scene saved the whole concept of having World War II scenes depicted as comedic for me. Germany is not depicted as eager to go to war or as a bloodthirsty killer. Jews aren’t mentioned and neither is the genocide not because Himaruya just ignores them, but because Himaruya knows just how dangerous for the popularity and the tone of his manga that would be. I’m actually surprised he wasn’t careful enough to avoid the offensive portrayal of Koreans, but I suppose it might be a societal insensitivity that he doesn’t notice in himself.

Either way, that characterization of Germany just did it for me. It reminded me that this manga was about history acting like people and since history is about what people used to be like. History is a lot like psychology, to understand all the names and dates of battles, you have to understand why people went to war. To understand a genocide, you have to understand how people treated those they thought of as lesser beings. When you study history objectively, you can’t forget the unpleasant parts. Hetalia is not an objective history lesson in the slightest, it’s a manga that tries to get you interested in history, so the unpleasant parts are drawn as cute kids having little spats. But a lot of people who get offended at the unpleasant parts of history long past forget that they had nothing to do with it because they simply hadn’t been born yet.

So what am I supposed to feel offended about in Hetalia? That the concept is based off of a certain time period? That the manga actually spends more time on events that predate the second World War? Germany the personification going against his stereotype and not really wanting to fight? Himaruya is not trying to make anyone laugh at genocide. At most, I feel, he is trying to make people laugh at the follies of humanity, make us take a look at just how stupid humanity used to be.

As for the Hetalia fans acting inappropriately that are also mentioned in the blog post linked in the comment (once again, the comment on All About Manga wasn’t made by the blogger I’ve just linked.), I think the best thing is to determine the intent of the action. Are we just talking about cosplayers hamming it up for the camera because they don’t know how offensive their actions are or people trying to recruit members for their white power group? Because if it’s the former, that’s when it’s time to march up to them and educate them politely on just what they’re doing wrong. And if Prince Harry was dumb enough to do it, so are a few other blissfully ignorant anime and manga fans. Make the offending people aware and sorry for what they did will work a lot better than getting butthurt on the internet.

Let me know what you think and if you do find Hetalia offensive.

*P.S.- Just so you know, this isn’t me defending Hetalia for TOKYOPOP. Yes, I got paid to work on it, but not enough to give it this much mention without truly liking the manga myself. Just want to be honest and clear on this point.

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87 Responses to Discussion: Is Hetalia Offensive to You?

  1. Pingback: Links for new comics day « MangaBlog

  2. TWWK says:

    First off, I just want to say that I haven’t seen the series. I have, however, been reading about the Korean backlash toward it. I can’t say I’m surprised. Korea is kind of what the U.S. used to be – hyperpatriotic (I’m not casting judgment here – the same could be said for a large branch of my family, and even maybe about me). Their news programs and other shows give reports that are basically yellow journalism and which stir citizens into a fury. And when it comes to Japan, it doesn’t take much to do this.

    Again, I haven’t seen the series or read the manga, but from what I’ve read about it, the show’s depiction of Korea isn’t terribly offensive. However, though I’m connected to Korea by nationality, custom and some language, I’m more American than anything, and can’t fully connect with how Koreans feel. I’m also young, and this is important, because the new generation of Koreans and Japanese are largely starting to heal the wounds from war. The older generation, growing up either during the 1930s and 40s or in the shadow of those years, still seethes with anger over what Japan did. Their mothers were taken by the Japanese as prostitutes. Their fathers were forced to serve for their country. They were colonized. They were forced to change their names and their language. It was insulting and painful for a proud people. So I understand why any inaccurate or offensive depiction of the country as whole, regarding WWII, and involving a Japanese product, would lead to anger in Korea.

    If anything, though, your post and the discussion of Koreans’ feelings toward the series have moved me closer to viewing the series, of which I’ve mainly heard (very) positive reviews.

    • You should read the series if you can! I’ve found that the manga is an easier entry point for a lot of people since the anime is so cutesy.

      I’m not surprised about it either. I studied a bit in college on the subject of prostitution and the Korean comfort women during WWII was a topic. It was actually one of the more brutal points of prostitution’s history. I feel like they have a right to be angry at the Japanese for treating them so cruelly. Actually, I’ve seen my surviving family members think of the Germans and the Poles the exact same way. Our generation is much more indifferent however, since these atrocities were not committed in our life time. Plus there’s the exchange of pop culture, which if I’m not wrong is a lot between Korea and Japan.

      But at the same time, the one scene where Korea features most prominently in the published manga isn’t a nice depiction. I wouldn’t go to say that it’s super-insulting, it’s just not the usually passive way in which Himaruya depicts most of the other countries. Some of the others are pretty feisty or grouchy, but Korea is depicted as really annoying. Just annoying. Like anyone would find him annoying, not just the personified countries who have beef with him. So in that sense, I sort of get why some Koreans are upset, especially since it’s coming from a Japanese author. At the same time, though, Korea isn’t in the (published) manga much. It’s hard to judge when I’ve only read that and not what’s also posted on Himaruya’s site/scanlations of Hetalia.

      • The comfort women isn’t even the worst stuff. Ever do any reading on Unit 731? (For reference, The Korean has a very informative series on “Why Koreans hate Japanese”–that link goes to the WWII-specific section.) I’ve read much less of Hetalia than you have, so I’m not prepared to make any kind of real judgement about it, but I admit that reading this conversation gave me pause. Himaruya would have to be very skilled to avoid being offensive here, I would think. It’s very tricky.

        • I have a fairly good idea, but I’ll definitely read The Korean’s posts. (I’ve studied South East Asian history and a large part of their modern history consisted of, you guessed it, brutal colonization by Japan.)

          Having only read the Gentosha published volumes (there are only 3 so far), I’m not going to be able to account for what else Himaruya’s done with the Korea character, but I’m still fairly convinced that Korea’s not supposed to be a WWII-era-based character like the Axis and Allied power characters are supposed to be. Every situation I’ve seen Korea in has been modern or in somewhat of a grey area where you’re not given an obvious time period so you just assume it’s current-day. I think that makes it easier for Himaruya to skirt around the issues Japan as a nation has except for the fact that he’s made Korea into somewhat of an annoying character no matter how you slice it. So he’s kind of already gone south with that and as a whole has failed to be more delicate with his Asian countries than with the European ones. Like I said in the post, I think it’s a societal insensitivity that Himaruya probably isn’t that aware of because his primary audience might largely share his views about Japan’s former colonies.

  3. As much as I adore Hetalia, I do see where some of the offense comes from. There are people out there, like the writer of that blog, that don’t find comedy about war funny at all ever, and so long as they’re not picking and choosing which WWII comedies offend them and which don’t, which that person didn’t, I don’t mind (so long as they don’t start trying to paint all the fans as horrible people, idiots, etc, which is why I argued with him).

    To some, the very idea of writing something in which WWII looks relatively harmless is offensive in and of itself. I’m personally not offended by it, obviously, but I can see where the offense comes from. Similarly, there’s the way the characters’ personalities are based on national stereotypes. I think Himaruya chose to do that because said stereotypes are so silly more often than not, but national stereotypes can be pretty demeaning and I can see why anyone with a sense of patriotism could potentially be bothered by that.

    Finally of course there are some of the things that are offensive to other Asian countries besides Japan. Things like Shinatty, the way Japan’s betrayal of China played out (and the way China reacted), the existence of a Tibet character period (though thankfully Himaruya only gave him a passing scene in one strip; Tibet could end up extremely messy…), et cetera.

    However, what I don’t understand from people who hate Hetalia and are offended by it is why they can’t just say “I don’t like this, and I find it rather offensive”, then move on. Why do they feel the need to bash Hetalia, its fans, and its creator at every opportunity? I mentioned on that guy’s blog that both comedy and morality are subjective. Personally I’m not offended by Hetalia and I find the humor in it hilarious. There are obviously people who are offended by Hetalia and that don’t find it entertaining in the least re; its humor. Neither sides are wrong. The problem is when people on either side try to tell the other side that they’re wrong for how they feel about it.

    • I guess it’s just me, but I feel like people who become offended at the drop of a hat like that are just wasting their energy. Don’t be offended, go out and DO something about actual wars, actual violence, actual discrimination! Every little bit counts, but if the majority of people are just armchair pundits, we aren’t going to actually stop anything as awful as war and discrimination from happening. I will give them credit for sticking to their beliefs and disliking anything with the mention of war, etc., but I hate it when they don’t do anything more than sit there and talk.

      As for the national stereotypes… most of them are just so bland that what does it matter? Some of them are kind of complimentary like Germany being disciplined and strong. Although I’m coming to the conclusion that Himaruya needs to be more careful with the Asian countries’ stereotypes. Although the Shinatty thing… I mean, China’s just asking for it there. Everyone knows there are so many knockoffs coming from that part of the world, even the people and the government. I also do think the Tibet character should exist separate of China, but that’s just me. If it offends the Chinese, I don’t think I give a shit. The Tibetan people feel like they’re a separate nation, it’s the Chinese government making them be otherwise.

      But yeah, if you’re getting offended at the slightest of things, just go put that energy towards something more useful and move on already!

      • Ah, quick clarification on a couple of my points here:

        1. It’s not the existence of a Hello Kitty knockoff that’s bothersome about Shinatty. It’s the name “Shinatty” itself, since it’s based on a slur.
        2. What I meant about the existence of a Tibet character is that having him show up in any strips could lead to some serious problems involving trivializing the conflict between Tibet and China. How do you even have a Tibet character in this series without drastically altering the tone of the series? I like to think he just prefers to stay secluded in the mountains so no one sees him much.

        Ultimately I agree with you re; people being offended, though. Being offended is one thing, but shouldn’t the logical course of action when being offended by something like Hetalia be going “I find this offensive!”, and then walking away from it and avoiding the series from there on out? Bashing everyone who likes it helps no one, and is wasting your energy, haters.

        • 1. Ah-ha. I did not know that.

          2. This is a series where wars are depicted between nations as them smacking each other around & mercilessly teasing and taunting each other. The death or disappearance of a country has also been shown. The only reason Tibet strips would be sensitive ground is because it’s not 200 years old or something. There’s plenty of stuff you can write about the Tibet-China situation, you could say that China took Tibet’s land so Tibet moved in with India, for one. Or pretty much everyone likes it when Tibet visits with his leader, everyone but China. Things like that. It’s just more challenging.

          • 1. Yeah, “Shina” is a pretty serious slur from what I understand…

            2. Also valid points. And yeah, I can see that, too. It’s just that, for me and for a lot of other people, Tibet showing up kind of sent off some warning bells, especially since Himaruya’s track record with sensitivity towards Asian conflicts hasn’t been as good as everything else. This is of course premature concern and hopefully after the anger out of real life South Korea Himaruya will tread cautiously with Tibet if he ever gives him more strips. I like the Tibet design, so I’d kind of like that.

          • 1. Ah, that’s right. I kind of forgot about it. I think I only saw it used once in a manga before and it’s not like it’s a derogatory word that we use for Chinese people in the States…

            2. I think there is potential for bad in including Tibet, but I can’t see Himaruya taking it there since there’s so much to go on that doesn’t really provoke conflict. I guess if I was more familiar with how Chinese people felt about Tibet…but I feel like I just know how the Chinese government feels, not the actual people. I mean… I can just see Tibet (and the Dalai Lama) going around, meeting the other countries and being well liked because he’s so calm, etc. -Sigh- Much easier to write Hetalia around old European conflicts, it’s MUCH less complicated that way.

  4. Laika says:

    What’s more offensive is the parts of the globe left blank. I guess South America has no history, Africa, etc. Has there even been an India introduced? It certainly seems like it could be fit in when Sealand or Liechtenstein are included. I watch Hetalia, and know it jumps around but even it was solely focused on WWII, there was war in regions like North Africa, or some countries contributed economically like Brazil. I could understand not wanting to include some messy colonial situations, but could we at least have some diversity in the modern scenes?

    • My guess here is that Himaruya, like most students who study in the U.S., never got the chance to learn about South American or African history. There is so much we ignore in basic history classes in America. Most students, even at a college level, only learn about Africa or South America or South East Asia in relation to colonialism and European dominance in those regions. Do you think Asia is much different? They probably don’t give much attention to South America or Africa when teaching Japanese people their version of basic history, because those aren’t the areas of the world who have had the most impact on their history. Heck, the Japanese educational system doesn’t even like telling people about how big a part they played in World War II.

      I know it’s kind of a shoddy defense for Himaruya, but that’s my honest guest. Plus, he probably knows more about European history more than anything else, so it’s much easier for him to stick with what he’s got. (And he’s already got a huge cast of characters that’s hard to keep track of.)

      Sealand and Liechtenstein are probably there because a) they’re unique and b) they have interesting relationships with the countries around them.

      Anyway, I’m not so sure about the anime because I’m not a huge anime watcher, but the Hetalia manga doesn’t focus on WWII events as much.

    • Jumping in here, but Himaruya is still making new characters. There are no South American characters and only a few African characters now, but that doesn’t mean there never will be.

  5. Ahavah says:

    I read the first volume of Hetalia, and found it fairly funny. I’m not offended by its depiction of European Nations, America, Canada, China, or Japan. But every time Korea made an appearance, I cringed. I do not think the author should get a pass on his depiction of Korea just because he’s Japanese. If anything, that makes his unfunny and insensitive depiction even more offensive. What Japan did to Korea before and during the war (as was pointed out in many people’s posts here) was deplorable. By denying their crimes there and refusing to pay reparations to individual women who were forced to “comfort” Japanese soldiers during the war they set themselves up for deserved criticism. The author is obviously a worldly (no pun intended!) man, and he studied in NYU. How could he be so oblivious towards the world’s opinions of Japan’s dealings with Korea? Seriously?

    I’m a daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. I really, really appreciate Germany’s recognition of their crimes. It is illegal. To publicly deny the Holocaust in Germany (and some other European countries). It is illegal to publish Mein Kamph in Germany. Germany has been paying reparations to Jews, including individual survivors, for years. Many other countries, including France, have paid reparations to survivors just for allowing the Nazis to go after Jews in their territories during the war.

    The fact that just a few years ago, a prominent Japanese politician invoked worldwide criticism for publicly denying that the Japanese army took comfort women from Korea (and other places), speaks volumes to me about how the Japanese people refuse to acknowledge, let alone apologize for Japan’s treatment of Korea and their other colonies during the war.

    If Hidekaz were smart, he never would have made Korea a character in the first place, just like his avoidance of Middle Eastern, African, South American, and even most Asian countries (India? Vietnam? The Philippines? Burma/Myanmar? North Korea as a separate character from South Korea? Etc.)

    His depiction of Korea is insensitive and offensive, and he does *not* get a pass just because he was raised in Japan. The criticism against him regarding that character is absolutely valid, IMHO.

    On a different note, I keep wondering what Israel would be like if the author was brave/stupid enough to include the country as a character. I keep imagining a strong, tough woman in an army uniform carrying an Uzi (of course!) 😉 If I. Could draw, I’d try to do a fanart…:D

    • I hope I’m not sounding like I’m giving him a free pass here. I’d prefer it if he toned down the negative depictions of other Asian countries, but let’s be realistic here: does he realize he’s doing it? He might not. That’s something to consider. Do I still enjoy Hetalia? Yeah, I do. I prefer the scenes with European nations much better because the Asian countries are kind of one-dimensional in comparison…

      There was an interesting discussion on Twitter earlier about Japan and how they hide from their responsibilities re:WWII. What happened after the war ended was that old war criminals were allowed to return to politics to combat communism reaching Japan. I’ve got no proof, but I’m almost certain those war criminals did what they could to prevent the Japanese people from learning much about their crimes and then painted Japan as a victim in the international scene due to the atom bombs dropped on them. (Of course, that’s pretty awful too.) In addition to all that, a lot of Japanese were highly patriotic at the time of the war and were likely ashamed to have been so defeated by European forces (something they had been avoiding for hundreds of years), so these politicians could easily use nostalgic sentiment for old Japan to curry favor. After all, these atrocities weren’t performed on other honorable Japanese citizens, they were performed on people who the Japanese thought of as below them. Make a few tweaks to the educational system so that no one talks about how awful Japan was in WWII and you’ve now got a number of recent generations who have absolutely no clue about their country’s dirty secrets. The practice of saving face in Japan is so strong, they feel the need to do it on such a large and public scale.

      Does it make things better? Nope, but it’s just the weird circumstances Himaruya probably grew up in. As I explained to another commenter just before you, basic history classes in the U.S. are just as bad about teaching Asian histories and that includes the awful things Japan did in World War II. Even at college level my basic history classes never touched upon all those issues unless they were Asia-specific classes or run by an exceptional professor I had. In the end, I just don’t think he quite knows what he’s doing.

      Actually, I think half of the countries and regions you just listed wouldn’t be as touchy as you’d think. India’s fine with most everyone, their big beef is with Pakistan. Vietnam is fine too & has good relations with the U.S., the Phillippines doesn’t have any major international conflicts going on right now either. It’s North Korea and Burma that would be tricky & perhaps should be avoided after all. There are a number of African nations that Himaruya could do with few problems, I think the bigger problem is the large amount of change in that region since tribal borders come into play a lot. South & Central America shouldn’t have any problems other than Mexico’s current drug & violence problems. The Middle East might be a bad idea too, but I’d still like to see him take a stab at that region too.

      I like your idea for an Israel character. Israel should totally be a tough girl like Hungary.

      • Nellie says:

        I thought Korea was a fun character, but I agree he made Korea more of a modern Korea probably to avoid some of the stuff that happened in WWII. But I find it a little biased that Japan seems to have no major faults. The biggest fault of the Japan character I can think of is the fact he isn’t opinionated and makes desicions really slowly, though no one really seems to mind except Switzerland.

        Also I didn’t really like the way he depicted China, making it seem like China was dying to take Japan back into his care, even though to my understanding, this wasn’t true at all.

        I hate to burst everyone’s bubble about Israel, but Israel’s going to be a guy 🙂 I just found some chracter designs on him.

        • Israel as a guy doesn’t make sense to me, but since most of Himaruya’s cast is male, I guess it’s to be expected.

          I think I’ve mentioned it before, I but I think Himaruya portrays Japan this way because he himself is Japanese and it’s very hard for the Japanese to see their own country’s faults. (Assuming Himaruya has even gotten a good education on the horrific things Japan has done as a country.) So thus, it’s just better to look at Japan and his relationships with the other countries as somewhat biased. I’m sure a lot of other people would do the same, even if they came from another country.

          • Ren says:

            Personally, (I’m Korean) I was a bit surprised at Korea’s personification. All of the other countries’ stereotypes, I could see, and I can personally name some people that act very similar to their country, but Korea’s personification just struck me completely out of left field.

            I always thought Koreans acted more along the lines of how Japan is portrayed, a bit quiet and very polite, but perhaps a bit more open due to US influence. Korea’s portrayal struck me as a bit more… aggressive, maybe.

  6. Ahavah says:

    Himayura has lived in the United States, and he has above-average knowledge of history and world events. He may not have had ill intent when he first thought up the character of Korea, but he must be aware of how unresolved the conflicts between Japan and Korea are, and how disturbing Japan’s inability to take responsibilities for their actions is to people all over the world, especially Koreans. (at least now, after Korean protests turned the anime version of his manga into a web-only show). He can’t be that dense.

    One of the reasons I love the manga “The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service” is how straightforward it is when dealing with controversial topics-from the Iraq war to Unit 731 (in fact, that’s how I first learned about inhumane experimentation done by Japanese scientists to Chinese victims-from a Japanese manga!). You rarely see Japanese pop culture addressing the worst in Japanese modern history, which means that your hypothesis, that these events aren’t even taught to kids might be true. But when someone creates a comic specifically depicting historical events and international relations, if he didn’t know about his own country’s history and how other countries view the positive and negative aspects of Japan, I’d expect him to learn, and to keep the information in mind whether he directly addresses those issues or not.
    Comparatively, you can find literature, movies, comics, etc. addressing everything America has done wrong: slavery, ill-treatments of various peoples (Native Americans, minorities, women, immigrants, etc) are all taught about in schools and are topics that are well represented in popular culture. Even lesser-known wrongs-American experiments in eugenics, including sterilizing the mentally disabled, are easy to find out about. Coming from such an open society, it’s hard for me to sympathize with a society that still modifies children’s text books to make their history seem “nicer.”

    As for Israel: heck, yea! The country that raised Hannah Senesh can only be depicted as a tough Sabra chick! It’s a country that trains vultures to spy on other countries, and can control sharks! (Just ask Saudi Arabia and Egypt, respectively. ;P) You know a place has a tough reputation when it’s neighbors think it can control animals, despite all evidence to the contrary and, y’know, basic common sense or logic. 😀

    • Yeah, I don’t get it either, but I just have this strong feeling. Like I said, most basic history classes are pretty narrow-minded in both the U.S. and Japan. But anyway, he wrote a bunch of those strips about Korea before the whole thing blew up, so maybe now he knows better? I don’t know because I’ve only read the published volumes and Korea isn’t there much.

      And why would he want to depict Korea at all if it’s already blown up in his face? He’s not going to address the issue. I’m sure.

      Now Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service is great, but it’s also a vastly different manga that can explore those issues without trouble within the context of the plot. So it’s sort of a different thing entirely. My hypothesis about how the politicians may have behaved and changed things hasn’t been proved, but the former war criminals returning to politics & the education not teaching WWII objectively is true. A lot of countries use their standardized history classes as a way to push patriotic feelings, so all the bad stuff isn’t going to be shown. (Especially when the international community can’t get Japan to discuss what they did!) I certainly don’t sympathize with Japan for doing that, but it may be the reason why Himaruya was seemingly ignorant.

      LOL! I can just see the character profile for Israel now, including that bit about the sharks and vultures. XD That would be so perfect & fit into the Hetalia style.

  7. Ahavah says:

    Conclusion: “Hetalia: Ignore Korea and you’ll barely be offended (unless you happen to be Italian. Or a very, very sensitive Frenchman)!”

    I thought the parts making fun of France, Britains rivalry with France and Britains rivalry with America were the funniest. My favorite strip in the first volume was England trying to curse the U.S. using some magical ritual, and Russia’s head popping up. “Damn commies!” LOL!

    If Israel were a character and there were a strip about the recent “Israel controls animals” incident, than Egypt and Saudi Arabia would have to be characters, too and that’s just asking for an international incident (it’s pretty sad that comics can cause international incidents, but there you are). 🙁

    Somebody will just have to draw a doujinshi 😀 (I think the idea of Israel controlling sharks and vultures is very, very funny. I’m Jewish, and I couldn’t train my pet parakeet to talk, let alone spy on a foreign country…:D)

    • I think the key to Hetalia is just to remember that this is a gag manga we’re talking about. In the end, I’m pretty sure Himaruya doesn’t mean anyone harm and is just drawing silly personified countries. So that’s my conclusion.

      Those are all pretty funny parts. I really like Austria’s introduction though. It was so perfectly Austrian, I could see my grandmother and my mother in the character. Fussy, stubborn and passionate about desserts! Also the thought of Austria and Germany rooming together kind of makes me laugh considering their history.

      Ummmmm there is an Egypt character in Hetalia. I honestly don’t think it would cause an international incident either. It would actually be a pretty funny strip. I hope it gets written because it’s exactly the kind of ridiculous thing that would fit well in Hetalia.

      Also, I know you’re Jewish, Ahavah. We’ve had more than a few conversations about this. :3

      • Tee says:

        I’m pretty sure that was the intent in the first place. besides, he never expected his Hetalia series to be this popular. It was a silly little comic he started in college. I think eh said somewhere if he had known that Hetalia’s outcome would’ve been like this, things would be much different. Basically everything you see in the manga is what he learned/experienced. He drew a new comic a few days ago about how fast people walk in each country. It was an article he read about the study of that.

        • That is true, but it’s fair to say that of every mangaka who suddenly finds their manga becoming intensely popular. There are probably a lot of things mangaka would change if it they could. I really just think he loves history, the differences between people from different countries and random trivia and wants to discuss it via comics. And my guess is that there wouldn’t be anyone on Earth capable enough to write something like Hetalia without offending someone eventually. I think the real question is: how offensive is this stuff and what is the offensive material implying? If the offensive material implies that the creator wants to perpetuate violence or ignorance, that’s when you take action against it.

      • wandering lapoon says:

        I think that nickname sorts of gives it away that your jewish~

  8. FunSize says:

    Personally I don’t mind the show, but if you don’t wanna get offended, I must emphasize world series. Or the webcomic. I noticed I prefered more of the webcomic cause the anime itself ( it’s okay but the webcomic is alot less offensive) I’m not offended by th show but I was a little dissapointed by the lack of African characters as well. When my friend had first showed me I never bothered looking it up till now. I somehow became addicted. But the fandom is a little better cause they take things a little seriously and make it angst. but when I looked it ip I was waiting for at least a few African characters, but all I got was like three. And no south Americans?! I heard he’s learning about them before actully writing about them. But I really hate the rabid fan girls. They are very annoying half the time. I don’t like the main character base ( allies, axis) I settle more for mediteranean like Greece turkey or whoever and the nordics. The fangiels make things a little unfunny. I mean I don’t mind but it’s Not a substitute for a textbook. NO. And I don’t mind making friends with people who dislike hetalia, but they shouldn’t insult us cause we lime the show. Yes I really adore that show but some things can be uncalled for. And you wre be surprised of all the country OCs that people have made. Though I must say it’s a bit better than seeing death and tradgedy in an anime. BUT there is one thing anti hetalian and hetalian fans do agree on. It’s history. whether or not you watch the anime you’re always discussing history and you take it more seriously I just hate when they start trolling us fans. Just let us way h the show alright? Yes we know it’s offensive dont say it over and over. And just cause they watched two seasons doesnt mean they know anything. Though im disappointed he should’ve started with WWI cause Turkey was gonna be in it. (he’s my fave character) so thats all I have to say. And besides wio doesn’t wanna see their country as humans? I mean we need to laugh every now an then. People are also making their own hetalias like yugotalia, latintalia and I may make afritalia so hey, you’d be surprised at the angsty fics and pics.

  9. FunSize says:

    Sorry for my many typos. I was on my iTouch. Anyways (dammit I hate this thing) we like the show is what I meant to say. And let us *watch our show and stop getting butthurt. The hatred are only wasting energy hating it and ranting on. (I understand if you’re offended cause of holocaust so it’s fine) although I do have a few friends who have experienced the same thing but they adore the show. And plus it has an older audience. It’s funny cause more than half the people that are offended aren’t even Italian or German. In fact I know tons of germans who love it. And where else are you gonna learn about Seychelles if you don’t take French class? You also learn about euro culture? Some people dont watch for history you know. And it’s fun cause I’m a history buff. It’s world wide too and fun especially w/ world cup. Though I dislike whitewashed!Seychelles very much

  10. A fan says:

    As a reasonable fan, I’d say I mostly agree with this. I enjoy the webcomic, I really do, but I always found the most cringe- worthy character to be China. I was truly expecting a wise Confucius/ Jackie Chan character when I first got into it, but was shocked when I saw Shinatty and the other stereotypes that were more offensive than funny. I’m not too happy with Russia ether, but I think his characterization leaves a lot of room for an in depth analysis.
    And, well, haters gonna hate. A lot of people slam hetalia for promoting Nazism, which makes next to no sense (do you see Ludwig saluting and Parading around in an SS uniform?? Do you?!), but in the end, hetalia should be taken for nothing more than what it really is- a goofy little historical comedy.

    • Great points! I don’t read the webcomic myself (I just don’t have time, usually), but most of that material does not factor into the published manga. As far as webcomics go, I’ve seen more offensive stuff online.

  11. Average Snarker says:

    I love Hetalia for all its irreverent, borderline offensive humour. I doubt I would have liked it nearly as much if Japan didn’t get some fun poked at him as well, however. So, while the ambiguously Jewish part of me (on my mother’s side) is screaming “Too soon! Too soon!” the rest of me is going for it.

    I wholeheartedly recommend it to those that do not get too terribly offended. Americans need to know how to laugh at themselves, too.

    • Fan says:

      I agree with you, it’s not like Himaruya was having a good laugh at just the other countries expenses, there is plenty of stereotypes about Japan as well. As an American, I don’t find this offending at all! America as a character is actually a pretty good representation of the attitude our country has had over time… and I think some people need to understand that its okay to take a step back and look at their country and see whats makes it IT. America wouldn’t be America if we weren’t so narcissistic! It also wouldn’t be America without fast food….

      I’ve loved history for most of my life, and only stumbled upon Hetalia a few months ago (needless to say I’m hooked!) and as a satire I think it’s pure generous! Or maybe I just like the idea of countries running around like idiots and acting silly. But that all goes back to my first point… at some point everyone just needs to step back and have a good laugh!

      I really don’t see why the CHARACTER of Korea was so offending to the Koreans when you remove any preexisting hard feelings they would have had anyways… I’d think the Canadians would have more a right to complain, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comment against Hetalia from a Canadian! The character Canada is more or less invisible and ignored by even his pet bear… and when he does show up it usually involves America unknowingly hurting him! Or the Italians, whose country has been personified as, well, HETALIA, “useless Italy”…. there are little things that could be offensive everywhere if you go digging around looking for something to get mad about, but at the end of the day Hetalia is a Satirical COMEDY and she be read as such!

  12. Ibiza says:

    I agree with Fan, it is a Satirical comedy, I don’t know what’s the big deal. Sure, it might be offensive sometimes, but it’s a COMEDY and people shouldn’t make a big fuss about it. I also think Himayura should show two sides of the story for Asian countries during wars because since he’s trying to appeal to Japanese people, it could be hard for him NOT to put in these sterotypes ( you know, because of the way most Japanese people feel about other asian countries because of war sensitivities). Also, I heard that Himayura is going to start on more recent events, like the war between America and Afganistan, The Cuban missile crisis and many more. He is creating Middle eastern countries and African countries soon. I’m a fan, so I’m excited!

    • I agree that Hetalia is a satirical and farcical comedy. There’s no avoiding it because the characters exist not only to represent their countries, but to make light of them at the same time.

      I also wouldn’t be surprised if Himaruya is just a product of his time and his opinions of other countries are very stereotypical despite the wealth of interaction he’s had with foreigners. I’ve actually noticed that the Japanese people tend to have one picture of how different foreigners should be. Europeans and Americans are usually big, with big noses, blond hair and blue eyes. Latin Americans look more black than anything else. A number of other Asians are like Mexican migrant workers are to the U.S. Obviously Himaruya is able to distinguish among all these stereotypes, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t prone to thinking that way at times.
      Every culture does this, actually, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

      I do hope Himaruya continues into modern events. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp the impact of more recent ones, but I’m sure he can do it. ^_^

  13. Tabitha says:

    I love Hetalia ^_____^ best anime and manga in world
    So this may be a bit biased lol but I think Hetalia is as offensive as things like the Simpsons, it’s not Discriminateing because it offends everyone. I think that missing out countries is more offensive than including them so go forth and stereotype everyone Hetalia – its funny! And it’s just telling the truth about history instead of presenting it in some biased way – people are as crazy as Hetalia’s countries are, History is about people crazy enough to try and change the world (usually for there own selfish resones) and Hetalia is about crazy people so I don’t see a problem! I l

    • I have to agree, Hetalia is an equal opportunity “discriminator.” As for not including some countries, I don’t think it’s surprising that Himaruya’s expansions are slow. After all, he has all of world history to work with, so it’s not easy to include everyone all the time. I’m sure he’ll get there in due time.

  14. Tabitha says:

    Posted with out finishing lol
    I was going to say I love the scene were America gets Britain so drunk he cant remember if he’s Catholic or Prodastant because Britain’s religion was always changing with it’s king / queen and I am british I was laughing forever at this quote! (^_^;)

  15. Tj says:

    I do find Korea annoying at times; however, I see him as a character who just wants attention and wants to be loved by his siblings, but he’s not too good at getting that love because of his personality [a bit like China, maybe?] 😉
    I’m going to sound like your stereotypical fangirl here. Yes, I know. I apologise.
    Hetalia got me interested in history, it really did. I started learning the native languages of the countries I liked, looked up articles on the Internet, checked out specialised books on those countries, and I found books based in the WW2 time-frame.

    I can’t honestly see why you could despise such a series when all it’s doing is aiming to please. I agree with Daniella {?} on that bit about Himaruya’s upbringing. Very insightful there.
    Hell, I’m mostly Polish, and it doesn’t matter to me that Feliks crossdresses from time to time or is just a tad bit queer. I find a lot of his qualities in myself.
    This might be a bit ambitious, but I think if you can accept its humour, Hetalia promotes just a bit of world peace. I know I’ve become a lot more tolerant of people because of this series.

  16. James Cole says:

    Check this out:


    It’s mostly dumb jokes, but the quote from episode 41 is accurate. Offended yet?

  17. James Cole says:

    Hetalia refers to the holocaust as a “terrible rumor” started by France.

    • I can see why some little shit who’s too concerned with being victimized would be offended at that.

      But really, it’s not such a big deal. France isn’t marginalizing the victims by referring to it as a rumor because anyone reading or watching Hetalia would know that it isn’t a rumor. Instead, he’s trying to stir up shit against Germany and forcing other nations’ hands so that something’s done about Germany.

      So like I said, why am I supposed to be offended?

  18. James Cole says:

    “France isn’t marginalizing the victims by referring to it as a rumor because anyone reading or watching Hetalia would know that it isn’t a rumor.”

    I’m not saying that that is what the character France is doing. And how do you know anyone reading or watching Hetalia would’t know it’s not a rumor. Sure, people here in the west know, but what about somebody in Japan watching that (assuming it was correctly translated). The things Japan did in WW2 are still a source of controversy there, so I assume they might know less about what the Nazis did.

    • You make a point, but apparently this line was lifted from a Japanese textbook. (If the source you quoted is at all true.) So wouldn’t that make it possible that most Japanese have at least heard of the German concentration camps and that they were also trying to create an atom bomb? (Especially the atom bomb part, since it’s such a huge part of modern Japanese history.)

      But bringing this back to the original question, I really want to know why I should be offended by these excerpt. I’m still not seeing it.

      • James Cole says:

        no, it’s not true (about the Japanese textbook, it was a joke article, I was just saying that the Hetalia quote was quoted accurately). I’m not saying that anyone should be offended, I just personally found it offensive that they portrayed the holocaust as just some “terrible rumor” that France is spreading around about Germany.

        • Why would you be? It’s pretty clear to the viewer that the “terrible rumors” France spreads about Germany in the series are actually true statements. You say it might not be clear to the Japanese viewer, but a) you don’t really know that, especially since this is a series that has sparked interest in history for many people and b) the Japanese people are not known for their bigotry towards Jews. Quite the opposite, as a number of Japanese helped Jews during WW2.
          Sure, they’ve got PLENTY of other racism issues in and around WW2, but since the quote specifically mentions Jews, we’ll ignore those for the sake of this argument.

        • More importantly, you realize that the entire passage is meant to illustrate how the Allies purposefully propagandized all sorts of “rumors” (whether they were true or not) so that they could get support for the war, right?

  19. SmazzyNinja says:

    As an Italian American I could be offended by the show.
    America is a loud mouth that stuffs his face all the time, Italy is a terrified wimp that runs from everything but honestly i don’t care about the stereotypes.
    And I’m an extremely patriotic American that’s preparing to join the US Navy, My family comes from both sides of WWII (literally US troop grandfather, Italian troop grandfather)
    I find the show enjoyable and love it.
    People have got to learn to laugh at themselves a bit.

    • That’s great. It’s really proof that Hetalia isn’t offensive if you don’t turn yourself into the victim. As lazy and wimpy as Italy is, he’s a pretty cute little dude. America… well, I think we all know more than a few Americans who actually act like that, so it’s hard to be offended.

      Good luck in the Navy!

  20. justsomeguy says:

    “It’s not the Hetalia itself that offends people. It’s the Hetalia ‘fangirls’ that offend people who attend in anime conventions.” – From a Japanese anime fan at the TIAF

    I went to Tokyo last year and had a wonderful time at the Tokyo International Anime Fair. No Hetalia cosplays at all. I’m a Russian and I don’t complain about Hetalia. I don’t think Hetalia is an evil manga-anime series. However I think Hetalia is better off catering exclusively to online communities.

    P.S. I would personally love a bishonen parody of Trotsky, Stalin and Lenin in Hetalia. Red Socialist Hetalia rocks! Communism will do good things to the Hetalia online community.

    • justsomeguy says:

      I forgot to say that Hetalia is very important to us Communists. Hetalia is very friendly to Communists like us.

      All hail Marx!
      All hail Lenin!
      All hail Hetalia!

      I want to depict America in Hetalia as an educated African-American. He would prove in the fictional world of Hetalia that Communism is important to the two bishonens, England and France.

      I do love this blog. Let us embrace Hetalia for World Wide Communism!

      • Well, I don’t think Himaruya is going to change how America is depicted. It’s a purposefully used stereotype that illustrates how America reacts, especially in matters of foreign policy.

        And unfortunately, an educated African-American Communist is not really an accurate representation of America as a whole. This country is still fighting over socialized healthcare, so any other forms of communism and socialism are going to be a long time coming.

  21. Heather says:

    Well to be honest I’m not offended at all, at first I was a little sketchy about it when I heard about the American character from a friend. I was worried how we were going to type casted, as well as other countries. I haven’t read the manga for I don’t have the money and websites that have it only have the two volumes. So this is based more on the anime. So far with what I’ve seen I actually love it. Sure there are going to be those who take it offensively but at the same time you can’t help but look at it and go ‘You know I did think that about British, or French myself’, it kinda makes you look not so much at history but at a more human aspect. America for example, in truth I found him spot on for yes were young, inexperienced, and are mainly a fun loving country that likes to see ourselves as the heroes of the world even when we overstay our welcome at times. Hetalia in all honesty I see has real potential and not just in a comedic way. In truth I’m hoping for more darker material to be produced in this series, though I doubt it’ll happen for there are those who would probably be very offended. The reason I’m hoping for that is because I’d like a bit more realism. For that is all he’s being, politically correct and sometimes people just need to laugh and go “Ok yeah we can be like that”. I’m not going to bash anyone because they find it hurtful or controversy that is your opinion, I am just merely expressing my own. But here’s the thing…why be so offended with this when you’ve heard worse from comdedians, reality tv shows, and the like? You say you don’t laugh but you do, ever heard Chris Rock or Carlos Mencia? They come up with way worse material and yet you laugh at it even when it’s politically offensive. Avenue Q with their song ‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist’ anyone who has heard or seen that song has laughed its a given with save a few who take it way to seriously. Hetalia is one of those things that I think shouldn’t be taken too seriously, for it isn’t serious, its actually an interesting take of history. I’ve actually learned a few things from the show. Again this is only my opinion, and the anime is probably different then the manga but I can’t imagine it being too different…and even so I can’t imagine anything worse then what I have seen from Family Guy. Frankly I find Family Guy more offensive then Hetalia. And yet that is incredibly popular. Hell even I like SOME episodes, today its just one of those things that people will find that you can’t really look away afraid anymore. By that I mean well bascially human hypocrisy, it’s everywhere and in everything a common denominator if you will you can’t turn away from it. I hope I made somewhat of sense, and again I’m not saying its bad that you find Hetalia offensive and if your not a fan of the show this just my input and I mean no disrespect to anyone.

  22. Megwan says:

    I’m a British Canadian and I’m not offended. :3 In fact I’m proud of the fact that England cannot cook in Hetalia. Although they did get it wrong when they called him Britain and UK though because Britain consists of four different countries. England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Whales. Although they often share laws they are different countries inside a kingdom and should have all had their own characters.
    I have no problem with Canada’s character although I think he should be mentioned a lot more. 🙂 I can think of so many funny scripts with Canada in.

  23. lolno says:

    MY country is a gay vampire ;-;

  24. jasmine says:

    i don’t think Hetalia is offensive its just a funny way to look at history i mean come on you really don’t have to get in your feeling his just a damn show like really you people are too sensitive i mean the show isn’t gonna change anything about your country and beside its the authors interpretation of the countries not yours so shut up about it!! Im american and i think its pretty accurate we are loud and obnoxious but if you think about it all the countries are even in real life.

  25. Aurelene says:

    One of the common arguments from haters is that Hetalia replaces textbooks and that the fangirls don’t bother paying attention to real history because of the show, which isn’t 100% accurate. This argument, to have any validity, would have to assume that the ridiculous fangirls would actually pick up a history book on their own if they DIDN’T have Hetalia. Even if all of the characters are stereotyped (which is offensive to some and not to others, depending on your sensibilities), none of them are portrayed as outright “bad” or “evil”. Korea may be annoying, or Russia may be creepy, or Italy may be a coward, but they are all portrayed sympathetically at the least. People who watch the show and already love history are going to continue loving history after watching it. People who didn’t know there were countries beyond their own before watching the show can learn something about the world around them, and hopefully tolerance of other countries. Is that really such a horrible thing?

    • This is true! I was a huge history fangirl before I ever read Hetalia. ^_^ I don’t know about people who got into history after reading or watching Hetalia, but I think it’s fair to say that many have probably looked into the events that Himaruya portrays.

  26. Halldora says:

    At first, I had to say that the characters in Hetalia shocked me because it seemed like they went overboard with the stereotypes. It didn’t take long for me to get over it – about five minutes, actually – and soon I was laughing. Since then, it’s easily turned into one of my favourite things and although it took me a little while to get used to it, I never really found it as offensive.

    Sure, if I was one of those people who took everything seriously I would’ve been insulted. I’m a Chinese Canadian – both of my countries are far from normal. One of them has an obsession with Shinatty dolls and the other one is invisible for god’s sake! But I’m not, I think that Canada was characterized quite well, actually. However, I had been thinking…why was Canada’s bear given a Japanese name? o_O Kumajirou, eh…

    But I also have to admit that I’ve never been too happy with the way China turned out. It still bugs me – I had been expecting someone wiser, more serious, and just…more fitting than a girly-looking man with Shinatty. His friendliness towards Japan annoys me more than I’d like to admit – I blame my biased upbringing for this, though.

    Anyways. Korea seems to be an issue here…I don’t think that the Koreans’ anger is unjustified because there had been some nasty history between Korea and Japan, but really…Hetalia is not meant to be taken seriously! I doubt that the Italians would be happy to see that their country had been portrayed as an adorable crybaby who can’t tie his shoes. Either that or a tomato-obsessed guy who swears at everything except pretty girls.

    …Or hell, France. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that.

    To be honest I find shows like Family Guy to be more offensive than Hetalia. In Hetalia, everything was portrayed comically and the author had avoided the more…ah, serious issues. We don’t see Germany parading around doing Nazi salutes, do we? No, all we got was a vague mention of his “crazy boss”. Which shouldn’t be that offensive if you don’t get overly sensitive about it…

    Hetalia isn’t something meant to be serious, and although I have to admit that I’d love to see some darker, more realistic material I do realize that such things will offend people, so it’s never going to happen. And I’m perfectly fine with that, Hetalia should just stay the way it is – a parody-like satire, with lots of interesting ideas!

    (Fanfiction.net supplies me with all the angsty darkfics I need anyways.)

    • I have to wonder if the wise Chinaman stereotype is more of a Western thing than an Asian thing. I don’t really see it portrayed as much in Asian cinema so much as Western cinema. It’s part of the whole weird stereotype that the Chinese people are all mysterious, wise and cunning. How such a large population of diverse ethnic groups can all be considered those things as a whole doesn’t make sense to me. So it’s probably better that Himaruya focuses on modern Chinese pop culture for his portrayal of the country.

      Although, if you really wanted to portray China in a wildly offensive way, you could just make him a country unable to act against his crazy communist bosses.

      As for Kumajiro… I have no idea.

  27. Kartz says:

    Things I find offensive about Hetalia:

    Korea – the fact that he’s obsessed with touching boobs. I don’t know much about S. Korean culture, but it just seems a little weird…is it really a stereotype that Koreans are perverts? I expected him to be like a little school girl, singing annoying K-pop songs and obsessing over hot actors and shit.

    I like that he’s irritating as hell, because I see S. Korea as a miniature America. (we’re talking about people that casually walk up to the North Korean border and take photos of the ‘freaks’ on the other side as if it’s a zoo, if that’s not annoyingly American, then I don’t know what is) It has all the Westernization without the traditional ‘politeness/anti-socialness’ that most Japanese citizens have. I think it’s weird that the Korean government actually wanted the character removed (and succeeded) even if they find him offensive, they’re removing their presence in a cartoon about cultural/historical significance. It’s basically belittling oneself.. I think the deal is “It’s Korea in a Japanese cartoon, WE DON’T LIKE IT.” They never actually state WHY they find him offensive, it’s just his existence that’s offensive. It’s just a bunch of old people being butthurt about a grudge that doesn’t even protain to cartoons. You don’t see China getting all upset about Hetalia just because it leaves out all the sick things Japan has done in wars. (Himaruya left these things out because they’re NOT FUNNY, not because he’s ignorant to them or wants to make Japan ‘look good’) Korea (the character) is adorable and I love how he interacts with China and Japan in the web strips. I say it’s a crying shame he isn’t in the anime.

    Canada – I actually find him the most offensive character (though I still like him) the rest of the cast think he’s America….yet they walk all over him because he’s Canada? Doesn’t make much sense. If his character was accurate he’d be exactly like America, just not as stand-offish, he’d be loud, obnoxious (probably moreso), and fat. I’m American and I don’t even see a difference between the US and Canada as countries (except the economy, but hell Canada will be in the sinkhole with us eventually -__-‘)

    Cuba – he’s obese…I don’t get it…

    Vietnam – my boyfriend (who’s vietnamese) is offended that she isn’t in the anime. :I

    • I’m quite shocked by this. I think your ideas about Canadians and Koreans are actually more offensive than the actual Hetalia characters.

      I find, based on a previous visit to Korea and working for a Korean company for a time, that Koreans are fairly similar to the Japanese in terms of modesty (it’s OK to show leg, but not OK to show cleavage; it’s also not OK to show more than a fairly chaste kiss on TV), reluctance to accept divorce and gay people, etc. I also know, from my extensive travels, that they tend to be louder than Japanese tourists and more colorfully dressed. Does that make them like Americans? No, not at all. In fact, the “Korean” people you’re describing sound more like Western fans of K-pop than actual Koreans. You do know that obsessive fan culture happens in every culture and that not every Korean is heavily into SNSD, right? Right? I hope you also realize that France is portrayed as a huge pervert in Hetalia. Does that offend you? Because if Korea’s perverted behavior offends you, then France’s behavior should offend you too. And may I point out that EVERY COUNTRY has perverts, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the country is a pervert. I’m pretty sure most everyone who watches/reads Hetalia already knows that. Except maybe you.

      As for taking pictures of the North Koreans, I don’t know if it’s really that easy for them, having been to the border myself. You don’t just walk up to the border and see tons of North Koreans everywhere. You just see lots of soldiers. And I’m willing to bet money that there are more foreign tourists there taking pictures than there are judgmental South Koreans. And really, while the idea of Korea getting upset over a political satire like Hetalia is a bit silly, they have every right to get mad at Japan for what they did to the Koreans. It was brutal and Japan does a poor job of acknowledging their war crimes.

      What I do wish Himaruya would portray more is that Japan and Korea’s younger generation actually pass a lot of their pop culture and trends between themselves. Korean bands make Japanese debuts and vice versa. It seems worth noting.

      Canada is a lot like America, but Canadians do have a reputation for being much more polite and liberal than most Americans. So why do you think his character is inaccurate? Most Canadians and Americans have similar accents, so it’s no wonder Canadians and Americans might get confused in real life. Unfortunately for Canada, America is a lot more famous and a lot of people just assume certain people in American pop culture are American. There’s also a worldwide tendency to completely ignore Canadian politics. Face it, what’s the last big political issue you’ve heard about in Canada? Do you know the names of any politicians there off the top of your head? Is this Canada’s fault or Himaruya’s fault for portraying this? No, it’s the world’s fault for viewing Canada as unimportant. Hetalia is POLITICAL SATIRE so of course Himaruya is going to poke fun at the way Canada is ignored by the rest of the world.

      Cuba-WTF, Cuba isn’t obese. Maybe in chibi form, but that makes every Hetalia character obese in chibi form. He’s thick, he’s broad-chested, yes. But obese? Do you even know what that word means? I wonder… But good on Himaruya for portraying different body types either way.

      Vietnam- If that’s the only reason why your boyfriend is offended by Vietnam, then he needs to get a life.

      • Kartz says:

        Sorry, but when I meant ‘offensive’ I really just meant “I don’t understand how this is a stereotype” I myself don’t really find any of the characters offensive, especially compared to American cartoons.

        How is Vietnam offensive at all? I’ve yet to see her in a comic other than the Halloween one (in which she doesn’t even speak)

        • OK, but “offensive” and “I don’t understand this” are *completely* different. Be careful not to mix up the two elsewhere…

          Considering how there are a great many countries that haven’t even made it into Hetalia, Vietnam not appearing much and not speaking isn’t a huge deal. It’s very clear to me that Himaruya doesn’t have a great background in Asian history, so he focuses quite a bit on Western history and only brings in major characters from other regions when it suits him. With a major exception to Japan and China because they’ve both played major parts in Western wars and because he’s probably more familiar with them.

          So Vietnam’s exclusion can be considered offensive, but it’s only because Himaruya plays favorites with world history.

      • Kartz says:

        And Cuba is referred to as ‘obese’ in many descriptions about him. Obese can be many things. If you weigh like 6 lbs more than the requirement to join the military, US recrutement officers WILL call you obese, I’ve seen it myself.

  28. Izzy says:

    I do not find Hetalia offensive.It’s a comedy,and it’s just joking around.And it dosen’t focus on the more…eh…sensitive topics about WWII.I’m American and Swedish,and I have friends that are British and German and Italian and from all over the world and none of them find it offensive.But recently I stumbled onto an Anti-Hetalia page,and some of the things they said I found to be very wrong.
    1.Most Hetalia fans DO know how bad wars are.Hetalia is meant to be a COMEDY.
    2.Sure,it’s steryotypical,but,again.it’s a COMEDY.

  29. MyOpinions says:

    Honestly, there are millions of different opinions out there of Hetalia. What it all boils down to is how people view the characters with various aspects of the fandom.

    I’ve been a fan for about six months now and have seen pretty much all the different parts of it; the comedic show and manga, the humorous fanfics and fanart, the more serious fanfics and fanart, the role-players, etc. I’ve talked to the ignorant fans, the mature fans, the ignorant haters, the mature haters, the neutral. I love a good debate, and I’ve gotten plenty of discussion about the show.

    I was more of an ignorant fan at first, I’ll admit; I had no idea how many people were offended by the show or the fans. As I began to get into the fanbase more, I realized something; Hetalia is surprisingly complex.

    Those that found the show offensive for making a joke of serious events might actually like some of the darker fanart and fanfics. Those who are just looking for a laugh can stick with the original thing. Those who are looking for a little of both can laugh at the show, then take the characters into a different light when they read/look at one of the more serious fanworks.

    I consider myself as one of the fans looking for a bit of both. To me, it seems the Hetalia characters are double-sided; you have the funny, light-hearted side depicted in the show, and you have the darker, more complex side sometimes shown in the fandom. I can laugh at the stupid, hamburger-glutton America as his comedic self, then watch as his more serious side comes out when put into a darker setting.

    Basically, with the anime and manga, you have to learn to laugh at the various stereotypes (which I really don’t find that offensive; honestly, if Family Guy can bring Hitler into their show, I think Hetalia can create a character based off the stereotypes of Germans), and then with some of the more historically accurate things, you need to show a little more respect.

    This is a bit hard to explain, but I’ll do my best: things with deep, historical detail should not be used as sheer comedy. I realize that this sounds like it’s contradicting the whole theme of Hetalia, but the difference between the show and a really offensive fanfic is amount of historical accuracy.

    Hetalia tends to throw in some random, funny historical facts, but it never goes deep into an event. I’ll use the Holocaust as an example; there are a few passing mentions in the show, but do they actually go into the concentration camps, the starving people, and make fun of that? No. The same goes for fanart for an event like Pearl Harbor; I saw one picture that had obviously taken a lot of time and effort, and the artist had definitely done their research. They were careful to state that they didn’t want to offend anyone on the subject, and they would take it down if someone asked. Meanwhile, I saw a picture of Pearl Harbor with a completely different approach; it had a Japan cosplayer kicking an America cosplayer in the balls. That was it. Obviously, more people will take offense with the latter of the two.

    Another important factor I’ve seen is slash. I may be a bit biased due to my dislike of it, but I don’t think serious events should be used as an excuse for two representations of countries to start screwing each other. I saw one story written shortly after the Japanese earthquake, and its plot consisted of big, strong America going over to help a weak-ass Japan, then ended with the two having sex. That’s just plain offensive.

    This brings me to my next point; amount of time. WWII was several decades ago. While it is still a bit sensitive for some people, time has softened the blow. Hetalia was able to get away with using it in the show because it’s a much older event than say, the shooting in Norway. I’ve seen some fanfics of that, and even though some of them were actually quite respectful of the tragedy, people still took offense. I really can’t defend the authors of those fics on that one; the stories were written while the grief was still fresh in everyone’s mind.

    As a quick sidenote here, I don’t think the people who write/draw these serious but deemed ‘offensive’ stories/fanart really mean any harm. It seems to me that they want to do a tribute to a nation in distress, and Hetalia provides the characters to do that. However, people often overlook the fact that others WILL occasionally be offended by using fictional characters as a tribute to a real event.

    I have to say that I do like the characters. Himaruya really managed to create a bunch of seemingly one-sided, wacky people (and once again, I don’t believe he meant to anger anyone; it seems that fans are actually attracted to the various countries’ flaws, i.e. Italy’s stupidity, Germany’s OCDness, France’s pervertness, etc.) that can easily be expanded on if one dives a bit deeper into it. My only complaints are that he left out a lot of influential countries (African nations, South American nations, etc.), the nations that should have been dark skinned are pale, and he really should’ve been a bit more careful with the Asian countries.

    Expanding on the last point (oh God, I’m STILL going), I can understand where the Koreans were slightly offended. In the show, most of the Asians seem to look up to Japan, where in all honesty, the Japanese were downright brutal. I think China should have been more philosophical and less “SHINATTY-CHAN!”-ish, but hey, the modern-day stereotypes of the Chinese seem to go along with his personality quite well (aside from the fact that I’ve heard “shinatty” is actually insulting to the Chinese…). Korea was definitely well-liked by a lot of fans, but the Koreans are entitled to their opinions as well. Japan is much kinder than he should have been (and this is coming from a fan), though I suppose this was more to appeal to the original audience.

    In conclusion, whether Hetalia is offensive or not depends on what part of the fandom you’re looking at, and how you’re viewing the characters in that situation. It’s different for different perspectives.

    Overall, I love Hetalia, and (at risk of sounding like a stereotypical fan) it has actually rekindled my interest in history. I now appreciate the long history lessons from my history-nerd dad, even without referencing everything to Hetalia. It has made learning about other cultures much more interesting, especially as an avid traveler.

    So that’s my bit, and I apologize for the huge speech. I think I may like debating a little too much…^^;

    • Your comment has a lot of great, well thought out points. I have to say that I agree with all them except for the one about how time has softened the blow for victims for WWII. If my grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, was still alive today, she would be just as afraid of anti-Semites coming after the Jews. She would still refuse to talk about what she went through in front of my mother and I. She would still tell me to pinch my nose to make it look less Jewish.

      I am fairly certain, because of my experiences with my grandmother, as well as other relatives and friends who are survivors, that time never really softened the trauma. It was still very fresh in her mind in the late 1990’s, 50 years after the war had ended. Time had just allowed her to return to normal life, but I’m pretty sure all the pain was still there. Why else would she tell me to try and hide my Jewishness 50 years later? No one was coming after me then, there was no reason to hide my Jewishness.

      Anyway, time has softened the later generations’ fear of the same events happening. I am much less afraid of anti-Semitism or something similar to another Holocaust happening than my mother and my grandmother. But I was also born into a world, or at least a country, where people were much more accepting of Jews. My mother and grandmother were not. It’s sort of like how most people born in the late 1980s are not afraid of communism or socialism the same way older people are.

      • MyOpinions says:

        I just read over that part of my comment, and I think I may have worded that wrong. I was referring to the event overall in society; for the victims, I’m sure those wounds are still there. What you said in the last part of your comment pretty much sums it up.

        My grandparents have a friend who went through the Holocaust. He gives motivational lectures about it, but it’s quite obvious he’s still pained by it. I have to admire him for being able to remember and think about those awful memories so he can inform the younger generations about the true horrors of the Holocaust.

        This goes for all the survivors; they have to live with those memories, and I can’t blame any of them for worrying about something similar occuring or not wanting to talk to anyone about it.

        I stumbled across a picture of some Hetalia cosplayers the other day. They were standing in front of a Holocaust memorial, doing a Nazi salute. I literally sat there, just staring in shock at the picture, for about five minutes. How could anyone be so ignorant as to do something like that? Those are the types of things that really gives the Hetalia fanbase a bad name. It’s common knowledge that the Holocaust was a terrible, terrible event and that there are many people who are still sensitive on the subject. Even if it was meant as a tribute, it’s still wrong.

  30. RandomGirl says:

    Okay I know that this is an old discussion and all but I see some december 12 opinions so I’m going to add some opinion too. Can’t say if it’ll be helpful or make much sense.

    While volume 1 had its ups and downs and personally I think it was probably the weakest volume of the series. People honestly need to see past that. Maybe it’s because I’m less sensitive than others but I don’t see much offensive stuff in volume 3 and volume 4 has some sentimental stories in it too. That and while the characters’ predominating trait are over the top stereotypes you will find strips where they show other facets of themselves.
    Now I guess about offense I shouldn’t talk much since I have traumatic family history with WWII. But from my experience with an overly sensitve and sometimes prone to exaggeration community (I’m sorry to all the black people out there but you have to admit we do love to see racism everywhere) I learned that sometimes it’s best to just back down a bit and see things from a different angle. And not be too sensitive about things.

    I’ve seen shows get away with a lot more than Hetalia. Heck I’ve seen a WWII anime based on a group of prepubescent young girls who will probably be subject to fanservice a lot. Now that’s kind of out of the left field.

    Sadly, fans make the fandom. And we all know you can have a bucket of good apples, the minute there are a few spoiled one you know everyone is going to talk about how spoiled it is. And the whole bucket will be thrown away. I guess we just enjoy the negative and shocking in life.

  31. ASHLEY says:

    i dont find hetalia offensive i always was a history fan nerd and i can see why the koreans would find it offensive on how the describe korea as a person who claims to hate japan but wants to be like him and all so mindlessly groping other countries and claming things thats a bet of rasicism there but still just because there are sterotypes dosent mean people take them serously i mean this anime has some value its makes us anime fan nerds want to pick up a text book and also gets people into other culters as will i’m just saying i see why the koreans are mad BUT IF THEY DONT LIKE IT THEN DONT SHOW IT IN KOREA INSTEAD OF TRYING TO BOYCOTT THE THING I MEAN DO THEY REALLY THINK AMERICAN TEENAGER OR ANY OTHER TEENAGER IN THE WORLD THINK PEOPLE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES ACT LIKE THAT I MEAN REALLY PEOPLE I mean yes it does have its racist moments and some who cant take a joke shouldnt watch but people who enjoy shows like family guy and stuff like that which all so pokes fun at history and culter should and find it perfectly fine but gets offended about hetalia is just WOW I MEAN THERE ARE LIKE A LOT OF RACIAL COMMENTS ON FAMILY GUY LIKE ON ONE EPISODE WHEN Brian and Stewie were riding that bus thing through gremany and it was missing the time line between 1939 and 1945 and the guy got mad Seth mcfarlen probibly think germans are hiding there history does that make it true NO could be just a harmless joke YES but Japan SHOULD NOT HIDE AND LIKE ABOUT WHAT HAPPEN IN KOREA THAT IS WRONG AND UNCOOL but people shouldnt take offense to these jokes that mmuch they want to boycott the damn anime ITS AN ANIME NOT LIFE

  32. Jessica Fox says:

    When I first found out about about APH I was like, no way this is going to offend alot of people because it depicts the darkest time in recorded history as a bunch of cute boys and girls playing jokes on each other. However, upon waching Hetalia I was supprised at how docile the Axis was potrayed especially when they were lost on the South Pacific Island and Japan declairs ” I’ve always dreamed of wasting my days away, doing nothing on a deserted island” while Italy plays Marco Polo. My huge Obsession is the Soviet dynamic, which has alot of opportunities to offend. Ukraine is potrayed as a cry baby emo with huge boobs, Russia as an antisocial psycho punk who has no idea why he has no friends, Belarus as a psychotic stalker mean girl who uses her beauty to destroy people. However, I most realate to the Soviets and I am in heaven that Hetalia didn’t shy away from bringing these characters to life.

  33. El Salvador says:

    ah.aha. As you can for my name I put a country. I have no problems with hetalia its just made for fun. Seriously I enjoy seening Romano call Germany a Potato (bleep) and Spain a Tomato (bleep) its funny to see France dream naughty dreams of every single character…mainly the Italy brothers. then America keep saying he is the Hero! its funny…I like the whole idea of Greece x Japan and Spain X Romano and all sorts of stuff.. made world history fun for me and seeing the whole bl stuff too…I love it…

  34. Enni says:

    I love Hetalia. America is my favorite character. He’s tone-deaf, hyper, stuffs himself with hamburgers but he doesn’t get fat because he works out XD, can be annoying but he also means well.
    I honestly don’t get why Koreans are offended other than the fact that they don’t like how he’s portrayed: annoying and perverted. Is it because of the atrocities that Japan has committed against Korea? Why would that be? There is no Holocaust, no rape of Nanking, no Pearl Harbor, no atomic bomb, no slavery, no other atrocities in Hetalia. All these sensitive issues aren’t existent in Hetalia. Korea is a modern character so he’s not from the WW2 time and in modern times China, Japan, and Korea do interact with each other economically and culturally. I just think the Koreans feel disrespected for being portrayed that way. As for China’s character, lot of people actually like him and some hate the way he’s portrayed. But seriously China, quit being the world’s #1 boot-legger if you don’t want other people to see your country that way, I mean, its true. If this offends you then tell me its not true then.
    And I want to say something about someone else mentioning Hetalia was offensive because of what France said about the Holocaust being a rumor. If you studied WW2, the Nazis kept what they were doing to the Jews a secret from the rest of the world. There were rumors about what Germany was doing to the Jews but it wasn’t confirmed until Germany was defeated when the Allies found the concentration camps. So what France said was accurate, that during the time of the war it was a rumor, and it shouldn’t be offensive.
    Lastly, all those people complaining about no South America and Africa need to chill. Fans shouldn’t be so selfish, Himaruya has a lot to work with. They probably won’t have a large role though and honestly I don’t think I’ll have much interest in them, but that’s just me. Plus I’ve also wondered why there’s a Cuba but no Mexico. Mexico was only mentioned once in the manga about how America doesn’t like Mexico (because of the Alamo or something). But since Himaruya lived in the US for a bit, I wonder if he’s picked up the tension between the Americans and the Mexicans (that are in the US illegally). It could get offensive to the Mexicans if he’s not careful about adding Mexico.

  35. Rosina says:

    I think Hetalia is absolutely wonderful as it pokes a little fun at everyone, and I don’t think for a second that anything is intended as racist or offensive in anyway. I think to some people who may be more sensitive as others, it could come off as a little offensive, but there are so many things just as bad and worse out there. People really need to just walk away if something offends them, rather than get all up in arms about a silly anime/manga/webcomic.
    Personally, I think it’s just a way to look at history on a smaller scale. Granted that can make larger events seem petty, but the overall tone of this series is meant to be a little silly in the first place. It’s meant to make history interesting and fun, not to mention easier to understand.
    As far as characters go, I really don’t think Himaruya meant any harm when making characters like China or South Korea. Whether people take it as that or not is a different story, but there isn’t much that can be done about that.
    As far as Germany goes, I absolutely love the way he is portrayed in the series. People need to understand that the personifications aren’t a reflection of that county’s leaders, rather they are reflections on the country’s population. Germany was portrayed just right in my opinion. As a hard working man with an insane boss he had no choice but to listen to, since countries don’t have much of their own free will depending on the type of government.
    I absolutely adore everything about Hetalia. I grew up watching History channel rather than cartoons, and looking at maps for fun. I’m still doing that, as a sixteen year old girl, rather than watching Jersey Shore or Twilight (Speaking of Jersey Shore, I find it ten times more offensive to Italians that Hetalia, coming from an Italian-American.) I love that this series satisfies my love of history while adding humor and fun, interesting characters. I also love that it’s able to get people interested into history that weren’t before.
    The only problem I have with Hetalia at all is the fandom. While I’m a part of the fandom, and I love it for the most part, there is a small portion of it that makes all Hetalia fans look bad. I think we all know the small portion I’m referring to. The people that obviously don’t know when they have crossed a line into straight up offensiveness.
    Most of the fandom isn’t like that, it really isn’t. It’s only a small portion of people making us look bad, but it upsets me none-the-less. I really can’t stand some of the idiotic people out there, but unfortunately every community of fans has those ones that make everyone look bad. It just so happens that the one’s ruining Hetalia are for some reason more noticeable.

  36. Son_of_Mars says:

    The show is great but it kinda doesn’t make sense. Like why are most countries male? Why is Egypt, Greece, Japan, and China portrayed as very young when these countries are old as dirt? Why does France, England and the Majority of Europe looks like the same age as America when America is ACTUALLY way younger than them. Where are all the non European-East Asian countries like Africa, the Middle East and Latin America? I find some things offensive like how Japan is like perfect with no hang-ups and is not remotely dysfunctional like how the other countries are protrayed. I do find it strange that the show is called Hetalia world series when 2/3rd’s of the world’s population is absent. Like does the series take place on some imagenary planet with no Black and Brown people. Also WHERE’S MEXICO??? lol Mexico and America share a massive border and unique historical relationship. The other latin American countries could be shown “living with” America. I say this bc America has intervened extensively into their affairs. Other than that i love the series. I hope when the other American nations finally make their debut they actually look like the people of their country. Like Mexico=Mezito, Peurto Rico=Mulatto, Dominican Republic=Mulatto, Brazil=Mulatto, Jamaica=Black, Haiti=Black, Chile=White, and Argentina=White.

  37. Just a person who's name you will never know. says:

    I don’t see why Hetalia is offensive. Sure, there are lots of stereotypes, but anyone who isn’t a total moron knows that none of them are true. I know lots of people complain about Italy’s personality, saying its making fun of Italians, buy its not. That’s just Italy’s personality. They’re not saying all people from whatever country act that way. Also, they’re not discriminating against any countries by not making personifications of them. If he managed to make every single country into a character, there would be to many. Plus, there would be countries that have nothing to do with the actual plot. (like Seychelles.)
    And then there are the tiny countries no one knows about, that weren’t involved in anything.
    People are too easily offended these days, they need to “man up.”

  38. Rahaf says:

    No hetalia isnt offensive in any Kinda of a
    its just a show!
    and in my openion the best show i had ever seen!!!
    i would argue with anyone who finds it bad..
    Hetalia fan forever!

  39. Sara says:

    First of all, I have to say that I am Italian. I suppose it is an important thing to point out

    • Sara says:

      I watched a few episodes of this cartoon and I didn’t find it really offensive. Well, oviously the historical situation is completely invented and the stereotypes are trivial. For istance, the italian character love eating, isn’t interested in war and he’s scared even by his shadow: haven’t you find anything else? It’s one of the silliest cartoon I have ever seen, but it isn’t as offensive as I thought it was. Officialy, it is about the Second Wordl War, but actually, it is more about the stereotype of each country. It is just comics, maybe silly and bad-taste comics, but always comics.
      P.s.sorry for probable english mistakes

  40. Nguyen says:

    No room for darkies here….. srry Africa and South America….. and the Middle-East/Indian subcontinent

    Anyways, a lot of these pre-pubescent weeaboos in the States are pretty oblivious to why Hetalia is borderline offensive. Silencing the Holocaust is controversial in any show and fans going all anti-Korean because of the boycott makes a sane person shake his/her head in disbelief.
    Some people would say, “It’s just an anime, it’s not meant to be taken seriously.” From what I’ve gathered online, there are psychos who claim to have learned a lot about history through Hetalia, If that’s true, they’re thinking will also be influenced to mitigate Germany and Japan’s actions during WWII. Unfortunately, this seemingly innocent manga/anime may breed these retards who defend innumerable war atrocities.
    The fans’ reactions to the S. Korean boycott truly proves how simple-minded these people are. There were many occasions where Japanese officials apologized for past wrongdoings and then the government as a whole took back those words. (Oh yeah, and the current prime minister of Japan is the grandson of an A-class war criminal who escaped the noose by making a shady deal with the Yanks) Because of this half-assed apology, it’s understandable that Koreans are frustrated. In contrast to what idiot fans think, what the SK gov is trying to do is indirectly shine a light on unresolved Japanese war crimes through this big scene their purposely causing.

    Just as an observation, the author seems like a common Japanese right-winger, although probably not as radical as the ones who hold large demonstrations to advocate the massacre of all Koreans like the Rape of Nanking part 2 (yes they’re very real!)
    He makes a manga based on the brutal Axis powers. While this had on opportunity to give an interesting alternate side to history, he downplays the wrongs done during WWII. His interpretation of Korea definitely gives off a right-winger vibe. As an example, lot of the rw in Japan assume that Korea copied everything from them and that they should be thankful for being colonized. This is why Korea (the character) is constantly stealing Japan’s creations and ideas.

    Also as an Asian, it’s baffling how Himaruya painted Korea in such an inaccurate way. Koreans are famous in Asia for their hot tempers, aggressive attitudes, being brutally straightforward, and (a little too much) fondness for alcohol. Heck, even Asian-Americans even know this. Then again it’s possible that his political views influenced this strange interpretation.
    Another thing that irks me about Hetalia is that the characters are so 1-dimensional. And even if there’s more to their character, they’re still as deep as a petri dish. Some people want an anime that’s not deep, but after all this time, I’m disappointed that these caricatures aren’t complex just as countries are complex.
    Also, the use of excessive Yaoi and sexual Yaoi themes makes the whole thing seem cheap, like a singer who’s half-decent at singing instead decides to objectify her body for popularity.
    I think that the flat simplicity and unnecessary amounts of homo eroticism attracts not only regular fans but also has a higher chance of attracting immature/simple people who are possibly unstable weeaboos. They give the fandom terrible publicity, even creating the reputation that the Hetalia fanbase is considered one of the most worst/annoying anime fanbases.

    • There’s a lot of mull over in your comment. Excuse me if I ramble.

      First of all- I don’t agree with your assessment of “silencing the Holocaust”. I think Himaruya just leaves it alone because it’s not a funny subject and this is supposed to be a humorous manga. Ignoring it might be a better accusation, but I don’t think he quite does that either because there’s a few scenes with the Axis countries showing their distaste for their WWII-era leaders and the actions of those leaders. Mostly, I don’t think he knows what to do with the Holocaust and therefore setting up the countries in the time period that he did was a mistake. I think he might have done it because he’s a bit of a war nerd? Who knows. WWII is one of those subjects that you can easily talk about for ages without even getting to the Holocaust.

      I agree that people shouldn’t be taking Hetalia as a serious source of history, but there are still interesting facts to be learned from the manga. The anime less so. I’m talking stuff like what kind of rations the troops were eating during the war, minor events in history, etc. Himaruya seems to like focusing on those sort of random details. At best, the manga is an amusing companion to a larger history lesson. Something you’d read if you want to learn a little more because most history texts and programs don’t talk about these things. The historical events depicted in Hetalia are all true though. I know because I had to fact check them all when I was working on the manga. And, of course, it’s always good to be aware of bias, but that is not a commonly taught skill.

      That being said, I have some trouble with your arguments about the fans. I realize that many find the Hetalia fanbase annoying. I agree that they get loud and carried away, and sometimes even do horrible stuff like cosplay in Nazi uniforms. That being said, I think it’s more of a lack of education and the close-mindedness that accompanies it that is the cause of this behavior. Lord knows that the most of the American fans probably don’t get a great history education. When I was in grade school, we didn’t learn anything about places like South Korea except that we fought a war there once and thus the two Koreas were created. It wasn’t until I was in university taking specialized classes on history as my electives that I learned anything beyond that. The rest of my grade school history education was exceedingly Euro-centric, US-centric and nowadays the emphasis is just learning enough to pass a standardized test. It’s a small miracle that anyone comes out of those schools interested in learning any subject, let alone a neglected one like history. (It gets lumped into the arts and is therefore hated.) The fans probably embrace Hetalia because it is the first fun and interesting depiction of history that they have come across, like an oasis in a desert.

      So just bashing the fans or the manga/show doesn’t change a thing. We have to hope that the fans are either smart enough to realize there is more to history than Hetalia, or that Hetalia makes them curious enough to explore history on their own. And might I remind you that it is perfectly alright to enjoy a problematic piece of entertainment as long as you realize the problems with it. Therefore instead of bashing, I suggest you help fans realize why Hetalia is problematic and to make their own judgments without telling them what to like.

      As for South Korea- Yes, this is probably the most offensive bit of Hetalia. The South Korean ban is certainly warranted and the fan backlash is not good. I get the feeling that many in Japan don’t like Koreans, which is why this kind of BS happens in the first place. Japan also has a serious problem of trying to re-write the parts of its history that it doesn’t like. In which case, the problem doesn’t begin or end with Himaruya and getting him to change his views/depictions would only be a drop in the bucket. What the most effective way to change Japan’s attitude towards Korea and it’s past bad behavior, I don’t know.

      I would also really like to see Himaruya do more African/Middle Eastern/Indian/Latin American countries and subject matter. I suspect he doesn’t because so much of the world (wrongly) thinks there isn’t much in the way of history in those places. It is quite sad.

  41. ParfaitHero says:

    Hi all, sorry for coming on the ride so late.
    Anyways, as a Korean/American myself, I do understand why South Koreans overreacted. But as many people said, Hetalia is a harmless cartoon with slight offensive humor, nothing more, nothing less. I quite like the anime and the manga.

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