November 7 is ipdong (입동) in Korea, marking the “first day” or “the beginning of winter”.
In celebration of ipdong, the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) tweeted a message…
November 7, today is ipdong. It’s a subdivision of the seasons marking the first day of winter. There is a saying in Korean that goes, “Once ipdong passes, kimchi must be made.” That is because in the olden days, ipdong marked a drop in temperature. Too long past ipdong, all the cabbages would soon freeze and it would become difficult to find fresh ingredients for kimchi-making.
… with an illustration of a family cozying up in a room.
The tweet immediately sparked an intense debate among Korean netizens, however, because of the furniture included in the illustration. Netizens argued that the furniture is allegedly a Japanese kotatsu…
… and heavily criticized MAFRA for “associating the Korean ipdong with a culturally Japanese illustration” when it “should have been more careful as a Korean government organization, on its official social media platform.”
- “You’re f*cking kidding me, right…? NO KOREAN HOUSEHOLD uses a piece of furniture that looks like that. And for some of you saying that could be a tablecloth… Which Korean lets a tablecloth drag on the floor like that? Don’t sh*t yourselves. MAFRA messed up.”
- “How come no one said, ‘Wait a second. Is this a Japanese kotatsu in an illustration to be used on a Korean government organization’s official Twitter?’ Not a single soul thought this is wrong? It worries me.”
- “Oh wow. The absolute lack of human intelligence and any professionalism and the appreciation for heritage DISGUSTS me. Take a f*cking history lesson, MAFRA. In which country is ipdong celebrated by gathering under a kotatsu?”
- “If you’re a South Korean government organization, then act like one.”
Shortly after the “problematic” illustration set MAFRA’s Twitter ablaze, the organization took the tweet down and published a clearly-more Korean version — featuring kimchi.
MAFRA also shared an official apology for being unaware “of the problematic illustration included in the original tweet.”
오늘 오전에 업로드 된 콘텐츠 이미지에 문제가 있음을 알게 되어 콘텐츠를 재업로드 하게 되었습니다. 겨울을 준비하는 의미있는 날에 저희의 부족으로 불쾌함을 드려 죄송합니다. 앞으로 콘텐츠를 제작하는데 있어 더욱 주의하도록 하겠습니다. 감사합니다.
— 농림축산식품부 (@mafrakorea) November 7, 2020
We are re-uploading this tweet because we became aware of the problematic illustration included in the original tweet from earlier this morning. We apologize for having offended everyone on this meaningful day to welcome the winter season. We will pay more attention to the content we create and share. Thank you.