Beyond Pyongyang’s nuclear file, the mustache of the US ambassador to Seoul, Harry Harris, has become a new source of tension on the Korean peninsula.
Since his appointment to his current position in July 2018, Harris, a 63-year-old retired admiral whose mother was Japanese, has come under increasing criticism in South Korea because of his thick mustache that reminds many of the country’s citizens of the Japanese colonial era (1910-1945).
While colonialism remains one of the most prominent files of tension between Seoul and Tokyo, many South Korean social networking leaders are attacking the US ambassador, noting that all eight Japanese general rulers during the colonial period had similar mustaches.
The Korea Times pointed out that Harris is often described as “not an ambassador but a governor general,” noting that this corresponds to a new vision for the United States as a country that does not respect South Korea and is trying to forcibly subjugate its influence.
The residence of the American ambassador was exposed last October to an attempt to storm by dozens of students angry at Harris’ support for the request of US President Donald Trump from Seoul to pay five billion dollars in sharing the burdens of the presence of American forces in the country, which exceeds five times the amount of last year.
Harris, in a recent press statement, touched upon the criticisms leveled against him, expressing his conviction that it is not due to his mustache but to his Japanese origins.
The ambassador confirmed that he decided to raise mustaches when moving to diplomatic work after 40 years of service in the US Navy, saying: “I would have liked separating my life as a military officer and my new life as a diplomat, and I tried to grow taller but that I could not, then I tried to become younger but I couldn’t, too, and I could grow mustaches, so I did. ”
Harris stressed that he does not intend to shave his mustache unless someone convinced him that it harms the relations between Washington and Seoul.