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.


Filed under manga, opinion

28 responses to “Discussion: Is Hetalia Offensive to You?

  1. Pingback: Links for new comics day « MangaBlog

  2. 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

    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

    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.

  6. Ahavah

    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. :D

    • 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

    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 :D (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

        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.

  8. Gamefreak

    It’s not supposed to be a violent anime I watch it and don’t get offended by anything (well kinda by the America sterotype) but if he had put all the violent things that happen in the holocaust the whole series might get cancelled and people would file lawsuits against the author. I wouldn’t want to watch something about the most horrible thing that has happened in history. And another thing, it’s just a show, don’t get offended. People know that’s not how people of that country act.

  9. British._.weeb

    I think it’s suppose to be kinda like when comedians have offensive comedic jokes but they just put it into this series to be funny.

    Though I find it funny at times I have to agree that it can be very offensive especially when it comes to England and spain for me personally because i’m English and I have Spanish blood in me so I get very offended by comments on those two countries

  10. Hanna Fechik

    I am jewish as well, and yes I DO love Hetalia. I already got harassed once by a family member for liking it. Well I said I like the anime, I don’t care what others think. Those several jokes that were made were ONLY in the English dub. There is absolutely nothing anti-semitic about it.

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