“Exhuma”: Some Chinese netizens are taking issue with the facial markings

Some Chinese netizens are taking issue with the facial markings in the movie “Exhuma”.

The movie “Exhuma,” on the brink of reaching 10 million viewers, confirmed its release in 133 countries starting from Mongolia on the 23rd of last month, igniting a worldwide ‘K-occult’ craze.

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Amidst the growing interest in “Exhuma” both domestically and internationally, a recent post by a Chinese netizen on X (formerly Twitter) has been gaining attention.

The netizen posted a photo of facial markings seen in “Exhuma” and wrote, “In China, writing or marking on the face is considered extremely disrespectful and disgraceful behavior,” adding, “It’s ridiculous that Koreans even write unknown Chinese characters on their faces. In Korea, when cool phrases are translated into Chinese, they become ridiculous.”

They further commented, “Are there technical difficulties in writing Hangul on the face?”

In response, Korean netizens expressed their outrage, stating, “‘Exhuma’ is a Korean movie, not Chinese,” “Is there a problem with characters in the movie using facial markings to protect themselves?” “It’s not a work criticizing China, but there are many complaints,” “Their thinking is narrow-minded,” among other replies, igniting a heated debate.

The post garnered over 5.6 million views within a week of being uploaded, becoming a hot topic.

Facial markings refer to the reading of Buddhist scriptures to dispel diseases, evil spirits, and demons. In the movie, the character played by Lee Do-hyun also appears covered in facial markings as a measure to protect himself from the ghosts, leaving a strong impression.

This is not the first time China has stumbled over Korean cultural content.

Last year, when the New Jinse participated in a promotional video for the hanji project planned by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korean Craft & Design Foundation, showing the process of making hanji, they received backlash, with comments like “They stole Chinese culture” being posted.

Prior to that, in 2022, when Jang Won-young appeared at Paris Fashion Week wearing a traditional Korean hairpin called ‘binyeo,’ controversy arose when some claimed, “Hairpins with phoenix patterns are a unique form of Chinese art.”

Meanwhile, “”Exhuma” is an occult mystery film depicting strange incidents involving a geomancer, mortician, and shamans who have been paid a large sum of money to relocate suspicious graves.

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