Park Jae-Sang, better known as Psy, and his hit song “Oppa Gangnam Style”has taken the world by storm without any sign of slowing down. As the newly deemed King of Kpop joyously revels in his newfound fame, it might come as a surprise to some that he wasn’t always so congenial towards America. A video surfaced from a concert in 2004 where he smashed a miniature model of a tank on stage while the crowd raucously cheers, coupled with the lyrics:
싸이 rap : 이라크 포로를 고문해 댄 씨발양년놈들과
고문 하라고 시킨 개 씨발 양년놈들에
딸래미 애미 며느리 애비 코쟁이 모두 죽여
아주 천천히 죽여 고통스럽게 죽여
Kill those fucking Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives
Kill those fucking Yankees who ordered them to torture
Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law, and fathers
Kill them all slowly and painfully.
This song may have come around the time of the U.S.’s internationally maligned invasion of Iraq, but there’s an older context beneath all this. South Korea adhered to the Sunshine Policy towards North Korea up until Lee Myung-Bak’s presidency. The policy was intended to improve relations between the North and South with the (partial) aim of (eventual) reunification. Critics say that the downside of such a fool’s crusade is that the South opted for the North’s interests over the former’s closest ally, the United States. This included, as B.R. Myers alleges in his book The Cleanest Race, “encouraging an anti-American line in education and urging the media to ‘finlandize’ their coverage of the DPRK.”
It doesn’t stop there. On June 13th, 2002, a military vehicle accidentally killed two teenage girls in what would later be deemed the “Yangju Highway Incident.” The tragedy sparked a greater wave of anti-American sentiment along with Apolo Ohno 2002 Winter Olympics controversy.
The Korea Herald ran a story in Dec. 2002, on “Socially Active Celebrities” supporting the ROK’s Anti-American ’cause.’ Guess which celebrity’s name pops up? Flight of the Kiwi posted more excerpts from the article.
This is all the more reason why its so curious that he’s beaming with America’s affection towards him. As of right now, the best defense on his end is that he was merely pandering to popular sentiments of the time. Either that or he could just be an opportunist as this one CNN iReport suggests. Nevertheless, the important question is how Americans will receive it if news of his previous opinions go viral.