If you're Japanese and you're in Korea, you might want to check your email or play some computer games. Good thing the country has thousands of net cafes (called PC bang). Too bad this one is run by a jerk.
The above image is making its way through cyberspace in both South Korea and Japan. It says in Korean: "Japanese keep out! Our internet cafe does not accept Japanese patrons!" Then in English, it says, "No Japs Allowed".
The net cafe sign also reads, "However, it's possible [to enter] if you shout, 'Dokdo is South Korean territory" three times."
This sign seems to be prompted over the Liancourt Rocks territorial dispute. In South Korea, the islets are known as "Dokdo"; in Japan, they are "Takeshima". Tensions between the two countries have been escalating over the territory, and Japan has offered to take the issue to international courts to settle the dispute. So far, South Korea has declined.
Online in South Korea, the reaction to this alleged net cafe sign has varied, with many criticizing the sign.
"If you don't write the sign in Japanese, Japanese people probably won't read it," wrote one Korean net user. "After this image makes its way on to 2ch, it'll flame on forever," added another, referring to Japan's largest web forum, 2ch.
There were claims that the image was a plant, while others in South Korea thought the image was overdone: "This is extreme patriotism". Japanese news outlets, such as Livedoor News, are running this story, but without a picture of the actual cafe, I wonder if this sign wasn't leaked online to stir up trouble.
Even if this sign is real, South Korea has thousands—tens of thousands—of net cafes. At the vast majority, no doubt, Japanese patrons are probably able to enter with no problem whatsoever.
There is a precedent, however, for his "No Japanese Allowed" posture. Back in 2005, a South Korea golf course banned Japanese golfers from playing on its links. According to this report, some restaurants in Seoul did this as well.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.