All around the world, young and middle-aged adults have fond childhood memories of giant robot cartoons. I can remember watching Autobots brawl with Decepticons over their endless hunt for energon cubes. Meanwhile, South Koreans were enjoying Robot Taekwon V.

Robot Taekwon V was such a hit that even today the Korean government uses its robot protagonist’s likeness to promote the nation’s claim to ownership of the Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo in Korea, Takeshima in Japan), a disputed island that has recently renewed some tensions between Korea and Japan. However, a recent plan to erect a statue of Taekwon V has been met with strong resistance from South Korean net users who feel that instead of being intimidating, the statue would cause Japanese citizens to laugh.

Just as many of us as children had no idea that Voltron was actually a Japanese animation, South Korean youths reasonably assumed that Robot Taekwon V was an original domestic product. And it certainly is in the sense of it being a giant robot which performs Taekwondo and has a friend with a teapot on his head.

However, the roots of Robot Taekwon V can be traced back to the popular Mazinger Z giant robot series out of Japan. In an interview with CT News, creator Kim Cheong-gi explains that he wanted to make a robot series like Mazinger Z that Korean children could better relate to and be inspired by.

As a result, the two robots bear a striking similarity in the looks department. To get a sense of how similar, here are back-to-back intro sequences for first Robot Taekwon V and then Mazinger Z.

With the advent of the internet and videos such as the one above, netizens in Korea came to realize the roots of Taekwon V.  Nevertheless, a government-created campaign has decided to capitalize on Taekwon’s fame as a symbol of defiance against Japan concerning the Liancourt Rocks. Here’s a video showing Taekwon V decimating an invading horde of Japanese people who still can’t seem to grasp shirt technology.

The next step of the campaign appears to be the establishment of a Taekwon V statue on the islands. This move has caused strong opposition among those aware of Taekwon’s Japanese background and how ironic of a choice that would appear to be.

Honestly though, if Taekwon V really was the protector of humanity, it would just fly away with those islands at the end of the commercial so we could all get on with our lives. And if it could scoop up those Senkaku ones on the way too, that’d be awesome.

Source: Gadget Tsushin via Hachima Kiko (Japanese), CT News (English)
Videos: YouTube – KoreanTrue, taekwonmedia