aespa’s NingNing called out by Korean netizens for disrespecting Korean culture by not bowing 

aespa’s Chinese member NingNing came under criticism when moments of her not bowing were posted on a Korean online community. 

In Korean traditional culture, there are different types of bowing etiquettes, among which the deep bow, or Keun-jeol, is performed during important celebrations like the New Year or other formal occasions to show respect for their elders or those whom they hold dear.  

Back in January of this year, EVERGLOW’s Yiren drew backlash among the Korean public for refusing to do Keun-jeol like the rest of the group to wish fans a Happy New Year at a fansign. This incident has sparked a fierce debate among Korean netizens: “Should Chinese idols working in Korea bow regardless of the cultural difference, and is it disrespectful that they don’t?


Specifically, in Chinese customs, Chinese people believe that they can only use this bowing method to heaven, earth or their parents. Therefore, many Chinese members of Kpop groups have decided to stick to their roots instead of doing the traditional Korean bow like other members. 

This controversy has continued to cause Korean netizens to enter a heated discussion again when recently, a Pann post titled “So Ningning does not bow” drew attention by sharing two gifs showing aespa’s Chinese member NingNing not bowing in New Year’s greetings.

ningning aespa

Here are some comments from Korean netizens on this matter:

  • Seeing Chinese idols act like that, I feel like they weren’t taught to respect other cultures, maybe that’s why they always steal from others
  • Why do they want to become Kpop idols if they insist on not respecting our culture?
  • They want to make money in Korea but they think they can disrespect Korean culture
  • If you are in Rome, then you’d better act like a Roman
  • If they can’t respect Korean culture, then they should go back to China and be an idol there
  • Members of other groups were caught not bowing at least proudly just standing there but she was surreptitiously pretending to be joking and having fun
  • Other idols from Thailand, Japan and other countries never have problems with Korean customs but Chinese idols are the only ones who turn it into a controversy.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Let us know in the comments. 

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