The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Miyagi prefectural government plans to invite a famous cartoonist from South Korea in December to publicize its recovery from the March 11 disaster to South Koreans.
The local government plans to have him visit different areas of the prefecture and convey what he has experienced to people in South Korea through newspaper illustrations and a Web site, it has been learned.
The prefectural government hopes his renderings of actual conditions in the prefecture will lessen South Koreans' concerns about radiation and tsunami in Japan. They plan to have him interview okami (female) innkeepers, sushi cooks and craftspeople.
The cartoonist is Huh Young Man, known for his cartoons about cooking. His representative work "Sik Gaek" became a bestseller, with more than 1 million copies sold in South Korea. Originally a newspaper series, his cartoons inspired a film and a TV series.
The prefectural government plans to invite him in mid- to late December for five days and have him visit a kokeshi (wooden doll) maker in Osaki, a sushi restaurant in Shiogama, an inn in Shiroishi and speak with people there. The government also plans to ask him to visit a rice-farming family and a cattle farmer.
Huh's cartoons are scheduled to appear in Sunday editions of JoongAng Ilbo, a major newspaper in South Korea, and on a major Internet site.
There is also a possibility that his drawings will be utilized in travel agency merchandising.
In South Korea, people are concerned about the current situation in Japan, and Japanese food has been removed from shelves at some supermarkets. The number of South Korean tourists to Miyagi Prefecture drastically decreased after the March 11 disaster.
Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai visited South Korea at the end of August and promoted Miyagi Prefecture's safety to South Korean municipalities and media.
(Sep. 7, 2011)