Korea and Japan can get closer through food, say cartoonists

Two well-known authors of food-themed comic books representing Korea and Japan shared their opinion during a meeting in Seoul on Wednesday that the two Asian neighbors can get closer through each other’s delicious food.

Huh Young-man, known for the Korean comic book series “Sikgaek,” and Masayuki Kusumi, author of the Japanese series “The Solitary Gourmet,” met at a traditional Korean hanok house in central Seoul to casually talk about the food cultures of the two countries.

The meeting was organized by the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as part of its efforts to promote tourism exchanges between the two countries and help revitalize the local tourism industry.

During the hour-long talk, the two artists discussed their favorite Korean and Japanese food, “honbab” culture, taboos related to food, side dishes and ingredients. “Honbab” refers to eating a meal alone, often in a solitary or independent dining setting.

“No one fights while eating delicious food, right?” Masayuki said. “I feel that there are many differences in food culture between Korea and Japan even though they are (geographically) close, and I think we will get along better if we eat delicious food from each side and get to know about each other’s food culture.”

Huh agreed, saying he believes food can serve as an opportunity to expand exchanges between the two countries.

“Food is a medium that connects people and culture as one,” he said. “I think food is the reason for the urge to travel.”

“Sikgaek” is a 27-volume comic book series that introduces delicious food, ingredients and recipes from all over Korea.

“The Solitary Gourmet” follows a man who works as an imported goods distributor as he indulges in culinary adventures across various eateries in Tokyo alone in his spare time.

Masayuki will visit Seochon and Samcheong-dong, old neighborhoods popular with locals and foreign tourists alike in Seoul, during his remaining period of stay in South Korea, according to the ministry.

He will introduce must-visit restaurants there through video, which will be used by the culture minister to promote Korean food and tourism among Japanese fans of the “The Solitary Gourmet.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency