IVE’s Korean-Style “HEYA” MV Accused of Cultural Appropriation by Chinese Netizens

IVE HEYA
IVE HEYA
Credit: IVE Instagram

K-pop group IVE is currently showcasing their musical prowess with the release of their new song “HEYA”, but not without some controversy. Some netizens from China have taken to social media to accuse IVE of “stealing Chinese culture.”

On the 29th, IVE released their second EP titled IVE SWITCH, along with the music video for the title track “HEYA”. The album marks a fresh narrative approach, reinterpreting traditional folklore stories through a modern lens, signaling a new phase of self-transformation for the group based on narcissism.

IVE HEYA
Credit: “HEYA” MV
IVE HEYA
Credit: “HEYA” MV

The “HEYA” music video incorporates various elements of traditional Korean culture, from the stage design to the costumes featuring fans, Korean pipes, traditional accessories, and hanbok, enriching its charm as a true representation of K-pop. An Yujin shared her thoughts, stating, “‘HEYA’ is particularly meaningful because we shot the music video and prepared the costumes with a Korean theme.”

However, a backlash has emerged on Chinese social media platforms like Weibo, with some users accusing the video of “blatantly stealing Chinese culture” and misusing Chinese elements like pipes, traditional knots, and fans. The criticism even flooded the MV illustrator’s Instagram account with comments like “You should be ashamed,” arguing that Korea is exploiting Chinese culture through K-pop.

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Despite the controversy, the “HEYA” music video has garnered over 9.2 million views within just 14 hours of its release, proving that interest in IVE’s new work remains high among fans worldwide.

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