Why is the Simpsons episode Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo OK in South Korea despite all the Japanese cultural references?


Apr 14, 2022
The Simpsons episode Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo is believed to have been once banned from airing in South Korea due to the rocky history between itself and Japan, a different reason as to why it was also banned in Japan. The same thing happened to some Pokémon episodes that originally aired from 1997 to late 2001, whereas Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo originally aired in the United States in 1999, which is right in between.

However, despite containing DOZENS of overt references to Japanese culture, Korea's ban on Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo was lifted some five years later, and the episode eventually aired under the title "Ilbontamhom" (Exploration In Japan).

Here's a list of the exact same cultural references seen on all the Pokémon episodes where they were banned and skipped in Korea and the only Simpsons episode that has all these references as well:

POKEMON: Pokémon Scent-sation!, Riddle Me This, and The Fourth Round Rumble were all banned only because of the depictions of traditional Japanese clothing.
SIMPSONS: The Flanders family can clearly be seen wearing traditional Japanese clothing before the Simpsons beat them to their flight.

POKEMON: In Pokémon, all Japanese text is legally enforced to be removed before airing in South Korea.
SIMPSONS: Dozens of Japanese text can clearly be seen throughout Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo.

POKEMON: The Ghost of Maiden's Peak and The Ninja Poké-Showdown were banned only for containing Japanese culture.
SIMPSONS: A lot of Japanese cultural events occur in Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo. Characters even speak Japanese in this episode.

POKEMON: Ring Masters was banned due to having Pokemon sumo wrestle.
SIMPSONS: In Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo, Homer is seen sumo wrestling.

Plus, I have a screenshot of this episode with OFFICIAL Korean subtitles as more proof, taken from Disney+:
Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo - Sumo Wrestler.jpg

Seriously, I have no idea why all the banned Pokemon episodes are still no-nos today in Korea while Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo is now allowed, even though that episode has way more overt references to Japanese culture than any of the Pokémon episodes banned over there. Does anyone else know why?


Back with a better image
May 13, 2016
Well, it's quite ironic that the episode is no longer banned in South Korea, yet still banned in Japan if I'm being honest.


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