MoeKan was a short comic that debuted on Kitayume in 2006. However, it was removed from the site with its revamps in late 2007 and early 2008. It is notable yet controversial in its lead character being a Korean and their depiction. The title derives from the word moe (lit: "bud", a slang term used to describe things that one has an affection for) as well as Kankoku, the Japanese word for South Korea.
Seven strips were drawn for the comic. It is unknown if Himaruya planned to continue it or not. An early working title seen in a colored picture of Sena was Korea Mansae!.
The story begins with a young girl named Sena being warned by her mother that if she doesn't behave herself, the Japanese (depicted by her mother as evil and with fangs) will come and eat her. Sena is upset by this, and says that Japan is "scary".
Strip#1: Too scary, nidaEdit
Sena is unable to sleep due to nightmares of the violent Japanese, fearing that they'll come to eat her. She gets up to go to the bathroom but becomes scared by a strange shadow in the hallway, fearing that it's a Japanese person coming for her.
Strip#2: Departure, nidaEdit
The comic flashes forward in time, where Sena is now 17 and preparing to depart for the United States to study abroad. Her parents wish her good luck, though her mother warns her to be careful of strangers, especially the Japanese. Sena answers that she'll simply beat them up with tae kwon do. Meanwhile in Japan, a boy named Yoshida struggles with his Visa procedure.
Strip#3: Encounter with a Japanese, nidaEdit
Yoshida has arrived in New York. He becomes surprised at how different it is, though he is instantly attacked by Sena and pushed to the ground. Sena orders Yoshida to "apologize".
Strip#4: Pechi pechi, nidaEdit
Sena continues to punch Yoshida and demand that he apologize. Yoshida asks why she's attacking him, which causes her to stop and realize how attractive he is (as she was told that Japanese men are incredibly ugly). Sena quickly regains her composure though, and answers that it's because he's Japanese and that he must make amends.
Strip#5: Mashisseoyo, nidaEdit
Yoshida asks Sena what she'd like for him to do. She then spots a crepe truck and answers that she'd like a crepe. As Sena eats, Yoshida wonders if he should start to run.
Strip#6: Choumupekkusumu, nidaEdit
The next day, Yoshida thinks about Sena and hopes that he won't have to run into her again. But he immediately discovers that Sena's attending the same school as he is, and furthermore, they are in the same class and seated next to each other. Yoshida wonders if this is a way of harassing freshmen, while Sena finds the seating situation "repulsive".
Sena declares Japan to be the detestable part of Asia. Yoshida sarcastically apologizes, then asks her what countries are on good terms with Korea. Sena becomes surprised, but then tries to think of a country, and can only come up with Japan.
Main Article: Sena
A teenage Korean girl studying in New York. She has been taught to fear the Japanese, and treats Yoshida harshly due to this. She has the verbal tic of adding nida at the end of her sentences, based off a suffix used in polite Korean speech.
Main Article: Yoshida
A Japanese boy studying in New York. He finds himself having to go to school with Sena, who detests him.
Due to the complicated relations between Korea and Japan, stemming from Japan's imperial rule of Korea and war crimes committed against the people as well as territorial disputes, the premise of the comic and Sena's aggressiveness and paranoia compared to Yoshida seeming more innocent has been seen as controversial by some fans, along with her fear seeming to be played for laughs. Sena's verbal tic of "nida" and her confession that Japan is on "good terms" with Korea have also been cited as problematic.
It is unknown if any of these factors may have played a part in the removal of MoeKan from Kitayume or not.
In other seriesEdit
In Himaruya's later and best-known comic, Hetalia: Axis Powers, he had planned to introduce a South Korea character that would be a young girl who idolized America for his pop music and stardom. Along with both series debuting in 2006, there are similarities and differences in the designs of Sena and this Korea.
One draft of this South Korea, shown in a booklet included in the special edition of Hetalia: Axis Powers volume 2, shows her hairstyle to look much like Sena's, while another draft depicts her with some fringe. But the sketch that appears on the Kitayume site depicts the female Korea as wearing her hair in a braid (as opposed to a straight ponytail) and with blunt-cut bangs. This Korea also appeared in a small doodle with France, appearing angry at him over tea.
In the end, Himaruya wound up never using this concept and discarded it, instead introducing a male South Korea, a character that proved to be controversial on his own. It was believed that the female Korea may have been reused for Sena, though it appears that Sena actually predated the design and thus was the inspiration behind it.