Despite apology, more Korean retailers suspend sales of DHC products

A South Korean protester holds a card during a rally demanding full compensation and an apology for wartime sex slaves from Japanese government in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. The sign reads "War Crimes Apologies." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN) — More South Korean retailers are joining the industry-wide boycott of Japanese cosmetics brand DHC after the company’s beauty TV channel aired offensive content allegedly mocking Koreans and the country’s history.

According to the health and beauty industry, retail conglomerate Lotte Group’s online unit has decided to temporarily suspend sales of DHC products from Tuesday. Another retail giant Shinsegae stopped selling DHC cosmetics on its e-commerce platform on the same day.

Brick-and-mortar health and beauty shops, such as Olive Young, Lalavla, LOBs and Boots, have joined the move. They have stopped ordering DHC products and removed existing items from shelves amid negative consumer sentiment toward the brand.

Meanwhile, the country’s largest e-commerce platform Coupang is gradually removing DHC products from its website.

“Consumers’ resistance to DHC products is increasingly growing, and we doubt that consumers will buy the product. Considering the current consumer sentiment, we decided to suspend sales of DHC cosmetics,” said an industry official.

DHC entered the Korean market in 2002, gaining popularity on online malls and at health and beauty stores with its bestselling cleansing oil.

On Saturday, DHC’s beauty TV channel DHC Television aired a program on which Japanese panelists said Koreans’ boycott movement would not last long and mocked Koreans as “josenjing,” an offensive term to Koreans.

On Monday, DHC Television featured a Japanese politician who was criticized for having distorted views on Korean history. The next day another Japanese host called the boycott “childish.”

In response to criticism, DHC’s Korean subsidiary DHC Korea issued a statement saying it “deeply apologizes over the current situation” and does not share the views expressed by DHC Television’s panelists.

Meanwhile, an online petition asking global retailers such as Amazon and Target to suspend orders for DHC products has been registered at, a global website for online petitions launched in 2007.

The petition was posted by Youn J. Baek, who wrote that until DHC releases an official apology and deletes controversial content from its television channel, retailers and consumers should demand DHC remove its products from shelves.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 1,423 people have signed the petition.

By Kim Da-sol