Harry Harris, the US ambassador to South Korea, has shaved off his mustache which faced much criticism for bearing resemblance to Japanese leaders who ruled over the Korean Peninsula with an iron fist during the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945.
However, his reason for shaving off the mustache wasn't the criticism, but the heat and humidity in South Korea which made wearing a mask amid pandemic difficult, the CNN reported. The embassy also shared a video where he asks the barber to remove his bushy facial hair after suffering during the hot and humid summer in the South Korean capital.
"With help from his Senior Advisor @sykimsy, @USAmbROK Harris visited a classic local barbershop to become a little 'cooler' during the hot summer months," the post reads.
With help from his Senior Advisor @sykimsy, @USAmbROK Harris visited a classic local barbershop to become a little "cooler" during the hot summer months. Curious about how it went? Watch the video to find out more. pic.twitter.com/cpabketRfd— U.S. Embassy Seoul (@USEmbassySeoul) July 25, 2020
Harris also complains about the sultry weather in Seoul before sitting down to get his mustache shaved clean. He later took to his Twitter account and wrote, "Glad I did this. For me it was either keep the 'stache or lose the mask. Summer in Seoul is way too hot & humid for both."
Glad I did this. For me it was either keep the 'stache or lose the mask. Summer in Seoul is way too hot & humid for both. #COVID guidelines matter & I'm a masked man! Enjoyed getting to know Mr. Oh & appreciated his heartfelt words about how much he values the #USROKAlliance. https://t.co/ja2WMD49Fr— Harry Harris (@USAmbROK) July 25, 2020
Harris' mustache has been the centre of some criticism and he told the reporters in January that his mustache had "for some reason become a point of some fascination here in the media" after he was subjected to heated vitriol online.
Some of Japan's most prominent wartime leaders -- including Emperor Hirohito and Hideki Tojo, the Prime Minister who was later executed by a postwar tribunal-- had mustaches. The memory of Japanese rule in Korean memory is etched with instances of brutalization, murders and slavery.