‘Keep the stache or lose the mask’: US envoy to South Korea shaves controversial mustache


Months after Harry Harris’ mustache became the most controversial topic in South Korea, the US ambassador visited a traditional hair salon in Seoul to shave his facial hair.

The US envoy to South Korea, decided to part his facial hair to stay cool in Seoul’s “wet” weather while wearing a mask to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

In tweets in English and Korean, the envoy said he was “glad I did that” and that it was either “keep the stache or lose the mask”, he added. Covid guidelines count and “I’m a masked man”.

Since becoming Ambassador, Harris’ mustache has become an unusual subject of criticism after some Koreans noted that it resembled Japanese rulers who ruled the Korean Peninsula during the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945.

Harris’s mother was of Japanese descent.

A US veteran, Mr Harris previously told Korean media that after spending decades shaving facial hair in the US Navy, he decided to grow a mustache to mark his career change.

South Korea and the United States are allies, but relations have been strained in recent years due to differences in their approaches to North Korea and cost-sharing responsibilities.

Harris resumed the role of US Ambassador in 2018 after a 40-year career in the US Navy.

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