Ilbe Storehouse

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Ilbe Jeojangso
Type of site
Owner UBH Corp.
Alexa rank Increase 1,090 (December 2016)[1]
Commercial Yes
Registration Optional
Launched April 2010

Ilbe Storage (Hangul일베저장소; RRIlbe Jeojangso), also known as ILBE (일베), is a website based in South Korea. The site, created in April 2010, began as a collection of the "daily popular" posts from the BBS of South Korean social website DC Inside. This gave the site its name Ilbe, which is short for Ilgan Best, Korean for popular daily. As of February 2017, it is the most popular Internet humor site in South Korea by daily traffic.[2][3]

Ilbe subculture[edit]

Ilbe's userbase has a strong libertarian tendency, and thus puts a great emphasis on freedom of speech. As such, the website has very few rules, but it does prohibit users from mentioning each other by their username or getting too close to each other, in order to prevent new users or dissenters from being down-voted indiscriminately by existing users. This policy has effectively made everyone more anonymous (and equal), in contrast with other popular Korean forums where the old users are more respected and hold greater authority during discussions. The forums are largely unmoderated, with exceptions made for cases that may result in litigation or cases in response to complaints.[citation needed]

The lack of moderation, however, does result in problematic behaviors such as defamation or harassment, which are criminal under Korean Law. The website routinely comes under criticism for its users' actions, the most notable of which was the Korea Communications Standards Commission's request that Ilbe regulate problematic contents that are harmful for teenagers.[4] On the other hand, the website has been praised for its anonymity and free spirit: a spokesman of Saenuri Party mentioned Ilbe as "free space where innocent people can speak their minds freely".[5]

A large part of Ilbe's subculture comes from the users' collective identity as "losers" of a sort: until the founding of Ilbe, most of the large community forums on the Korean web were left-leaning to an extent where anyone with even a moderate right-wing opinion had to endure ridicule and name-calling by the majority including the moderators. Thus, Ilbe's userbase has embraced many of the derogatory terms used by the left to show pride in their dissent. Due to their vocal users and strong political/cultural influence, Ilbe has gained widespread attention by social critics, with some labeling the website a social phenomenon,[6][7][8] and some critics consider Ilbe a Korean analogue of 4chan and 2 Channel.[9]

As a vocal minority of the users engage in questionable behavior both online and offline, the website has largely negative connotation, especially with the political left.[10][11] Thus, the users tend not to reveal their identity as an Ilbe user in the real world to prevent themselves from being ostracized. The term "Ilming-out" (일밍아웃), which is a portmanteau of "Ilbe" and "Coming out (of the closet)", describes a disclosure as an Ilbe user to the general public, and is avoided. Having to resort to more discreet measures to display their identity, Ilbe users use a hand sign that represents the Korean initials of the website's name.[12]


Ilbe's political stance generally ranges from right to far-right,[13] and Ilbe has raised controversy for its strong opinions, mainly from the left.[14]

In parliamentary inspection held in October 2013, member of Democratic Party Yu Seung-hui criticized Ilbe's antisocial aspect. He released the information from Korean Communications Standards Commission, hundreds of submitted complaints about harmful contents in Ilbe like suicide, crime, drug, sexism, violence, as well as defamation and discrimination against left-wing politics and Jeolla province [15]

Shin Hye-sik, representative of right-wing online press Dokrip Newspaper said "(Ilbe users) should make an apology for problematic claims". Kim Young-hwan, former pro-NK activist and a convert to the right now, said "Right-wing is an attitude to inherit conservative awareness, but in this criteria Ilbe is not right-wing. Ilbe's radical argument will escalate social chaos". Yoon Pyong-joong, right-wing professor of Hanshin University defined Ilbe's far-right extremism as "Isn't worth saying at all". They shared the understanding that Ilbe should be criticized by public argument, not by legal action.[16]

Conservative monthly magazine 'Shindonga' released a special section to criticize Ilbe as 'close to fascism rather than normal right-wing' and 'antisocial'.[17]

Japanese journalist Yasuda Goichi, the author of The Internet and Patriotism (Netto to Aikoku) diagnosed Ilbe as similar to anti-Zainichi association, one of Japanese cyber far-right group (Uyoku dantai).[18]

Allegedly criticizing former president Roh Moo-Hyun[edit]

The Ilbe Community is mainly known by citizens for allegedly making fun of former president Roh Moo-hyun. The political parties have declared a war against the Ilbe Community, as they have been consecutively criticizing Roh Mu-Hyeon, and other political leaders through many forms of media, such as making jokes, parody music containing criticisms and people's discontent against political leaders such as Park Geun-hye and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and spreading rumors on social media. Users make an Ilbe "theme song" every year, and they regularly parody popular songs with lyrics that criticize the leaders. Ilbe users compose their parody songs as a propaganda that attracts people who coincidentally listen to their songs, to join the community. Users are trying to add a sense of humor to their songs, such as exaggerating expressions of political leaders and colloquially referring them as "MC Muhyeon", "DJ Daejung", "MC Jong-Un" and "MC Geunhye".This makes their songs sound legitimate in some ways. Recently, following up the uprising criticisms and hostility against the Ilbe Community, Korean celebrities who accidentally use Ilbe terminology on social media make people misunderstand them as an Ilbe member. As a result, comic artists and companies are adding caution to their productions to avoid being misunderstood as an Ilbe member.

Denial of Gwangju Uprising[edit]

Although the South Korean government, judiciary and legislature officially concluded that the Gwangju Uprising was a justified civil movement by passing a special law, (also confirmed by UNESCO who registered records of the Gwangju Uprising as UNESCO World Heritage),[19] Ilbe is propagating unverified conspiracy theories about Korean democratization.

The May 18 Memorial Foundation (5.18 기념재단), one of the Gwangju Uprising memorial organizations, announced that Ilbe is spreading questionable information like,[20]

  • North Korean special forces were involved in the Gwangju Uprising.
  • The Gwangju Uprising was a heavily armed riot.
  • Military suppression against citizens was justifiable.
  • The 5.18 Special Law (5.18특별법), which pays respect to the Gwangju Uprising, is unconstitutional.

Claims similar to Ilbe's were disproved by the government a few times. The Minister of National Defense, Kim Gwan-jin, dismissed the allegation of North Korea's involvement during democratization as 'groundless'.[21] The Korean Communications Standards Commission decided to take disciplinary action against the right-wing television news programs, 'TV Chosun' and 'Channel A', which made allegation of North Korea's involvement during democratization.[22] It was accused of "both defamation and spreading false information".

In November 2013, the Daegu District Court dismissed a similar case of defamation against Gwangju Uprising victims, committed by 10 members of Jeonsamo (a Chun Doo-hwan fan group). Although they were found not guilty, the judge explained that their claim was insufficient to be considered defamation.[23]

Even journalist Cho Gap-je, who was on the scene in Gwangju, admitted that the Gwangju Uprising was a righteous anti-communism democratic movement in his testimony.[24]

Considering all these, Ilbe uses the word 'democritization' in a negative sense, similar in meaning to "thumbs down". However, the users of Ilbe claim that the seemingly inappropriate use of the word is just a mockery of the left-wing, who often misuse the word in order to witch-hunt and oppress the minorities (Ilbe themselves) who have different ideas to them.[25]

Wide opposition to left-wing politics[edit]

Ilbe's opinions are expressed as strong opposition to left wing parties, political figures and supporters, alongside indiscriminate labeling of the South Korean left wing as pro-communism, pro-North Korea, pro-socialism, and anti-South Korean.

Ilbe also labels some journalist like former chief editor of Monthly Chosun Cho Gap-je as "좌빨" (Far-left communist) due to his support of the Gwangju Uprising as a justifiable movement.[26][27] Even though former president Roh Mu-hyun and Kim Dae-jung used neoliberal economic policies, and came under criticism from the left-wing for their conservative stance,[28] Ilbe considers both to be 'communists' due to their conciliatory attitude toward North Korea in economy and diplomacy.[29]

Hatred of the Jeolla region[edit]

Ilbe users have an intense disliking for the Jeolla region in the southwestern portion of South Korea.[30] This is due to several factors, including the fact that Jeolla province had a staggering 98% vote for a regional (left-wing) party candidate Kim Dae-jung, and their belief that the Gwangju Riot has been placed on a pedestal by the locals, to the extent that all other moments in the history of Korean democratisation are overlooked, and that it was not a democratization uprising or movement, but simply a riot. The intense disliking manifests itself as verbal attack against Jeolla and related political figures.[31]

Legal issues[edit]

Ilbe users show protests to different issues of the country, and they end up doing mass protests and singing Ilbe songs in city squares. Many Ilbe users ended up in court for degrading the public order. On November 28, 2013, there was a first trial of defamation committed by Ilbe user who injured the honor of Gwangju Uprising victims by disparaging their corpse photo as 'Skate(fish) parcel'.[32] Offender claimed that he feels sorry for his crime and he sent such apology to the victims by phone call, but the organizations related to Gwangju Uprising victims said there was no such apology. Offender requested the jurisdictional transfer of his case from Gwangju District Court to Daegu District Court and it was accepted.[33]

On September 30, 2013, 32-year-old male Ilbe user pushed ahead sandwich-man protest in front of Ewha Women's University. He was hanging a cardboard on his neck filled with sentences like insulting Ewha University students, comfort women, other Korean women, and their genitals, sexually. Also there were words like 'such women are communists and Pro-North Korea'. He was charged 1.5 million won of penalty from Seoul West Prosecutor's Office, but he blamed his guilt as 'wrong democracy'.[34][35]

Seoul Central District Court accepted the provisidonal injunction against Ilbe. It was petitioned by an Ilbe critic who was degraded and threatened from Ilbe user.[36] As a result, Ilbe was forced to delete some antisocial contents.

On November 7, 2013, former first lady Lee Hui-ho, whose husband was former president Kim Dae-jung accused some Ilbe users of degrading deceased president Kim by spreading false information.[37]

Possible misdemeanor[edit]

In April 2013, After Anonymous Korea released the member list of Uriminzokkiri, Ilbe users witchhunted massive identities from the list as 'communist' and 'North Korean spies'.

A pre-service elementary teacher who depicted female elementary school students as "로린이" (Lolita girl) and wrote his experience of prostitution on Ilbe caused controversy. This was ended by giving up his appointment by himself. [38]

After the Seoul National University Student Council's protesting declaration against 2013 South Korea Election Meddling Scandal, Ilbe user released the photos of some members as an opposition and mentioned 'I don't care whether you guys lynch them or not'.[39] Seoul National University Student Council said they're considering lawsuit against Ilbe.

The website has also raised controversy by mocking the early death of boy-band singer Lim Yoon-taek from stomach cancer and former president Roh Moo-hyun[40]

On November 22, 2013, student of Kangwon Provincial College who is self-claimed Ilbe user uploaded Twitter which contains sexual harassment on female buddhist monk's virginity. Three days later, the monk Hyo-jeon asked for follow-up action to the president of the college. But Ilbe user didn't apologize his crime and kept insulting her. After controversy he deleted his Twitter account and this is ended with an official apology from the president of the college.[41][42]


Ilbe takes an extremely hostile attitude toward types South Korean women that it deems undesirable, and expresses hatred towards them.[43] This type of women whom the members openly show their hatred against are those who are said to not have any common courtesy in the public or claim superiority in being a woman. Ilbe labels these women as "Kimchi Nyun," which is a reference to their national food, kimchi. Through this label, Ilbe community implies that such characteristic is only displayed in Korean women.

One sexual assault counsellor said "It is the combination of commodification of women and peer culture which lies beneath Korean society", and women organization Womenlink activist Lee Yoon-so said "Ilbe seems to express misogyny behind anonymousity, and enjoying its propagation". The misogeny is expressed as Ilbe's lauguage subculture[44] which conveys criticism of and frustration at the Korean gender structure where men must serve in the conscription and work the longest hours in the world, while the most commonly desired occupation for adult women is that of a housewife.

Such misogyny and male chauvinism is sometimes expressed as actual sexual harassment against women.[45][46]

Ilbe Community can be seen as anti-feminism community, composed of mostly males. The female users of Ilbe are called "Am-Be-Choong" (암베충) (Am: expression of females (mostly used in animals.)/Be: (ilbe)/Choong: insect) by the users. The female users who openly "comes out" as a female are banned from the website, mainly because their presences are likely to cause disputes in such masculine community, contributing to the decline of the website.


In December 2013, some self-claimed Ilbe users start vandalizing hand-written posters in universities and colleges around Korea. Publicizing hand-written posters which criticizes political indifference, social disharmony, inequality, South Korea spy allegation, ongoing rail strike, and other political and social issues is started from Korea University and it spread among some Korean universities.[47] However, this culture is generally accepted as far-left, communistic and pro-North Korea by such Ilbe users.[48]

Hand-written posters on the Korea University campus were vandalized by self-claimed Ilbe users.[49] He confirmed his vandalism by uploading his photo online with sexual degrade against original writer of the poster. After it became controversial, he uploaded an apology for his actions. But he also announced that he will accuse people first who degraded him and his action and revealed his identity.[50]

Similar vandalism is ongoing nationwide such as Busan University,[51] Hannam University in Daejeon,[52] Sogang University.[53]

Ha Tae-kyung, a member of conservative Saenuri Party (former Liberty Korea Party) blamed Ilbe users who committed such vandalism as "losers".[54]


In 2012, some anonymous Ilbe users attempted an XSS script attack against TodayHumor, a website with a left-wing stance. The administrator of TodayHumor announced that he will consider legal action against Ilbe.[55]

Cyberterrorism against Ilbe[edit]

An unknown hacker group made a distributed denial-of-service attack on the site on 7 April 2013.[56] The attack was reported as possible revenge of Anonymous for Ilbe's vandalism in #OpIsrael IRC. Anonymous Korea claimed on its Twitter account that it was not involved with the denial of service at Ilbe. However Anonymous Korea also mentioned that Ilbe members entered the chatroom used by Anonymous hackers and stirred them up, using insulting language and flooding the chatroom with repeated text. The relationship between Anonymous Korea and Anonymous remains ambiguous.[57]

Violation of political neutrality[edit]

Some police officers and soldiers who publicly admired former presidents, Chun Doo-hwan and Park Chung-hee as 'patriotic' in Ilbe caused controversy because they violated the political neutrality required to public officers.[58]

Also police officer who degraded left-wing protesters as 'rioter' in Ilbe is brought to Yongsan police office disciplinary committee.[59]

Alleged vandalism on Comotomo feeding bottle[edit]

On December 10, 2013, an employee of Comotomo feeding bottle company who is self-claimed Ilbe user alleged that he interrupted feeding bottle manufacturing process by 'sucking' feeding bottles. He confirmed his employment in Comotomo Korea with his photo under the title 'Titty party' and commented "Sometimes I suck this feeding bottle when I miss female breast so much" in Ilbe. He raised outrage over childcare community not only for his vulgarism but also concerned hygiene. Comotomo Korea released an official apology for this controversy and mentioned their employment of such Ilbe user was 'fault'.[60] Also employee's accident report was revealed, confessing "I submitted vulgar contents on Ilbe. I caused economic and mental damage on company and consumers for my own entertainment. The feeding bottle terrorism what I claimed is totally false and I will take any legal responsibility.".[61]

Insulting the Sewol Victims[edit]

South Korean police arrested Ilbe users for writing comments on the site that allegedly insulted victims of the Sewol ferry sinking.[62][63][64][65][66] Also, in protest in Gwanghwamun, they took binge event, eating lots of pizzas, in the face of the bereaved family who were going on a hunger strike, in order to make a fool of them.

Media attention[edit]

Agency of Korean K-pop dance group Crayon Pop mentioned Ilbe as 'antisocial' while denying alleged involvement with Ilbe.[67][68]

Some Ilbe members are alleged to have registered in SHINee world (fan club) for posting defamatory comments about Jonghyun after he voiced his support to a student cause in support of gay rights, which was one of above-mentioned hand-written posters around Korean universities.[69][70]

Korean professional gamer Hong Jin-ho denied his alleged involvement with Ilbe, mentioning 'I never been to Ilbe. I heard about Ilbe and it is disagreeable. Such allegation is disgusting.' on his Twitter.[71]

Conservative Saenuri Party member Kim Jin-tae raised controversy by accessing Ilbe with his laptop during parliamentary inspection at National Assembly.[72]


  1. ^ "Ilbe Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  2. ^ Rankey 유머/재미 카테고리 순위 2013.11.06
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1] 'Ilbe is advised to enhance teenager protection activity by KCSC' (News1)
  5. ^ [2] (Joongang Ilbo)
  6. ^ [3] Newspaper editorial 'The Ilbe phenomenon and ideological populism' written by Hwang Yong-seok, Professor of Konkook University (Seoul Economy Newspaper)
  7. ^ [] 'The cause of Ilbe phenomenon is... expressing anxiety, feeling betrayed, anger from difficult life as amusement' (Kyunghyang Newspaper)
  8. ^ [] 'To understand Ilbe phenomenon' by journalist Kim Joo-eon (Naeil Newspaper)
  9. ^ [4]'How to deal with troll websites like Ilbe' written by Hwang Yong-seok, Professor of Konkook University (Hankyoreh)
  10. ^ [5] Money Today
  11. ^ [6] SBS News
  12. ^ [7] Psychologist Hwang Sang-min said "It's a kind of play, to secretly reveal their participation in Ilbe which is not justifiable in society, and gain reputation among them." (Herald Economy News)
  13. ^ 정용인 (2012-06-19). "[표지이야기]그들은 왜 보수우파를 동경하게 되었나". 주간경향. 
  14. ^ [표지이야기]온라인 극우파 결집 코드는 ‘혐오’ 주간경향 2012.06.19
  15. ^ [8] 'Ilbe, excess of antisocial contents like drugs and organ trafficking' (Kyunghyang Newspaper)
  16. ^ [9] Ilbe from right-wing prospect, 'It's a kind of disease, More than senselessness' (Weekly Kyunghyang)
  17. ^ [10] 'Ilbe, a mutant monster who tickles fascism within us' Shindonga July 2013
  18. ^ [11] 'Ilbe resembles anti-Zainichi association... maybe a phenomenon which revealed many Korean's heart' (Hankook Ilbo)
  19. ^ [12] UNESCO World Heritage
  20. ^ [13] '4 types of distorting 5.18 Gwangju Democratize Movement' (Yonhap News)
  21. ^ [14] 'Kim Kwan-jin confirms the involvement of North Korean special forces in 5.18 uprising is not true' (Hankook iNews)
  22. ^ [15] 'KCSC gives a hard blow to TV Chosun and Channel A' (SisaIN News)
  23. ^ [16] Kyunghyang Newspaper
  24. ^ [17] Dokrip News
  25. ^
  26. ^ [18] Cho Gap-je bashed from Ilbe (Joongang Ilbo)
  27. ^ [19] Causeless 'red-hunting' of Ilbe (Hankyoreh)
  28. ^ [] Pressian
  29. ^ [20] Hankook iNews Opinion
  30. ^ [21] 'Cyber specter who tickles regionalism' (Sisa Journal)
  31. ^ [22]'"Eliminate all communists" to the classmate from Jeolla province' (Dong-a Ilbo)
  32. ^ [23] Yonhap News
  33. ^ [24] Hankook iNews
  34. ^ [25] Nocut News
  35. ^ [] News1
  36. ^ [26] Hankook iNews
  37. ^ [27] Lady Lee accuses Ilbe users of degrading former president Kim Dae-Jung (Pressian)
  38. ^ [28] Dailian
  39. ^ [29] eToday News
  40. ^ The Korea Herald/ANN Korean singer plagued even in death by malicious Internet comments 13 February 2013 "Hateful online comments toward the late singer Lim Yoon-taek - who died Monday from gastric cancer - started to emerge on Tuesday, debasing Lim's premature death. On humor website Daily Best (Ilgan Best), a netizen posted a picture of Lim's wife with comments "My husband passed away. I was paid 1 billion won." This appears to be a parody of a life insurance commercial that depicts a wife being paid insurance money after her husband dies. Another posting from the Daily Best featured a picture of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun welcoming Lim. In the picture Roh tells Lim, "You're new. Sing me a song." Each posting received more than 500 "likes" on the website, which is notorious for crudeness among its members."
  41. ^ [30] Twitter Screenshot
  42. ^ [31] MoneyToday
  43. ^ [32]
  44. ^ [33] Kim Hak-jun, who analyzed Ilbe and presented his paper 'Misogyny in cyberspace' at Korean Association Of Women Studies seminar said "The anxiety of conservative men caused by the extension of women's right is expressed in misogyny". (Kookmin iNews)
  45. ^ [34] Ilbe stirs controversy over spying their female family sexually (Kookmin Ilbo)
  46. ^ [35] 'Most of such contents are victimizing almost every Korean woman and express savagery over them' (MediaToday)
  47. ^ [36] '안녕들 하십니까(inquiring after nation's health)' hand-written poster created sensation (Kyunghyang Newspaper)
  48. ^ [37] Ilbe user who vandalized the poster mentioned "I ripped it because I don't want to see far-left communist schoomates putting this school to shame". (Hankook Economy News)
  49. ^ [38] One person, who acknowledged his vandalism against popular hand-written posters called '안녕들 하십니까 (inquiring after nation's health)', claimed himself to be an Ilbe user. (Kyunghyang Newspaper)
  50. ^ [39] 'sexual harassment, pretended apology, and preparing legal action' (Nocut News)
  51. ^ [40] Ilbe user who vandalized Busan University's hand-written poster confirms it with photo (Kookje Newspaper)
  52. ^ [41] Photo by Yonhap News
  53. ^ [42] 'Same thing happened in Sogang University' (Herald Economy News)
  54. ^ "Ha Tae-kyung says 'Anyone who rip the poster is loser'" (Kyunghyang newspaper)
  55. ^ [43] Joongang Ilbo
  56. ^ Major Korean community website attacked by hackers 8 April 2013-04-08 "An international hacking group is rumored to have attacked “Ilgan Best,” one of South Korea’s biggest online communities. Ilgan Best ( is a humor-centered community website, producing jokes and political viewpoints."
  57. ^ Transnational hackers may have struck another Korean target "Right wing website Ilgan Best Jeojangso (Daily Best Storehouse: Ilbe) suffered connectivity issues after being the target of a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack. Analysts suspect that Ilbe may have been attacked by Anonymous, the international hacker organization that hacked Uriminzokkiri, a North Korean propaganda website directed at South Korea."
  58. ^ [44] Segye Ilbo
  59. ^ [45] 'Police officer who mentioned 'war on riot' at Ilbe is finally brought to disciplinary committee' (Kookmin Ilbo)
  60. ^ [46] Comotomo's official apology for 'alleged feeding bottle terrorism by Ilbe user employee' (SBS CNBC)
  61. ^ [47] 'Comotomo's official apology... what happened?' (Sports Kyunghyang Newspaper)
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ [48] (Korea Herald)
  68. ^ [49] (Digital Times)
  69. ^ [50] (Yahoo Philippines)
  70. ^ [51] (In response to Jonghyun's support for hand-written poster,) 'In far-right website Ilbe, there are ongoing political condemn and verbal abuse against Jonghyun.' (Herald Economy News)
  71. ^ [52] (Money Today)
  72. ^ [53] (Kookmin Newspaper)

Web Site[edit]