Korea / A 5-meter tall inflatable statute of UNHCR Goodwill Envoy Robot Taekwon V stands in Seoul's City Hall Square, during the Hope TV SBS Event in May 2011. 
Photo: UNHCR Korea
© UNHCR Korea

UNHCR's most unlikely celebrity supporter must be Robot Taekwon V, a martial arts cartoon character who has been entertaining South Koreans for more than three decades. The superhero first appeared in an animated film released in 1976 and has since starred in a string of sequels as well as TV programmes, books, online games and other media. Robot Taekwon V, piloted by fictional taekwondo champion Kim Hoon, uses his martial arts skills and technology to battle evil and protect the weak.

The hugely popular superhero was appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Envoy for South Korea in 2008 and has since been helping to spread awareness about refugees and raise funds for UNHCR's life-saving work across the globe. He has met refugee families living in South Korea and visited refugees in camps in Uganda, Kenya and Liberia.

In 2012, a giant inflatable Robot Taekwon V was displayed for two weeks outside our exhibit at the World Expo in the South Korean city of Yeosu. The robot helped draw visitors of all ages to the UNHCR stall, where they learned about the work of the UN refugee agency.

Taekwon V

A South Korean cartoon hero becomes an unlikely but welcome UNHCR Goodwill Envoy.

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