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CountryHumans (also written as CountryHumans and abbreviated as CH) is a fandom based around a webcomic art style in which historical and modern-day countries are represented as humanoid characters whose heads are decorated with the country's flag, and having personalities based on cultural stereotypes. It is a spin-off of Polandball (also called Countryballs), in which countries are represented as spheres decorated with their flags. CountryHumans inspired its own spin-offs, including Planet-humans (representing planets), Social-media humans (representing social media apps), Flag-heads (with rectangular flag-proportioned heads), and Pride-humans (based on LGBT and sexual identity).

CountryHumans first appeared on the Internet in April of 2017. It is often controversial due to the depiction of sexual relationships between countries, most notably USSR and Third Reich, and representations of terrorist organizations such as ISIS. These controveries have led some online communities to denounce Countryhumans as a “Disgrace to History”.

Background

It has been speculated that the Polandball and Humanball memes were inspired in part by the Japanese webcomic Hetalia, created in 2003. The webcomic reinterprets historical events as social interactions, with normal human characters as personifications of the world's nations.

The Polandball meme was created in 2009 by a British user on a German-language imageboard, to troll a Polish user on the same board. It quickly became popular in Russia as a medium for anti-Poland jokes based on negative stereotypes. The comics are often historical and sometimes offensive.

On May 3, 2011, a 4chan user posted a comic which appeared to depict the United States shooting Iran, with flags covering the characters' heads. The image was removed from 4chan in 2015, but was rediscovered on April 4, 2021 by r/CountryhumansCringe reddit user u/PhotographOk7968, who had downloaded it to his computer in 2014. The file bears the creation date and the name ‘Incent 2800.’

The term Countryhumans was first seen in July 2014, when an Argentine Facebook user created an account under the name “Country Humans”. The account posted anime-style art of human characters representing Latin American Countries; like the Hetalia series, these drawing lack the flag element associated with the Polandball and Countryball memes. The term also surfaced in November 2014, in a now-deleted DeviantArt Journal in which the author posted threats targetting the Countryhumans “fandom”.

A drawing of the Axis Countries by DeviantArt user Ech0chamber is considered to be the first appearance of Countryhumans characters. It was posted on September 25, 2016; however, it's impossible to confirm whether the Countryball features were present in the original art or added later, since DeviantArt allows artists to replace images without affecting a post's timestamp. Ech0's DeviantArt account was deactivated in 2019 and she moved her work to Newsgrounds.

Many believe that the Countryhumans fandom began in 2017 on the Russian social media site VK, as many of the earliest works were by Russian artists or featured the Russia character. However no accounts or works have been found to confirm this. Outside of Russia, a YouTube video was uploaded in April 2017, featuring what appear to be World War 2 characters dancing around, with their faces covered with flags. In November 2017 a Youtuber uploaded a video depicting East Asian countries in an animation meme style. This latter video is widely accepted as the first appearance of a true Countryhuman character. Since the end of 2020, Asian and Latin American countries have gained much attention in the Countryhumans community.

Themes & Characters

Russia

United_States

Russia

Russia is very popular in the Countryhumans community, alluding to that country having the highest per capita vodka consumption.

Some artists represent Russia as homophobic, due to the state of anti-LGBT laws and attitudes in that country. The Character is also sometimes portrayed as suicidal or depressed due to Russia's high suicide rate.

America / USA

America is one of the most popular Countryhumans characters, partly due to the large number of English fans. In most recent years, the character is seen as uneducated, racist, or keenly interested in politics.

Other Countries

Countryhumans characters representing other countries are typically depicted as everyday people, with interests based on the popular culture of that country.

  • South Korea is portrayed as a fan of K-Pop, due to the genre having originated and become popular in that country.
  • Japan is depicted as a schoolgirl and a "Furry" (someone who dresses as an animal), who enjoys anime and modern-day activities.
  • China is often depicted as being very interested in culture, particularly Chinese Culture. They have also sometimes been depicted as eating dogs, cats, and other animals that aren't commonly considered food in western countries.
  • Germany is seen as hard-working.
  • Canada is often depicted as friendly, liberal, and a lumberjack, but is also sometimes shown killing seals for their fur.
  • Australia is seen as a zookeeper, often shown with various animals native to that country. They are sometimes depicted as being afraid of emus, a reference to the real-world "Emu War" of November 1932 in which the country tried to cull the emu population.
  • Colombia is portrayed as being interested in coffee, and also in cumbia, a traditional folk dance and musical genre.

Controversy

In mid-2017 and early 2018, as the meme rose in popularity, there was an increase in comics depicting relationships, or 'ships', between Countryballs characters. Many of these 'ships' offended large numbers of viewers. The most controversial ship showed a homosexual relationship between the Third Reich and the USSR, contrary to the homophobic attitudes of those nations in the real world.

NSFW (Not safe for work) artwork became more popular beginning in 2019. Many of these showed countries in various sex positions. Some depicted acts of rape, necrophilia, or pedophilia, though these kinds of works are rarely seen. The most popular characters in NSFW artworks include America, Latin America (especially Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Mexico), Russia, the Third Reich and the USSR.

On March 27, 2019, Youtuber “Pkrussl” uploaded a video titled “Countryhumans: These People Need Help,” in which he describes how the fandom is quickly getting worse due to the 'ships' between historical countries. This gained attention among viewers outside of the Countryhumans community.

LGBT+

The Countryhumans community is widely known for using LGBT/Gay characters, such as the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Russia who are seen as ”very gay”. The community often makes a target of real-world countries that have outlawed homosexuality, including Jamaica, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, and parts of Russia. They have also criticized some countries with strong religious ideologies, including Poland, some Latin American and Arab countries, depicting them as gay.

Criminalization

There has been a tendency among Countryballs artists to depict developed countries as criminals due to real-world historical actions, while underdeveloped countries are portrayed as "saints". This has led to severe criticism of the Countryballs community, with many calling it offensive and racist, and accusations that the meme incites hatred and inequality. Criticism has been highlighted in countries such as: Germany, Poland, UK, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Serbia, Ukraine, Canada, USA, Russia and Israel.

The Countryhumans community is often criticized for focusing on historical actions now deemed negative, ignores the positive, and relies on inaccurate "facts". It is also criticized as being sympathetic towards totalitarian ideologies such as communism, fascism and Nazism, and as promoting pedophilia and incest for its portayal of sexual relations between "relatives".

Media

While the fandom is mainly based of on the internet and it was growing rapidly to become a worldwide internet phenomenon, at one point some of it’s characters did indeed aired on Russian Television. The 8th Animia Festival located on the capital of Pomorie, Bulgaria, was held & screened on April 6, 2019. In it, they screen a play in what it appears to be a group of teenagers whose faces were painted with flags of nations participating in what appears to be a WW2 setting where Poland was attacked by both USSR & Nazi Germany, later on both of those nations started gun show which automatically killed the two mentioned characters. Later on Poland would appear on stage again disconert with both new appearing characters, Russia & Germany, apologizing her for their past. A two-minute video of the play was recorded and later uploaded on YouTube. [1]

An interview of the actors was uploaded on YouTube on April 8 [2], showing some actors in other plays, including the five actors that played the CH play. This gained attention after a Instagram user found out that a screenshot of the image was circulating in July 2021 and later on found at least two Russian videos on YouTube, one a news channel interviewing the actors while a video of the play. As of right now, the videos are still available on YouTube, albeit isn’t popular & both are spoken in Russian.

Trivia

A Wikipedia article about Countryhumans was created on 14 November, 2019, but was later deleted just eight days later. Reasons given for the deletion were the article's lack of reliable sources and the topic's lack of sufficient notability or encyclopedia-worthiness per Wikipedia's guidelines.