The Fight for Dokdo

This posting is from Chelsea Gannon:

While doing some “touristy” shopping in Insadong, one of the interesting but most heavily tourist-trodden locations in Seoul, the group I was walking with and I were stopped by a group of school girls collecting a “survey” for an assignment of public opinion of the rightful ownership of Dokdo. Dokdo, a small seemingly insignificant rock island between Japan and South Korea has long been the subject of territorial dispute between the two nations. The girls carried around signs reading “Dokdo is our country” in Korean and “Our Dokdo” in English, as well as handed out candy to all who were willing to put a checkmark next to South Korea as the rightful owner of the island rather than Japan.

I found this appearance particularly interesting because it showed the prevalence such territorial land disputes plays in contemporary Korean politics and relations.  Additionally, one member of my group jested with the girls in Korean about sharing the island with Japan, to which he was met with absolute disgust. While it is true these girls were only as small subset of the population, it struck me as immensely interesting the power education can play in youth’s perception of current issues, particularly in a situation founded on such a tumultuous history between Japan and Korea.