Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Dan-kun no eiken

DAN: Ok, next question: what is the name of the disputed islands located between Japan and South Korea?

The ladies, one Japanese, one South Korean mull this over. The Japanese is slightly quicker to decode the English.

SHE: Takeshima?

DAN: Wrong! Dok-do! They belong to Korea!

South Korean girl is delighted. The Japanese, who also happens to be my manager, makes a noise like a cow giving birth and tells me that I'm not nice.

Of course, if the other had been quicker on the uptake, I would have been equally vociferous in my support of Japan's claim. What you might call a win-win situation.


Takeshima vs Dok-do

The Japanese name means "bamboo island", which implies a level of verdancy probably completely alien to the two permanent inhabitants of the rocks (both Korean, sadly- one from each country would have been much more interesting); the Korean name means "lonely island", which is probably a little closer to the mark.

Korea currently holds the island.

The Dok-do problem has resurfaced in the wake of the Japanese government's decision to include the "Takeshima problem" in the JHS social studies syllabus (this despite the fact that the history curriculum generally gives such issues as "comfort women" a wide berth.)


The Liancourt rocks

Japanese-Korean disputes

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