Takeshima towel

Takeshima towel

Seeing Adam’s reference to the highly disputed pieces of worthless, barren rock known as Takeshima/Dokdo in his post just now reminded me of this, which I had been meaning to post. A Korean classmate of mine at Kyoto University picked up this wet hand tissue from what she described as a very normal restaurant in Korea. It reads:

Republic Of Korea        wet tissue

Dokdo      is our land.

To translate into Japanese, which as usual maps closely to the original Korean better than English:

大~韓民国   御絞り

獨島 は我が土

Dokdo is of course the Korean name for Takeshima, which in European languages used to be called the Liancourt Islets, and is now called whichever of the two stupid names will make your conversation partner happy.

10 thoughts on “Takeshima towel”

  1. I apologise in advance for pointing out the obvious, but you know that these aren’t completely worthless rocks, right?

    The reason why Japan, Russia and Korea will squabble over every inch of rock above sea-level isn’t exactly out of interest for their seagull population… But when your nation relies heavily on fishing, you can never have a big-enough EEZ. 🙂

  2. Yes, I know know that’s the real reason the governments are fighting over them. But the rocks themselves have become symbols, despite being worthless in and of themselves. This whole EEZ thing is a pretty modern concept after all, and the possibility of gas fields is even more recent, but the rock-squabble as nearly empty symbolism goes back a lot longer. And of course, the crazy nationalist civilians on both sides are looking at it in mainly symbolic terms, not for the economic resources.

  3. Japan should take advantage of the symbolic value they have to many Koreans. Say agree to renounce their claim to the rocks themselves if Korea agrees to sign over most of the EEZ, and mining/fishing rights to Japan, or at least share them.

    I believe the politically correct term in English is Liancourt Rocks btw.

  4. Just wait until it gets linked on 2ch and a couple of Korean blogs.

    The “Liancourt Rocks” article on Wikipedia has to be one of the greatest exercises in collective-editing frustration ever. I think its name has changed about a thousand times by now.

  5. When I was in Mongolia in Summer of 2005,We went to Terelj valley park with my family and in-laws.And just like any Mongolians would do on holiday,we’ve decided to have some horseback treck and went to the near by nomad’s gel to rent-a-horse.
    And the nomad there was wearing this “Dokdo for Republic of Korea! T-shirt”…..

    That’s one moment I felt we are losing in the propaganda warfare….And considering our “wackos” still wasting precious time in the imperial palace….
    They ride their black vans to Gobi desert instead.

  6. Aceface: That article actually kind of surprises me. I mean, the editorial pages would be one thing, but this is a Sankei news article that opens by stating as a matter of fact that “Even though it is originally Japanese territory, South Korea continues to illegally occupy Takeshima (Dokdo).” Is this the standard reference in Japanese media, or do they often take the “impartial journalist” approach I would expect and refer to it as contested?

  7. The Sankei has been going all out to build its right street cred for a while now. This sort of reportage is par for the course.

  8. Most of the medias use “according to Japanese government”claim for Takeshima and rarely the word “Illegal” being used.

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