Do I intend to talk about Dokdo, or Takeshima!?

No, not really...

Despite the name of this blog (which I confess I chose to sound clever amongst other reasons) I really could care less about this issue. An odd stance for someone who in interested in international relations yes? Well let me tell a short story:

Two years ago during a summertime motorcycle trip to Busan during Chuseok I found myself lounging uncomfortably on the faux-opulant Haeundae Beach. Uncomfortable because the only ones here willing to be seen in their swimwear were myself (with my Austin Powers-esq chest hair) and a pair of nubile Korean girls with a kings ransom worth of makeup, plastic surgery, and the lovely results of a trendy diet/exercise club (I imagine). All others on this nice summers day were either huddled under parasols like they were bunkers, or comically overdressed for the beach ( women in heels, in sand. Men in suits. etc.).

Amidst all of this I was approached on the edge of the beach by a middle-school aged kid (after I put my shirt back on out of shame for my beer-gut, of course. Otherwise, I'd imagine they'd have run in terror). After being given a pamphlet for what I assumed was another cult church, did I observe the perfectly sculpted diorama of Dokdo this kid had constructed along with their classmates and as the perfectly rehearsed speech about Dokdo began, I pondered the problems Koreans often have in explaining this issue to the ignorant Jonny E. Foreigner.

The issue is explained as if the listener is Korean and their identity is at stake along with the controversy over these rocks. The problem is an appeal to nationalism doesn't work if you don't know the nationality of your audience. So even before we even get into the military, geopolitical, economic, 100 year old imperialistic, nitty-gritty of the issue, you have to establish why anyone uninvolved should care about a couple of desolate rocks in the middle of the sea. It's a Korea-Japan issue, attempting to bring others into the discussion to lend a facade of legitimacy to one side over the other is disingenuous.

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