Friday, March 25, 2005

Takeshima Versus Dokdo

The Japanese Embassy has written a letter to the editor to complain about the Wapo's use of "The East Sea" as opposed to "The Sea of Japan" and Dokdo instead of Takeshima. (for all your Dokdo V Takeshima news see the Marmot's indepth coverage)

While possibly it is understandable that the Embassy has a duty to defend its nation's position against negative press of in this case, contentious 'facts', it remains that sovereignty of title over a piece of water and a barren rock is a tad farcical. The moreso, in my most humble opinion, because the real issue is not the land or the name of the sea, but representative only of the deep-seated resentment and mistrust between these two nations. As long as petty bickering over things that barely matter continues, true reconciliation among the sentiments of the people will never be resolved.

The Dokdo versus Takeshima is also different to the textbook issue. The textbooks are educational tools for the next generation and it is important to ensure a level of objectivity in these. Koreans I believe have a much bigger duty to speak up on this issue where and when appropriate. But at the same time, it is also important for the protest to be within reasonable bounds. The Korean's emotional approach to arguing their point would indicate that Japan is never going to have a textbook that is sympathetic enough of the Koreans for the Koreans to accept it. Afterall, every country has bias text books. One only needs to recall some of the propaganda in text books during the Cold War to remind us that no country is fully innocent when it comes choosing objectivity over national pride. Fighting for objectivity is important, expecting perfection in it is unrealistic.

Currently reading:

"Hell" by Yasutaka Tsutsui