Go to contents

Rumors Over Dokdo Reemerge

Posted July. 15, 2008 07:52,   


As Japan decided to claim sovereignty over the Dokdo islets in the East Sea in its school curriculum handbook, rumors over Dokdo have reemerged. Some people even attempt to take advantage of the dispute over the islets as a chance to rekindle candlelight protests.

Agora, a bulletin board of the nation’s leading Internet portal site Daum, was flooded with postings arguing, “President Lee Myung-bak gave up Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo,” or “The rumor finally proves true.” An Internet user nicknamed "hoho ajumma" uploaded a posting which says, “When Lee visited Japan, rumor had it that Lee gave up Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo. The rumor finally proved true.” Another Internet user named "shinmijin" criticized, “I expected such an event would definitely happen when Lee bowed to Japan’s emperor and said he forgave Japan by himself.”

The rumor over Dokdo appeared even before a series of candlelight vigils. When President Lee visited Japan in April, he bowed while shaking hands with Japan’s Emperor Akihito. Moreover, as Lee was known to be born in Osaka, the rumor that Lee gave up Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo has spread.

Bulletin boards of some portal sites are covered with messages criticizing Lee, while calling him as "Akihiro," meaning "Myung-bak" in Japanese. Some netizens uploaded video clips containing former President Roh Moo-hyun who had argued Korea should protect Dokdo, before his retirement.

A netizen named "luckydj," who uploaded a posting on Agora said, “We have to light more candles. Disputes over Dokdo can also be an issue of candlelight vigils.” The Solidarity to Impeach President Lee Myung-bak, which spearheaded the candlelight vigils in early days, announced a statement titled “Lee Sold Dokdo. What Is His Next Target?” on Sunday.

As Korean netizens are getting angrier against the Japanese government’s decision, hawkish opinions are getting more support. A netizen nicknamed "deion" said, “Tsushima Island used to belong to Korea. We have to get back our sovereignty over the island, which is now forcefully occupied by Japan, since we have sufficient historical background.” Another netizen named "xlubu" said, “Korea’s armed Navy should protest in the sea near Dokdo so as to discourage Japan’s attempt to occupy the islets.”

sukim@donga.com dawn@donga.com