On August 15th, 2011 Flashmobs were held in major cities by young people all over Korea to express their feelings about Dokdo. The event was meant to focus young Koreans on the dispute over the possession of Dokdo between Korea and Japan. Moreover, these Flashmobs are worthy of notice because Yeungnam University students participated in these meetings out of their own free will. Through events like these students can understand what they can do to raise the Dokdo awareness.
There is a historical basis for Korea’s claim on Dokdo. Samguk Sagi that includes the history of the Three Kingdoms of Korea; Koguryo, Baekje and Silla mentions that Usando was conquered by the Silla Kingdom in 512 B.C. Usando was an old name for Dokdo. During the reign of King Sukjong (1674-1720) of the Joseon Dynasty, Yong-Bok An captured a scene that depicted Japanese fishermen fishing around Ulleungdo and Dokdo, so he protested to Japan. As a result, the issue of ownership over Ulleungdo and Dokdo was decided in Korea's favor.
A great deal of data indicates that Dokdo is Korea’s land. Nevertheless, Japan continues to insist the island is theirs based on unreliable information. For example, Japan insisted that Dokdo was theirs for 7 years based on the Defense White Paper written about Japanese security and defense. In this way, Japan continues its efforts to gain recognition that their claims have validity. In response, young Koreans started to take up the cause of Dokdo awareness in order to take the lead in protecting Korea’s claim to the island.
Students’ activities for Dokdo awareness
“The Dokdo Academy” was designed to organize local university and foreign students to dedicate themselves to and actively participate in Dokdo awareness. In order to participate in the academy, students are required to submit a letter of self-introduction, an application, and an activity plan during the application period at the site ‘www.dokdoacademy.com.’ The educational objective of this academy is to empower students with the ability to make others aware of the issues that threaten Korea’s claim to Dokdo. Moreover, they have the objective to make the entire world know that Dokdo is Korea’s land by receiving theory education about territorial sovereignty and by visiting Dokdo.
In addition, the “Dokdoracer” is a project that was created by Seoul National University Challenge Club members. The purpose of the project is to make the world aware of Korea’s claim to Dokdo.
Along with these activities, we will look into the Flashmob that was started by YU students for the first time. Flashmobs are intended for unspecified individuals who meet at a given time and place and disappear after a specific action is taken. Nowadays, several types of Flashmobs are popular among young people due to the popularity of smart phones. The Dokdo awareness Flashmobs were enacted nationwide to coincide with National Liberation Day on August 15th. These events took place in major cities throughout Korea including Daegu. Two YU students; Hyun-Dong Lee and Sang-Wha Lee organized the YU event. The YU students did this work voluntarily with Daegu and Gyeongbuk region at the center. There was voluntary participation from university students throughout the country, so it occured on a large scale. Some people chanted “Korea” while wearing hanboks or taekwondo uniforms. The Observer interviewed the YU Dokdo Flashmob planners.
Hyun-Dong Lee, Senior,
Mechanical Design Engineering on the right
Sang-Wha Lee, Senior,
Economics and Finance on the left
Q. What information did you decide to spread about Dokdo through the Flashmob?
A. We wanted to make others aware of Japan’s provocative and ongoing actions regarding Dokdo.
Q. How effective was this Flashmob?
A. Nationwide there were approximately 5,000 student participants. Fortunately, our activities caught the attention of the media. Moreover, I think that most people share the same ideas about Dokdo even though they did not wish to participate in the Flashmob.
Q. How was the atmosphere at that time?
A. Student participation was inspiring even though there were some complications to deal with. For example the start time was set at 5 p.m, but things were confused because it started to rain at around 4 p.m. However, many people stayed in order to make the Flashmob happen. Moreover, they started to chant “we can do it.” This scene will always stay with me and inspire me to continue.
Q. How did you feel after the Flashmob?
A. As I witnessed everyone shouting for Dokdo, I realized once more that many people still have the same state of mind when it comes to this issue.
Q. I know that most of the participants were students. Is there anything specific that you would like students to keep in mind about Dokdo?
A. I think that in order to ensure Dokdo’s sovereignty in the future students need to realize that it is our passion and dedication to the cause that will win the day and not just political and economic negotiations between the governments. If we commit our passion we will be able to understand why Dokdo is Korea’s land and why we need to be active in protecting Dokdo ourselves.
Students are able to participate in a variety of social causes like Flashmobs for Dokdo protection. Moreover, students have showed their love for Dokdo through their voluntary participation and consciousness. It also shows we can resolve conflicts by employing earnest minds instead of envy and hate. Through our efforts, the truth about Dokdo will be understood all over the world in the near future.