우물 안 개구리

3/20/2009

Dokdo is Korean for “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!”

Filed under: — Jonathan Dresner @ 8:57 pm Print

Apparently inspired by the success of other international publicity campaigns around disputed lands — Tibetan independence, Pakistani claims to Kashmir, the Golan Heights, etc. — some Korean business owners in New York are trying to raise the profile of the Dokdo/Takeshima dispute by publicizing it in English on dry cleaning bags.

This is part of a larger push to broaden Korean diaspora engagement with the homeland and leverage overseas success into diplomatic weight. This includes trying to instill a sense of the importance of the Dokdo issue — as Koreans see it — into second and third generation Korean Americans. I’m not sure what the benefit is to tying Korean American identity to a post-colonial maritime resource dispute instead of … well, almost anything from the panoply of Korean history and culture seems like it would be more likely to succeed in the long term and have greater benefits.

Speaking of generations, the North-South separation has had linguistic consequences over the years. Most of the examples given seem to be in the political realm, terms which have taken on specific meanings within the Kim-cult/juche system. After decades of living in a more or less permanent state of political terror, I would imagine that most North Koreans would be very careful, precise with their language. The culture shock for individual defectors is already pretty severe; the culture shock of reunification in Germany was substantial, though the political system in East Germany was never as thoroughly totalitarian, information was never as tightly controlled.

2 Responses to “Dokdo is Korean for “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!””

  1. [...] other interesting component to this is the engagement of the Korean diaspora community. The Deputy Mayor of Palisades Park is a Korean American named Jason Kim, and “more than half [...]

  2. [...] other interesting component to this is the engagement of the Korean diaspora community. The Deputy Mayor of Palisades Park is a Korean American named Jason Kim, and “more than half [...]

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