Daum, a Korean portal site, announced the most popular search words of the year 2012. Let us check them from No. 1 to No. 10.
No. 9 : White House and East Sea
The reason why this keyword became so popular is that there has been a territorial dispute over Dokdo caused by the Japanese claim that it belongs to Japan, and in this context, a South Korean petitioned the White House that Sea of Japan be changed to East Sea.
As is the case of most neighboring countries, historically, Korea and Japan rarely got along with each other. Since earlier, Japan committed piracy in Daemado, and in the 16th century, Japan caused a war of aggression, leaving the Korean peninsula to ashes. In the 20th century, Korea was under Japanese rule for 36 years.
Even now, tension still remains, with a territorial dispute this time. Currently, Dokdo belongs to Korea, but Japan continues to claim that it’s their territory. While it’s not as far as Faukland, the distance to Dokdo from Korea’s Ulreung-do is only a half of the distance to Dokdo from Japan’s Oki Island. Besides, the previous maps also support that Dokdo belongs to Korea. But, still, Japan is being insistent in its claims.
The dispute over Dokdo also led to a dispute over its name. As for the sea where Dokdo is located, Korea argues that it should be called East Sea while Japan argues it should be Sea of Japan. On the other hand, North Korea argues that it is East Sea of Korea. One might think that name is not so important, but as it is associated with a territorial claim for Dokdo, it is also a sensitive issue for Koreans.
In this context, a South Korean petitioned the White House that Sea of Japan be changed to East Sea. For this, Koreans are divided over the issue. Some argue that Dokdo is a Korean territory anyway and that there is little to gain by escalating the situation. Others argue that they should make an issue of it this time to fix the name on a permanent basis.
Trivia : Recently, there was a rumor that Japan would send the issue to the International Court of Justice. Here, Taiwan’s response was interesting. It argued that the issue of Senkaku Islands, which currently belongs to Japan but had been claimed by China and Taiwan also should be sent together.
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