Korean Children Learn about Dokdo, Known to the Japanese as Takeshima

Korean Children Learn about Dokdo, Known to the Japanese as Takeshima (Source: Korea Defense Daily)

Just came across ROK Drop’s post on a translated article posted by Asian Correspondent. The article discusses the results of a survey by The Korea Advanced Youth Association and Teengora Media, who surveyed 2,500 middle and high school students at over 400 schools nationwide, the results make for uncomfortable reading for the Japanese:

Asked about enemies, 44.5% chose Japan, 22.1% chose North Korea, 19.9% chose the United States, 12.8% chose China and 0.6% chose Russia, showing that 44.5% of teenagers believe that Japan is an enemy.

This, as GI Korea points out at ROK Drop, has a lot to do with the Takeshima/Dokdo territorial dispute, but perhaps we can put the blame firmly on the Korean media, education and government who sensationalize the dispute and drum it into children as a point of pride. Politicizing education for the sake of nationalism, on both sides of the Korea Straits, is a terrible idea that will come back to haunt its instigators.

Japan should take notice of this, particularly as it enjoys the continuing Korea boom in which Korean TV dramas and pop groups have gained significant popularity in Japan. While the Cool Japan campaign maybe dead in the water, Japan really must attempt to engage with South Koreans more to overcome this friendship gap for its own security and the stability of East Asia more broadly.

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A former contributor to World Intelligence (Japan Military Review), James Simpson joined Japan Security Watch in 2011, migrating with his blog Defending Japan. He has a Masters in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and is currently living in Kawasaki, Japan. His primary interests include the so-called 'normalization' of Japanese security (i.e. militarization), and the political impact of the abduction issue with North Korea.
James Simpson has 254 post(s) on Japan Security Watch