Saturday, August 30, 2008

Patriotic summer fashions

Dokdo hat, anyone?

An August 1 Korea Herald article (er... yes, you're probably going to see a few articles over the next week that are based on older news (like "Beef protests enter second week") as I play catch-up...) titled Companies jump on Dokdo bandwagon looked at, well, what the title says:
Korean firms are scurrying to promote themselves as guardians of Dokdo, tapping into rising anti-Japanese sentiment following Tokyo's claims to the sovereignty of the East Sea islets. Companies have raised funds to help civic efforts promoting Korea`s sovereignty over Dokdo, while also marketing goods and services related to the issue.

On July 18, Interpark, a leading online shopping mall, started to produce and sell a "Dokdo T-shirt" bearing the inscription, "Do you know Dokdo? Dokdo belongs to Korea." It costs 2,900 won, plus free shipping. More than 20,000 Dokdo T-shirts were sold on July 18 alone, the company said.

As Brian relates here, these were also available at Dunkin' Donuts until Liberation Day. The article also tells us that, "Sales of Dokdo travel packages have also soared during the summer holiday season." As well they should; I hear the seafood restaurants and the hotels on Dokdo are first rate, as is the water park they recently built there (called the "East Sea", though those damned Japanese call it the "Sea of Japan").

Okay, jokes aside, hopefully they'll spend some time on Ulleungdo, which really is a beautiful place. I visited it about six years ago:

Squid, anyone?

The article continues:
The Dokdo marketing blitz is reminiscent of 2005 when the nation saw a sweeping corporate propaganda campaign. At that time, Japan`s assembly designated Feb. 22 as "Takeshima Day," Takeshima being the Japanese name for Dokdo, spurring outrage among Koreans.
For those of you who thought "Japan`s assembly" was in Tokyo, you'd be surprised to learn from the Korea Herald that it's actually in Shimane Prefecture, where Takeshima Day was proclaimed. Very surprised, I'd imagine.

At any rate, as the summer winds down and unsold summer clothing goes on sale, you might want to take advantage of those low prices to buy some clothes for next summer. As it turns out, there are, for the discerning consumer, a great many choices when it comes to Dokdo-related items. It seems that companies here have learned a great deal from the first Dokdo Diplomatic War back in the winter of 2005, and have been able to move even faster to flood the market with merchandise to sell to thoughtful, patriotic citizens. If you're worried about Dokdo merchandise not being in style in the future... (have you ever written a sentence you just couldn't finish?)

So, let's start with t-shirts, as there are lots to choose from:

"Dokdo is a Korean Territory." It's one of many, I suppose...

Don't we all?

Haven't found what you're looking for? Try this site! Anyways, now that you have a T-shirt, let's cover the rest of the body. Something I haven't seen advertised during this Dokdo skirmish, but which was sold in 2005, is underwear:

(More can be found here)

Now we need something to cover that underwear. How about shorts?

They're designed by Victor Lee, and, as you can see here, they're modeled in China by actress Geum Seong-a (who I've never heard of before). Moving downwards, let's look for some socks!

(From here)

(From here)

Very good. Now, that Korea Herald article continued further:
Top retailer Shinsegae Department Store and its E-Mart affiliate have been raising "funds to guard Dokdo" to be donated to a civic group. They sell cakes decorated with chocolates imprinted with "Dokdo Love" and set aside 1 percent of revenues earned from the sales. [...] The campaign is a demonstration of "Shinsegae`s affection for Dokdo, which is part of Korea`s territory," its spokesperson said. "As one of companies of the Republic of Korea, we have rolled up our sleeves (to raise public awareness about the issue)," he said.
Wow, who knew Shinsegae had such affection for Dokdo. Just once I'd like to hear some exec from a major company tell the public, "Y'know, I've never really cared for Dokdo. Something about them has rubbed me the wrong way for years..." Of course, seeing as its downtown branch is in what was once the Mitsukoshi Department Store, I guess Shinsegae has to watch what it says. At any rate, Emart had more in store for Dokdo related goods:

Models show sneakers inscribed with three designs of the Dokdo islets at an E-Mart in Hwanghak-dong, central Seoul, yesterday. On Korea’s 63rd Independence Day, the chain introduced the sneakers that feature the islets, a source of controversy with Japan.
According to this video (where the photos below come from), these shoes are, for lowtops, 19,800 won, and for hightops, 23,800 won.

Hey, they're stylish, and, like all of this merchandise, you know they spent all the money working out that fantastic design and didn't bother to waste it by hiring a proofreader. So, before heading out to the beach, you might want to stay cool (in both senses of the word!) and say "Dokdo is our land" - with a hat:

You can then start adding a few accessories, like watches... (more accessories are here)

...or buttons (hat tip to Brian).

Now that you have your Dokdo T-shirt, underwear, shorts, socks, shoes, hat, watch and buttons, you're all set leave the house, right after you have a shower and dry off with one of these:

Actually, those towels were reported on back in March, 2005, so they might not be so easy to come by nowadays. No matter. You can just tell people you have one; when you're wearing a Dokdo T-shirt, underwear, shorts, socks, shoes, hat, watch and buttons, I imagine people would give you the benefit of the doubt.

It's possible that Korea Inc. has found its niche market here, at least when it comes to images that pop into people's heads when they hear the name of a country. "America" might conjure up mickey mouse, hamburgers, or an F16, while "Japan" might bring to mind samurai swords, sushi, or tentacle rape anime (or astroboy!) . If Korean companies and netizen groups keep this up, Korea might become known for two rocks (or black splotches) accompanied by somewhat comprehensible English printed on clothing and published in full page ads in American Newspapers. And it will be all the poorer for it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips! I'll be in Korea in a few weeks and plan on stocking up on Dokdo merchandise!

Brian said...

Welcome back.

The Carrefour by my old place had not only many different Dokdo fashions (like socks and shirts) but plenty of Dokdo school supplies. I'll have to swing by Homever and see if it's still the place for my one-stop Dokdo needs.

David Lee said...

i'm still waiting for dunkin to start production on dok-donuts.

i imagine they will look like nondescript black lumps (chocolate!) which may or may not contain natural gas.

Anonymous said...

Wow, is there any word on whether there is a reciprocal merchandising effort in Japan?

yhap poetaster said...

It has been already an old fashioned topic in the world except Korea.

Anonymous said...

The historical fact that Dokdo belongs to Korea was confirmed over the centuries by numerous other documents and maps published in Korea and abroad, and even in Japan. For example, in 1870, Japanese officials dispatched to Korea submitted a report to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the reasons why Matsushima (Ulleungdo) and Takeshima (Dokdo) belonged to Korea.

The modern dispute has its roots in a request in 1904 by a Japanese seal fisherman from Oki Islands, Yozaburo Nakai, for exclusive rights to fish and hunt sealions in the area. (Nakai is later alleged to have said that he planned to petition the government in Seoul, believing the Island to be Korean, but was put off this idea by a Japanese fisheries official).

yhap poetaster said...

Why doesn’t Korea bring this matter to the international court of justice instead of hysterical & persistent actions against JP?
Korea has enough of evidences as you have insisted. Never lose. right?
I can’t understand why Korea hesitates to do it.

Dokdo Is Ours said...

I'll sell you dokdo itself over at my site.

For cheap:
Just 60% of your soft power, your dignity, and all the possible future benefits of a more harmonious relationship with your nearest economic superpower will buy you two rocks out in the sea. . . I'll even throw in the befuddlement of the international community for free!

yhap poetaster said...

:good patter
Step right up! Step right up! Ladies and gentlemen, come on! Let's make a deal, satisfaction guaranteed. You'll be purring like a kitty, a cushy cat, a furry feline covered in ash and feelin' fine. The husband's cheating, his wife is heating. The monkey's hip is pretty, pretty pink! Come on, ladies and gentlemen! Whaddaya say, whaddaya say? Howzabout a thousand? Howzabout eight hundred? What's that...six? Ah, you're cutting me to the bone, lady, I'm dying here! Fine, five! Whatddaya say, make my day! Yours for five hundred and that's a steal of a deal!

JIW said...

Does Japan have any kind of similar merchandise?

If so it would be great to see a comparison.

Dokdo Is Ours said...

I think in response to the "do you know dokdo" t-shirt, Japanese would wear a t-shirt saying, "nope".

Generally, the only japanese who know/care about dokdo are fisherman, and a few nationalist politicians who know that it's a quick way to make Koreans look foolish, and they can print the photos of anti-japan protests back home to make it look as if the world hates japan (which they can use for their political advantage)

Anonymous said...

It is easy to know who distort history and twist map analysis.

Unknown said...

intersting site i like the shorts they are great