Thursday, October 25, 2012

How Dokdo Day is celebrated at school

All of the teachers received this message from the vice principal at work today:
Did you know that today is Dokdo Day? I’ve sent you material with Dokdo related songs and video. Today is a day to sing one Dokdo song and impress upon the children once again that Dokdo is our land.
There are several songs in the 170mb folder she sent us, including the 1982 classic "Dokdo is Our Land," the lyrics of which can be read here. Below is a video of the song:

Here are grade 2 elementary school students doing a mass dance with flags to the same song for the biannual sports festival:

It might remind you of the flag waving 'Dokdo Style' dance TaLK program teachers were encouraged to do:

 Another song included was this one:
Dokdo is our friend 
From ancient times Dokdo has been our friend
From the days of my ancestors Dokdo has been our friend
A place where white seagulls go to rest
A place where waves beckon
A place where fluffy clouds sing
A place where love dreams
Don't be lonely, we are there,
Our precious friend
We'll be together forever
Friend of the nation

It's a very small island, but Dokdo is our friend
It's at the end of the east sea, but Dokdo is our friend
A place where sea wind rests
A place where the foghorn's sound rolls
A place where the blue sky smiles
A place where love dreams
Don't be lonely, we are there,
Our precious friend
We'll be together forever
Friend of the nation
Another song is set up in a flash noraebang player which has lyrics at the top and scrolls through photos to the music (of a song called 'We Love Dokdo'). Below is the folder of files, including all of the photos:

Most highlight the beauty of Dokdo, seagulls, the sea, the Korean nation, and the Korean flag, but a few stand out for how they are different:

(Japan) Koizumi monkey
(From a Yugioh card, describing him as the 
standard monster to be caught in Japan)

Do you just want to go? Do you want to die? Dokdo.

'Whoa~ just kidding.'  'Dokdo is our land you bastard!'

Perhaps someone should point out that Koizumi stopped being Japan's Prime Minister six years ago? Perhaps not. Funny how people will tell me with a straight face that in Korea schoolchildren are not taught to hate Japan. Now, I have no proof that anyone actually used any of this material, but that it was sent to all of the teachers in the school by the vice principal is... interesting. At a guess, though, I'd imagine someone else compiled it for her to send out, and it likely is the same material created and compiled years ago that just keeps getting reused.

 I do enjoy the martial spirit of the photo below:

There were also a few videos among the materials as well. One just has scenes of Dokdo, the sea, and seagulls, while another is full of historical facts about Dokdo. The other is rather different, and was made during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and features a song made up of syllables spoken by foreigners who likely had no idea what they were singing or how it would be put together (so that they are singing 'Dokdo is our land').

'Friends from around the world.'

And yes. Here it is. Brace yourself.

So, just in case you're wondering why there is such an emotional component to the Dokdo issue in Korea, the above material might give some clue. Love for Dokdo, and the belief that it is an intrinsic part of not just Korea (ie. 'our land') but also of the Korean race is instilled from a young age in school. In addition to Dokdo Day, there is also Dokdo Studies, a class in which the subject is drilled into the students. I'm not very familiar with what is taught in the class but what I've seen makes me pretty certain that the desire to seek the opinion of foreigners on the subject (and educate them when they say they know nothing about it) is cultivated in the class as well.


Anonymous said...

Conversation with one of my students:
Me: Why is studying abroad beneficial?
Girl Student (a little shyly): We can tell other people in other countries that Dokdo is ours.
Me: (silence, facepalm)

Unknown said...

Dokdo Reasoning