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Defending Dokdo/Retrieving Takeshima:

Civic Activism and the Korea/Japan Territorial Dispute

Defending Dokdo/Retrieving Takeshima:

 Dokdo Islands/Republic of Korea, July 30, 2010; cropped. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Dr. Alexander Bukh, Victory University of Wellington

Thursday, March 31, 2016
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

10383 Bunche Hall

The territorial dispute over Dokdo (known as Takeshima in Japan) islets continues to be one of the most contentious issues in Japan-South Korea relations. The conflict over the ownership of the islets is not limited to state-level relations. Since the early 2000s it has drawn considerable attention from civil society in both countries. In South Korea there are tens if not hundreds of citizens groups that together form the "protect Dokdo" movement. In Japan, the level of public interest in the territorial dispute is significantly low but nevertheless there is a number of citizens groups engaged in Takeshima related activism. The domestic and international media often show protests and demonstrations organized by these groups but rarely provide an in-depth insight into the individuals behind these groups. Who are these people? What do they do in their everyday life? What exactly are their beliefs and opinions about the territorial dispute and why did they decide to devote their time and energy to it? What do they think about their own country? These questions remain largely unanswered.

In this talk, Alexander Bukh aims to shed some light on the individuals that engage in Dokdo/Takeshima activism in both countries by showing excerpts from a forthcoming documentary and talking about the project. Over the last two years, Alexander conducted extensive interviews with the activists in both Japan and South Korea. The documentary is part of a broader research project on non-state actors and territorial disputes in Northeast Asia. It has been made in collaboration with Nils Clauss, who is a Seoul-based professional filmmaker.

Cost : Free and open to the public
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