The excessive anti-Japan movement that took place in March 2005 in Korea has died down now. Shimane Prefecture established "Takeshima Day" that year. Mr. Gerry Bevers, a teacher of English at a university near Seoul studies the history of Takeshima and analyzes the changes as follows.
" I think part of the reason for that is that many Koreans have turned their attention toward China and the historical disagreements that exist between China and Korea, but I also think that the Korean government has realized that talking about the history of Takeshima (Dokdo) has done more harm than good since the history supports Japan's claims on Takeshima."
He posted articles on the Internet about Korea's old documents and maps that did not support the Korean claim, which led to his being fired from a university last year.
"I now have a teaching job at another Korean university that I am very satisfied with. I enjoy living in Korea because Koreans are very friendly people, but the problem is that Koreans seem to think that anyone who disagrees with them on Dokdo (Takeshima) are anti-Korean. That is simply not true."
Lee Myung-bak will take office as new President on the 25th of next February. He will place more importance upon the relation with Japan.
"I think Lee Myung-bak is a pragmatic politician that wants to improve relations
with Japan and will, therefore, try to avoid making Takeshima (Dokdo) an issue
by continuing to pretend that there is no dispute with Japan over the islets. However, there are still anti-Japanese groups in Korea that he may sometimes have to appease in someway, so the issue may still come up."
While the anti-Japan movement has died down, Korea still seems to assert her claims on
Takeshima by doing such things as sitting up polling booths. On the other hand,
the Japanese government hasn't done anything to speak of.
"There are hardcore anti-Japan advocates in Korea. Old documents and maps clearly support Japan’s historical claims on Takeshima, so the Japanese government needs to stop being so passive about this issue and start translating and writing the books
and brochures that will prove their claims to the world because I am almost positive that Korean historians will continue to distort the facts to support their false claims. However, telling the truth about the history and settling the dispute are two different things."
Gerry has studied the history of Takeshima for 3 years after feeling there was something wrong about the anti-Japan sentiments in Korea. He is confident that there is no evidence that Takeshima was ever Korean territory.
"I have pretty much answered all the questions I had about the Takeshima-Dokdo issue, so I am not really doing any new research right now. What I want to do now is to review and organize the information I do have because I am thinking about writing a book. I think I have learned the truth about Takeshima, and I want others to know it, too."
Courtesy of The San-in Chuo Shinpo(山陰中央新報)