Friday, March 18, 2005

Takeshima vs. Daemado!

Everywhere in Korean media we hear about Japanese claims on the (possibly) Korean island of Dok-do (the Japanese call it Takeshima). One prefecture in Japan has announced a new holiday, 'Takeshima Day'.

In a "Well, they started it" kind of move, Masan, Gyoungsangnamdo (Korea) has announced a 'Daemado' day. Daemado is the Korean name for Tsushima, which Korea invaded and took over about 600 years ago. You can read more about it at the Marmot.

Gyoungsangnamdo is a long way from Gangwondo and I'm only mentioning the story because I lived in Masan for a year and a half.

I'm not sure if this is related or not. Standing over the city of Masan is Muhak Mountain. It's a very pleasant mountain, a pleasant morning's hike, with great views of the area. But, from what I have been told, before the Japanese colonized Korea, it had a different name. The original name was Du-chuk San. I'm somewhat surprised that there are no moves afoot to change the name back.

In a month or so, Chinhae, a pretty little city next to Masan will have it's annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The blossoms fall thick as snow and hiking the mountains nearby is a surreal experience as the light penetrating so many leaves has a wonderful feel with a slight pink tinge.

In the years after the Japanese left, patriotic Koreans chopped many Cherry trees down as they were symbols of Japan. I really hope that doesn't start again.

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