Dokdo (Korean: 독도 ), or as it is also boringly known: the Liancourt Rocks, is a set of islets disputed by Korea and Japan. Before we go even further, we are putting a line in the sand: Dokdo is Korea!
I’ll never forget how easy it was to bug a good Korean-American friend I had. I’d simply say to him I wanted to visit Japan, he would ask where I wanted to visit, and I would say “Dokdo”, he would reply “WTF man” and much hilarity would prevail. But quite simply don’t underestimate how important a few rocks are in this part of Asia! In the interests of avoiding trolling, I won’t even mention the Spratly Islands.
Dokdo, or the Liancourt Islets, are disputed territory – not islands as you’d understand – between Japan and Korea. Japan claim them, but they remain under the de facto control of the Republic of Korea AKA South Korea, a move which even the North Koreans support (lesser of two evils I guess).
In Korean, Dokdo means the Solitary Islands.
The group consists on two rather small islets, and 35 – well – rocks of varying sizes. The Japanese call them Takeshima and claim them as the immortal land of the Japanese people as is shown on their maps. It always fascinates me how people can get excited about rocks…
You can visit Dokdo island as a tourist from South Korea – it is indeed a popular thing to do both for South Koreans – and plucky Japanese – to go and plant flags there.
South Korea have over the last ten years placed a lighthouse and helipad here, and it is possible to visit the island by boat. It is not even all that expensive to do so.
Being the adventurous people we are we’d like to see just how well it would go down to unveil the flag of the DPR Korea here – I’m only joking, don’t worry.
So that’s it for Dokdo, but I’ll leave you with something: