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The Dokdo territorial issue flared up again this week, with Japan moving a survey ship out of port and Korea responding by adding 20 extra maritime police ships and conducting drills to prepare to seize ships, if necessary. The bloggers placed their bets, with Joel at “About Joel” (http://aboutjoel.com/blog) describing the tussle as “like watching drunk ajeossis fight it out on the street. There will be no punches . . . but there will be a lot of posturing, yelling, the occasional shin-kick, and maybe an inadvertent headbutt if one of them loses his footing because he’s had too much to drink.”
In a comment at the Marmot’s Hole (www.rjkoehler.com), “Slim” challenged Koreans to calm down: “I wish for once Korea would prove wrong the (likely) Japanese assumption that all they have to do is put an issue into play and Korean intemperance will take over and do damage to Korea’s cause.”
That Japan left its ships idling at anchor instead of sending them into Korean-controlled territory provoked a mockery of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, with “wjk” dubbing him “the samurai who asked for a duel, took out his sword and walked back home.”
Andy at the Flying Yangban (http://gopkorea.blogs.com/flyingyangban) pointed to his three-part series of thorough articles researching the competing claims to the islets as evidence that the conflict is far older than the 101 years claimed by the Yonhap news wire. “The annexation was a reorganization of territory already claimed by the Japanese, a claim going back to the early 17th century.”
Meanwhile, Brian at Gangwon Notes (http://gangwon.blogspot.com) says he was inspired by the Dokdo Riders, a group of Koreans riding motorbikes across North America to publicize Korea’s claim to the islets, to be the Hans Island Rider “and travel across Korea . . . telling people about how Denmark is trying to steal our island . . . away from us wonderful Canadians.” Speaking of Canadians . . .

An anti-Canadian advertisement taken seriously by the local press was just a joke, one blogger claims.
On March 30, the Korea Herald ran a story about an ad in the free magazine KScene, advertising a group to promote intercultural understanding but noting, “No Canadians please.” According to the Herald, an e-mail to the provided e-mail address elicited the response, “CANADIANS ARE SCUM!”
The event prompted a wave of complaints to the Herald by angry Canucks.
But on his blog (http://cathartidae.word-press.com) this week, Cathartidae claims to have spoken to the man behind “Bernard Carleton,” the supposed leader of the group, and to have verified that the KScene ad and the Carleton persona were nothing but a joke that exploded into daily print when a disgruntled KScene reader e-mailed a Herald staffer. The biggest irony: Carthartidae says the two tricksters behind it are Canadians themselves. The original KScene advertisement has appeared on the “headlines” section of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno ― a shot of the ad is on the NBC Web site.

The Korean pop singer Rain, a.k.a. “Bi,” is a nominee in Time Magazine’s online poll for the most influential artist or performer of the year. Cathartidae says, “As expected, the Korean online media is making a big fuss over [Rain’s] mind-boggling selection, ensuring that Korean netizens do their usual ballot stuffing. Rain is sitting pretty at 15% of the vote, second behind Ang Lee.” (As of this writing, Clint Eastwood had edged Rain out of the No. 2 spot by a single percentage point.)
Next week Time’s poll turns toward the most influential “scientists and thinkers.” Hwang Woo-suk is a shoo-in.

by Ben Applegate
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