A domestic think tank finds that 85 percent of Koreans think the labeling of the Dokdo islets is the most urgent historical dispute.
The Northeast Asian History Foundation recently conducted a survey on adults in Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo, 500 from each city, to find out their take on history.
Ninety-five percent of Koreans said that the waters between Korea and Japan should be labeled as the East Sea.
Longer article in Korean here.
Though I don't have any personal interest in the dispute, and can see where Korea is coming from with its continued obsession over the symbolically important rocks, I think the extreme measures some have taken---such as chopping off fingers, mutilating birds outside the Japanese embassy, and cancelling homestay programs with Japan---will only invite ridicule and take away any sympathy outsiders might have with Korea's cause. After all most people don't have the same feelings toward Japan as Koreans do, and are most likely to view Korea's rabble-rousing as an isolated incident brought on by a victimization complex and hot tempers.
I do, though, object to naming the Sea of Japan the "East Sea." The name is 동해, or East Sea, in Korean and that's perfectly acceptable. Nobody is suggesting it be called 일본해. However, the accepted English name is Sea of Japan, and it's arrogant and inappropriate to dictate the rules of another language. Moreover, and what realy induces eye rolls and forehead slaps is that people are advocating replacing the Sea of Japan because it supposedly reflects Japanese imperialism and is a product of, so they say, aggressive lobbying by Japanese politicians. The alternate name suggested, though, is even more disgustingly ethnocentric and nationalistic because the sea is, after all, to the immediate east of Korea. Here I would write "just call it the East Asian Sea and let's move on," but you see how I view Korea's whining in isolation, and am no longer willing to see the merits of any of its historical claims.
And it's not simply "whining," not just the words of a humble people looking to redeem themselves a half century after a 35-year occupation, the noble protests of a smaller country trying to stand up for itself between two larger Asian powers. What is clear to people who look at what Korea has to say on these issues is that Korea is being the aggressor by constantly going after foreign languages and foreign communities. Nobody likes being told to rethink their language, certainly not by a foreign country who looks more like a radical fringe group when you look at the sum of its wacky protest culture.