Thursday, November 16, 2006

Banned from Blogging on Dokdo

Not me, but Gerry Bevers.
You may recall in a previous review of blogs I mentioned Occidentalism and how it included some detailed posts about the issue of these tiny islands in the middle of the East Sea (Sea of Japan).

Well, yesterday the president of the university Gerry works for in Incheon has asked him not to post anymore about “Dokdo” on the Internet.

He told me that it was a sensitive issue in Korea and that he had been contacted by individuals complaining of my postings on the subject. He said that he was worried about the school's reputation.

It seems some Korean students, unable to keep up with his detailed analysis, have formed a smear campaign to get him to fired for daring to suggest that well, actually, they might belong to the Japanese.

I've heard of people getting fired for blogging about the company they work for, but blogging about the sovereignty of a couple of islands? Considering the blog is his own personal work and does not even mention the university it seems a big mistake on the part of the president to prevent him blogging. His suggestion that Gerry should :
Write an academic paper or hold a seminar rather than broadcasting it over the Internet.

seems to miss that point that the posts could be classed as an academic paper, but because he is not a historian he is unlikely to get published. I suggest Gerry sends them to History Today and other sites.

It will be interesting to see if this story hits the newspapers tomorrow.

All Gerry's posts, along with the numerous comments they generated, are here if you'd like to follow the story :
Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Part 1

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Part 2

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Maps 1

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Maps 2

“The Struggle for the Japanese Soul”

“South Korea must choose sides”

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Maps 3

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Part 3

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Part 4

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Part 4 Supplement

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Part 5

Lies, Half-truths, & Dokdo Video, Part 6

(I copied the links from Shaun who mentions the story too.)
I have to admit I've only read the first three at the moment and my eyes are starting to glaze over.


Anonymous said...

I think you are better off making up your own mind about the country you currently reside in (since you are living there), rather than relying on another person's opinion.Incidentally, taking the opinions and advice of someone who has a blog titled "Occidentalism" and has sections dedicated to "K-girls" and "Anti-Americanism" is probably not a good idea.I realize that you are limited in the information you get about Korea due to not knowing the Korean language well, but I can assure you that the blog "Occidentalism" has a distinct Anti-Korean and Pro-Japanese vibe and with attempt at balance.I'm not even sure why someone who appears to hate Korea that much lives there still.I think whoever runs that blog has developed a strong dislike of Korea.It is understandable that any foreigner who comes to live in another country will face some prejudices,disappointments,racism,etc.I think all too often that people to label themselves as "expatriates" come to live in a foreign country and expect nothing but good things and complete acceptance.They may also view certain aspects of the foreign culture and practices to be inferior.This of course leads to disappointment,perhaps feeling rejected, dislike, and hatred. AKA "culture shock."
I think that it is very much in the Korean psyche to be on the defensive and will not look upon issues involving Japan in a good light, for very obvious reasons.The Japanese attempted to wipe out Korean culture and have been trying to take over Korea's lands for centuries, not just in the last 100 years.It is very much a part of being Korean to feel defensive and react in this way when Japan is involved.I think that the blogger needs to understand that issues similar to this exist between Pakistan and India and other neighboring countries around the world.
I also think that the "Occidentalism" blogger needs to understand that when he blogs his opinions to side with Japan, regardless of it being true or not, that is not a slap in the face, it's more like stabbing a friend in the back.It's a feeling close to something like if an American professor who is employed at Yeshiva blogs that the holocoust was made up by the Jewish. I think that is something that most Westerners would be more familiar with.

Anonymous said...

I meant "no attempt at balance"

Anonymous said...

"It is very much a part of being Korean to feel defensive and react in this way when Japan is involved"

Enjoy that victim mentality that comes with being Korean. Just don't expect anyone with an iota of intelligence to ignore the facts and feel sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

Some facts are open to interpretation as the Japanese school textbooks prove.I did not ask for anyone to feel sorry for anyone.I was just trying to explain the Korean's side of things.There is a huge difference between feeling sorry for someone and having the ability to understand something.Understanding something like what I wrote, takes an open mind and intelligence.Maybe it is because you lack one or the other, that you left such a negative comment.

Anonymous said...

And another thing, a simple google search of Gerry Bevers reveals something questionable about himself.He claims he is a white Australian in his "Occidentalism" site but in an old Yahoo profile, he states that he is American.Is he both? Is he lying? His views are skewed since he does not understand Korean language as well as Japanese or English and cannot discern many things in Korean as such. No matter what he claims on his blog, he is undeniably Anti-Korean. No matter how he tries to deny it, his blog is evidence enough. And I am not the only one to feel the same way as below:

"Daniel Mckellen wrote:

Gerry Bevers, can you please stop talking about Koreans in a one-sided way?
Koreans, while not exactly under Japanese rule yet during the Russo-Japanese War, were quite helpless. The council of pro-Japanese ministers held more power than the Korean emperor himself. So, Koreans did not actually support the Japanese front, but they were rather enrolled into doing so.
Also, Koreans, while often over-emphasizing their own views, are generally far more historically accurate than their Japanese neighbors. The view that most Americans like Gerry Bevers have about Korea is because of Japanese lies written in Japanese textbooks and overseas. Japanese government and education officials only talk about the techological advances and the railroads they made in Korea, and fail to mention that those railroads were used to ferry Koreans to camps to work as sex slves or forced laborers. They also claim Dokdo as Japanese territory, while the islets were actually part of Korea ever since the sixth century, when the Korean Shilla Dynasty annexed it, which happened even before the Japanese became aware of the islets.
Gerry Bevers, please continue your disastrous efforts to clear up history and learn to distinguish a national government from the average citizen, especially when you talk about historical politics."

Anonymous said...

you are confusing Gary with the founder of the site, Matt. Matt is Australian and speaks fluent Japanese. Gary is American and speaks fluent Korean. Gary's knowledge of hanja is probably superior to most koreans.

Jon Allen said...

thank you everyone for your comments.

Just to make it clear I am completely neutral about who has sovereignty over the Islands. I cannot hope to make a conclusion on a topic like this.

I cannot comment on Gerry's background. Have you asked him?
I do not believe his postings are anti Korean, however his language was very abrupt and confrontational. He could have phrased his postings to be less of an attack I think.

The anti Japanese sentiment here is very high. I understand the thousands of years of history between the two countries cannot easily be forgotten.

Comparing the holocaust with Dokdo is completely unreasonable. To compare a second world war atrocity in which millions of people died with a 21st century diplomatic dispute over an uninhabited island is not valid.

A better comparison might be when England went to war with Argentina over the Falklands. If an American lecturer in an English university had blogged about how he thinks the Falklands do belong to Argentina I cannot imagine him being threatened with dismissal. At the time there was a lot of anti war sentiment, however those people did not risk losing their jobs for questioning the war.

Anonymous said...

I was referring to how strongly the feelings are, not the actual issues involved (holocoust and Dokdo).
I think that whenever anyone says that it's only about uninhabited islands, they are completely missing the point.The point is that although it seems like such an insignificant piece of land to outsiders, it is of great symbolic importance.
Koreans cannot lose this land to Japan.
It opens up deep wounds from the Japanese occupation.
If you do not have family who were subjected to the horrors of the Japanese occupation, then yes may be it is just a "diplomatic dispute." But it is not for many Koreans.
The Japanese currently deny many horrific things they did in Asia during those years. The protests of multiple nations to these denials is proof of the way Japan systematically and consistently tries to change the way their history is written. So, someone researching such history in Japanese is bound to get sucked into their propaganda and the cover-ups and lies they tell to the world.
No complicated issue or conflict in the world is clear cut.
No imperial power in the world in the past got their power without causing harm to others and without use of propaganda(UK included).
I think what expatriates like yourself are not understanding or missing, is that trying to superimpose what occurs in your native countries will not always fit in Korea. Why? Because it is a different culture and country with different laws.
I can tell you that any foreigner in another country will face such issues as Mr. Bevers.It is not unique to Korea.
I have been stared at in public places by white children,I have been heckled at by strangers (young and old) while walking on the street with comments such as "Chink" and "Go back to where you came from", I have had these same comments from co-workers when I said something critical of Bush,etc.There was a Korean-American who was killed in a Queens restaurant by an Italian-American customer because the Korean and his family were speaking in Korean- no other reason.
Discrimination occurs everywhere.
It is a difficult transition when you come from a country where most people look and act like you to a country where you are the minority. I've been through it and anyone who thinks that moving to another country,where they will be an ethnic minority, will be walk in the park needs a reality check. I think Mr. Bevers got his.
Although I do not know much about the Falklands,I think that if there was a conflict over small piece of land between France and UK or Ireland and UK, that that would more appropiate of a comparison.
Also, as I said before, please keep in mind that you are talking about South Korea and Korean culture, not the U.K. or the U.S. and that different does not necessarily mean inferior or superior. It sometimes is just different.Of course there are some exceptions.
Although it may be difficult, it may make it easier for your time in my native country if you can accept this fact.Try to think out of the box and aceept the fact that this is a big and diverse world and life can be very much the same and yet different.

Jon Allen said...

On reflection I think my comment above was out of line and narrowminded. I believe I have missed the full significance of the dispute, which has been emphasised.

I understand I have touched a very raw nerve on this topic.

To annoymous, thank you for your comments.
I will take on board your thoughts. If you wish to continue our discussion I would be happy to correspond by email. please use the email me link from my blogger profile.

Anonymous said...

As the owner of this blog you should first of all source your Dokdo information from other websites that occidentalism. It is a pro-japanese anti Korean site.

Gerry Bevers put together a good series but it is very flawed if you scratch the surface of his information. By posting this information unchallenged on occidentalism it gives one the impression those of us who intimately know the history of the Dokdo issue agree....this is dead wrong.

Gerry, first posts early Chosun maps of poor accuracy and then fills in the blanks with his own interpretations and doesn't buttress his views with historcial records. Reading his post you will hear "this suggests" "I think" or "maybe....."

The real reason Korean netizens were outraged at Gerry Bevers posts was that occidentalism chose to publish the whois informaiton (phone numbers, addresses etc) of netizens who took the Korean side of the Dokdo issue. This is wrong.

There are others out there who have researched the Dokdo issue as well and they have better information. The trouble is they are mostly Korean private citizens with blogs in Korean. The Korean Dokdo museum websites have white lies just like the Japanese foreign ministry.

They this website.

Gerry Bevers said...

Wedgie (aka Toadface & Frogmouth),

So you think the owner of this blog should get his information from your Web site instead of Occidentalism, even though your site does not even have a "Comments" section, which would allow readers to challenge your claims?

Why do you say the information in my posts on Occidentalism is "unchallenged"? You challenged it under your alias of "Toadface." Don't you remember? If not, read through the comments sections of the posts, again.

Occidentalism has a comments section, and you have challenged my claims in the past, and you can still challenge them now, so why do you say my information is "unchallenged"? By the way, why did you stop challenging it?

Also, why don't you tell the readers here that the site you are promoting ( is YOUR site? Why doesn't it have a "Comments" section, which would allow readers to challenge your claims on "Dokdo"? You complain about my "unchallenged" posts, yet your site does not even allow for such challenges.

Korean maps show "Usando," which Koreans claim was "Dokdo," as a neighboring island of Ulleungdo, not as an island 92 kilometers away, which is where present-day "Dokdo" is. You cannot explain that fact away by simply saying that Korean maps were of "poor accurancy" since Korean documents also say that Usando was just a neighboring island of Ulleungdo.

Your "Whois information" was gotten from your Web site and posted by a commenter in the Comments section at Occidentalism, not by Occidentalism. And your identity was gotten from a letter you wrote to a member of an anti-Japanese Web site called "" (Kill Jap), in which you complained about how my English postings and others were hurting the Korean cause. Here is what you said:

"Mr Cho I must stress these days there are more Japanese working with
foreigners promoting Takeshima is Japanese and they are doing it in English while working with idiots like Gerry Bevers."

Here is a link to the complete post:

Steve, I do not think you meant to cause trouble for me at work, but your letter to a member of a radical anti-Japanese Web site named "Killzap" (Kill Jap) did start the ball rolling. Your letter also shows that you are not a neutral party in regard to the Dokdo/Takeshima debate, so quit pretending as though you are.

Steve, your site is full of half-truths and does not have a "comments" section to allow readers to challenge your claims on "Dokdo." Also, you are being disingenuous by promoting your "Dokdo-Takeshima" site under an alias while acting as if you are simply a neutral third party. I know from your postings and from your comments on Occidentalism and other places that you are not neutral or fair when discussing the facts surrounding "Dokdo." I think the readers here need to know that, too.

I would have posted this on your site, but as I have said, your site does not allow that.

Anonymous said...

No, I think Chuck Norris should own the Liancourt Rocks.

bathmate said...

I liked it.