April 24, 2005

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Cell Phone Camera Photojournalism of Bathroom Propaganda Graffiti

The message in the top photo says: Ssi-bal (roughly translates into 'Fucking-A' in English), Dokto is our nation's land.

The object in the second photo is an electric hand dryer, the sort that one finds in public bathrooms. The message on it says the same thing, but without the Ssi-bal. There is a helpful English translation to the right. "Dakeshima' is the Japanese name for Dokto.

The metallic object in the last photo is a toilet tissue dispenser. The Chinese characters read: 'Dan Han Min Guk'.

Dokto is the name of the tiny islets in the Eastern Sea between Japan and Korea. An object of a territorial dispute between the two nations and a source of much anti-Japanese nationalistic fervor, outrage, demonstrations, and protests, Dokto has been a hot topic in the South Korean news media for the past few months. Dokto is to Japan and Korea what the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) were to Britain and Argentina during the early 80s, but without the armed conflict (yet?).

With that said and done, the photos displayed above would probably be not so remarkable except for the fact that they were not found in Korea. They were taken by me, last night as a matter of fact. So there you have it, Dokto-mania is not just in Korea, but it is here in the U.S. as well, manifesting itself in the cramped men's restroom of a certain Japanese eatery in Manhattan. I was tempted to see if there were similar messages scribbled in the ladies room as well but I did not get a chance to do that, I apologize. BTW, sliced, grilled squid makes a great anju to go with some Sapporo beer or cold sake on a Friday evening with friends after a busy week at work.

posted by Bluejives on 04.24.05 at 02:25 AM in the


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