This electronic sign was filmed in front of the Shimane prefectural office. The basic message is: “Takeshima Island belongs to Japan.” The island is known as Dokdo in Korea. Koreans insist the islands belong to them. In the weeks and months leading up to the day when I filmed this (March 2005), the issue had been in the international news. Here’s a link here:
Since I’ve lived in Japan and now live in South Korea, I have to admit the dispute interests me. Both sides have convincing arguments. And considering the country’s are relatively small (more so Korea, not so much Japan) and have fishing cultures, it’s no wonder this is a hot-button issue. For its part, my own country, Canada, has its own island disputes with some of its Northern neighbors.
In the above film, we see again this controversial sign, as well as the home and a statue of Lafcadio Hearn. One of Matsue’s (the capital of Shimane prefecture) claims to fame is that it was the home of Lafcadio Hearn, one of the most celebrated non-Japanese to have ever lived in Japan. In the 19th century, he translated numerous Japanese works into English, and did much to spread Japanese culture to the world beyond.