Happy Takeshima Day / Cat Day! (Video)

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    It’s February 22nd, an extra special day for two reasons:

    1. It is Takeshima Day.
    2. It is Cat Day!

    Here’s some Takeshima Day-related news for you all:

    The Japan Times ran a timely article today about a Korean journalist’s views on Korea-Japan relations that included a mention of Takeshima Day. Here’s an excerpt:

    The atmosphere of Japan-South Korean relations had been improving after the two countries successfully co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup soccer, and as South Korean dramas and movies became immensely popular with Japanese audiences.

    That changed in 2005 when a longstanding dispute over some South Korean-controlled rocky islets in the Sea of Japan — known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokto in South Korea — flared up over a move by Shimane Prefecture to create a local ordinance to designate a “Takeshima Day,” and a remark by the Japanese envoy to South Korea that the islets belong to Japan “historically and under international laws.”

    [...]

    Just as Japan’s ties with China suffered setbacks over Koizumi’s repeated visits to Yasukuni and other history-related issues, Takeshima and other disputes plunged Tokyo-Seoul ties to “the lowest level ever,” Kim said. The ratio of people who feel friendly toward Japan in a South Korean survey nosedived from 25 percent in 2004 to 12 percent in 2005, he added.

    Kim noted that he believes that the South Korean government is also partly responsible for the recent strains in political relations with Japan. In setting its diplomatic policy toward Japan, government leaders have prioritized South Korean public sentiments — irrespective of whether the policies are realistic or whether they truly serve national interests, he said…

    Most Japanese people don’t seem to care much about the Takeshima/Dokdo dispute, so a Shimane Prefecture’s holiday isn’t exactly important news in Japan. While a few articles on the holiday have appeared in Japanese newspapers, and FTV’s 6pm news made a 30-second mention of some South Korean protestors outside of the Japanese embassy in Seoul near the end of its broadcast. This lack of media attention in Japan may also be the reason why most of the Japan blogs I checked today made no mention of Takeshima today. However, there were a couple sites that wrote on the issue:

    • The Japanese Rightist has posted an article about the Takeshima/Dokdo dispute, complete with wacky protest pictures and statements about a hidden Korean hand directing Japan’s ultra-rightist soundtrucks. [Link]
    • Occidentalism, a blog that frequently posts information on the Takeshima/Dokdo issue, has a “Happy Takeshima Day! update today. [Link]

    Finally, what you’ve all been waiting for, Cat Day news!

    If you’re like me, you’ve probably never heard of cat day until now. Apparently February 22nd is an extra special date, since each of the 2′s in 2/22 can be read with the sound “nyan,” which happens to be the sound cats make in Japanese. As a result, somebody declared that 2/22 would be known as “Cat Day.”

    This news report(YouTube video embedded above) says that an art gallery in Fukuoka is celebrating Cat Day by putting on an art show of cat sculptures. Thirty-two artists from across Japan submitted a variety of pieces to the art show, including golden cat sculpture worth 3.15 million yen [about US $26,000]. Visitors can also have their own custom cat-tastic name stamps made while they wait! The sow will run until February 27th, so hurry on over and check it out now!

    Also, be sure to check out What Japan Thinks’ latest post: a survey revealing what cat actions Japanese people find cutest!

    Have a great Takeshima Day / Cat Day, everyone!

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