A Story about Dokdo Sea Lions

Please Remember Us!

Warm rocks in the sunshine
Beautiful oceans with many species of fish

We love Dokdo.
We used to live in the East Sea and swim around Dokdo.
There were 30 to 50 thousand of us!

However, the Japanese occupation changed our lives. 

We are Dokdo sea lions.
All of us died out forever.

We were the biggest and brightest sea lions in the world.

We were never afraid of the gunfire of Japanese fishermen.

We tore out of the net when those fishermen tried to capture us. 

We sometimes attacked the Japanese boats that were crossing over the East Sea.

So, the Japanese were afraid of us showing up.

We were brave and strong. 
How did we end up disappearing from the East Sea?

In 1910, Japan officially took over Korea.

However, Dokdo was violated even before that time.

In 1905, Japan forcibly incorporated Dokdo.

A Japanese fisherman, Nakai Yozaburo, made a fortune hunting sea lions.

Driven by greed, he wanted to ensure a monopoly over fishing rights around Dokdo.

Nakai petitioned the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs to incorporate Dokdo.

However, his petition was rejected because of a Japanese document.

“Ulleungdo and its affiliated island have no relation to Japan.”
- From a Daijokan (Grand Council of State) directive (1877)

However, Japan suddenly changed its position during the Russo-Japanese War.

Japan needed a strategic military outpost to defeat the Russian fleet.

Dokdo was the perfect place to fight the Russians.

Japan certainly knew that Dokdo belonged to Korea.

Despite that clear fact, Japan took control of Dokdo.
It also granted exclusive fishing rights to Nakai Yozaburo

Using Ulleungdo and Dokdo, Japan managed to defeat the Baltic Fleet.

Nakai Yozaburo was empowered to catch sea lions at will.

Dokdo was the first Korean territory to face the emerging Japanese imperialism.

Sea lions were the first Korean victims to suffer from Japanese imperialism.

Japanese fishermen used baby sea lions as bait to catch mother sea lions.

When mother sea lions tried to save their babies, the fishermen captured them.

They sold the skins of mother sea lions to bag manufacturers.

Baby sea lions were sold to circuses.

Japanese fishermen captured 14 thousand sea lions over 8 years beginning in 1905.

Indiscriminate fishing changed the color of the East Sea from blue to brown. 

In less than a half century, Dokdo sea lions became extinct.

The extinction of the Dokdo sea lions foreshadowed the looming fate of the Korean people.

Soon, Japan annexed Korea and took the lives of many innocent people.

To threaten Korean freedom fighters, Japan used their families.

They took the families hostage and killed them, just like they killed the sea lions.

Korean men were forcibly sent to battlefields.

Young Korean girls were forced to serve as military sex slaves.

1910 ~ 1945
The number of Korean nationals forced into military and labor services:
About 5 million on record 

Among them, over 3 million died during their service.

Their bodies were left on the streets.

Japan was determined to become a part of the imperial powers and dominate Asia.

Starting with the incorporation of Dokdo, Japan took many innocent lives in Korea.

Japan claims that it has established sovereignty over Dokdo.

Japan bases its claim on the activities of the greedy fisherman.

On April 2010

Japan started teaching its students that Dokdo is a Japanese territory.
It is purposively hiding the fact that Japan forcibly took control of Dokdo.
Japan continues to claim sovereignty over Dokdo, using a false version of history.

This is not a simple threat to Korean territory.

The incorporation of Dokdo and the slaughter of its sea lions were only the beginning of Japanese imperialism.
Japan’s claim of sovereignty over Dokdo signals the revival of its imperialistic ambitions.

It is a threat to world peace.

Can you please remember us?

You cannot see us around Dokdo anymore.

But please don’t let our death be in vain.
We must protect Dokdo to protect peace in Korea and the world.

The tragedy of Dokdo started with the greed of a Japanese fisherman.

The imperialistic ambition of a country took away numerous innocent lives, land, and history.

Please let our story be heard
in Dokdo,
in Korea,
and around the world.

We must take action to stop the imperialistic activities of Japan. 

Japan is again making a move on Dokdo and pursuing its old imperialistic ambitions.

We must reveal the truth behind their false claims.

We must let them know that the international community is no longer controlled by force.

A common desire for justice and peace is now our strongest force.

Let’s build a fair and peaceful world together!

Please help us eliminate this lingering imperialism, the tragedy of humanity.

Peace is our common drive.

World Peace Starts Here, with YOU!



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