Curry On: Japan and South Korea Clash Over Dish That Resembles Disputed Islands
© AP Photo / Korea PoolIslands called Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan are seen Friday, Aug. 10, 2012
© AP Photo / Korea Pool
Sometimes even something extraordinarily trivial, such as a meal served in a small countryside restaurant, may become a bone of contention between two nations.
A bowl of curry has caused a major media row between Tokyo and Seoul. Tensions escalated after Japanese media posted a picture of a seafood curry dish from the island of Okinoshima in the Shimane prefecture. The dish included two rice-shaped mounds and a tiny Japanese flag mounted on them.
The shape of the rice piles resembled the Liancourt Rocks - tiny islands in the Sea of Japan that have been a huge problem for relations between the two countries. This territory, known as Dokdo in South Korea and as Takeshima in Japan, is claimed by both nations.
© Photo : Okinoshima-TownA curry dish representing the disputed Takeshima islets
A curry dish representing the disputed Takeshima islets
© Photo : Okinoshima-Town
North and South Korean media responded immediately, criticising the Japanese press for sharing the image. Dong-A Ilbo newspaper even cited a professor saying that Japan had used a “typical cheap trick” to promote its claims to the islands.
This is not the first time those islets have sparked a scandal this year: previously, Seoul summoned a Japanese envoy after the islands appeared as part of Japan on a map on the Tokyo Olympics’ website.