Dokdo Racer’s goal is to help people around the world to naturally conceive that Dokdo Island is Korea’s beautiful property. Unlike other conflicts on the issue, Dokdo Racer takes on a completely different approach, which is softer and more receptive.
“We focus on informing people in other countries that there is a beautiful island in Korea called ‘Dokdo’ and that anyone is welcome to visit,” said Park Hyun (Konkuk University, 3) who is in charge of general affairs of Dokdo Racer 3rd.
Dokdo Racer initially started out as “Dokdo Rider” in 2006 with the initiative to promote the “Dokdo Island belongs to Korea” movement and deliver the message while riding motorcycles. Unfortunately, the members had difficulty communicating on moving vehicles. As a result, in 2009, the new members decided to step down from their motorcycles and changed the group name to “Dokdo Racer" instead. The new name contains the meaning “our land Dokdo Island races the world.” The members represented Dokdo Island itself and visited diverse countries to introduce themselves, the island.
In the process of visiting foreign countries and introducing Dokdo Island, the group realized that there are not many foreigners who know about Dokdo Island or Korea. Therefore, they decided to promote both through Korean traditional performances. “Dokdo Racer 1st" worked in 2009 and 2010 and attracted much attention with Samulnori, Korean traditional percussion quartet; Pansori, Korean traditional song; and Taekwondo, Korean traditional martial arts.
The most recent group “Dokdo Racer 3rd” formed in 2014 had performed the Bukcheong Lion Dance, Korean traditional lion mask dance.
The Bukcheong Lion Dance performance was especially highlighted as it was performed in front of the World Cup Stadium during the World Cup in Brazil.
“Our choice of place was an excellent one as the eyes of the world were focused there at that time,” Park said. “After our performances, we briefly introduced Dokdo Island and gave out bracelets to foreigners. It was exciting to become friends with foreigners we had never met before and I believe it was possible because people’s hearts and attitude were open.”
Currently, Dokdo Racer 3rd had just successfully finished their lengthy crossing around 20 countries on four continents: North and South America, Europe, and Asia from this year’s March 1 to Aug. 12.
Although their experience is rewarding, the process of preparing for the trip was not as smooth as their trip.
“Gathering members was the hardest part for us,” Park said. “What we do is not merely something that can be accomplished with good intentions. We have to withdraw from school for a few months and persuade our parents who disapprove of doing such activities. Moreover, there are problems preparing the expenses as well.”
Nonetheless, the Dokdo Racer 3rd was able to recruite four members: Kwon Tae-wan (Waseda University, 2), Park Hyun, Yoon Joon-myung (Waseda University, 2), and Park Seung-bae (Dong-Eui University, 4) and their activities were noticed by various countries.
“I believe that the six months working in Dokdo Racer was a very precious memory as we have contributed in introducing Dokdo Island and Korean Culture,” Park said. “Although the activities of ‘Dokdo Racer 3rd’ have ended, this is not the end of Dokdo Racer. We would like people to keep their eyes and ears open to the next Dokdo Racer’s stories as well.”