Book on Dokdo “Thirty Three Shouts” A Complete Waste of Time

Tragically, it is a waste of time for Koreans and English-readers. 239 pages of waste in a beautifully designed book (with cool cover-inner-flaps) that certainly cost a pretty penny to design and publish.

Published by “The Association of Dokdo Sarang” (“Dokdo Love”), it contains 23 poems, 23 essays, 1 paper and 1 essay. Which, I guess, adds up to ‘thirty-three?’  The number of authors is 35, so at least that is closer? The introduction says the “33” is a count of the “men of wisdom” in the book, so I guess a reader is left to determine which two contributors are foolish, or to determine which author is represented twice; I was too gassed to check that out.

But, then, the whole thing is foolish. This is a book created by Koreans, for Koreans, and then inexplicably published in English. It is money wasted if the money was meant to be spent on literature, and it is money wasted if the money was meant to be spent on persuasion (about the provenance of Dokdo).

The translators, Hie Sup Choi and Janghyun Nam are no better than pedestrian and the contents wander a bit (there are phillipics on the “East Sea” as well). But the main problem is that  this is a waste of publishing resources.

I have to say, from the outset, that for various reasons I firmly believe that Dokdo is Korean. History and cartography seem reasonably in favor of Korea, and colonialization and WWII end all doubt in my mind. Dokdo is Korean.

So my argument against this tract is purely practical/publishing in nature. All this effort went into it and it will be read by no-one. It is almost invisible on the English web. There is exactly one copy available on Amazon:

And that’s if you even now it exists, which is pretty unlikely based on what Google searches reveal:

So –  no one who read English, with the exception of me and some other people who may have been searching for “thirty-three” in a different context, will ever find this book.

Even if they do, the fairly incoherent introduction, which throws together a motley group of things (that number “3” is sacred in Christianity; that the number thirty-three is sacred based on “Paroo,” a ritual of announcing the dawn; the Chinese maxim “three men make a tiger;” the Buddhist belief that there are thirty-three heavens; the thirty-three heavens and the Dangun myth, and; the thirty-three signers of the 1919 Declaration of Independence), will scare most readers off.

It also only takes one paragraph for the introduction to Godwin itself with a mention of Adolf Hitler.

A combined failure of publishing and marketing.




4 thoughts on “Book on Dokdo “Thirty Three Shouts” A Complete Waste of Time

  1. Great review.

    This book reminds me of why a lot of Korean people seem to learn English – to explain to the rest of the world why their country is the best.

  2. David,


    I am reminded of that timeless Youtube clip from the Korean History Channel. Yeah, there’s a strong strain of Korean exceptionalism, primarily in older Koreans, but I’m convinced its in strong decline (and, lets face it, it permeates the US also, just more subtlely).

    Of course I work with 19-29 year old super-geniuses, so I may have a bit of data skew here..

    Oh yeah, congrats on the engagement….

  3. Thanks.

    Always was a big fan of the Korean History Channel. Those guys are hilarious.

    I hope you’re right about exceptionalism being on the way out. Can’t stand it in Korea or America or anywhere else.

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