Last week, Vancouver welcomed a special group of visitors. Dokdo Racer is a team of university students that travel around the world promoting the beautiful Korean island of Dokdo. Third of such escapades, this team of Dokdo ambassadors travel to North and South America, Europe and Asia for about six months doing street performances and giving talks informing global citizens about Dokdo. The highlight of Dokdo Racer trip is the Brazil World Cup, an excellent venue to reach a global audience.
The third edition of Dokdo Racer is made of four university students Kwon Tae-Wan, Park Seung-Bae, Park Hyun and Yoon Jun-Myung who currently attend universities in Korea and Japan. Kwon who had met the first Dokdo Racer (Dokdo Rider at the time) in South Africa in 2010 was greatly inspired, and formed his own team with the cooperation of like-minded students. They drive across the continents in a specially marked car promoting Dokdo. The interest over Dokdo is particularly relevant during a time in which there are aggressive attempts by the Japanese factions to distort the facts.
Dokdo Racer aims to inform the world about Dokdo by presenting the historical facts and demonstrating the significance Dokdo has on Korea and the Korean culture. The Dokdo Racers especially encourage all the people of Korean heritage to come out to the performances and talks, as educating and empowering Koreans about Dokdo is a great way of preserving the island. In particular, the Racers feel a great sense of accomplishment from sharing the message about Dokdo with second and third generation Koreans who do not have proper background knowledge about the island.
The Racers also hold public performances in major urban centres to share the Korean culture and attract people to the message. Performances by previous Dokdo Racers include taekwondo demonstrations and traditional Korean instruments like gayageum. One of the main attractions prepared by this group of Racers is the Bukchung Lion Dance (북청사자놀이), a style of traditional Korean lion dance originating from Bukchung area in Hamgyong Province performed on the First Full Moon Festival (정월대보름) to cast away evil spirits and pray for good health.
The expedition started in Washington State and made its way through Vancouver with the schedule to stop at various cities around North America. Then, the group drives down to South America in time for the World Cup in Brazil, a perfect venue to reach a global audience. They also travel across Europe and Asia and is scheduled to arrive back in Korea on August 15, the day marking Korean liberation from colonial rule.
Their journey can be followed here: