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The quirks and eddies of border island Tsushima: between a cooperative border space and the front line of nationalistic antagonism

Authors: Jihyuk Park*,
Topics: Political Geography, Asia, Tourism Geography
Keywords: border, geopolitics, island, East Asia, Northeast Asia,
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Korean-Japanese maritime border has been widely known as an exemplary case of territorial disputes, rather than trans-border cooperation, especially centered on the issues of territorial ownership of Dokdo-island and the naming of the sea between Korea and Japan, strongly influenced by post-colonial politics of nationalism. The antagonistic territorial politics, however, has not fully dominated the Korean-Japanese maritime border. Several interesting cases of cross-border cooperation have been taking place between Korea and Japan. In this sense, this paper focuses on Tsushima, a border island between Busan(Korea) and Fukuoka(Japan). In particular, on the one hand, it tries to figure out the local construction of border in Tsushima driven by cross-border cooperation. In this sense, it will explore how the local developmental politics have driven growth-coalition among local actors, and succeeded to make ‘jumping scale’. Specifically, the case would be mainly discussed that the formation of a trans-border joint project to register a historical heritage of local “Delegation from Joseon Dynasty” to UNESCO MEMORY-OF-THE-WORLD under the names of both Korea and Japan. On the other hand, the nationalistic territoriality of Tsushima still in existence would also be discussed. Recently cooled relations between two states caused by Korea-Japan trade war and its following effects on the island would be examined. By reflecting on above points, the spatiality and significance of Tsushima in Northeast Asia would be examined, and consequently, future prospects regarding Northeast Asian geopolitics could be attempted

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