Ad About Hashima Island Runs in Times Square

(Photo via Newsroh)

A video advertisement about “The Truth of Hashima Island” (also known as Battleship Island) has been playing in New York’s Times Square since July 3.

Seo Kyoung-duk, a professor at Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul who has previously publicized examples of Japanese distortions of history, is behind the advertisement.

The video is playing on the largest electronic billboard in Times Square, consisting of three combined signboards 66 meters wide and 13 meters tall. The 15-second video appears about 1,000 times a day and is expected to run 7,000 times during the week it is on display until July 9 (…)

The advertisement highlights the fact that Hashima Island, which was registered as one of numerous UNESCO World Heritage “Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining” is known to Koreans as “the island of hell” where forced labor occurred and 120 Korean people died. [Editor’s note: Korean civilians and Chinese prisoners of war labored on the island.]

“Registering this island with UNESCO, the Japanese government promised Korea that it would open an information center about forced labor on the island, but they haven’t yet. Therefore I want to spread this truth to the world,” said Seo. “I want to apply continuous pressure through worldwide public opinion to stop Japanese misbehavior in promoting this island only as a ‘World Heritage tourism attraction’ – so that Japan acknowledges the forced labor history and installs information facilities as soon as possible,” he added.

He cited the sources of funding for the video advertisement: “This campaign was assisted by support from 5,500 people online and 200 million won (approximately $17,000) from the movie team that produced ‘The Battleship Island,’ a forthcoming Korean movie about the island, and a worldwide social media campaign (…)

Seo has been promoting electronic billboard campaigns in popular locations such as New York’s Times Square and London’s Piccadilly Circus regarding issues such as Dokdo Island, the East Sea and the historical distortion of Japanese military sexual slavery.

[Editor’s note: On his Facebook page, Seo says he will commence a global campaign requesting that UNESCO withdraw its designation of Hashima Island as one of the world heritage sites if the Japanese government doesn’t keep its promise to build the information center by December 2017.]

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