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SF-area Koreans call for Google to return Dokdo name to Maps

October 19, 2015
Koreans and Korean Americans calling for Google to return the naming of a disputed East Sea territory to Dokdo Island from Liancourt Rocks staged a flash mob at Pier 39 in San Francisco Saturday.

Koreans and Korean Americans calling for Google to return the naming of a disputed East Sea territory to Dokdo Island from Liancourt Rocks staged a flash mob at Pier 39 in San Francisco Saturday.

Ahead of Dokdo Island Day this month, San Francisco-area Koreans and Korean Americans staged a flash mob in an effort to urge Google to change its naming of the disputed island.

At Pier 39 Saturday, about 50 people — UC Berkeley students, members of the Silicon Valley Korean association leadership program, locals — gathered to yell, “Dokdo is our land!”

In October 2012, Google changed the name of the island — known as Dokdo Island in Korea and Takeshima in Japan — to the neutral “Liancourt Rocks” from Dokdo.

The disputed territory was named Liancourt Rocks in Google Maps in 2012.

The disputed territory was named Liancourt Rocks in Google Maps in 2012.

The effort is backed by 100,000 signatures calling for Google’s reconsideration obtained by stateside Dokdo groups.

“Although our community has repeatedly sent requests to change the name back, no action has been taken,” said Shin Min-ho, president of the Silicon Valley Korean association. “This flash mob is a cry from Koreans.”

A loud sovereignty dispute over the territory, located in the East Sea between South Korea and Japan, is an ongoing controversy.

Kim Eun-rak, an editor at the Berkeley branch of the Korean American international student newspaper CalFocus, said she wanted to show her love for Korea despite being overseas by participating in the mob.

Another flash mob is planned for Oct. 24 in front of San Jose City Hall and in front of Google headquarters.

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