The Korea Herald


Group campaigns to remove Takeshima from iPhone map

By Korea Herald

Published : Sept. 30, 2013 - 19:27

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Park Gi-tae, founder of Voluntary Agency Network for Korea. (Herald photo file) Park Gi-tae, founder of Voluntary Agency Network for Korea. (Herald photo file)
A group of civilian diplomats devoted to publicizing Korea in cyber space has launched a campaign to delete Japanese or any other names for the Korean islets of Dokdo from Apple iPhone’s map service. 

“Apple service refers to Dokdo as Takeshima too, which is the name it is called by Japan. We will carry out projects to erase Takeshima or any other names for the Korean islets from online services, not only by Apple but also by Google, Facebook and Microsoft,” said Park Gi-tae, founder of Voluntary Agency Network for Korea. “We will keep sending a letter of protest to them until they designate them only as Dokdo.”

Dokdo is currently under the control of Korea, but Japan, which colonized Korea from 1910-1945, calls the islets Takeshima and claims sovereignty over them.

The nongovernmental group will publicize Dokdo through a website ( managed by its goodwill ambassador and pop singer Kim Jang-hoon. It will release educational videos to teachers around the world through Apple iTunes to raise awareness of “digital imperialism.”

It is also sending emails to foreign news media, visiting international appeals sites and further spreading its promotional video clips currently on YouTube and Vimeo, Park said.

Its campaign to remove Takeshima from online or mobile map services was prompted by Apple’s latest operating system, iOS7, which declares Dokdo as islands belonging to the Shimane prefecture of Japan.

Apple’s trial map based on iOS6 did not mention Dokdo at all but designated it only as Takeshima and the Liancourt Rocks. In July last year, Apple changed the name to Dokdo after Korean users protested, but in late October changed it again by juxtaposing Takeshima with Dokdo.

Afterwards, a Korean user of an iPhone using iOS7 informed VANK that its new location service cited the address of a photo taken on Dokdo as Dokdo/Okinoshimacho, Shimane. Okinoshimacho is a town in Oki district, Shimane prefecture.

“Currently, many people use online maps on smartphones,” he said. “That’s why Japan is lobbying hard to publicize Dokdo as Takeshima on mobile maps. So, it is important to have the right name for the islands on the maps.”

According to VANK, Facebook’s map service follows the same naming practice used by Google and Apple. They all mark Dokdo as the Liancourt Rocks, because Facebook uses Bing Maps provided by Microsoft. Bing Maps uses servers that retrieve data only from Japanese map services.

“What would happen if a majority of online sources referred to Dokdo as Takeshima? Within decades, the international community would accept Japan’s false claims as truth,” Park said. “Japan is making a move again to repeat what it did to Korea 100 years ago. In the 21st century, Japanese imperialism is reviving to lobby the digital powers.”

By Chun Sung-woo (