Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh, Give It A Rest

Funny thing about this Chosun-Ilbo article on the decision of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to change the official U.S. government designation of Dokdo/Takeshima to the neutral "Liancourt Rocks" and alter the status of the islets from a territory of the Republic of Korea to a new official political status of an "Undesignated Sovereignty."

The article suggests that Japanese pressure to change the status designation of the Northern Territories from Russian sovereignty to "undesignated sovereignty" bled into the ROK-Japan dispute over the islets, leading the U.S. to no longer support the ROK's claims to Dok-do/Takeshima.

Before anyone wets their shorts over this, either for or against, I suggest taking a trip to the National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency's GNS server ( and searching any of these four names:


and then


Interesting results, eh?

Danged Japanese influence. Now you see it. Now you don't.

The USBGN is a funny body. I know this because a few years back I emailed the United States Geological Survey's seismic disturbances officer after the USGS reported a large earthquake "off the Bonin Islands." I suggested that this was a darn peculiar designation to still be using 30 years after the reversion of the islands to Japanese sovereignty. In a very courteous written reply the officer explained that he had no control over the designation, that it was officially set, and that when the board that decided such things changed the designation he would of course comply with the new designation.

Later - Gosh this is fun. According to the GNS server, the Habomai-shotō and the Habomai Islands at 43°30' 00" N 146°10' 00" E are Russian territory but the Habomai-shotō and the Habomai Islands at 43°30' 00" N 146°10' 00" E are Japanese territory.

The barren island 250 meters off the Moroccan coast that the Spanish call Isla del Perejil, to which Spain sent commandos in 2002 to evict 6 occupying Moroccan troops, is actually the Moroccan island of Leila.

Take that Spain!

And as any right winger could tell you, there are no Diaoyutai Islands.


Anonymous said...

Pero que atontao estas, compadre...

Primero infórmate de quien es Perejil antes de escribirlo... ZOTE!

MTC said...

Dear anonymous:

You misunderstand. I am mocking the inattentive U.S. government, not Spain. The BGN data has given the island to Morocco without discussion or reason.

Also, I would normally delete any comment with a vulgar profanity in it. But luckily for you, I do not speak Spanish. I have no idea what it is you are calling me.

Anonymous said...

The "Take that Spain!" part didn´t sound very nice to me either...

I felt offended, and I kindly ask you to evict it from the post.

Yoroshiku onegaiitashimasu.

Digoooo! la pepita´r coño!!!

Anonymous said...

And you guys wondered why the EU was so reluctant to bring you into the Union.

Gosh, it was traditional Anglo-Saxon humor, which bemused others.

MTC said...

to both anonymous and another offended anonymous -

Let me try again. In writng, "Take that Spain," I am taking on the role of the U.S. government official who made this idiotic decision. The "hook" of the joke is that I am NOT that official.

My implication is, "Stupid U.S. government. Spain is one of your best allies...and this is the way you treat her?"

I am not insulting Spain. I am insulting the U.S. government functionary who is insulting Spain.

Jun Okumura said...

Actually, for once, USBGN got it right. There are four sets of very small islands that share the same coordinates 43°30' 00" N 146°10' 00" E. Allow me to explain.

Because of the inaccessibility and, frankly, uselessness of the islets, neither of the two authorities had any incentive to distinguish between the groupings, much less think up different names for them. In the event, the two authorities were able to figure out the difference between the two Shotōs and the two groups of Islands (aiilaandsu means island(s)in the language of a now vanished tribe indigenous to those two groups). Unfortunately, none of the parties with emotional attachments to any of the four groups were willing to give up the name Habomai. So that is how we wound up with “the Habomai-shotō and the Habomai Islands at 43°30' 00" N 146°10' 00" E [that] are Russian territory [and] the Habomai-shotō and the Habomai Islands at 43°30' 00" N 146°10' 00" E [that] are Japanese territory.”

So now you know… You’re welcome, MTC.

It never hurts to ask, you know.

Anonymous said...

Wow - 'anaonymous' and 'another offended anonymous' may need to re-take reading comprehension class....

Anyway - nice post, mtc. And thanks to Japan without the sugar for pointing it out.

Anonymous said...

For translation sniper: Z odbytu do ust – praktyka seksualna Japan związana z polegająca na penetracji analnej islands z bezpośrednio następującą po niej penetracją oralną!