Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Resolving Issues By Naming Restaurants



I love this. It's been months since I reported on a huge billboard the National Unification Advisory Council had placed in the Dallas/Fort Worth area concerning the island of Dokdo, east of Korea and west of Japan. Unsurprisingly, it is claimed by both nations in their attempts to prove their commitment to equal opportunity towards territories: "We don't discriminate; we'll lay claim to the most useless, non-strategic, barren piece of rock near our borders. Why would we want a nice tropical island like Fiji, when we can have Dokdo?"

Well, however you believe this should play out between Japan and Korea, I think I've seen the strangest PR tactic ever committed by a nation in an attempt to draw popular support: restaurant names. I've encountered two Korean restaurants (furthermore, sushi bars) named after this elusive territory: Dokdo Island Restaurant in Dallas and Dokdoya in Austin.

It appears that Koreans understand the American mentality better than most of the international community; the way to our blind-eye politics is through our stomachs...


"Dokdo... oooh, it must be Korean territory! I ate the sushi at a Dokdo restaurant and it was so good! The Japanese don't have a Dokdo restaurant!" [author's note: as far as I know]


Japan, I urge you: YOU MUST FIGHT THIS INJUSTICE. No, not with a strongly worded letter or an amendment to your pacifist constitution. You need to establish as many "Takeshima" name-based restaurants as you possibly can in the US. Only by having Americans associate "your" territory with a fine selection of fish and sake will you ensure international support and fervor. I'm waiting, Japan, chopsticks in hand.


The Territorial Dispute Over Dokdo
Dokdo Takeshima Island

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