KOREA OR COREA?
"Anyway, it is really immature for Korean people to keep searching for things to complain about on the basis
of some imaginary link to the Japanese. I wish they would just stop their pathetic grabbing at little aspects
of their reality here and there and associating them with or blaming them on Japan's colonization of the country."
1. There is zero solid, documentary evidence that Japan officialdom ever set out to change Corea's spelling to Korea.
2. Having absorbed Korea, Japan would have no need to worry about whether
Korea would come above it or below it in an international forum.
3. Korea's royal and imperial governments began using the Korea spelling before Japan started wielding sufficiently hefty influence over Korea around 1904.
'Sea of Japan' Is the Right Term
Regarding the term "East Sea": Japan believes it is essential to refer to this body of water as the "Sea of Japan,"
a name used widely by the global community since the early 19th century. Although South Korea asserts that
the name "Sea of Japan" came into general use as a consequence of Japan's colonial past, the name was common long before
colonization in the 20th century. Therefore, Korea's attempt to change the name to "East Sea" is without merit.
Further, in March 2004 the United Nations confirmed that "Sea of Japan" is the standard term for that body of water
and declared that dual designation breaches the prevailing practice of the single use of "Sea of Japan" and infringes upon the neutrality of the United Nations.
Minister for Public Affairs
Embassy of Japan
The following three points summarize the studies on the name "Sea of Japan" presented in this pamphlet:
A recent Japanese study of 392 maps in 60 countries revealed that only 11 maps (2.8%) did not describe
the sea area using solely the name "Sea of Japan." On those 11 maps, both the name "Sea of Japan"
and the name "East Sea" were shown. There was no map that described the sea using solely the name
Historically, the name "Sea of Japan" became widely accepted and established in Europe from the
late 18th century to the early 19th century. It did not come about, as asserted by ROK, as a result of
Japan' s colonialistic and imperialistic intent in the first half of the 20th century.
In view of the methodology for geographical naming, the name "Sea of Japan" was objectively determined
by its geographical characteristics--the sea area is separated from the Pacific Ocean by the Japanese
Archipelago. By contrast, the "East Sea" is a subjective name proposed from a perspective centering on
ROK and DPRK.
The adoption of the name "East Sea" was first proposed by ROK and DPRK at the sixth United Nations
Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names in 1992. Today, only ROK and DPRK advocate
the adoption of this name. Considering the fact that only one name, the "Sea of Japan," is broadly accepted
and internationally established and that there is virtually no historical or geographical basis for the use
of the name "East Sea," one may infer that the assertions of ROK and DPRK are backed by strong political
If a firmly established sea name were to be changed for the political intentions of only a few countries withou
t a valid reason, such an action would not only bring about confusion in the world' s geographical order, but
also would leave a bad precedent for generations to come. Japan strongly opposes such an attempt.
We sincerely hope that the international community will understand and support Japan' s position.
For well over a year, I have been continuously receiving email form letters from members of Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK),
who have asked that the CIA World Factbook map of Korea here on my site be edited so that the name of the Sea of Japan to the east of Korea, be changed to the East Sea.
Below is a copy of one of the many letters I have received...
Dear Sir or Madam
Recently I visited your organization's website and was quite surprised to find your maps of Korea and Japan still describe Korea's East Sea as Sea of Japan which is incorrect.
Such an error in a well known website as yours comes as a surprise since we regard you as one of the world's best.
For your reference, the world's largest commercial mapmaker, National Geographic, and the travel guidebook, Lonely Planet Publication promised us that they would now use the name East Sea.
In addition, lycos.com is already using the name, 'East Sea' in their website after we pointed out the error.
Using a proper name for the body of water between the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago is not simply a question of changing the name of a geographical feature.
It is rather a part of national effort by the Korean people to erase the legacy of their colonial past and to redress the unfairness that has resulted from it.
So, I urge you to use East Sea to describe the body of water in question or both Korean and Japanese designation simultaneously (e.g. 'East Sea/Sea of Japan') in all your documents and atlases.
Once Korea and Japan agree on a common designation, which is in accord with the general rule of international cartography, we can then follow the agreed-on designation.
Thank you, and we would appreciate your favorable consideration.
VANK, Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, consisted of 4500 Korean voluntary students