East Sea vs Sea of Japan

n a dispute over naming ‘Donghae(the East Sea)’, Donald Manzullo, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, has publically pointed out that both ‘the East Sea’ and ‘Sea of Japan’ should be used.
In the hearing at U.S. House of Representatives called ‘Prospect of ROK·US alliance’, Chairman Manzullo has argued that U.S. should not take side with any country. He said “the East Sea and Sea of Japan” must be used side by side.
In fact, Chairman Manzullo, who has visited Korea last month, said “I have seen Korea which has achieve extraordinary economic prosperity in the last 60 years after the Korean War in my own eyes.” He has emphasized that both Korea and Japan are friends and allies to U.S.
Considering the current situation of Korea, U.S., and Japan, it is fully agreeable to use both “the East Sea and the Sea of Japan.” In addition, Japan should refrain from ruining friendly and cooperative relations between Korea and Japan by distorting historical fact.

I know this is a perennial sore point for Korean nationalists, but is there any pressing reason for doing this other than that some Koreans don’t like Japan?

I think calling a single geographic area by two names in succession is just ridiculous and impractical. Are we now going to start to refer to another body of water as the “Persian Gulf and the Arabian Gulf?”

It doesn’t always make sense how the names for various geographic features came to be. For example, the words “Japan” and “Korea” aren’t particularly accurate at all – but should we now call those countries “Japan and Nihon” and “Korea and Hanguk?”

The answer is that each language or country should settle on a single nomenclature for geography, and people shouldn’t read too much into it.

Exactly. I mean, I don’t mind when people refer to the “Gulf of Aqaba”.

Bunch of childish nonsense. “Sea of Japan” has been in general use in the west for pretty much ever. It doesn’t mean the whole thing belongs to Japan. It’s just a name.

The Koreas can’t even agree on their own name. South Korea uses “Hanguk,” but North Korea uses “Choson.”

Oops! I didn’t mean to offend anyone. Perhaps the proper term is “Korea, Hanguk, and Choson.”

Oh, I wasn’t suggesting that you had said anything offensive. I was just expanding on what you said to indicate the difficulty of settling upon names that everyone can accept.

If they can’t play nice, lets just call it the “Western Gulf of California”.

Maybe we should avoid offending the Mexicans by calling it The Gulf of California in the Sea of Cortez. Artie Moreno can design the campaign.

I’m very pro-Korean and call that body of water the “East Sea” in my own conversations, but “Sea of Japan” is the colloquial name for it in American English and that’s what it should be called when speaking to a general American audience. And I find it rather patronizing that other nations are arguing about our language. It’s none of their business.

If Korea wants to increase attention on the historical injustices perpetrated by Japan, they are welcome to fund educational, cultural or other endeavors. Complaining about our linguistic choices is completely the wrong way to go about it.

I think its mostly Koreans still being sore at Japan for all the shit that went down during colonization.

There is evidence that prior to Japan’s imperialistic period, it wasn’t that clear. But yeah, I agree its childish. Its not like we insist that the Gulf of Mexico be renamed the South Sea but then again Mexico never did to us what Japan did to Korea. Most Europeans probably have wamer fuzzier feelings about the Germans than Asians have about the Japanese.

“East Sea” is just as biased a name. It’s not the East Sea if you’re in Japan. It’s to your west.

From an East Asian perspective it is still the easternmost sea. Not to mention it was the original name until Japanese colonialism.

Do your maps cut off at Vladivostok or something? The Okhotsk Sea is directly north and east of Japan.

The only thing pettier than the East Sea/Sea of Japan fight is the one about Dokdo, a tiny tiny disputed island that Korea has a huge hard-on for.

Also, there would be no reason for the Koreas to agree on a name, since we are two separate countries.

Was it called “the East Sea” in English? Ever? Somehow I doubt that.

If the Koreans want to call it The East Sea when speaking Korean in Korea, well, that makes sense. In the English-speaking world, where “The East Sea” has no clear meaning, that body of water has been called “The Sea of Japan” for a hell of a long time.

And frankly, “Sea of Japan” makes actual sense on an international level. “The East Sea” is utterly meaningless and can logically be used to describe any number of bodies of water. “Sea of Japan” makes perfect sense to everybody because the sea is quite literally defined and created by the existence of the Japanese archipelago.

It should always be named after a thing instead of a direction. East Sea doesn’t mean anything for people who are not west of it.

Original name by who? The Koreans always seemed to call it the East Sea. Until like the 19th century, the Japanese didn’t seem to have a name for it. In Europe, though, the name seems to have been either “Sea of Japan”, “Korean Sea” or “China Sea”. And as far back as 1602, when Matteo Ricci made a map of the world for the Chinese Emperor, he called the sea the Sea of Japan. So I don’t think it’s a bright line, black and white thing. I also agree that it semes like a minor thing to fight over, up there with the Liancourts.

Did the OP join the board just to make this one statement about what the Koreans think the Americans should call the Sea of Japan?

I thouyght this was some kind of joke, but if the Op is to be believed there are actual American legislators who are making this an actual thing, because of their strong feelings of solidarity with the People of South Korea and definitely not because the South Korean government is slipping them suitcases of cash.