Google Earth has placed the Sea of Japan, used by 99% of the people on the planet to describe that sea, in brackets. What on earth are they thinking?
Out of 193 countries in the world, only Korea (South and North) describes the body of water separated from the Pacific Ocean by Japan as the ‘East Sea’. All the other countries rightly call it the ‘Sea of Japan’.
Not only is the ‘Sea of Japan’ a well established name, it also adheres to basic naming conventions because if Japanese archipelago were non existent, there would be no sea to speak of, only the Pacific Ocean. Going further, the ‘Sea of Japan’ is the official name and is accepted such by the UN and the International Hydrographic Organization. Lets look at this in point form.
1. The Sea of Japan is the official name recognised by the UN.
2. The Sea of Japan is the name it is known as by pretty much all English speakers.
3. Calling that sea the ‘East Sea’ does not make sense as the ‘East Sea’ is not the English name for that seas, but rather a translation from the Korean name.
4. The ‘East Sea’ gives no hint of the seas geographical location, but calling it the ‘Sea of Japan’ makes it instantly recognizable to everyone.
5. Without Japan, there would be no sea. Calling it the ‘East Sea’ makes no sense considering it is a mariginal sea.
7. A study of 1,435 maps published between 1300 and 1900 at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration by the Geographical Survey Institute of Japan revealed that 1,110 out of 1,435 maps use ‘Sea of Japan’.
8. Virtually no one outside Korea knows where the ‘East Sea’ is. The majority of publications on the internet or in print refer to it as the ‘Sea of Japan.
9. There are four countries that border the Sea of Japan and the two (Japan and Russia) that call it Sea of Japan have a greater coastline and population along the sea than the two countries (South and North Korea) that call it East Sea (East Sea of Korea). To Russia, the Sea of Japan is south and to Japan it is to the west. That being considered, why should Korea claim any special rights to the naming of that sea? This ‘East Sea’ is east of Korea only, and shows partisan Korean ethnocentrism.
10. The UN made a decision in 2004 regarding the international use of the ‘Sea of Japan’. As far as the international community is concerned, the body of water is officially reconfirmed as the ‘Sea of Japan’. For UN documents, only the ‘Sea of Japan’ is used – ‘East Sea’ is not even in brackets.
There is absolutely no reason for people in the west to have to consider narrow Korean reasoning when deciding what to call places, things or anything else in English. No one is telling Koreans that they cant use the ‘East Sea’ to describe the ‘Sea of Japan’ if they want to, but I say hands off the English language!
Lets hope that google earth comes to its senses.