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East Sea pharisaism

April 29th, 2007 . by Matt

The only reason Koreans want to change the name of the Sea of Japan to the East Sea is that they do not like the word Japan. The Chosun ilbo reports on South Korea’s latest activities to change the name.

South Korea and Japan will once again wrangle over the name for the body of water that divides them at an international conference. The venue will be the International Hydrographic Organization conference that opens in Monaco on May 7, five years after the last. Both countries have already started their diplomatic campaigns over the name of what Korea calls the “East Sea”, and Japan has nominated a maritime affairs specialist as its candidate for the IHO Board of Directors.

◆ Becalmed

In the August 2002 IHO conference, Korea insisted on using both “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan”, based on a 1974 IHO resolution saying that if two countries share a sea, they can both use the name of their choice. The IHO reversed its previous position on using the single appellation “Sea of Japan.” In the fourth edition of “Limits of Oceans and Seas”, the IHO deleted “Sea of Japan” and put the matter up for a vote. But a month later, it suspended the vote without further explanation. South Korean government officials said this was because Japan used tremendous diplomatic pressure involving the entire Cabinet. Afterwards, the IHO asked South Korea and Japan to report a decision after bilateral consultations. The two countries predictably stuck to their guns: Seoul wants both names used and Tokyo only “Sea of Japan.”

◆ Tussles expected

The bone of contention at the upcoming IHO conference will again be the fourth revised edition of “Limits of Oceans and Seas.” Lee Ki-suk, a professor emeritus of geography at Seoul National University, who is going to attend the IHO conference, said, “In light of the sensitivity to everybody, the IHO Board of Directors is unlikely to decide on the issue and will probably let member countries make a decision at the conference.” The Korean government has dispatched officials to Monaco, where the IHO is headquartered, to woo support from member countries.

An official with Korea’s National Oceanographic Research Institute said, “We are engaged in a total war, because we will have to wait another five years if we lose this chance.” According to a South Korean government official, Japan also seems to be using all diplomatic means so that no final decision will be made on deleting the single appellation “Sea of Japan.”

Personally I do not care what the Koreans call the sea. However, I do not want them to tell English speakers what to call the sea.

21 Responses to “East Sea pharisaism”

  1. comment number 1 by: pacifist

    East Sea is a local name of Korea, so I don’t mind they use the name but it is unlawful to force the world to use the same name.

  2. comment number 2 by: opp

    It is an “international conference” that South Korea is supported finance and held. South Korea holds the conference for can the authority well. An international conference on the Japan-South Korea annexation treaty was held in 2000. These conferences are the lobbying of South Korea, and do not have the authority to change the name of the sea.

  3. comment number 3 by: madboots

    I don’t care that Korea hates Japan, but DO NOT let the world to get involved out of a trivial sense of rivalry.

  4. comment number 4 by: Ken

    Korea Dokto (Takeshima) Centre admitted that East Sea is apparently disadvantageous and claimed to change the name to Chosun Sea which, they say, had been commonly used in East Asia.
    But the funny is not only the random speech but also the plot that Takeshima (Dokto) does not become entangled.

    “【Propose it “Korean sea” by “It is defeated at the Sea of Japan in Tokai” ? of
    Tokto headquarters symposium 】
    「The name of Sea of Japan occupies the map of the world with Tokai at a very high as it is not possible to compare it rate … The universal name used in the world is from Tokto to Takeshima now. The possibility to cause the synergy effect if the Sea of Japan is united with Takeshima and to be admitted a Japanese territory more rises very much. 」(Tokto headquarters)
    The Tokto unity science symposium is held in the Tokto headquarters hall at coming 10:00AM of the 24th. The joining seat people on this day discuss the subject that the Sea of Japan admitted worldwide cannot be won by the name of Tokai and it is necessary to prepare systematic measures here having it.
    The Tokto headquarters insists that the proper noun to which the world person’s recognition is required because it is recognized the azimuth concept that the world person uses together is necessary on the name of Tokai now. Therefore, even if it is more historical than the Sea of Japan, it is necessary to set up a more reasonable name, and, then, it is said logically that Tokai should be named ‘a Korean sea (Chosonhe)’ that passes together in the east Asian society in the past.
    The symposium on this day contains superintendent I Songen in the Tokto museum, the Tokto owning right is clarified to ..material of a lot of Japan.. grounds, and the professor etc. participate as a proposer coming Pusan outside large Caneaya (Kim Mungil).
    – Segye Times: March 24, 2007″

    One of the reason they are giving up ‘Dokto’ is precaution by China which forecasted that Korea would start campaign to change East China Sea to West Sea.
    Because they are coward against military power.
    President Roh recognized that Takeshima is advantageous so that he suggested to call ‘Sea of peace’ then was blamed by own people.
    What interesting race!

  5. comment number 5 by: kteen

    “The only reason Koreans want to change the name of the Sea of Japan to the East Sea is that they do not like the word Japan”-_-;;

    Matt, 어디가서 이런 소리 하면 무식하다는 말 듣습니다…

    We Koreans have a little ‘thing’ against japan, but we’re definitely not that stupid to demand a changed name of a sea just because we hate the word ‘japan’

    And ken, learn some geography….
    The east china sea would be the ‘south sea’ for us(unless korea is a country that’s situated somewhere around the philippines). And we have a west sea anyway.

  6. comment number 6 by: Ken

    I am not interested in learning fabricated geography. Sorry.

  7. comment number 7 by: madboots

    Don’t tell me you don’t know that Koreans initially insisted on “Korean Sea” and that President Roh recently proposed “Sea of Peace” as an alternative.

    Considering the lack of consistency in thier assertion, we must conclude that Koreans don’t persist on the name of “East Sea” and probably is willing to accept any other name unless it includes the word of “Japan” or “Japanese.”

  8. comment number 8 by: jion999

    “We Koreans have a little ‘thing’ against japan, but we’re definitely not that stupid to demand a changed name of a sea just because we hate the word ‘japan’”

    So, you understand it is stupid to demand a change of the sea name just because Koreans hate the word ‘japan’. (笑)

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  10. comment number 10 by: kteen

    ‘Korean Sea’…Somehow I’m not used to the name(and I’m a Korean, you know)

    Yes, jion999,
    It is STUPID to demand a changed name of a sea just because we koreans hate the word ‘japan’ or ‘japanese’. The thing is, we’re not doing what you say we’re doing.

    And does anyone here know basic economics? I’m no john nash, but considering from what i’ve read here, it seems like most of you completely ignore economics when talking about any subject.

  11. comment number 11 by: jion999

    So, tell me.
    There is not only East Sea but also West Sea for Koreans.
    Why don’t Koreans demand to change the name of Yellow Sea (黄海) to West Sea?
    Koreans demand to change the name of Sea of Japan only because they are stupid. (笑)

  12. comment number 12 by: lirelou

    To be fair to Koreans, I don’t think that they have ever called the East Sea by any other name. The Yellow Sea, however, is still what “Hwanghae” is called, except among U.S. military briefers who suffer under the delusion that the Koreans are insulted by the term. Thus you get a combined forces briefing where the ROK officer gets up and calls it the Yellow Sea in Korean, and his U.S. counterpart refers to the same body as the “West Sea” in English. There is also an historical “Yellow Sea Province’ (Hwanghae-do) which is currently in North Korea. The waters to the south of Korea are called the “South Sea” (Nam Hae), just in case anyone really cares.

  13. comment number 13 by: General Tiger


    There is also an historical “Yellow Sea Province’ (Hwanghae-do) which is currently in North Korea

    That is incorrest. Hwanghaedo is called such because its largest cities at the time were Hwangju and Haeju. It’s the same with most of the providences in the Joseon dynasty: they used the first characters of the largest cities in the names.

    As fo the issue, I don’t mind the sea being called the Sea of Japan.

  14. comment number 14 by: Ken

    It is Yellow Sea that Korea is wanting to change the name to West Sea, isn’t it?
    Correction of post No.4:
    One of the reason they are giving up ‘East Sea’ is precaution by China which forecasted that Korea would start campaign to change Yellow Sea to West Sea.
    It does not matter anyway and the point is whether Korea claims West Sea or not.

    As for ecomomics mentioned above, I wonder if Koreans do not know own country is bancrupting.

  15. comment number 15 by: lirelou

    General Tiger, good point! I never considered that possibility.
    Ken, the ROK military are generally highly nationalistic. Yet in their briefings, while the “Sea of Japan” is “Dong Hae” (East Sea), the Yellow Sea is still referred to as “Hwang Hae”. Were there any official ROK government position to change the name of the Yellow Sea, it would show up in their military briefings. My reading is that there is no desire to change that historical name.

  16. comment number 16 by: madboots

    As far as I can see, Koreans’ opinions on this appellation issue are devided into four.
    Type A: “The name Japan Sea just irritates me.” That’s good. It’s very straightforward.
    Type B: “Half of that sea is our territory.” They seem to believe the appellation of the sea has an effect on their state’s territory.
    Type C: “Geopolitically speaking, Japan Sea is not appropriate as an international place-name.” If it were not for the Japanese archipelago, would the sea possibly have its own name?
    Type D: “Historically speking….” No more fake history!

  17. comment number 17 by: kteen

    Who the heck are you to judge us in the way you want to? Fake history? If you’re that much of a historian and can prove that the basis of our claims are fake, you should be lecturing at harvard. Of what I know, you’re not. So keep the shut.

  18. comment number 18 by: jion999

    “An official with Korea’s National Oceanographic Research Institute said, “We are engaged in a total war””

    In short, Koreans like to fight hypothetical war against Japan and defeat it.
    It is their dream.
    It obviously shows the psychological trauma of Koreans who were colonized by Japanese even without resistance war and “liberated” by US even without their own independence war.
    Admiring the “independence fighters” who ended up not getting independence by themselves.
    It must be so miserable.
    They like to fight with Japanese and defeat it.
    That’s it.
    Why do Japanese have to engage in the childish argument of Koreans to overcome their inferior complex against Japanese?

  19. comment number 19 by: Ken

    As I typed in above, it was a preliminary alarm given by Chinese netizens who are looking out for Korean fabrications such as, Confucius is Korean, Chinese characters and Oriental medichine were invented by Koreans, etc.
    Because China once made mistake on the Boy’s Festival that the origin was registered as Korea to UNESCO world heritage.
    Just I am curious about whether Korea can claim to historical suzerain country though there was written Sea of Japan in ancient Chinese map as follows.

  20. comment number 20 by: onigiri

    If Korean logic is right,the name Korea Strait must be changed to Tsushima Strait or
    Japan Strait. Because 3/4 of this strait is Japanese territorial water.

  21. comment number 21 by: madboots

    IHO closed reportedly without any proposal from Korean side.
    What does it indicate?
    Korea finally admitted Japan Sea alone should be used as an international name? That doesn’t seem to be the case according to Korean newspapers. Korea only left this issue on the shelve.