Sea of Japan, East Sea, Sea of Korea

You may be familiar with the Korean campaign to change the international name of the Sea of Japan to the “East Sea.” It’s an aggressive campaign — even I got e-mail about it (see previous entry) — but one that for the most part has generated lots of heat, little light, and no traction. “East Sea” is essentially a local name — the body of water is only east of Korea — but its proponents make claims on its use elsewhere by referring to old maps that refer to the waters generally as the “Oriental Sea.” (For the Japanese government’s response to the campaign, see this page.)

Mer de Corée Now, according to a Korea Times article, critics doubtful of the East Sea campaign’s claim are forwarding an alternative for the renaming of the Sea of Japan: the Sea of Korea, which the Sea of Korea Association is (naturally) advocating (site is in Korean only so far; English translation forthcoming) in place of the official “East Sea” position. There seems to be more precedent for this new claim: the article cites examples from as far back as the 18th century; incidentally, in September 2005 I blogged about a digital collection of some 172 maps using that name. The motives, however, remain the same.

Via Map the Universe.