[Letters] East Sea vs. Sea of Japan

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[Letters] East Sea vs. Sea of Japan



This is about the column “A sea by any other name certainly not as sweet” written by Brian Deutsch on Sept. 15.

I can’t agree with his idea.

First of all, in his idea that the name depends on what language we use, it seems he thinks that calling the name “Sea of Japan” is something natural in English. However, the name of an area is very important when it is directly related to the possession of a certain territory. Actually, the sea area is shared by Korea, Japan and Russia.

If foreigners don’t know the historical background, they are likely to think Japan possesses the sea as its national territory. Isn’t that a problem?

Furthermore, he used the example of La Manche, which is odd to use for this subject.

Actually, La Manche in French means that the strait looks like a sleeve. In the meaning there is no concept of the possession of the concerned area. So, calling it La Manche or the English Channel doesn’t matter.

However, there is a different problem with the East Sea and the Sea of Japan. The latter implies the ownership of the area.

There is so much evidence in official documents of Korean and Chinese history about the East Sea. However, in 1929 Japan made an application to the International Hydrographic Organization unilaterally to call it the Sea of Japan.

Under the rule of Japanese imperialism from 1910, Korea had no sovereignty and right of diplomacy to correct the wrongs.

Now, we suggest that it be called the East Sea, which means the east of Asia, rather than the Sea of Japan, which reminds everyone of the tragic modern history of cruel war and imperialism. It is a reasonable action.

Kim Eun-mi,

Chungnam Foreign Language High School
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