Government asks U.S. county not to teach South Korean sea name


The government has asked a county in Maryland not to teach public school students the South Korean name for the sea separating Japan and the Korean Peninsula, a government official said in Tokyo.

The government told the county that the Sea of Japan is the only internationally established name for the waters, but the county has not changed its policy, the official said Wednesday, declining to identify it.

South Korea calls the waters the East Sea.

According to a report by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, Anne Arundel County instructed public schools to teach students the existence of a dispute over the name of the waters if maps used in class only carry the name Sea of Japan.

The county took the measure in reaction to a call by a Virginia-based group of Koreans, the Voice of Korean Americans, that says the Sea of Japan monicker is a result of Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Anne Arundel is the first U.S. county to issue such an instruction to public schools, according to the group.

The U.S. government said last year it would continue calling the waters the Sea of Japan.

Every year, South and North Korea press their case for using the East Sea appellation at the U.N. Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, while Tokyo says it is groundless to claim the Sea of Japan name is a vestige of its colonial rule, according to U.N. diplomatic sources.

  • Ron NJ

    On behalf of concerned Europeans, I would like to request that Japan and Korea teach that the name of Takeshima & Dokdo is the Liancourt Rocks, in light of the existing territorial dispute. Additionally, the Senkakus/Daioyu Islands should also be taught as the Pinnacle Islands.
    See how ridiculous it looks when it’s going the other way?
    (This does, of course, rely on Japan admitting that a territorial dispute exists, which goes directly against official government policy, to say nothing of reality…)

  • shin ra

    They sure have a chip on their shoulder. If these Koreans are so nationalistic, why move to the US? When you move here, you are Americans and all the past baggage should be left behind. You are just promoting hate when you bring your prejudices and conflicts here.

  • Peter Nozawa Thurwachter

    In the alternate universe where this body of water is not called the Sea of Japan. The Korean Peninsula would most likely be the Soviet province of Koreastan and instead of the East Sea, it would be called what ever Moscow wants to call it.

    • opiium

      no, moscow would call it the east sea just as the US will call it the east sea, I’m sure your typical weasel logic just lost its umph right there

      don’t forget, you are currently living up the status of koreastan, so I wouldn’t laugh if I were you, but thankfully, I’m not, so lolol, you think japan is any different from koreastan? epic buddy

      • Peter Nozawa Thurwachter

        I have no idea what Oppium is saying. Could someone please translate this from young hip speak into something more formal Please?