NEW YORK – The education department of the state of New York has recently advised public schools to refer to the Sea of Japan also as the “East Sea,” the name pushed by South Korea.
The guidance, which is not legally binding, was sent out earlier this month after Korean-American residents lobbied the state’s legislators.
“For more than 2,000 years, not just Koreans, but people throughout the world, viewed the body of water on the eastern boundary of Asia between Korea and Japan as the East Sea,” it said.
The Consulate General of Japan in New York has expressed disapproval to the department, saying that the Sea of Japan is the only name that has been internationally recognized. The Japanese government says the name became established in Europe around the end of the 18th century.
In May, New York State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky announced a revised policy on the issue.
According to Braunstein’s official website, “the two legislators shared the concerns of the Korean community regarding the matter of the East Sea and the importance of being historically accurate in our textbooks and classrooms.”
The state of Virginia approved legislation in 2014 requiring school textbooks to include the “East Sea” name. A similar law has been proposed in New York, but it has not yet cleared the legislature.