Naming the waters

Regarding “In Seoul, Club-Hop Till It Hurts” [Oct. 10]: I feel compelled to draw attention to the use of the appellation “Sea of Japan.”

The sea between the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese archipelago has been called the “East Sea” in Korea for the last 2,000 years. Until the 19th century, this was called the “Sea of Korea,” the “East Sea” or the “Oriental Sea” in maps published in Europe. Apart from the historical validity of the use of the name East Sea, the Republic of Korea believes it is inappropriate to name a sea, surrounded by many countries, after a single country without the consent of the surrounding countries. The body of water in question, lying between Korea and Japan and extending north toward Russia, is divided into territorial waters or the exclusive economic zones of the countries encircling it.

However, until a common name for the sea is agreed upon, the Republic of Korea believes that the names “East Sea” and the “Sea of Japan” should be used simultaneously, in accordance with the rules of international cartography. This view is in line with resolutions adopted by the International Hydrographic Organization and the U.N. Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, two authoritative international bodies in the standardization of geographical names.

I hope you will understand the great significance Korea attaches to the name “East Sea” and take this into consideration when referring to it in the future.


Min Ryu, Consul

Consulate General,

Republic of Korea,

Los Angeles