Here’s the latest episode of Korean ultra-nationalists’ ongoing struggle to force the world to use a Korea-centric name for the Sea of Japan:
Seoul officials plan to ask the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) to adopt the Korean name of East Sea along with the Sea of Japan when the organization holds a general meeting in Monaco on April 23-27 to update its global charts this year. Currently, the IHO’s sea maps only refer to the waters as the Sea of Japan.
“We will never tolerate the sole use of Sea of Japan,” said the foreign ministry official handling the issue.
“The Korean government is preparing to cope with the upcoming IHO meeting with various scenarios in mind,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.
This policy is influenced by anti-Japanese sentiment. South Korea already uses “East Sea” on its maps, but some can’t stand the idea that foreign countries are using “Sea of Japan.” Although historical records show widespread international use of the name predates Japan’s opening to the world in the 1850′s, these Korean ultra-nationalists insist that the sea must be renamed because Japanese imperialists are responsible for the name.
They suggest that the entire world adopt the translation of their Korea-centric term for the sea. They’d probably want “Sea of Japan” totally removed from maps, but they’ve got to fight their battles one at a time. So the first step is to demand equal recognition of the English translation of the name that Koreans already use.