Sea of Okhotsk

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Comment by HONGYEBIN on May 15th, 2020 at 2:33 am

To Whomever It May Concern

Recently I visited your website below:

And I was quite surprised to find your websites still label Korea’s ‘East Sea’ as ‘Sea of Japan,’ which is incorrect. Such an error on such a well-known website such as yours comes as a surprise since we regard you as one of the world’s best.

Using a proper name for the body of water between the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipelago is not simply a question of changing the name of a geographical feature. It is part of the national effort by the Korean people to erase the legacy of Japanese Imperialism and to redress the unfairness that has resulted from it.

It is an absolute mistake to hear just one side of the story and to blindly follow. If we leave these kinds of things alone, it causes serious problems that disturb the order of international society.

For your reference, Dorling & Kindersley(, one of biggest textbook publishers,, one of prominent online map provider, and one of the biggest mapmakers, National Geographic promised us that
they would now use the name ‘East Sea.’ In addition, these websites are already using the name, ‘East Sea’ on their website after we pointed out the error.

Most of all, the U.S. state of Virginia has revised the guidelines for history and social science education in line with a newly enacted law that requires textbooks to use the Korean name “East Sea” alongside the Japanese name “Sea of Japan”
for the body of water between the two countries on 2017.

As a member of the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK), I urge you to use ‘East Sea’ to describe the body of water in question or to use both Korean and Japanese designation simultaneously (e.g. ‘East Sea/Sea of Japan’) in all of your contents and maps.

According to IHO and UNCSGN, in case of topographical feature shared with two or more countries, yet naming differently in their own languages, all of the names in each language should be marked.

Once Korea and Japan agree on a common designation, that is in accord with the general rule of international cartography, we will then follow the agreed-on designation.

Thank you for reading and we would appreciate your favorable consideration.
We would be grateful for your explanation as to why you chose to use ‘Sea of Japan’.

Please email us at

Yours very truly,
VANK, Cyber Diplomatic Organization in Korea


?The Historical precedent for the ‘East Sea’

?How to name the sea area between the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Archipelago

“Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows,
it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree,
so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” – [Matthew] –

Comment by Jennifer Tanabe on May 15th, 2020 at 3:22 pm

Thank you for your comment concerning the use of the name “Sea of Japan.”

The IHO made no decision in 2012 to rename the sea, which was internationally known as the “Sea of Japan.” At a later conference they decided to have another group revisit the issue and report the results in 2020. That report is not yet available. “Sea of Japan” has been the standard name of the body of water in English, but in deference to the concerns of Korea (North and South) NWE will add the names they use in parentheses.

Thank you again for taking the time to help make NWE a valuable information resource.

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