Allow me to plagiarize myself a bit regarding the East Sea. I object to naming the Sea of Japan the "East Sea." The name is 동해, or East Sea, in Korean and that's perfectly acceptable. Nobody is suggesting it be called 일본해. However, the accepted English name is Sea of Japan, and it's arrogant and inappropriate to dictate the rules of another language. Moreover, and what realy induces eye rolls and forehead slaps is that people are advocating replacing the Sea of Japan because it supposedly reflects Japanese imperialism and is a product of, so they say, aggressive lobbying by Japanese politicians. The alternate name suggested, though, is even more disgustingly ethnocentric and nationalistic because the sea is, after all, to the immediate east of Korea and onlyKorea. Here I would write "just call it the East Asian Sea and let's move on," but you see how I view Korea's whining in isolation, and am no longer willing to see the merits of any of its historical claims.
And it's not simply "whining," not just the words of a humble people looking to redeem themselves a half century after a 35-year occupation, the noble protests of a smaller country trying to stand up for itself between two larger Asian powers. What is clear to people who look at what Korea has to say on these issues is that Korea is being the aggressor by constantly going after foreign languages and foreign communities. Nobody likes being told to rethink their language, certainly not by a foreign country who looks more like a radical fringe group when you look at the sum of its wacky protest culture. The East Sea is, after all, east of Korea, making the new name just as biased as the old one.
The article I just cited isn't clear on how sweeping this change will be, but does say the agency will use "Sea of Japan" for items referring to Japanese geography. As The Marmot's Hole has found, it still reads "Sea of Japan" for the page on the Japanese language. That indicates the name change was more one of placation than of surrender, since ultimately nothing has changed. However, providing this small bit of ammunition will only embolden VANK more as they seek to have the entire world cater to the whims of Korean nationalists.
VANK Chairman Park Gi-tae said ``this new labeling carries a lot of meaning. The National Virtual Translation Center also consults 16 U.S. departments and agencies including the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and also the U.S. Navy." Currently, the Central Intelligence Agency continues to use the ``Sea of Japan" label for its official maps.
Park said ``this is the first time that that a U.S. government entity has used the `East Sea' label by itself on an official map."
This change could lead to a wider use of the ``East Sea" label, not just within the U.S. government but also in other areas as well, including various cultural, economic and social sectors, according to the VANK chairman.
``When our group requests popular Web sites overseas to stop using the `Sea of Japan' label when referring to waters between South Korea and Japan, they often ask us for examples used by U.S. government agencies. This new change will boost the publicity campaign to start using the term `East Sea' around the world," he said.
But like I said up there, most "foreigners"---that is, non-Koreans---have no interest whatsoever in this, and will just view Korean lobbying as ugly aggression characteristic of their internet culture and their stereotypical temperment, and will sympathize with the other side just for the sake of disagreeing with Koreans.
*Sigh* But what I found amusing about all this is that they misspelled every other place on the map---Mokp'o, Kwangju, Yosu, and so on.
Those spellings are consistent with the McCune-Reischauer system of romanization, used officially in South Korea until 2000, when it was replaced with the Revised Romanization. Neither is particularly accurate for representing the sounds for English speakers, but it's funny to me that with all the fuss about the names of some rocks and some water, they allow people to get everything else wrong.