Japan reportedly is urging education officials in New York City not to use the name "East Sea" when referring to the body of water between Korea and Japan.
According to Korea's Yonhap News, Korean-American activist groups have requested that New York schools use the term "East Sea" instead of "Sea of Japan." A Japanese official based in New York said in a letter to education officials saying the request is based on claims that are factually unfounded.
More from KBS:
In an interview with Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency Thursday, Choi Yoon-hee, the head of a Korean parents’ association in New York, said she came across a letter the Japanese Consulate-General in New York had sent to Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, Joel Klein.
In the letter, the Japanese agency said the request made by the Korean community that both the East Sea and Sea of Japan labels be used in U.S. textbooks neglects historical truth and would only trigger unnecessary confusion and international conflict.
Choi said the Japanese agency’s claims were absurd as the key point of the Korean community’s request is to correct historical distortions.
Choi said she plans to send a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Chancellor of DC Public Schools Michelle Rhee to promote the fairness of using the two terms.
In other Sea of Japan news, a professor here took out an ad in the New York Times asserting that the proper name of the Sea of Japan is "East Sea."
More from the Korea Herald:
It is not the first time that Seo bought ads in the newspaper. Last July and August, he spent millions of won on full-page advertisements about Dokdo and the East Sea in the NYT and the Washington Post.
The most recent ad points out the NYT's "mistake" when it labeled the East Sea the Sea of Japan on a reference map for an article concerning North Korea's rocket launch.
With the ad, Seo inserted a map that the NYT used for the article, but alternated the label "Sea of Japan" with the correct East Sea. At the bottom of the ad, Seo stresses the historical aspect of the name, saying "The sea between Korea and Japan has been called the "East Sea" by numerous countries for 2000 years and an island called "Dokdo," which is located in the East Sea was recognized as a Korean territory. These are historical facts that are not exchangeable."
In the ad, Seo said "the most well-known newspaper firms such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post never called 'East Sea' as it name according to my research for Asia related articles for last 10 years."
He explained his motive for the action, saying "I wanted to correct errors by global newspapers, which are the most read papers among numerous countries' government, firms, press and international organizations."
I've written about the Sea of Japan naming dispute several times. Here's an excerpt from my last post on the topic, which brought out some interesting comments:
As I've argued before, the name "Sea of Japan" is and ought to remain the English name for the body of water. Some 95% of Koreans, according to a survey last year, believe the name should be the "East Sea." Koreans do, of course, call it 동해 in Korean, and nobody is suggesting it be changed to 일본해 in Korean. However, the established and accepted English name is Sea of Japan, and Koreans shouldn't stick their noses into other people's languages. 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.
The idea that people have been calling it "East Sea" for 2,000 years is ridiculous, because people haven't been using English to refer to Korea for that long. In another earlier post on the topic I also gave my thoughts about these activists, who certainly score all kinds of points at home, but who will end up alienating people overseas. English-speakers resent being told to change their language and history to reflect a foreign country's view, and do not like being shouted at by foreigners. By Koreans' constant harping on issues like the Sea of Japan or the Liancourt Rocks---two issues of no importance to anyone not Korean---they come across as the aggressors, rather the opposite effect they are looking for.