Brought out foreign languages and bad English:
And demonstrated through performance (1, 2, 3, 4) Japan's renaming of what is considered in South Korea as Korean territory.
You'll have to wait a while before the real festivities start: South Korea's "Dokdo Day" isn't until October 25th.
Dokdo, the Korean name for the Liancourt Rocks, is serious business in South Korea, and it's rarely far from the headlines. Thus it's only slightly accurate to say there's been "renewed" interest in Dokdo lately because new maps have been discovered that, the Korean side says, weaken Japan's claim to the rocks. And whenever Dokdo comes up, the Sea of Japan is never far behind. Koreans believe the name ought to be changed, and a survey from 2008 showed that 95% of Koreans think it ought to be the "East Sea." As I've written dozens of times on this site, the English name of the body of water is the Sea of Japan, and Koreans ought to respect the language, the culture, and the precedent. It's extremely arrogant for Koreans to dictate how other people use their language, especially when the alternatives suggested are so clearly Korea-centric. I'll plagiarize myself a bit, from November 2008:
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 only Korea. 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.Trying to "correct" English speakers by changing the name, as some have sought to do
The ad expressed regret that the article had "a small but significant error," saying, "This body of water has been referred to as the East Sea by many nations over the past 2,000 years."is especially unsettling since one of the celebrities leading the charge clearly has no English-language proficiency and is, like most Koreans, not qualified for any position of authority in English. Kim Jang-hoon, a singer who frequently takes out ads in U.S. newspapers about the Liancourt Rocks or the Sea of Japan, wrote on his Cyworld page after an advertisement about Seoul in the Wall Street Journal featured a map with both Sea of Japan and East Sea on it:
Thank you for WSJFor the sake of balance, I'll add what Gomushin Girl wrote last year after I asked readers to offer legimate reasons why an alternative name might be acceptable, since Korean objections are often no more sophisticated than "Japan was bad":
. . .
East Sea/Sea of japan
. . .
정말 눈물이 날만큼 기쁩니다.
. . .
'Truth wins,in thw end'
While I'm loathe to jump in here, you DID ask for legitimate reasons:The Sea of Japan issue is relatively timely, since a KBS article from the 18th showed that only 6% of maps in a large collection identified the body of water as "East Sea" or "Sea of Korea," compared to the 55% that labeled it "Sea of Japan." The naming issue was last timely on my site in the fall, when some high school students reacted to a piece I had in the Joongang Ilbo which in turn was based on a series of posts on my site.
First, the sea is in fact to the east of something; mainly, the majority of Asia, similar to how the North Sea in Europe still manages to be east of some countries and west of others. We don't call it the British Sea even though the British Isles take up a chunk of what borders the sea.
Second, although there is some controversy over exactly when the English name "East Sea" first appeared, certainly it's first appearance in the IHO maps were in fact directly resulting from the colonial state of many of the nations involved.
Of course, maps not being completely standardized, you can make the argument that the Korean case for "East Sea" is weak because there's a plurality of maps of various accuracy with myriad other names. Just because other regional groups share a similar name (it is similarly "East Sea" in Chinese, for example) doesn't make for a perfect case. Of course, this also means that ALL arguments based on maps for naming conventions are suspect, and that Sea of Japan is equally incorrect.
I understand that for many foreigners, hearing and reading these arguments gets tiresome and old, but lets not say that there is no force whatsoever to them.