Dear sir or Madam
Recently I visited your organizations website and was quite surprised to find
your maps of Korea and Japan still describe Koreas East Sea as Sea of
Japan which is incorrect. Such an error in a well known website as yours comes
as a surprise since we regard you as one of the worlds best. For your reference,
the worlds largest commercial mapmaker, National Geographic, and the
travel guidebook, Lonely Planet Publication promised us that they would
now use the name East Sea. In addition, lycos.com is already using the name,
East Seain their website after we pointed out the error. 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 rather a part of national effort by the Korean people to erase the
legacy of their colonial past and to redress the unfairness that has resulted
from it. So, I urge you to use East Sea to describe the body of water in question or
both Korean and Japanese designation simultaneously (e.g. East Sea/Sea of
Japan) in all your documents and atlases. Once Korea and Japan agree on
a common designation, which is in accord with the general rule of international
cartography, we can then follow the agreed-on designation. Thank you,
and we would appreciate your favorable consideration.
Respectfully, VANK, Voluntary Agency Network of Korea.
| 1. Letter Writing Campaign
For well over a year, I have been continuously
receiving email form letters from
members of Voluntary Agency Network
of Korea (VANK), who have asked that
the CIA World Factbook map of Korea
here on my site be edited so that the name
of the Sea of Japan to the east of Korea,
be changed to the East Sea. This organization
of students "working for the promotion
of Koreas image"has been engaging
in a extensive email campaign to get
mapmakers and even international organizations
to utilize the name East Sea on
their maps. VANKs current major appeal
is to the International Hydrographic
Organization to include East Sea as an
official name for the body of water
between the Korean Peninsula and the
islands of Japan. According to a Korea
Times newspaper article, the campaign to
educate the IHO began on January 22,
2002, in anticipation of the IHOs
upcoming publication Limits of Oceans
and Seas. (In an September 2000 article
on my site, you can read about the IHOs
pending inclusion of the Southern Ocean
as the worlds fifth ocean.)
VANK was successful in getting the
National Geographic Society to change
their maps (on their Atlas Updates page,
you can see their notice) in 1999 to
include East Sea in parenthesis underneath
the Sea of Japan. The organizations
rationale is simple - they claim that the
East Sea has as much historical precedent
as the Sea of Japan and should be recognized
as such. In addition, when a geographic
name is disputed, both names are
entitled to be used internationally until a
solution is determined. Thus, National
Geographic and other map makers have
changed their maps as a result of the
onslaught. About.coms primary email
box has been getting about 20 emails a
day about the CIA map on my site so I
also placed "(East Sea)"on the map not
only to stop the attack of extensive bandwidth
but also to include the disputed
name. See VANKs The Historical precedent
for the "East Sea"page for more
information about their issues.
While my favorite geographic reference,
Dictionary (published in 1997) contains
no reference to East Sea, the online
American Heritage Dictionary includes
"(East Sea)"as a parenthetical notation in
their entry for the Sea of Japan. It appears
that VANKs campaign has been quite
successful in changing the name of a geographic
feature - one wonders which
toponym will be the next to be changed
due to an email writing campaign? Below
is a copy of one of the many letters I have
February 24, 2002
Matt T. Rosenberg
About Guide to Geography
2. What is the historically correct name for the body of water lying
between Korea and Japan?
|East Sea or Sea of Japan?
What is the historically correct name for
the body of water lying between Korea
and Japan? There are many opinions, and
in the world of geography and maps there
is often more than one answer. In short, it
depends on whom you ask.
Before the 18th century, no one name
was consistently used, and in fact varied
names such as "East Sea", "Sea of
Korea", "Sea of Japan"and "Oriental
Sea" appeared in and on old maps, publications
and atlases. Then for a variety of
reasons the "Sea of Japan"became more
prominent in the 19th and 20th centuries.
In the late 1990s the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK) began an aggressive letter and email writing campaign,
all in an effort to get the world,
especially map makers, travel guides and
geography web sites to include the East Sea, whenever the long-established Sea of Japan was found in print. Their claim that
the East Sea has some historical precedent
worked, as some major book and map
publishers, educational web sites and other
reference materials now include the East
Sea name along with the Sea of Japan. At worldatlas.com we play no favorites, nor do we claim to know all of the answers, so
until the two countries can reach a unified
decision, we will continue to show both names on our maps. We simply ask both sides for their understanding.
3. It should have East Sea, the National Geographic?
Dear Mr. Vank,
We have received your e-mail concerning
the incorrect titles for the Sea of Japan.
We have forwarded the information on to
the correct departments. so they are aware
of the error and that it should have East
Sea. If you have questions about any
Society product or matter, our service representatives
are available 24 hours a day,
7 days a week at 1-888-647-6733. We
also offer a free catalog which is available
Sea of Japan (East Sea)
Early in 1999, the National Geographic
Society recognized the fact that the term
Sea of Japan was legitimately disputed by
the South Koreans. In keeping with the
Society standard place-name convention,
we recognize that where a geographical
feature is shared by more than one nation,
and its name is disputed, we use the most
commonly recognized form of the name
first and label the disputed name in parentheses.
Thus, on our maps, the Sea of
Japan appears as the primary label for this
feature while the East Sea appears below
This "patch"updates plate 104 of the Atlas.
穫 2001 National Geographic Society.
4. We have forwarded the correction to our
travel department for update.
Thank you for writing to Lycos. We
appreciate your interest in the Maps service.
We have forwarded the correction to
our travel department for update. If you
have any further questions please let us
know. Thank you for using Lycos
Lycos, Inc. http://www.lycos.com
5. We will certainly take
you comments into consideration.
Thank you for your recent e-mail. I appreciate
your concerns and have passed your
comments on to the person responsible
for our Korea pages. We will certainly
take you comments into consideration
when updating the profile and map. Once
again, thank you for your feedback. Best
New Media Unit,
Lonely Planet Publications
6. We will change map of our site.
Dear VANK Correction
Thank you so much for bringing this to
We absolutely do want to be accurate.
We will remove the map that is on the site
and link to one of the map sites that you
We will seek permission to use the actual
map on our site
but can not post it without permission.
We really appreciate you looking at our
and hope you continue to do so.
We also appreciate help in making sure
that our site is accurate.
Educational Technology Consultant
PBS 45 & 49
7. We are now adding East Sea.
Thank you for this communication. You will be pleased to know
hat we have
now adjusted our files,
and have removed Chinese from the languages
spoken in Korea.
Regarding the Sea of Japan,
We are now adding East Sea as an anno-
tation in all our map products from now
Please look at our Maps and Atlases
World Factfile on www.dk.com
for confirmation of this.
Maybe you could circulate this news
among the VANK organization.
With best wishes, and thank you again for
bringing this matter to my attention.
Publisher for Cartography, Culture and History
The Dorling Kindersley
8. We will show both names on our maps.
We have received your email and read
through the information you sent.
I have also logged onto the sites that you
and have found them to be quite interesting
I have passed them on to our authors.
At this point, I believe that the best
answer we can give you is the following
statement from worldatlas.com, one of the
sites mentioned in your email:
At worldatlas.com we play no favorites,
nor do we claim to know all of the
so until the two countries can reach a unified
decision, we will continue to show
both names on our maps. We simply ask
both sides for their understanding.
I trust that you will gain much good experience
in your volunteer efforts to further
Regards, Nicole Frost External Affairs
9. We will also change to "East Sea".
Dear VANK Members,
Jeppesen plans to revise our affected aeronautical
charts to read " East Sea".
This change will be made on an "as
This means that the next time we print the
chart for other aeronautical changes,
we will also change to "East Sea".
Because some of our charts are printed
it may take several months before all of
our products are updated.
Andrew F. Barnett
Supervisor - Tier 2 Navigation & Display Support
Jeppesen Sanderson, Inc.
10. "Sea of Japan" instead of "East Sea" have been solved
Regarding BWOL's map showing "Sea of Japan" instead of "East
Sea" have been solved. The editorial department put a note next
to the map. You may check this link:
Go to: http://www.businessweek.com/2000/00_51/b3712241.htm
We hope this solves yours and the Korean's concerns. We also
hope you can inform the Korean and do not need to forward this
message anymore. Thank you. Yours sincerely.
- Ava Chan Customer Service BusinessWeek,
1. We'll correct any errors in the next printing of the material.
This is the response I received from our
editorial vice president.
If you need anything further, please let meknow.
While this department values accuracy,
we are very careful to follow
established and accepted names, terms,
etc. For example, we follow
National Geographic's style for names on
maps because of our partnership
with that group. Some people or groups
may disagree with that, but is it
the standard we follow.
Does this person/or group have a particular
concern about a Glencoe
Social Studies program? If he or she does,
we'll be happy to correct any
errors in the next printing of the material.
Sincerely, Susan Hanrahan
2. The Korea and China's maps have been corrected
Thank you for your email regarding the
maps of the Chinese Dynasties on The
Minneapolis Institute of Arts website.
We appreciate your calling the problem to
The maps have been corrected to show
the existing boarder between Korea and
Thank you for your interest.
Community Relations Manager
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
1. Our mistake that we marked Korea as China's territory, it has now been corrected.
Thank you for alerting us to the error on
our website - it has now been corrected.
Our designer inadvertently made the mistake
that went undetected in our normal
My apologies for having offended you.
Regards, Nicole Frost External Affairs
2. From our perspective, this
matter is now resolved
To the People of South Korea and Elsewhere,
We were recently alerted that there was controversial information
appearing on one of the world maps we host on behalf of a client
organization. Neither our client nor Latitude Geographics were
aware that any contentious information appeared on this map of
the world. Given that Latitude Geographics remains impartial
regarding controversial geopolitical issues, we have responded
by simply removing all labels/information associated with these
islands from appearing on the map. Until this dispute is resolved
satisfactorily between the Republic of Korea and Japan, we are
choosing to not label these islands at all.
- Yours truly, Steven Myhill-Jones
President & CEO l Latitude Geographics Group.
Regards, Nicole Frost External Affairs
3. Mapping error has now been corrected.
Thank you for your enquiry and apologies
for the delay in replying.
Please note that this mapping error has
now been corrected.
We fully appreciate the history behind the
islands of Ulleungdo and Dokdo,
and would like to reassure you that this
was a mistake and was not politically
Please accept our most sincere apologies
for any offence caused by this.
Goobi, Goobi Kyazze
Client Services Representative