East Sea or Sea of Japan: Online Battle With Japan Intensifies

An age-old debate between Korea and Japan to do with naming the sea between the two countries has been intensifying on the internet this week following an online Korean-based petition to rename the sea to the ‘East Sea’

The sea is commonly referred to as The Sea of Japan by most countries but is strictly referred to as the East Sea in both North and South Korea. The issue, along with the dispute over the Lioncourt Rocks (aka ‘Dokdo” in Korea and ‘Takeshima’ in Japan; a small set of islets between Korea and Japan –– as covered in this koreaBANG article.) is highly contentious and often gives rise to minor outbursts of nationalist sentiment in Japan and Korea.

From Newsis:

Online war on East Sea – Japanese netizens argue that East Sea was originally a Japanese territory

Protests for Sea of Japan Naming

Korea and Japan have been on a battle on the petition board [We the People] of the White House website regarding the issue of naming the East Sea, on the 21st of April. The battle has sparked criticism from Japanese netizens against the marking of East Sea, which has since spread rapidly online.

 There is a continuous stream of posts on the website 2ch (www.2ch.net) reproaching the petition from Korea to mark the Sea as the East Sea. This website is an anonymous online community with the largest number of simultaneous log-ins in the world.

 A Japanese netizen claimed that ‘it is dogmatic of Korea to mark the sea as East Sea, as nowhere else in the East Asia – including Japan, Taiwan and China – refer to it as the East Sea.’

 Another netizen rolled out some raw insults, saying that Korea has little influence on the international community, and the East Sea would have been called the Pacific Ocean if Japan didn’t exist.

 There were also posts against the name East Sea that instead suggested using the name ‘Gyeong-Hae’, one of the archaic names for the East Sea.

 The writer explained that Gyeong-Hae would be suitable, because Japan can accept it as an old name and Korea could approve it since the name doesn’t include the word ‘Japan.’

 Japanese netizens are generating a similar stream of criticism on SNS in the country.

 A picture file explaining how to sign up on the petition opposing East Sea mark is spreading rapidly on Twitter, and the message encouraging participation in the petition is getting retweeted constantly.

 ‘Koreans argue that they have called it East Sea since before Christ, but I don’t think they could have grasped the shape of Sea of Japan. Even if they did know [what it looked like], they would have merely called it East Sea only up to the boundary visible to them, not too far from the shore,’ a Japanese Twitter user argued.

 Another Twitter user made an absurd comment, saying ‘I don’t know my geography very well, but wasn’t the East Sea originally part of Japanese territory?’

Comments from Naver:


The island of Japan would soon become inhospitable for the Great Apes [referring to the Japanese] anyway, due to earthquakes and tsunamis, so it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to lock the Japanese monkeys in Dok-do and raise them, as they are an endangered species.


Ridiculous jerks… The land you guys are living in was originally Korean. We sympathetic Koreans lent the land to you out of pity for your homeless situation, and now you say something is yours when it is not? Vulgar and ignorant people, if you keep insisting, we will bury you at sea. We don’t need the island you guys live in. It’s a piece of land that will be gone anyway without leaving a mark when an earthquake strikes it… It’s easier for us, as things are done without our input. Don’t ask us to forgive and help you out when that happens. Your species should be exterminated completely! It delights me just to think about it. Goodbye, Japs.


Ah, aren’t they the people living on our breakwater…?


Hey, look, it dumbfounds me to listen to you… Let me summarise this. What does ‘originally’ mean in history, anyway? Does it then make sense [for us] to say, ‘Give us back that land because it was conquered by the King Gwang-gae-to, so it belongs to South Korea,’ huh? Should I blame the sheer nonsense that you are spitting out to the radioactivity or what… I am Korean, but Korean netizens shouldn’t just swear [at the Japanese]. We don’t have to lower ourselves to their standards! Let’s criticize them intelligently. It’s not difficult to beat the Japanese monkeys without swearing at them.


Dear patriotic people of Korea, why don’t you complain about marking the South Sea as East China Sea, according to international law? If Korea has more of the sea including Dok-do and the territorial sea, as you say, then shouldn’t you push for the name Sea of Korea rather than East Sea? Don’t you see this? No-one other than the country directly involved uses the directional sign like East Sea. It would surely be more valid to demand they change it to the Sea of Korea instead.


I’m not on the side of Japan, but everyone is just swearing at them. I think we need some evidence why Dok-do is our territory if we are going to beat Japanese… Of course I don’t have any knowledge on that either ㅠ_ㅠ


Give me just one reason why Japan shouldn’t be treated like a dog.


Our position is to have dual/parallel marks of the East Sea and Sea of Japan, following international law, and not to mark it only as the East Sea. The UN Treaty on the Standardization of Geograghical Names endows no validity to the general marking with the name used by one nation only, unless both countries agree on it.


Animals are known to respond when they feel a natural disaster coming.


They say the Japs changed ‘Corea’, which was the original name of our country in English, into ‘Korea’ to place it behind their name ‘Japan’ [alphabetically]… Monkey bitches, if you keep insisting on your absurdity, your name ‘Japan’ might be changed into ‘Zapan’, which is behind us ‘Korea’.

Share This Article
Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»