• Dokdo in the East Sea
  • Educational material
  • Junior High School Version

Enrichment: Dokdo and the East Sea[Teacher Notes]

A map compiled by Samuel Dunn and published in 1794 (Hyejung Museum) shows the East Sea labeled as the “Corean Sea.”
VANK, a cyber diplomatic organization, is working to spread knowledge of proper Korean information.
There are many instances in which both Dokdo and the East Sea are improperly identified. Dokdo is labeled as “Liancourt Rocks” or ”Takeshima,” and the “East Sea” is labeled as “Sea of Japan” in several world maps.
Western maps from the mid-seventeenth century present the names “East Sea” or “Sea of Korea.” Since the mid-nineteenth century, “Sea of Japan” appears more frequently reflecting Japan’s growing influence in the international community. This is the reason why the map published by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) in 1929 has the name “Sea of Japan.”
Recently, efforts are being made to properly identify the names in maps and Internet publications.
1. Dokdo is named Usando in maps from the early Joseon period.
2. Maps from the late Joseon period have Dokdo (Usando) appropriately located east of Ulleungdo.
3. Western maps from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries show Dokdo as Korean territory.

Teacher Notes
Historically, the name for the body of water between Japan and Korea was “Sea of Korea” or “East Sea.” However, Japan’s strong international presence in the late nineteenth century coupled with Korea’s lack of presence resulted in the region being renamed the “Sea of Japan.” Thus, foreign textbooks and mapping-related websites today indicate the “East Sea” as the “Sea of Japan.” Diplomatic efforts from the 1990s have increased the frequency in which both “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan” appear in maps. (Digital maps on the Internet have reflected the online protests conducted by Koreans to display both “East Sea” and “Sea of Japan.”)
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