Historical Geography of the Ocean Waterway in the Southeast of the Korean Peninsula

Authors: Jino Kwak, Northeast Asian History Foundation, Joseph Stoltman*, Western Michigan University
Topics: Historical Geography, Marine and Coastal Resources, Asia
Keywords: histrorical geography, marine geographical names, Korea Strait
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 4, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The southeastern maritime region of the Korean Peninsula has officially been part of the marine territory of Korea since the 1850s. It was given the geographic name Korea Strait by the French explorer, La Per. Referred to as the Korea Straits for over 150 years, the waterway has come to the attention of the Japanese during the past five decades, and there is evidence a change in the name is being introduced to maps and atlases. The evidence is presented mainly in Japanese atlases and school maps. The straits are among the most heavily traveled waterways on Earth, and serve as the access to the East Sea/Sea of Japan. They are of strategic importance to the oceanic shipping and fishing fleets that ply the waterway between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The evidence for the name changes suggested by the Japanese in published atlases is based on the period from the mid-19th century to the 21st century. Maps and atlases were reviewed for the occurrence of the marine name Tsushima Strait replacing Korea Strait. Analysis of trends and periods of greater adoption of the Japanese name for the straits were developed as evidence of changes in the historical pattern of geographical naming.

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