New Jersey considers bill to rename Sea of Japan. Wait… what?

posted at 11:31 am on February 15, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

New Jersey has a lot on its plate lately, whether it’s the arguments over their Governor’s bridge related activities or a series of winter storms paralyzing sections of the state. The legislature is busy tackling one pressing issue after another, and now they’re working on … renaming the Sea of Japan?

A group of local politicians in New Jersey would like to rewrite maps of Asia.

On Monday, five New Jersey Democrats introduced a bill that would rename the sea between Japan and the Korean peninsula.

Currently, the sea is known as the Sea of Japan. But, according to the Star-Ledger newspaper, the bill would require “the state and all its political subdivisions, ‘to the extent practicable’” to refer to the body of water as both the “East Sea” and the “Sea of Japan.” Textbooks in New Jersey schools would have to adopt the new names starting in 2016.

Did the Garden State legalize recreational pot use and I just missed the story? The initiative was apparently pushed by a “large and politically active Korean-American community.” It seems that they find the name racist, offensive or something of that sort. But it seems to skip over the question of exactly how the New Jersey legislature determined that it had the authority to rename a body of water on the opposite side of the planet. Frankly, I’m not sure they’d have the duly vested power to rename Barnegat Bay. I don’t even know if there’s any sort of recognized process to do this at all, since most of the names of bodies of open salt water have been around since the earliest days of sailing ships.

What’s possibly more amazing is that they actually got Japan to respond to the measure.

According to Kyodo News International, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga discussed the bill at a press conference Thursday.

“It’s extremely regrettable,” Suga said. “We’ll take various steps in response through diplomatic channels while seeking a correct understanding of the name of the Sea of Japan in the international community.”

Let’s put the Russians on notice. They’ve been getting away with having “the Black Sea” for far too long now. It’s clearly racist. New Jersey should rename it the Sea of Equal Opportunity at their next legislative meeting.


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Comment pages: 1 2

This would be like us Americans changing the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of America, or for the Texicans…the Gulf of Texas.

This is why states like California and New Jersey are going down the tubes, they worry about idiotic stuff like this. I wonder what fatboy will do.

William Eaton on February 15, 2014 at 2:38 PM

I for one do not see a problem with this.
It’s our gulf.

Fatboy will probably sign off on it.
The only thing he’s tough on is a hoagie.

Bubba Redneck on February 15, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Textbooks in New Jersey schools would have to adopt the new names starting in 2016

KOOLAID2 on February 15, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Some Arabs have objected to the term Persian Gulf, but that really misses the point. When you name something like a geographical feature after another country, you’re giving it a name that actually takes you as a starting point.

What we call the Vietnam War, the Vietnamese call the American War. Each name views the same thing from a different point of view, with the country that names the thing after the other country taking itself as simply given.

When we say “the Gulf of Mexico” we mean essentially “that one sea of ours that we share with Mexico”, not “the sea that belongs to Mexico and not to us.”

(Funny though that de Noordzee has in English the name that it does…)

Tzetzes on February 15, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Sheila Jackson Lee submits proposed Executive Order to change the name of the universe to “Barack”

BobMbx on February 15, 2014 at 7:30 PM

I suggest we rename the Baltic. Sea of Sweden deems far more appropriate to me. And I live in New Jersey, where we can get these sorts of things done!

MTF on February 15, 2014 at 8:02 PM

The Bay of Pigs is extremely offensive.

UnstChem on February 15, 2014 at 8:30 PM

a “large and politically active Korean-American community.” no doubt eager to assimilate into American culture. I generally have very high regard for Asian immigrants, they’ve always given me the impression they were focused on their life in America.

lel2007 on February 15, 2014 at 8:42 PM

I’ve been saying all along that New Jersey can’t be judged by the same standards as Sane America.

flataffect on February 15, 2014 at 9:16 PM

This story defines liberalism at its best. Hollow gestures that have absolutely no meaning in the real world.

bandutski on February 15, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Just bidness as usual for politicians. The Koreans must have handed over lots of US dollars to the “five New Jersey Democrats” – this didn’t just happen out of the goodness of their little shrunken Proggie hearts.

bofh on February 15, 2014 at 11:22 PM

I live in the Peoples Republik of NJ and I know for a fact that people in the education system here don’t know where Japan, much less the Sea of Japan is located, don’t know what a book is and can’t read…and neither can the kids.

AppraisHer on February 16, 2014 at 2:22 AM

I’ve just unanimously voted in own personal living room legislature (voting members: me) to rename that large body of water nearby (formerly known as “The Pacific Ocean) as “Zombie Lake.”

Text of the resolution, which passed 1 – 0, is as follows:

“Whereas Zombie Lake has for far too long been mistakenly referred to as ‘The Pacific Ocean’ by various idiots and ignorant cartographers, therefore let it be known that from this day henceforth, the body of water’s actual name is, always has been, and forevermore shall be ‘Zombie Lake.’ Let this reaffirmation of the body of water’s true name be reflected in all textbooks, maps, and news reports, by all nations around the world.

Zombie Lake encompasses, but is not necessarily confined to, the general extent of all aqueous acreage roughly encircled by North America, Asia, Australia, Antarctica and South America, plus all adjacent and connected inlets and bays.

Failure of the world’s nations to obey this resolution shall be deemed an act of war.”

Zombie on February 16, 2014 at 3:06 AM

The Bay of Pigs is extremely offensive.

UnstChem on February 15, 2014 at 8:30 PM

Howbout “Bay of Bacon”

mmmmmm mmmmmmmm mmmmmmmm

BigAlSouth on February 16, 2014 at 7:57 AM

Korea had its chance back in the 1300′s or so when it attempted to invade Japan and failed.

Bubba Redneck on February 15, 2014 at 1:30 PM

That never happened Bubba.

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Korea had its chance back in the 1300′s or so when it attempted to invade Japan and failed.

The Mongol emperor Kublai Khan directed his troops to invade Japan in the 13th Century. Although greatly outmatched, the samurai were barely able to repel the attack as a storm approached. The Chinese fleet, its sailors fearing that the storm would drive their ships aground, regrouped and headed out to deeper waters — sailing straight into a ferocious typhoon, destroying the fleet and ending the invasion hopes. The samurai credited their sparing to the “divine wind” — in Japanese, the “kamikaze.”

Alien on February 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM

The Mongol emperor Kublai Khan directed his troops to invade Japan in the 13th Century.

Alien on February 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM

The key word highlighted.

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Perhaps Bubba was thinking of Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea in the late 16th century and got it backwards and off by a few centuries

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Perhaps Bubba was thinking of Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea in the late 16th century and got it backwards and off by a few centuries

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 1:29 PM

The Mongol’s didn’t have a navy and they invaded Japan in Korean ships (as well as flat bottomed Chinese ships) and there were 8,000 allied Korean troops in the first invasion. They were also present (ships and soldiers) in the second invasion in 1281.

sharrukin on February 16, 2014 at 1:51 PM

As early as 1272, Kublai Khan wanted to launch a strike against Japan. His counselors advised him to bide his time until a proper armada of war ships could be built.

The Mongols commissioned the construction of 300 to 600 vessels from the shipyards of southern China and Korea, and conscripted an army of some 40,000 men. Many of the officers were Mongolian, but the majority of the soldiers were ethnic Chinese and Koreans.

The Mongol Invasions of Japan

Alien on February 16, 2014 at 1:59 PM

The Mongol’s didn’t have a navy and they invaded Japan in Korean ships (as well as flat bottomed Chinese ships) and there were 8,000 allied Korean troops in the first invasion. They were also present (ships and soldiers) in the second invasion in 1281.

sharrukin on February 16, 2014 at 1:51 PM

They weren’t ‘allied’, they were already conquered

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 2:13 PM

The Mongol Invasions of Japan

Alien on February 16, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Notice this word

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 2:13 PM

They weren’t ‘allied’, they were already conquered

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 2:13 PM

They were a vassal state and they were also a vassal state of Ming China in 1592, so I guess Hideyoshi didn’t actually invade Korea, but rather part of Ming China…just like the Koreans in 1281 didn’t invade Japan.

sharrukin on February 16, 2014 at 2:18 PM

They were a vassal state and they were also a vassal state of Ming China in 1592, so I guess Hideyoshi didn’t actually invade Korea, but rather part of Ming China…just like the Koreans in 1281 didn’t invade Japan.

sharrukin on February 16, 2014 at 2:18 PM

A valid alternative way to look at it. You could certainly say that in the Imjin War Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded the Ming vassal state of Joseon.

Still, the attempted invasions of Japan by the Mongol-controlled Yuan Dynasty can’t be realistically characterised as attempted invasions of Japan by Korea.

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 2:44 PM

They could be characterised as attempted Mongol invasions of Japan using Korea

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 2:47 PM

There were a lot of Polish and eastern European soldiers in Axis uniforms at Normandy. Did the Polish invade France?

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Still, the attempted invasions of Japan by the Mongol-controlled Yuan Dynasty can’t be realistically characterised as attempted invasions of Japan by Korea.

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 2:44 PM

The Japanese civilians who were slaughtered by Korean troops probably saw it somehwat differently, just as the Koreans slaughtered in Hideyoshi’s invasion didn’t much care about the bigger picture.

sharrukin on February 16, 2014 at 2:51 PM

The Japanese civilians who were slaughtered by Korean troops probably saw it somehwat differently, just as the Koreans slaughtered in Hideyoshi’s invasion didn’t much care about the bigger picture.

sharrukin on February 16, 2014 at 2:51 PM

There’s good reason it’s nowhere, even in Japanese sources, recorded as the ‘Korean Invasion of Japan’. In Japanese the conflict is known as 元寇, 元 being the Chinese character ‘Yuan’, the name of the Mongol dynasty, and 寇 being an old character meaning ‘invasion’, ‘plunder’, etc.

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 3:05 PM

There were a lot of Polish and eastern European soldiers in Axis uniforms at Normandy. Did the Polish invade France?

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 2:49 PM

You mean like Romania and Bulgaria? Allied client states.

Or like the Croatians who were also allied/directly occupied by Germany?

The Osttruppen were volunteers for the most part and many other groups like the Ukrainians, Lithuanians, and others who enthusiastically helped the Germans. I don’t recall any Poles among them though.

What about Vichy French troops? For some odd reason the allies though they were on the German side.

It isn’t even close to as black and white as you seem to be suggesting.

The Koreans sent troops, built ships and supplied the invasion fleet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goryeo#Mongol_invasions

The treaty permitted the sovereign power and traditional cultures of Goryeo, and implied that the Mongols had no plans of controlling Goryeo.[8] The Mongols annexed the northern areas of Korean peninsula after the invasions and incorporated them into their empire. After the peace treaty with Goryeo, the Mongols planned to conquer Japan by allying with Goryeo troops again; in 1274 and 1281 two campaigns to Japan took place; however, it failed due to a heavy storm (called the Kamikaze) and strong military resistance.

The Goryeo became “quda” (marriage alliance) state of the Yuan dynasty and monarchs of Goryeo were mainly imperial sons in-law (khuregen).

sharrukin on February 16, 2014 at 3:11 PM

The Koreans sent troops, built ships and supplied the invasion fleet.

sharrukin on February 16, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Of course. Under duress from the Mongol Empire.

It was a Mongol invasion using resources from previously subjugated territories. It can’t be honestly characterized as a Korean invasion of Japan.

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Of course. Under duress from the Mongol Empire.

It was a Mongol invasion using resources from previously subjugated territories. It can’t be honestly characterized as a Korean invasion of Japan.

DarkCurrent on February 16, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Not true. The Mongol Empire was the dominant member of the two and was the driving force behind the invasions, but the Koryo were not forced by the Mongols…they were allies (read: “eager volunteers”). In fact, it was the KOREAN (or Koryo) delegations that first pitched the idea to the Khan:

After conquering much of China, Kublai Khan sent armies to conquer Koryo but they were driven out time and again, and after a decade of constant war with the Mongols, Koryo gave up and became a vassal state of the Mongols. Koryo’s King Kojong sent his crown prince to the Khan’s court as a hostage.

When Kojong died in 1274, the Khan gave one of his many daughters to the prince as his wife and sent him home as the 25th king, Chung-ryol, of Koryo. The Mongol princess brought with her an army of Mongol attendants, cooks, and guards, and turned the Koryo court into a virtual Mongol home away from home.

Kublai Khan’s interest in Japan was aroused in 1265 when Cho Yi, a Koryo courtesan, informed him that Japan could be subdued easily. In the following year, Kublai sent two emissaries He De and Yin Hong to Koryo and asked King Kojong to facilitate their entry to Japan. They were unable to meet any Japanese officials and returned home empty-handed. The Khan’s attempt to subdue the Japanese peacefully failed and he decided to use brute force to subdue Japan.

Saying the Mongols used duress to get the Koryo to invade Japan is similar to saying the French used duress to convince the “Indians” to attack settlers during the French-Indian War. One major differences is that, in the latter case, the Native Americans did not convince the French to invade.

As for the Sea of Japan…the only modern nations in the world to call it the “East Sea” are the Koreas. It was not Japan that decided upon the name in the first place – it was decided by Western cartographers back when Japan was still in isolation. Seeing as how the international community has more widely used the term “Sea of Japan.”

In fact, there was no dispute over the name until 1992! Why wait until then? Mostly local politics. In 2012 the International Hydrographic Organization affirmed that the official international name of the sea is the “Sea of Japan.” The wiki on this subject is pretty accurate (surprisingly).

Pattosensei on February 16, 2014 at 4:58 PM

The Khan’s attempt to subdue the Japanese peacefully failed and he decided to use brute force to subdue Japan.

Pattosensei on February 16, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Goryeo was forced to become a vassal state of the Mongol Empire in 1259 after being invaded by the Mongols. Goryeo was a compulsory ally of the Mongols and the Mongols were calling the shots.

DarkCurrent on February 17, 2014 at 1:59 AM

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