Nomenclature of the Seas Around the Korean Peninsula Derived From Analyses of Papers in Two Representative Korean Ocean and Fisheries Science Journals: Present Status and Future

국내 대표 해양·수산 과학논문 분석을 통한 우리나라 주변 바다 이름표기에 대한 제언

  • BYUN, DO-SEONG (Ocean Research Division, Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Agency) ;
  • CHOI, BYOUNG-JU (Department of Oceanography, Chonnam National University)
  • 변도성 (국립해양조사원 해양과학조사연구실) ;
  • 최병주 (전남대학교 해양학과)
  • Received : 2018.07.05
  • Accepted : 2018.08.28
  • Published : 2018.08.31


We grouped the names attributed to the seas surrounding the Korean Peninsula in maps published in two major Korean ocean and fisheries science journals over the period from 1998 to 2017: the Journal of the Korean Society of Oceanography (The Sea) and the Korean Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science (KFAS). The names attributed to these seas in maps of journal paper broadly were classified into three groupings: (1) East Sea and Yellow Sea; (2) East Sea, Yellow Sea, and South Sea; or (3) East Sea, West Sea and South Sea. The name 'East Sea' was dominantly used for the waters between Korea and Japan. In contrast, the water between Korea and China has been mostly labelled as 'Yellow Sea' but sometimes labelled as 'West Sea'. The waters between the south coast of Korea and Kyushu, Japan were labelled as either 'Korea Strait' or 'South Sea'. This analysis on sea names in the maps of 'The Sea' and 'KFAS' reveals that domestic researchers frequently mix geographical and international names when referring to the waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula. These inconsistencies provide the motivation for the development of a basic unifying guideline for naming the seas surrounding the Korean Peninsula. With respect to this, we recommend the use of separate names for the marginal seas between continental landmasses and/or islands versus for the coastal waters surrounding Korea. For the marginal seas, the internationally recognized names are recommended to be used: East Sea; Yellow Sea; Korea Strait; and East China Sea. While for coastal seas, including Korea's territorial sea, the following geographical nomenclature is suggested to differentiate them from the marginal sea names: Coastal Sea off the East Coast of Korea (or the East Korea Coastal Zone), Coastal Sea off the South Coast of Korea (or the South Coastal Zone of Korea), and Coastal Sea off the West Coast of Korea (or the West Korea Coastal Zone). Further, for small or specific study areas, the local region names, district names, the sea names and the undersea feature names can be used on the maps.


East Sea;Yellow Sea;Korea Strait;Map;Geographical Names


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