CNN map of North Korea missile launch
Maps in the News: North Korea and the Sea of Japan, or Is It the East Sea?
North Korea tested a reported new ballistic missile on Sunday evening, a violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution banning missile launches by the nation. News reports state that the missile traveled about 300 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan.
The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) includes a large collection maps of the Korean Peninsula, including North and South Korea separately and historically as one nation.
A map of North Korea is available in the International Historic Maps Collection of the Digital Media Repository. The map is published in the Russian language in 1912.
The Sea of Japan is also included in maps instructional sessions given by the GRMC as part of the study of place name disputes. The “Sea of Japan” is the name of the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and the islands of Japan. The Japanese government supports the use of the name “Sea of Japan.” The governments of North Korea and South Korea support the use of the name “East Sea” for the same body of water.
The international governing body for the naming of bodies of water rejected the Korean claim and officially use the name “Sea of Japan.” However, most maps include both names—usually with “East Sea” listed in parenthesis. Maps published by the Korean governments, though, list only “East Sea” for the name of the water (above).
The Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library also includes several resources about the Korean Peninsula. East Sea in Old Western Maps is an atlas published by the Korean Overseas Information Service in Seoul in 2004 for “The Society for East Sea.” The book includes historic maps that label the neighboring body of water as the “East Sea” and includes a chapter arguing the historical points for using the name: “Six libraries’ map collections in this study…” confirm that “appellations like ‘East Sea,’ ‘Oriental Sea,’ ‘Sea of Korea’…had been in much wider use than ‘Sea of Japan’ from the 16th century through the mid-19th.”
Maps from the GRMC are available for circulation for two weeks or longer. And atlases circulate for 28 days or longer.