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East Asia

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East Asia

East Asia
Location of East Asia
States and territories
Capital cities
Other major cities
Area[note 1]
 • Total 11,839,074 km2 (4,571,092 sq mi)
Population [note 2]
 • Total 1,575,784,500
 • Density 130/km2 (340/sq mi)
Time zone
  • UTC +7:00 (Western Mongolia)
  • UTC +8:00 (Rest of Mongolia, China, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong)
  • UTC +9:00 (Japan and Korean Peninsula)
Languages and language families
East Asia
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 東亞/東亞細亞
Simplified Chinese 东亚/东亚细亚
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet Đông Á
Korean name
Hangul 동아시아/동아세아/동아
Hanja 東아시아/東亞細亞/東亞
Mongolian name
Mongolian Зүүн Ази
ᠵᠡᠭᠦᠨ ᠠᠽᠢ
Japanese name
Kanji 東亜細亜(東アジア)/東亜
Kana ひがしアジア/とうあ
Kyūjitai 東亞細亞/東亞
Russian name
Russian Восточная Азия
Romanization Vostochnaja Azija

East Asia or Eastern Asia is the eastern subregion of the Asian continent, which can be defined in geographical[1] or cultural[2] terms. Geographically and geopolitically, it covers about 12,000,000 km2 (4,600,000 sq mi), or about 28% of the Asian continent, about 15% bigger than the area of Europe.

More than 1.5 billion people, about 38% of the population of Asia and 22% or over one fifth of all the people in the world, live in East Asia. The region is one of the world's most populated places, with a population density of 133 inhabitants per square kilometre (340/sq mi), being about three times the world average of 45/km2 (120/sq mi), although Mongolia has the lowest population density of a sovereign state. Using the UN subregion definitions, East Asia ranks second in population only to Southern Asia.

Historically, many societies in East Asia have been part of the Chinese cultural sphere, and East Asian vocabulary and scripts are often derived from Classical Chinese and Chinese script. Sometimes Northeast Asia is used to denote Japan and Korea.[3] Major religions include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism or Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion in China and Taiwan, Shinto in Japan, Shamanism in Korea, Mongolia and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia,[4][5] and recently Christianity in South Korea.[6] The Chinese Calendar is the root from which many other East Asian calendars are derived.


  • History 1
  • Uses of the term East Asia 2
    • Alternative definitions 2.1
  • Territory and region data 3
    • Demographics 3.1
    • Economy 3.2
  • Culture 4
  • Cities 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The history of East Asia is predominantly the history of the Chinese Dynasties that dominated the region in matters of trade as well as militarily, such as the Qin and the Han Dynasties. There are records of tributes sent overseas from the early kingdoms of Korea and Japan. There were also considerable levels of cultural and religious exchange between the Chinese and other regional Dynasties and Kingdoms.

As connections began to strengthen with the Western world, China's power began to diminish. Around the same time, Japan solidified itself as a nation state. Through WWII, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan and Eastern China fell under Japanese control. Following Japan's defeat in the war, the Korean peninsula became independent, while Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China.

Uses of the term East Asia

United Nations geoscheme for Asia based on statistic convenience rather than implying any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories:
  East Asia

The UN subregion of Eastern Asia and other common definitions of East Asia contain the entirety of the People's Republic of China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan.[note 3][1][7]

Culturally, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam are commonly seen as being encompassed by cultural East Asia.[2][8][9][10]

Alternative definitions

There are mixed debates around the world whether these countries or regions should be considered in East Asia or not.

In business and economics, East Asia has been used to refer to a wide geographical area covering ten countries in ASEAN, People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.[note 3] However, in this context, the term "Far East" is often more appropriate which covers ASEAN countries and the traditional countries in East Asia. Far East describes the region's geographical position in relation to Europe rather than its location within Asia. Alternatively, the term "Asia Pacific Region" is often used in describing the Far East region as well as Oceania.

In contrast to the United Nations definition, East Asia commonly is used to refer to the eastern part of Asia, as the term implies. Observers preferring a broader definition of 'East Asia' often use the term Northeast Asia to refer to the greater China area, the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, and Japan, with Southeast Asia covering the ten ASEAN countries. This usage, which is increasingly widespread in economic and diplomatic discussion, is at odds with the historical meanings of both "East Asia" and "Northeast Asia".[11][12][13] The Council on Foreign Relations defines Northeast Asia as Japan and Korea.[3]

Territory and region data


Country Area km² Population Population density
per km²
HDI (2014) Capital
 China (PRC) 9,640,011 1,339,724,852 138 0.719 Beijing
 Hong Kong (PRC) 1,104 7,061,200 6,390 0.891 Hong Kong
 Japan 377,930 127,950,000 337 0.890 Tokyo
 Macau (PRC) 30 556,800 18,662 0.868 (2012) Macau
 Mongolia 1,564,100 2,809,600 2 0.698 Ulaanbaatar
 North Korea 120,538 24,346,000 198 N/A Pyongyang
 South Korea 100,210 50,219,669 500 0.891 Seoul
 Taiwan (ROC) 36,188 23,174,528 639 0.890 (2012) Taipei


Country GDP nominal
millions of USD (2013)[14]
GDP nominal per capita
USD (2013)[15]
millions of USD (2013)[16]
GDP PPP per capita
USD (2013)[17]
 China (PRC) 9,240,270 6,807 16,157,703 11,850
 Hong Kong (PRC) 274,012 38,124 382,396 54,260
 Japan 4,901,529 38,492 4,624,359 37,630
 Macau (PRC) 51,753 91,376 80,744 112,180 (2012)
 Mongolia 10,258 4,056 26,779 8,810
 North Korea 11,516 1,159 40,000 1,800
 South Korea 1,304,553 25,977 1,664,258 33,440
 Taiwan (ROC) 503,688 22,328 926,062 38,749


The culture of East Asia has been influenced by the civilization of northern China. East Asia shares a Confucian ethical philosophy, Buddhism, political and legal structures, and historically a common writing system.[18] The relationship between Northern China and East Asia has been compared to the historical influence of Greco-Roman civilization on Europe.[18]


Pass of the ISS over Mongolia, looking out west towards the Pacific Ocean, China, and Japan. As the video progresses, you can see major cities along the coast and the Japanese islands on the Philippine Sea. The island of Guam can be seen further down the pass into the Philippine Sea, and the pass ends just to the east of New Zealand. A lightning storm can be seen as light pulses near the end of the video.

See also


  1. ^ The area figure is based on the combined areas of China (including Hong Kong, Macau, Aksai Chin, and Trans-Karakoram Tract), Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam as listed at List of countries and outlying territories by total area.
  2. ^ The population figure is the combined populations of China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau), Japan , North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan as listed at List of countries by population (last updated Feb 22, 2011).
  3. ^ a b Taiwan (officially the Republic of China) has limited recognition internationally as a sovereign state while most democratic countries keeps quasi-official relations with her, see Political status of Taiwan.


  1. ^ a b "East Asia". encarta. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2008-01-12. the countries, territories, and regions of China, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Macau, and Taiwan. 
  2. ^ a b Columbia University - "East Asian cultural sphere" "The East Asian cultural sphere evolves when Japan, Korea, and what is today Vietnam all share adapted elements of Chinese civilization of this period (that of the Tang dynasty), in particular Buddhism, Confucian social and political values, and literary Chinese and its writing system."
  3. ^ a b "Northeast Asia." Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved on August 10, 2009.
  4. ^ Chongho Kim, "Korean Shamanism", 2003 Ashgate Publishing
  5. ^ Andreas Anangguru Yewangoe, "Theologia crucis in Asia", 1987 Rodopi
  6. ^ "Background Note: South Korea". State. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2000-04-27. 
  7. ^ "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings". United Nations Statistics Division. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  8. ^ R. Keith Schopper's East Asia: Identities and Change in the Modern World
  9. ^ Joshua A. Fogel (UC Santa Barbara/University of Indiana) Nationalism, the Rise of the Vernacular, and the Conceptualization of Modernization in East Asian Comparative Perspective
  10. ^ United Nations Environment Programme (mentions sinosphere countries) Approaches to Solution of Eutrophication [1]
  11. ^ Christopher M. Dent (2008). East Asian regionalism. London: Routledge. pp. 1–8. 
  12. ^ Charles Harvie, Fukunari Kimura, and Hyun-Hoon Lee (2005), New East Asian regionalism. Cheltenham and Northamton: Edward Elgar, pp.3-6.
  13. ^ Peter J. Katzenstein and Takashi Shiraishi (2006), Beyond Japan: the dynamics of East Asian regionalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp.1-33
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b Edwin O. Reischauer, "The Sinic World in Perspective," Foreign Affairs 52.2 (January 1974): 341-348. JSTOR

External links

  • High resolution map of East Asian region
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