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East Asia
Area 11,839,074 km2
Population 1,555,784,500
Density 131 per km2
Countries and Territories Mainland China
Hong Kongmarker
North Koreamarker
South Koreamarker

Languages and language families Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, and many others
Time zones UTC +7:00 (Western Mongolia) to UTC +9:00 (Japan and Korean Peninsula)
Capital cities Beijing
Ulan Batormarker

Other major cities Shanghai

(see list)

East Asia or Eastern Asia (the latter form preferred by the United Nations) is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural 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." terms. Geographically and geo-politically, it covers about , or about 28 percent of the Asian continent, about 15 percent bigger than the area of Europe, though some categorize Tibet, Xinjiang, and Mongoliamarker as Central Asia. In some contexts, Vietnammarker is considered part of East Asia because of the significant Chinese cultural influence it had experienced. Sometimes Northeast Asia is used the denote Japanmarker, North Koreamarker, and South Koreamarker.

More than 1.5 billion people, about 38 percent of the population of Asia or 22 percent of all the people in the world, live in geographic East Asia. This is about twice the population that Europe has. The region is one of the world's most populated places, with a population density of , being about three times the world average of . Using the UN subregion definitions, it 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.

Major religions include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism or Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion in China, Shinto in Japanmarker, Shamanism in Koreamarker, Mongoliamarker and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia, and more recently Christianity in South Koreamarker. The Chinese Calendar is the root from which many other East Asian calendars are derived.

Uses of the term East Asia

The UN subregion of Eastern Asia and other common definitions of East Asia contain the entirety of the People's Republic of Chinamarker (including all SARs and autonomous regions), Taiwanmarker (officially known as the Republic of Chinamarker), Japanmarker, North Koreamarker (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), South Koreamarker (Republic of Korea), and Mongoliamarker.

Chinese speaking societies (including the cultures of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), Japan society, Korea society, Vietnam society, and Mongolia society are commonly seen as being encompassed by cultural East Asia:

Alternate definitions

Some consider the following countries or regions as part of East Asia, while others do not.

  • The parts of Chinamarker that are not historically dominated by Han Chinese: Qinghaimarker, Tibet, Xinjiang (considered either East Asia or Central Asia or South Asia in the case of Tibet—here the primary question is cultural, with geography also at issue)
  • (considered either East Asia or Central Asia—here culture and/or geography may be at issue)
  • (considered either East Asia or Southeast Asia—here the primary question is geographic)
  • Siberiamarker, Russiamarker (considered either East Asia or North Asia—here the primary question is political, with culture and geography also at issue)

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 Chinamarker, Japanmarker, South Koreamarker, and the Republic of Chinamarker (commonly known as Taiwanmarker) for the purpose of economic and political regionalism and integration . The tendency of this usage, perhaps, started especially since the publication of World Bank on The East Asian Miracle in 1993 explaining the economic success of the Asian Tiger and emerging Southeast Asian economies (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand). } In addition, this usage has also been driven by Asia-wide economic interconnectedness since the co-operation between ASEAN and its three dialogue partners was institutionalised under the ASEAN Plus Three Process (ASEAN+3 or APT) in 1997. The idea of East Asian Community arising from ASEAN+3 framework is also gradually shaping the term East Asia to cover more than greater China, Korea, and Japan. This usage however, is unstable: the East Asian Summit, for instance, includes Indiamarker and Australia.

East Asia is considered to be a part of the Far East, which describes the region's geographical position in relation to Europe rather than its location within Asia. However, 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, 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'. The Council on Foreign Relations defines Northeast Asia as Japanmarker and Koreamarker.


Other subregions of Asia

See also

Notes and references

  1. The area figure is based on the combined areas of the People's Republic of China (including Hong Kong, Macau, Aksai Chin, and Trans-Karakoram Tract), Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and the Republic of China (Taiwan) as listed at List of countries and outlying territories by total area.
  2. The population figure is the combined populations of the People's Republic of China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau), Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Republic of China (Taiwan) as listed at List of countries by population (last updated March 8, 2008).
  3. " Northeast Asia." Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved on August 10, 2009.
  4. See, List of countries by population density
  5. Chongho Kim, "Korean Shamanism", 2003 Ashgate Publishing
  6. Andreas Anangguru Yewangoe, "Theologia crucis in Asia", 1987 Rodopi
  7. [1], Britannica Online Encyclopedia, saying: "The present political boundaries of China, which include Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Sinkiang, and the northeastern provinces formerly called Manchuria, embrace a far larger area of East Asia than will be discussed here...."
  8. The Republic of China (ROC) has limited recognition within the international community as a sovereign state, see Political status of Taiwan
  9. Columbia University East Asian Cultural Sphere
  10. R. Keith Schopper's East Asia: Identities and Change in the Modern World [2]
  11. 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 [3]
  12. United Nations Environment Programme (mentions sinosphere countries) Approaches to Solution of Eutrophication [4]
  13. Center for South Asia Studies: University of California, Berkeley
  14. Center for South Asia Outreach UW-Madison
  15. Department of South Asia Studies: University of Pennsylvania
  16. South Asia Language Resource Center: The University of Chicago
  17. AIIS Advanced Language Programs in India
  18. Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  19. The Republic of China is has limited recognition within the international community as a sovereign state, see Political status of Taiwan.
  20. Discussed in Christopher M. Dent (2008), East Asian regionalism. London: Routledge, pp.1-8
  21. Charles Harvie, Fukunari Kimura, and Hyun-Hoon Lee (2005), New East Asian regionalism. Cheltenham and Northamton: Edward Elgar, pp.3-6.
  22. Peter J. Katzenstein and Takashi Shiraishi (2006), Beyond Japan: the dynamics of East Asian regionalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp.1-33
  23. " Northeast Asia." Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved on August 10, 2009.

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