Sea of Japan

The Sea of Japan (see below for other names) is the marginal sea between the Japanese archipelago, Sakhalin, the Korean Peninsula and Russia. The Japanese archipelago separates the sea from the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by Japan, Korea (North and South) and Russia. Like the Mediterranean Sea, it has almost no tides due to its nearly complete enclosure from the Pacific Ocean.[1] This isolation also reflects in the fauna species and in the water salinity, which is lower than in the ocean. The sea has no large islands, bays or capes. Its water balance is mostly determined by the inflow and outflow through the straits connecting it to the neighboring seas and Pacific Ocean. Few rivers discharge into the sea and their total contribution to the water exchange is within 1%.

The seawater has an elevated concentration of dissolved oxygen that results in high biological productivity. Therefore, fishing is the dominant economic activity in the region. The intensity of shipments across the sea has been moderate owing to political issues, but it is steadily increasing as a result of the growth of East Asian economies.

Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan Map en
Sea of Japan map
Chinese name
Japanese name
North Korean name
Literal meaningEast Sea of Korea
South Korean name
Literal meaningEast Sea
Russian name
RomanizationYaponskoye more
Manchu name

dergi mederi


Sea of Japan is the dominant term used in English for the sea, and the name in most European languages is equivalent, but it is sometimes called by different names in surrounding countries, often reflecting historical claims to hegemony over the sea.

The sea is called Rìběn hǎi (日本海, literally "Japan Sea") or originally Jīng hǎi (鲸海, literally "Whale Sea") in China,[2] Yaponskoye more (Японское море, literally "Japanese Sea") in Russia, Chosŏn Tonghae (조선동해, literally "Korean East Sea") in North Korea, and Donghae (동해, literally "East Sea") in South Korea. A naming dispute exists about the sea name, with South Korea promoting the English translation of its native name as the East Sea.

Naming dispute

The use of the term "Sea of Japan" as the dominant name is a point of contention. South Korea wants the name "East Sea" to be used, either instead of or in addition to "Sea of Japan;"[3][4] while North Korea prefers the name "East Sea of Korea".[5]

The primary issue in the dispute revolves around a disagreement about when the name "Sea of Japan" became the international standard. Japan claims the term has been the international standard since at least the early 19th century,[6] while the Koreas claim that the term "Sea of Japan" arose later while Korea was under Japanese rule, and before that occupation other names such as "Sea of Korea" or "East Sea" were used in English.[7] The International Hydrographic Organization, the international governing body for the naming bodies of water around the world, in 2012 recognized the term "Sea of Japan" as the only title for the sea, and stated they would will likely review the issue again in 2017.[8]


For centuries, the sea had protected Japan from land invasions, particularly by the Mongols. It had long been navigated by Asian and, from the 18th century, by European ships. Russian expeditions of 1733–1743 mapped Sakhalin and the Japanese islands. In the 1780s, the Frenchman Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse, traveled northward across the sea through the strait later named after him. In 1796, a British naval officer, William Robert Broughton explored the Strait of Tartary, the eastern coast of the Russian Far East and the Korean Peninsula.

In 1803–1806, the Russian navigator Adam Johann von Krusenstern while sailing across the globe in the ship Nadezhda also explored, in passing, the Sea of Japan and the eastern shores of Japanese islands. In 1849, another Russian explorer Gennady Nevelskoy discovered the strait between the continent and Sakhalin and mapped the northern part of the Strait of Tartary. Russian expeditions were made in 1853–1854 and 1886–1889 to measure the surface temperatures and record the tides. They also documented the cyclonal character of the sea currents.

Other notable expeditions of the 19th century include the American North Pacific Exploring and Surveying Expedition (1853–1856) and British Challenger expedition (1872–1876). The aquatic life was described by V. K. Brazhnikov in 1899–1902 and P. Yu. Schmidt in 1903–1904. The Japanese scientific studies of the sea began only in 1915 and became systematic since the 1920s.[9][10]

American and French whaleships cruised for whales in the sea between 1848 and 1892.[11] Most entered the sea via Korea Strait[12] and left via La Pérouse Strait,[13] but some entered and exited via Tsugaru Strait.[14] They primarily targeted right whales,[15] but began catching humpbacks as right whale catches declined.[16] They also made attempts to catch blue[17] and fin whales,[18] but these species invariably sank after being killed. Right whales were caught from March to September,[19] with peak catches in May and June.[20] During the peak years of 1848 and 1849 a total of nearly 160 vessels (over 50 in 1848, and over 100 in 1849) cruised in the Sea of Japan,[21] with significantly lesser numbers in following years.[22]

Geography and geology

Sea of Japan Early Miocene map
Map showing Japanese archipelago, Sea of Japan and surrounding part of continental East Asia in Early Miocene (23–18 Ma).
Sea of Japan Pliocene map
Map showing Japanese archipelago, Sea of Japan and surrounding part of continental East Asia in Middle Pliocene to Late Pliocene (3.5–2 Ma).

The Sea of Japan was a landlocked sea when the land bridge of East Asia existed.[23] The onset of formation of the Japan Arc was in the Early Miocene.[24] The Early Miocene period also corresponds to the Japan Sea starting to open, and the northern and southern parts of the Japanese archipelago separating from each other.[24] During the Miocene, there was expansion of Sea of Japan.[24]

The north part of the Japanese archipelago was further fragmented later until orogenesis of the northeastern Japanese archipelago began in the later Late Miocene.[24] The south part of the Japanese archipelago remained as a relatively large landmass.[24] The land area had expanded northward in the Late Miocene.[24] The orogenesis of high mountain ranges in northeastern Japan started in Late Miocene and lasted in Pliocene also.[24]

Nowadays the Sea of Japan is bounded by the Russian mainland and Sakhalin island to the north, the Korean Peninsula to the west, and the Japanese islands of Hokkaidō, Honshū and Kyūshū to the east and south. It is connected to other seas by five straits: the Strait of Tartary between the Asian mainland and Sakhalin; La Pérouse Strait between the Sakhalin and Hokkaidō; the Tsugaru Strait between Hokkaidō and Honshū; the Kanmon Straits between Honshū and Kyūshū; and the Korea Strait between the Korean Peninsula and Kyūshū.

The Korea Strait is composed of the Western Channel and the Tsushima Strait, on either side of Tsushima Island. The straits were formed in recent geologic periods. The oldest of them are the Tsugaru and Tsushima straits. Their formation had interrupted the migration of elephants into the Japanese islands at the end of the Neogene Period (about 2.6 million years ago). The most recent is La Perouse Strait, which formed about 60,000 to 11,000 years ago closing the path used by mammoths which had earlier moved to northern Hokkaidō.[9] All the straits are rather shallow with a minimal depth of the order of 100 meters or less. This hinders water exchange, thereby isolating the water and aquatic life of the Sea of Japan from the neighboring seas and oceans.[25]

The sea has a surface area of about 978,000 km2 (378,000 sq mi), a mean depth of 1,752 m (5,748 ft) and a maximum depth of 3,742 m (12,277 ft). It has a carrot-like shape, with the major axis extending from southwest to northeast and a wide southern part narrowing toward the north. The coastal length is about 7,600 km (4,700 mi) with the largest part (3,240 km or 2,010 mi) belonging to Russia. The sea extends from north to south for more than 2,255 km (1,401 mi) and has a maximum width of about 1,070 km (660 mi).[10]

It has three major basins: the Yamato Basin in the southeast, the Japan Basin in the north and the Tsushima Basin (Ulleung Basin) in the southwest.[9] The Japan Basin is of oceanic origin and is the deepest part of the sea, whereas the Tsushima Basin is the shallowest with the depths below 2,300 m (7,500 ft).[10] On the eastern shores, the continental shelves of the sea are wide, but on the western shores, particularly along the Korean coast, they are narrow, averaging about 30 km (19 mi).[25]

There are three distinct continental shelves in the northern part (above 44° N). They form a staircase-like structure with the steps slightly inclined southwards and submerged to the depths of 900–1,400 (3,000–4,600), 1,700–2,000 (5,600–6,600) and 2,300–2,600 m (7,500–8,500 ft). The last step sharply drops to the depths of about 3,500 m (11,500 ft) toward the central (deepest) part of the sea. The bottom of this part is relatively flat, but has a few plateaus. In addition, an underwater ridge rising up to 3,500 m (11,500 ft) runs from north to south through the middle of the central part.[25]

The Japanese coastal area of the sea consists of Okujiri Ridge, Sado Ridge, Hakusan Banks, Wakasa Ridge and Oki Ridge. Yamato Ridge is of continental origin and is composed of granite, rhyolite, andesite and basalt. It has uneven bottom covered with boulders of volcanic rock. Most other areas of the sea are of oceanic origin. Seabed down to 300 m (980 ft) is of continental nature and is covered with a mixture of mud, sand, gravel and fragments of rock. The depths between 300 and 800 m (980 and 2,620 ft) are covered in hemipelagic sediments (i.e., of semi-oceanic origin); these sediments are composed of blue mud rich in organic matter. Pelagic sediments of red mud dominate the deeper regions.[9]

There are no large islands in the sea. Most of the smaller ones are near the eastern coast, except for Ulleungdo (South Korea). The most significant islands are Moneron, Rebun, Rishiri, Okushiri, Ōshima, Sado, Okinoshima, Ulleungdo, Askold, Russky and Putyatin. The shorelines are relatively straight and are lacking large bays or capes; the coastal shapes are simplest for Sakhalin and are more winding in the Japanese islands.

The largest bays are Peter the Great Gulf, Sovetskaya Gavan; Vladimira Bay, Olga; Posyet Bay in Russia; East Korea Bay in North Korea; and Ishikari (Hokkaidō), Toyama (Honshū), and Wakasa (Honshū) Bays in Japan. Prominent capes include Lazareva, Peschanyi (sandy), Povorotny, Gromova, Pogibi, Tyk, and Korsakova in Russia; Crillon on Sakhalin; Sōya, Nosappu, Tappi, Nyuda, Rebun, Rishiri, Okushiri, Daso and Oki in Japan;[25][10] and Musu Dan in North Korea.

As world sea level dropped during the advance of the last Ice Age, the exit straits of the Sea of Japan one by one dried and closed. The deepest, and thus the last to close, is the western channel of the Korea Strait. There is controversy as to whether or not this happened, turning the Sea of Japan into a huge cold inland lake.[26]

Sea of Japan descr

Relief of the Sea of Japan and nearby areas

Бухта Сибирякова

A bay at Sibiryakov Island, 50 km (31 mi) south from Vladivostok

Закат на Воеводского

Sunset on Little Verkhovsky Islands near Vladivostok


The sea climate is characterized by warm waters and monsoons. This combination results in strong evaporation, which is especially noticeable between October and March when the strong (12–15 m/s [39–49 ft/s] or higher) northwestern monsoon wind brings cold and dry continental air. The evaporation is blown further south causing snowfall in the mountainous western coasts of Japan. This winter monsoon brings typhoons and storms with the waves reaching 8–10 m (26–33 ft) which erode the western coasts of Japan. Tsunami waves were also recorded in the sea. In addition, the monsoon enhances the surface water convection, down to the depths of 30 m (98 ft).

The coldest months are January and February with the average air temperature of −20 °C (−4 °F) in the north and 5 °C (41 °F) in the south. The northern one-quarter of the sea, particularly the Siberian coast and the Strait of Tartary, freezes for about 4−5 months.[9] The timing and extent of freezing vary from year to year, so ice may start forming in the bays as early as in October and its remains may be seen even in June. Ice cover is continuous only in the bays and forms floating patches in the open sea. Ice melting in spring results in cold currents in the northern areas.[25]

In summer the wind weakens to 2–7 m/s (6.6–23.0 ft/s) and reverses its direction, blowing warm and humid air from the North Pacific onto the Asian mainland. The warmest month is August with the average air temperature of 15 °C (59 °F) in the north and 25 °C (77 °F) in the south.[25] Annual precipitation increases from 310–500 mm (12–20 in) in the north-west to 1,500–2,000 mm (59–79 in) in the south-east.[10]

A peculiar turbulent cloud pattern, named von Kármán vortices, is sometimes observed over the Sea of Japan. It requires a stable field of low clouds driven by the wind over a small (isolated) and tall obstacle, and usually forms over small mountainous islands.[27] The Sea of Japan meets these conditions as it has frequent winds and cloudy skies, as well as compact, tall islands such as Rishiri (1,721 m or 5,646 ft), Ulleungdo (984 m or 3,228 ft) and Ōshima (732 m or 2,402 ft).


The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the "Japan Sea" as follows:[28]

On the Southwest. The Northeastern limit of the Eastern China Sea [From Nomo Saki (32°35′ N) in Kyusyu to the South point of Hukae Sima (Goto Retto) and on through this island to Ose Saki (Cape Goto) and to Hunan Kan, the South point of Saisyu To (Quelpart), through this island to its Western extreme and thence along the parallel of 33°17′ North to the mainland] and the Western limit of the Inland Sea [defined circuitously as "The Southeastern limit of the Japan Sea"].

On the Southeast. In Simonoseki Kaikyo. A line running from Nagoya Saki (130°49′,5 E) in Kyûsyû through the islands of Uma Sima and Muture Sima (33°58′,5 N) to Murasaki Hana (34°01′ N) in Honsyû.

On the East. In the Tsugaru Kaikô. From the extremity of Siriya Saki (141°28′ E) to the extremity of Esan Saki (41°48′ N).

On the Northeast. In La Perouse Strait (Sôya Kaikyô). A line joining Sôni Misaki and Nishi Notoro Misaki (45°55′ N).

On the North. From Cape Tuik (51°45′ N) to Cape Sushcheva.[28]


Tategami rock
Mitsukejima "Battleship Island"

The sea currents circulate in the counterclockwise direction. The Kuroshio (Japan Current), the Tsushima Current and the East Korea Warm Current bring warmer and more saline water to the north. There they merge into the Tsugaru Current and flow into the Pacific Ocean through the Tsugaru Strait. They also feed the Sōya Current and exit through the La Perouse Strait to the Sea of Okhotsk. The returning branch is composed of the Liman, North Korea and Central (or Mid-) Japan Sea currents which bring fresh and cold water along the Asian coast to the south.[9]

Water temperature is mostly affected by exchange with the atmosphere in the northern part of the sea and by the currents in the southern part. Winter temperatures are 0 °C (32 °F) or below in the north and 10–14 °C (50–57 °F) in the south. In this season, there is a significant temperature difference between the western and eastern parts owing to the circular currents. So at the latitude of Peter the Great Gulf, the water temperature is about 0 °C (32 °F) in the west and 5–6 °C (41–43 °F) in the east. This east-west difference drops to 1–2 °C (34–36 °F) in summer, and the temperatures rise to 18–20 °C (64–68 °F) in the north and 25–27 °C (77–81 °F) in the south.[25]

As a result of the enclosed nature of the sea, its waters form clearly separated layers which may show seasonal and spatial dependence. In winter, the temperature is almost constant with the depth in the northern part of the sea. However, in central-southern parts, it may be 8–10 °C (46–50 °F) down to 100–150 m (330–490 ft), 2–4 °C (36–39 °F) at 200–250 m (660–820 ft), 1.0–1.5 °C (33.8–34.7 °F) at 400–500 m (1,300–1,600 ft) and then remain at about 0 °C (32 °F) until the bottom. Heating by the sun and tropical monsoons increases the depth gradient in spring–summer.

In the north the surface layer (down to 15 m or 49 ft) may heat up to 18–20 °C (64–68 °F). The temperature would sharply drop to 4 °C (39 °F) at 50 m (160 ft), then slowly decrease to 1 °C (34 °F) at 250 m (820 ft) and remain so down to the seabed. On the contrary, the temperature in the south could gradually decrease to 6 °C (43 °F) at 200 m (660 ft), then to 2 °C (36 °F) at 260 m (850 ft) and to 0.04–0.14 °C (32.07–32.25 °F) at 1,000–1,500 m (3,300–4,900 ft), but then it would rise to about 0.3 °C (32.5 °F) near the bottom. This cold layer at about 1,000 m (3,300 ft) is formed by sinking of cold water in the northern part of the sea in winter and is brought south by the sea currents; it is rather stable and is observed all through the year.[9][25]

The hydrological isolation of the Sea of Japan also results in slightly lower average water salinity (34.09‰, where ‰ means parts per thousand) compared with the Pacific Ocean. In winter, the highest salinity at 34.5‰ is observed in the south where evaporation dominates over precipitation. It is the lowest at 33.8‰ in the south-east and south-west because of frequent rains and remains at about 34.09‰ in most other parts.

Thawing of ice in spring reduces water salinity in the north, but it remains high at 34.60–34.70‰ in the south, partly because of the inflow of salty water through the Korea Strait. A typical variation of salinity across the sea in summer is 31.5‰ to 34.5‰ from north to south. The depth distribution of salinity is relatively constant. The surface layer tends to be more fresh in the sea parts which experience ice melting and rains.[25] The average water density is 1.0270 g/m3 (0.0017311 lb/cu yd) in the north and 1.0255 g/m3 (0.0017285 lb/cu yd) in the south in winter. It lowers in summer to 1.0253 and 1.0215 g/m3 (0.0017282 and 0.0017218 lb/cu yd), respectively.[10]

Tumen River Bridge
The Tumen River, at the border between North Korea and China. The picture is taken from the Chinese city of Tumen; the North Korean city of Namyang is across the bridge.
Sopka Sestra and Partizanskaya River
The mouth of Partizanskaya River near Nakhodka. View from Sopka Sestra.

Few rivers flow into the Sea of Japan from mainland Asia, the largest being Tumen,[10] Rudnaya, Samarga, Partizanskaya and Tumnin; all of them have mountainous character. In contrast, numerous large rivers flow from Honshū and Hokkaidō into the sea, including Japan's four largest rivers in the Shinano, Ishikari, Agano and Mogami. The total annual river discharge into the sea is 210 km3 (50 cu mi) and is relatively constant through the year, except for a minor increase in July.[25] Most water (97% or 52,200 km3 [12,500 cu mi]) flows into the sea through the Korea Strait and discharges through the Tsugaru (64% or 34,610 km3 [8,300 cu mi], La Pérouse 10,380 km3 [2,490 cu mi]) and Korea straits. Rainfall, evaporation and riverine inflow make only 1% of the water balance. Between October and April, the outflow exceeds the inflow due to the lower income through the Korea Strait; this balance reverses between May and September.[25][10]

The sea has complex tides, which are induced by the tidal wave of the Pacific Ocean penetrating through the Korea Strait and Tsugaru strait. The tides are semi-diurnal (rise twice a day) in the Korea Strait and in the northern part of the Strait of Tartary. They are diurnal at the eastern shore of Korea, Russian Far East and the Japanese islands of Honshū and Hokkaidō. Mixed tides occur in Peter the Great Gulf and Korea strait. The tidal waves have a speed of 10–25 cm/s (3.9–9.8 in/s) in the open sea. They accelerate in the Korea Strait (40–60 cm/s or 16–24 in/s), La Pérouse Strait (50–100 cm/s or 20–39 in/s) and especially in the Tsugaru Strait (100–200 cm/s or 39–79 in/s).

The amplitude of the tides is relatively low and strongly varies across the sea. It reaches 3 meters in the south near the Korea Strait, but quickly drops northwards to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) at the southern tip of Korean Peninsula and to 0.5 m (1.6 ft) meters at the North Korean shores. Similar low tides are observed in Hokkaidō, Honshū and south Sakhalin. The amplitude however increases to 2.3–2.8 m (7.5–9.2 ft) toward the north of the Strait of Tartary due to its funnel-like shape. Apart from tides, the water level also experiences seasonal, monsoon-related variations across the entire sea with the highest levels observed in summer and lowest in winter. Wind may also locally change the water level by 20–25 cm (7.9–9.8 in); for example, it is higher in summer at the Korean and lower at the Japanese coasts.[25]

The sea waters have blue to green-blue color and a transparency of about 10 m (33 ft). They are rich in dissolved oxygen, especially in the western and northern parts, which are colder and have more phytoplankton than the eastern and southern areas. The oxygen concentration is 95% of the saturation point near the surface, it decreases with the depth to about 70% at 3,000 m (9,800 ft).[25][10]

Flora and fauna

107 0798 Sivuchi wiki
Sea lions on Moneron Island

The high concentration of dissolved oxygen results in the rich aquatic life of the Sea of Japan – there are more than 800 species of aquatic plants and more than 3,500 animal species, including more than 900 species of crustaceans, about 1,000 of fish and 26 of mammals. The coastal areas contain several kg/m2 of biomass. Pelagic (oceanic) fishes include saury, mackerel, Jack mackerels, sardines, anchovies, herring, sea bream, squid and various species of salmon and trout. The demersal (sea-bottom) fishes include cod, pollock and Atka mackerel.

Mammals are represented by seals and whales (ancient name for the basin in Chinese was "Sea of Whales"[2]), and the crustaceans by shrimps and crabs.[9] Because of the shallow straits connecting the sea with Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan has no characteristic oceanic deep-water fauna.[10] Flora and fauna unique to the region near the Sea of Japan are known as "Japan Sea elements".[24]


Heishiiwa Rock Esashi crop
Heishi rock near Kamome Island, Hokkaido
Central Vladivostok panorama 2
Zolotoy Rog bay near Vladivostok, Russia

Fishery had long been the main economic activity on the Sea of Japan. It is mainly carried out on and near the continental shelves and focuses on herring, sardines and bluefin tuna. These species are however depleted from after World War II. Squid is mostly caught near the sea center and salmon near the northern and southwestern shores.[9] There is also a well-developed seaweed production.[25]

The importance of the fishery in the sea is illustrated by the territorial disputes between Japan and South Korea over Liancourt Rocks and between Japan and Russia over the Kuril Islands. It is also reflected in various legends, such as the legend of the Heishi rock, which says that once when herring vanished, an old fairy threw a bottle with a magic water into the sea, and the herring returned. The bottle got stuck to the seabed and turned into a rock, which became a representation of the God of the Sea of Japan.[29][30]

Vladivostok is a base for the Russian whaling fleet. Although it operates in the northern seas, its production is processed and partly distributed in the Vladivostok area. Vladivostok is also a terminal point of the Trans-Siberian Railway which brings much goods to and from this major port. There is a regular ferry service across the Strait of Tartary between the Russian continental port of Vanino and Kholmsk in Sakhalin.[25]

The sea has magnetite sands as well as natural gas and petroleum fields near the northern part of Japan and Sakhalin Island. The intensity of shipments across the sea is moderate, owing to the cold relations between many bordering countries. As a result, the largest Japanese ports are on the Pacific coast, and the significant ports on the Sea of Japan are Niigata, Tsuruta and Maizuru. Major South Korean ports are Busan, Ulsan, and Pohang situated on the southeastern coast of the Korean Peninsula, but they also mainly target countries not bordering the Sea of Japan.

The major Russian port of Vladivostok mainly serves inland cargos, whereas Nakhodka and Vostochny are more international and have a busy exchange with Japan and South Korea. Other prominent Russian ports are Sovetskaya Gavan, Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky and Kholmsk, and the major ports of North Korea are Wonsan, Hamhung and Chongjin.[10] The intensity of shipments across the Sea of Japan is steadily increasing as a result of the growth of East Asian economies.[9]

See also


This article incorporates CC-BY-2.0 text from this reference:[24]

  1. ^ "Tides in Marginal, Semi-Enclosed and Coastal Seas – Part I: Sea Surface Height". ERC-Stennis at Mississippi State University. Archived from the original on March 18, 2004. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  2. ^ a b 2006. “鲸海”这个名字如何改成了“日本海”. Retrieved on March 07, 2017
  3. ^ East Sea or "Sea of Japan". Retrieved on 2013-03-21.
  4. ^ Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries 2005. The Name East Sea Used for Two Millennia. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Korea, 2005
  5. ^ Efforts of the Government of Japan in Response to the Issue of the Name of the Sea of Japan (1) The 8th UNCSGN, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
  6. ^ "Japanese Basic Position on the Naming of the "Japan Sea"". Japan Coast Guard. March 1, 2005. Archived from the original on May 24, 2011.
  7. ^ "Legitimacy for Restoring the Name East Sea" (PDF). Republic of Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  8. ^ Kyodo News, "IHO nixes 'East Sea' name bid", Japan Times, 28 April 2012, p. 2; Rabiroff, Jon, and Yoo Kyong Chang, "Agency rejects South Korea's request to rename Sea of Japan", Stars and Stripes, 28 April 2012, p. 5.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Sea of Japan, Encyclopædia Britannica on-line
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Sea of Japan, Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian)
  11. ^ Vesper, of New London, Apr. 20-Aug. 26, 1848, G. W. Blunt White Library (GBWL); Northern Light, of New Bedford, May 14 – July 22, 1875, Old Dartmouth Historical Society (ODHS); Cape Horn Pigeon, of New Bedford, Apr. 17 – July 13, 1892, Kendall Whaling Museum (KWM).
  12. ^ Splendid, of Edgartown, Apr. 17, 1848, Nicholson Whaling Collection (NWC); Fortune, of New Bedford, Mar. 12, 1849, ODHS; Sea Breeze, of New Bedford, Apr. 14, 1874, GWBL.
  13. ^ Bowditch, of Warren, Aug. 2, 1848, NWC; Arnolda, of New Bedford, June 17, 1874, ODHS.
  14. ^ Good Return, of New Bedford, Apr. 30, 1849, ODHS; Milo, of New Bedford, Apr. 16–18, 1850, ODHS.
  15. ^ Eliza Adams, of Fairhaven, Apr. 21-Aug. 4, 1848, ODHS; Huntress, of New Bedford, May 4 – July 3, 1848, NWC.
  16. ^ Florida, of Fairhaven, May 12–27, 1860, in One Whaling Family (Williams, 1964); Sea Breeze, of New Bedford, May 11–12, June 4–5, 1874, GWBL.
  17. ^ George Washington, of Wareham, May 16, 1849, ODHS; Florida, of Fairhaven, May 5, 1860, in One Whaling Family (Williams, 1964).
  18. ^ Daniel Wood, of New Bedford, Apr. 6, 1854, NWC.
  19. ^ Henry Kneeland, of New Bedford, September 1, 1852, in Enoch's Voyage (1994), pp. 153-154.
  20. ^ Complied catch in 1848 of Vesper (GWBL); Eliza Adams (ODHS); Splendid (NWC); Bowditch (NWC); and Huntress (NWC); in 1849 by Mary and Susan, of Stonington (NWC).
  21. ^ Ships spoken in 1848 by Vesper (GWBL); Eliza Adams (ODHS); Splendid (NWC); Bowditch (NWC); Huntress (NWC); Liverpool 2nd, of New Bedford (NWC); Cherokee, of New Bedford (NWC); and Mechanic, of Newport (NWC); in 1849 by Huntress (NWC); Good Return (ODHS); Fortune (ODHS); Ocmulgee, of Holmes Hole (ODHS); Mary and Susan (NWC); Maria Theresa, of New Bedford (ODHS); George Washington (ODHS); Liverpool 2nd (NWC); Julian, of New Bedford (NWC); Henry Kneeland, of New Bedford (ODHS), Montpelier, of New Bedford (NWC), Cambria, of New Bedford (NWC), India, of New Bedford (ODHS), and Phoenix, of New Bedford (Nantucket Historical Association).
  22. ^ Ships spoken in 1856 by Pacific, of Fairhaven (NWC), and Onward, of New Bedford (NWC); and from 1859 to 1861 by Florida, of Fairhaven, in One Whaling Family (Williams, 1964).
  23. ^ Totman, Conrad D. (2004). Pre-Industrial Korea and Japan in Environmental Perspective. ISBN 978-9004136267. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kameda Y. & Kato M. (2011). "Terrestrial invasion of pomatiopsid gastropods in the heavy-snow region of the Japanese Archipelago". BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 118. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-118.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o A. D. Dobrovolskyi and B. S. Zalogin Seas of USSR. Sea of Japan, Moscow University (1982) (in Russian)
  26. ^ Park, S.-C; Yoo, D.-G; Lee, C.-W; Lee, E.-I (2000). "Last glacial sea-level changes and paleogeography of the Korea (Tsushima) Strait". Geo-Marine Letters. 20 (2): 64–71. doi:10.1007/s003670000039.
  27. ^ a b STS-100 Shuttle Mission Imagery, NASA, 19 April – 1 May 2001
  28. ^ a b "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. p. 32. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  29. ^ 瓶子岩 Official website of Hiyama Prefecture, Hokkaido (in Japanese)
  30. ^ かもめ島 Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine Esashi Town Guide (in Japanese)

Further reading

  • Fukuoka N. (1966). "On the distribution patterns of the so-called Japan Sea elements confined to the Sea of Japan region". Journal of Geobotany 15: 63–80.

External links

Coordinates: 40°N 135°E / 40°N 135°E

140th meridian east

The meridian 140° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, Australasia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 140th meridian east forms a great circle with the 40th meridian west.

1983 Sea of Japan earthquake

The 1983 Sea of Japan earthquake or 1983 Nihonkai-Chubu earthquake occurred on May 26, 1983 at 11:59:57 local time (02:59:57 UTC). It had a magnitude of 7.8 on the moment magnitude scale. It occurred in the Sea of Japan, about 100 km west of the coast of Noshiro in Akita Prefecture, Japan. Out of the 104 fatalities, all but four were killed by the resulting tsunami, which struck communities along the coast, especially Aomori and Akita Prefectures and the east coast of Noto Peninsula. Images of the tsunami hitting the fishing harbor of Wajima on Noto Peninsula was broadcast on TV. The waves exceeded 10 meters (33 ft) in some areas. Three of the fatalities were along the east coast of South Korea (whether North Korea was affected is not known). The tsunami also hit Okushiri Island, the site of a more deadly tsunami 10 years later.

Chūbu region

The Chūbu region (中部地方, Chūbu-chihō), Central region, or Central Japan (中部日本) is a region in the middle of Honshū, Japan's main island. Chūbu has a population of 21,715,822 as of 2010. It encompasses nine prefectures (ken): Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi.It is located directly between the Kantō region and the Kansai region and includes the major city of Nagoya as well as Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan coastlines, extensive mountain resorts, and Mount Fuji.

The region is the widest part of Honshū and the central part is characterized by high, rugged mountains. The Japanese Alps divide the country into the Pacific side, sunny in winter, and the Sea of Japan side, snowy in winter.

East China Sea

The East China Sea is a marginal sea east of China. The East China Sea is a part of the Pacific Ocean and covers an area of roughly 1,249,000 square kilometres (482,000 sq mi). To the east lies the Japanese island of Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands, to the south, lies the South China Sea, and to the west by the Asian continent. The sea connects with the Sea of Japan (East Sea) through the Korea Strait and opens to the north into the Yellow Sea. The countries which border the sea include Japan, Taiwan and China.

Geography of Japan

Japan is an island nation comprising a stratovolcanic archipelago over 3,000 km (1,900 mi) along East Asia's Pacific coast. It consists of 6,852 islands. The main islands are Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido. The Ryukyu Islands and Nanpō Islands are south of the main islands. The territory extends 377,973.89 km2 (145,936.53 sq mi). It is the largest island country in East Asia and fourth largest island country in the world. Japan has the sixth longest coastline 29,751 km (18,486 mi) and the eighth largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 4,470,000 km2 (1,730,000 sq mi) in the world.The terrain is mostly rugged and mountainous with 66% forest. The population is clustered in urban areas on the coast, plains and valleys. Japan is located in the northwestern Ring of Fire on multiple tectonic plates. East of the Japanese archipelago are three oceanic trenches. The Japan Trench is created as the oceanic Pacific Plate subducts beneath the continental Okhotsk Plate. The continuous subduction process causes frequent earthquakes, tsunami and stratovolcanoes. The islands are also affected by typhoons. The subduction plates have pulled the Japanese archipelago eastward, created the Sea of Japan and separated it from the Asian continent by back-arc spreading 15 million years ago.The climate of the Japanese archipelago varies from humid continental in the north (Hokkaido) to humid subtropical and tropical rainforest in the south (Okinawa Prefecture). These differences in climate and landscape have allowed the development of a diverse flora and fauna, with some rare endemic species, especially in the Ogasawara Islands.

Japan extends from 20° to 45° north latitude (Okinotorishima to Benten-jima) and from 122° to 153° east longitude (Yonaguni to Minami Torishima). Japan is surrounded by seas. To the north the Sea of Okhotsk separates it from the Russian Far East, to the west the Sea of Japan separates it from the Korean Peninsula, to the southwest the East China Sea separates the Ryukyu Islands from China and Taiwan, to the east is the Pacific Ocean.

Geography of North Korea

North Korea is located in East Asia on the Northern half of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea shares a border with three countries; China along the Amnok River, Russia along the Tumen River, and South Korea along the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The Yellow Sea and the Korea Bay are off the west coast and the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea) is off the east coast.

Most of North Korea is a series of medium-sized to large-sized Mountain Ranges and large hills, separated by deep, narrow valleys. The highest peak, Paektu-san on the volcanic Baekdu Mountain, is located on its northern border with China, and rises 9,002 ft. (2,744 m). Along the west coast there are wide coastal plains, while along the Sea of Japan coastline (North Korea's lowest point at 0 m), narrow plains rise into mountains. Similar to South Korea, dozens of small islands dot the western coastline. North Korea's longest river is the Yulu (Yalu). Other large rivers include the Tumen, Taedong and Imjin.

Hiyama Subprefecture

Hiyama Subprefecture (檜山振興局, Hiyama-shinkō-kyoku) is a subprefecture of Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan located on the Oshima Peninsula on the Sea of Japan side. It includes Okushiri Island. It was established in 1897.


Honshu (本州, Honshū, pronounced [honꜜɕɯː] (listen); "Main island/Main province") is the largest and most populous island of Japan, located south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Straits. The island separates the Sea of Japan, which lies to its north and west, from the North Pacific Ocean to its south and east. It is the seventh-largest island in the world, and the second-most populous after the Indonesian island of Java.Honshu had a population of 104 million as of 2017, mostly concentrated in the coastal lowlands, notably in the Kantō plain where 25% of the total population resides in the Greater Tokyo Area. As the historical center of Japanese cultural and political power, the island includes several past Japanese capitals, including Kyoto, Nara, and Kamakura. Much of the island's southern shore forms part of the Taiheiyō Belt, a megalopolis that spans several of the Japanese islands.

Most of Japan's industry is located in a belt running along Honshu's southern coast, from Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe, and Hiroshima; by contrast, the economy along the northwestern Sea of Japan coast is largely based on fishing and agriculture. The island is linked to the other three major Japanese islands by a number of bridges and tunnels. Its climate is humid and mild.

Korean Peninsula

The Korean Peninsula is located in East Asia. It extends southwards for about 1,100 km (680 mi) from continental Asia into the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the Sea of Japan (East Sea) to the east and the Yellow Sea (West Sea) to the west, the Korea Strait connecting the two bodies of water.

Koyoshi River

Koyoshi River (Japanese: 子吉川(こよしがわ), Hepburn: koyoshigawa) is a river in Akita Prefecture, Japan. It originates from Mount Chōkai, where the border of Akita Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture is located, and flows through Yurihonjō and finally into Sea of Japan. The headstream of the river is called Chōkai River (鳥海川, chōkaigawa). It has the third largest drainage area of the class A rivers that flow through Akita Prefecture, after Omono River and Yoneshiro River.

Kuzuryū River

The Kuzuryū River (九頭竜川, Kuzuryū-gawa) is a river flowing through Fukui Prefecture, Japan. It has its source at the Aburasaka Pass (油坂峠 Aburasaka-tōge) in the city of Ōno and empties into the Sea of Japan near the city of Sakai.

Liancourt Rocks

The Liancourt Rocks are a group of small islets in the Sea of Japan. While South Korea controls the islets, its sovereignty over them is contested by Japan.

South Korea classifies the islets as Dokdo-ri, Ulleung-eup, Ulleung County, North Gyeongsang Province, and calls them Dokdo (Korean pronunciation: [tok̚.t͈o]; Hangul: 독도; Hanja: 獨島, "solitary island[s]"). Japan classifies the islands as part of Okinoshima, Oki District, Shimane Prefecture, and calls them Takeshima (竹島, "bamboo island[s]"). The Franco-English name of the islets derives from Le Liancourt, the name of a French whaling ship that came close to being wrecked on the rocks in 1849.The Liancourt Rocks consist of two main islets and 35 smaller rocks; the total surface area of the islets is 0.187554 square kilometres (46.346 acres), with the highest elevation of 168.5 metres (553 ft) found at an unnamed location on the West Islet. The Liancourt Rocks lie in rich fishing grounds that may contain large deposits of natural gas.


Maizuru (舞鶴市, Maizuru-shi) is a city in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan, on an inlet of the Sea of Japan. The city was founded on May 27, 1943.

As of 2015, the city has an estimated population of 83,990 and a population density of 245 persons per km². The total area is 342 km².

Maizuru is a city rich in nature, located on the scenic Maizuru Bay. Maizuru Harbor is located in Maizuru Bay, from which travel to Hokkaidō is possible via the Sea of Japan.

Polar low

A polar low is a small-scale, short-lived atmospheric low pressure system (depression) that is found over the ocean areas poleward of the main polar front in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, as well as the Sea of Japan. The systems usually have a horizontal length scale of less than 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) and exist for no more than a couple of days. They are part of the larger class of mesoscale weather systems. Polar lows can be difficult to detect using conventional weather reports and are a hazard to high-latitude operations, such as shipping and gas and oil platforms. Polar lows have been referred to by many other terms, such as polar mesoscale vortex, Arctic hurricane, Arctic low, and cold air depression. Today the term is usually reserved for the more vigorous systems that have near-surface winds of at least 17 m/s (38 mph).

Rishiri District, Hokkaido

Rishiri (利尻郡, Rishiri-gun) is a district located in Sōya Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan. The district consists of Rishiri Island, in the Sea of Japan to the west of the northern tip of Hokkaido.

As of 2004, the district has an estimated population of 5,525 and a density of 30.33 persons per km². The total area is 182.18 km².

Rishiri Airport is located in Rishirifuji.

Sea of Japan naming dispute

A dispute exists over the international name for the body of water which is bordered by Japan, Korea (North and South) and Russia. In 1992, objections to the name Sea of Japan were first raised by North Korea and South Korea at the Sixth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. The Japanese government supports the exclusive use of the name "Sea of Japan" (日本海), while South Korea supports the alternative name "East Sea" (Hangul: 동해; Hanja: 東海), and North Korea supports the name "Korean East Sea" (Hangul: 조선동해; Hanja: 朝鮮東海). Currently, most international maps and documents use either the name Sea of Japan (or equivalent translation) exclusively, and far fewer maps include both the name Sea of Japan and East Sea, often with East Sea listed in parentheses or otherwise marked as a secondary name. The International Hydrographic Organization, the international governing body for the naming of bodies of water around the world, in 2012 decided not to change the current single name "Sea of Japan" rejecting South Korea's request to use "East Sea" together with "Sea of Japan".The involved countries (especially Japan and South Korea) have advanced a variety of arguments to support their preferred name(s). Many of the arguments revolve around determining when the name Sea of Japan became the common name. South Korea argues that historically the more common name was East Sea, Sea of Korea, or another similar variant. South Korea further argues that the name Sea of Japan did not become common until Korea was under Japanese rule, at which time it had no ability to influence international affairs. Japan argues that the name Sea of Japan has been the most common international name since at least the beginning of the 19th century, long before its annexation of Korea. Both sides have conducted studies of antiquarian maps, but the two countries have produced divergent research results. Additional arguments have been raised regarding the underlying geography of the sea as well as potential problems regarding the ambiguity of one name or the other.

Seto Inland Sea

The Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海, Seto Naikai), also known as Setouchi or often shortened to Inland Sea, is the body of water separating Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū, three of the four main islands of Japan. The region that includes the Seto Inland Sea and the coastal areas of Honshū, Shikoku, and Kyūshū is known as the Setouchi Region. It serves as a waterway, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan. It connects to Osaka Bay and provides a sea transport link to industrial centers in the Kansai region, including Osaka and Kobe. Before the construction of the San'yō Main Line, it was the main transportation link between Kansai and Kyūshū.

Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Hyōgo, Osaka, Wakayama, Kagawa, Ehime, Tokushima, Fukuoka, and Ōita prefectures all have coastlines on the Seto Inland Sea; the cities of Hiroshima, Iwakuni, Takamatsu, and Matsuyama are also located on it.

The Setouchi region is known for its moderate climate, with a stable year-round temperature and relatively low rainfall levels. The sea is also famous for its periodic red tides (赤潮, akashio) caused by dense groupings of certain phytoplankton that result in the death of large numbers of fish.

Since the 1980s, the sea's northern and southern shores have been connected by the three routes of the Honshū–Shikoku Bridge Project, including the Great Seto Bridge, which serves both railroad and automobile traffic.

Shimane Prefecture

Shimane Prefecture (島根県, Shimane-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūgoku region of Honshu. Shimane Prefecture is the second-least populous prefecture of Japan at 689,963 (2016) and has a geographic area of 6,708.24 km2 (2,590.07 sq mi). Shimane Prefecture borders Yamaguchi Prefecture to the southwest, Hiroshima Prefecture to the south, and Tottori Prefecture to the east.

Matsue is the capital and largest city of Shimane Prefecture, with other major cities including Izumo, Hamada, and Masuda. Shimane Prefecture contains the majority of the Lake Shinji-Nakaumi metropolitan area centered on Matsue, and with a population of approximately 600,000 is the second-largest on the Sea of Japan coast after Niigata. Shimane Prefecture is bounded by the Sea of Japan coastline on the north, where two-thirds of the population live, and the Chūgoku Mountains on the south. Shimane Prefecture governs the Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan, and also claims to have jurisdiction over the Liancourt Rocks (Korean: Dokdo(獨島), Japanese: Takeshima(竹島)) controlled by South Korea. Shimane Prefecture is home to Izumo-taisha, one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, and the Tokugawa-era Matsue Castle.

Tumen River

The Tumen River, also known as the Tuman River or Duman River (Korean pronunciation: [tumanɡaŋ]), is a 521-kilometre (324 mi) long river that serves as part of the boundary between China, North Korea and Russia, rising on the slopes of Mount Paektu and flowing into Sea of Japan. The river has a drainage basin of 33,800 km2 (13,050 sq mi).The river flows in northeast Asia, on the border between China and North Korea in its upper reaches, and between North Korea and Russia in its last 17 kilometers (11 mi) before entering the Sea of Japan. The river forms much of the southern border of Jilin Province in Northeast China and the northern borders of North Korea's North Hamgyong and Ryanggang provinces. Baekdu Mountain on the Chinese-North Korean border is the source of the river, as well as of the Amnok River, also called the Yalu River (which forms the western portion of the border of North Korea and China).

The name of the river comes from the Mongolian word tümen, meaning "ten thousand" or a myriad. This river is badly polluted by the nearby factories of North Korea and China; however, it still remains a major tourist attraction in the area. In Tumen, Jilin, a riverfront promenade has restaurants where patrons can gaze across the river into North Korea. The Russian name of the river is Tumannaya, literally meaning foggy.

In 1938 the Japanese built the Tumen River Bridge, where the Quan River meets the Tumen River, between the villages of Wonjong (Hunchun) and Quanhe. Important cities and towns on the river are Hoeryong and Onsong in North Korea, Tumen and Nanping (南坪镇, in the county-level city of Helong) in China's Jilin province.

In 1995, the People's Republic of China, Mongolia, Russia, North Korea and South Korea signed three agreements to create the Tumen River Economic Development Area.

Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinRìběn Hǎi
Revised HepburnNihon-kai
Revised RomanizationJoseon Donghae
McCune–ReischauerChosŏn Tonghae
Revised RomanizationDonghae
Arctic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
Indian Ocean
Pacific Ocean
Southern Ocean
Endorheic basins

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