East Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms. Geographically, it covers about 12,000,000 km², or about 28% of the Asian continent and about 15% bigger than the area of Europe. More than 1.5 billion people, about 40% of the population of Asia or a quarter of all the people in the world, live in geographic East Asia, which is about twice the population of Europe. The region is one of the world's most crowded places. The population density of East Asia, 130 per km², is about three times the world average.
Culturally, it embraces those societies that have long been part of the Chinese cultural sphere:
- displaying heavy historical influence from the Classical Chinese language (including the traditional Chinese script),
- Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism,
- Mahayana Buddhism/Zen-Chan Buddhism,
- and Taoism (Daoism).
This combination of language, political philosophy, and religion (as well as art, architecture, holidays and festivals, etc.) overlaps with the geographical designation of East Asia for the most part, with a few exceptions, such as the overseas Chinese (including those in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the West).
East Asia and Eastern Asia (the latter form preferred by the United Nations) are both more modern terms for the traditional European name 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. What the UN terms 'East Asia' is often referred to as Northeast Asia.
Other uses of the term East Asia[edit | edit source]
The following political entities are commonly seen as located in geographic East Asia:
- People's Republic of China (including the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau)
- Republic of China (Taiwan)
- North Korea
- South Korea
The following peoples or societies are commonly seen as being encompassed by cultural East Asia:
- Chinese society (including the predominantly Chinese regions outside China proper, such as Singapore and Taiwan)
- Japanese society
- Korean society
- Mongolian society
- Vietnamese society
Some consider the following countries or regions as part of East Asia, while others do not. Disagreements hinge on the difference between the cultural and geographic definitions of the term. Political perspective is also an important factor. In descending order in terms of the frequency with which they are described as East Asian:
- The parts of China that are not historically dominated by Han Chinese: Qinghai, Tibet, Xinjiang (considered either East Asia or Central Asia or South Asian in the case of Tibet—here the primary question is cultural, with geography also at issue)
- Mongolia (considered either East Asia or Central Asia—here culture and/or geography may be at issue)
- Singapore (considered either East Asia or Southeast Asia—here the primary question is geographic)
- Vietnam (considered either East Asia or Southeast Asia—here the primary question is geographic)
- Russian Far East (considered either East Asia or North Asia—here the primary question is political, with culture and geography also at issue)
In infrequent circumstances, the term East Asia is purposefully used to include all countries in Southeast Asia, especially when used in dualism with the term West Asia, the latter of which is then used to include those regions commonly considered West Asia, Central Asia and Southwest Asia.
Other subregions of Asia[edit | edit source]
- Southeast Asia
- South Asia
- Central Asia
- Southwest Asia or West Asia (One definition of the Middle East is synonymous with Southwest Asia)
- North Asia (Siberia)
- Northern Eurasia (Extends into part of Europe)
- Central Eurasia (Extends into part of Europe)
See also[edit | edit source]
- East Asian studies
- Asian Network of Major Cities 21
- East Asian languages
- Four Asian Tigers – a label pertinent to the recent economic history of the region.
- East Asia Summit
- History of East Asia
- East Asian Community
- Russian Far East (East Asia north of this area)
References[edit | edit source]
- ^ Center for South Asia Studies: University of California, Berkeley 
- ^ Center for South Asia Outreach UW-Madison 
- ^ Department of South Asia Studies: University of Pennsylvania 
- ^ South Asia Language Resource Center: The University of Chicago 
- ^ AIIS Advanced Language Programs in India 
- ^ Tibet is located on the Tibetan Plateau.
[edit | edit source]
|This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at East Asia. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.|