The victim mentality drilled into Korean students during their history lessons is such that any perceived slant against the nation, no matter how slight, can turn into a serious issue that has the whole country boiling with rage. Anger is further magnified should the insult come from Korea’s one-time colonial masters, the Japanese – witness the case of the waters east of the Korean mainland, generally known across the world as the “Sea of Japan”. Koreans insist that this name is a symbol of Japan’s imperial past, and youth hostel wall-maps around the world have had the name crossed out by gimchi-chomping Korean travellers and replaced with “East Sea”. Korean diplomats raised enough of a stink to take the issue to the United Nations, which tentatively sided with the Japanese, but left the topic open for further discussion. Although both terms have been used for centuries, neither is strictly correct – Korea controls a large portion of the waters, yet the sea lies plainly to Japan’s west – so while this storm in a teacup continues to rage on, feel free to send your own suggestions of compromise to the UN: “Sea of Peaceful Diplomatic Negotiations”, perhaps?

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South Korea features

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Seoul food: the transformation of a neighbourhood

Seoul food: the transformation of a neighbourhood

Itaewon, a neighbourhood in the South Korean capital Seoul, is on the up and food is at the forefront of its renaissance. Here Amy Guttman explores a district u…

14 Jan 2016 • Amy Guttman insert_drive_file Article
Would you get down and dirty at South Korea’s Mud Festival?

Would you get down and dirty at South Korea’s Mud Festival?

What once began as a marketing ploy for a therapeutic mud found near Boryeong, a small city on South Korea’s sandy west coast, has since transformed into a un…

17 Jul 2015 • Colt St. George insert_drive_file Article
In pictures: traditional dress around the world

In pictures: traditional dress around the world

The Sari, India Ostensibly the simplest item of clothing possible – a single length of fabric, up to nine metres long – the sari is also one of the world…

02 Feb 2015 • Alice Park camera_alt Gallery
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