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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

East Asia

Map of East Asia
Area 11,839,074 km2[1]
Population 1,575,784,500[2]
Density 133 per km2
Countries and Territories  China
 Hong Kong
 North Korea
 South Korea
Languages and language families Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and many others
Nominal GDP (2009) $ 11.427 Trillion
GDP per capita (2009) $ 7,300
Time zones UTC +7:00 (Western Mongolia) to UTC +9:00 (Japan and Korean Peninsula)
Capital cities People's Republic of China Beijing
North Korea Pyongyang
South Korea Seoul
Republic of China Taipei
Japan Tokyo
Mongolia Ulan Bator
Other major cities South Korea Busan
People's Republic of China Guangzhou
 Hong Kong
Republic of China Kaohsiung
Japan Osaka
People's Republic of China Shanghai
Japan Yokohama
(see list)
East Asia
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 東亞
Simplified Chinese 东亚
Japanese name
Kanji 東亜細亜/東亜
Kana ひがしアジア/とうあ
Kyūjitai 東亞細亞/東亞
Korean name
Hangul 동아시아/동아세아/동아
Hanja 東아시아/東亞細亞/東亞
Mongolian name
Mongolian Зүүн Ази
ᠵᠤᠨ ᠠᠵᠢ
Züün Azi
Russian name
Russian Восточная Азия
Romanization Vostochnaja Azija

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[3] or cultural[4] terms. Geographically and geo-politically, it covers about 12,000,000 km2 (4,600,000 sq mi), or about 28 percent of the Asian continent, about 15 percent bigger than the area of Europe.

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 133 inhabitants per square kilometre (340 /sq mi), being about three times the world average of 45 /km2 (120 /sq mi).[5] 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. Sometimes Northeast Asia is used to denote Japan, North Korea, and South Korea.[6]

Major religions include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism or Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion in China, Shinto in Japan, Shamanism in Korea, Mongolia and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia[7][8], and more recently Christianity[9] in South Korea. 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[3] of East Asia contain the entirety of the People's Republic of China[10] (including all SARs and autonomous regions), Taiwan (officially known as the Republic of China)[11], Japan, North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), South Korea (Republic of Korea), and Mongolia[3].

Chinese speaking societies (including the cultures of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), Japanese society, Korean society, and Vietnamese society are commonly seen as being encompassed by cultural East Asia:[12][13][14][15]


Alternate definitions

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

In business and economics, East Asia has been used to refer to a wide geographical area covering ten countries in ASEAN[citation needed], People's Republic of China, Japan, South Korea, and the Republic of China (commonly known as Taiwan)[11] 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).[citation needed]}

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 institutionalized 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 India 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'.[23][24][25] The Council on Foreign Relations defines Northeast Asia as Japan and Korea.[26]

Territory and region data


Country or
Area km² Population Population density
per km²
HDI (2007) Capital
 China 9,671,018 1,335,612,968 138 0.772 Beijing
 Hong Kong 1,104 7,055,071 6,390 0.944 -
 Japan 377,944 127,470,000 337 0.960 Tokyo
 Macau 29 541,200 18,662 - -
 Mongolia 1,564,116 2,736,800 2 0.727 Ulan Bator
 North Korea 120,540 23,906,000 198 - Pyongyang
 South Korea 100,140 50,062,000 500 0.937 Seoul
 Taiwan 36,191 23,119,772 639 0.943 Taipei


Country or
GDP nominal
millions of USD (2009)
millions of USD (2009)
GDP PPP per capita
USD (2009)
 China 4,911,000 8,767,000 6,546
 Hong Kong 210,730 301,300 42,574
 Japan 5,073,000 4,141,000 32,817
 Macau 21,700 18,140 59,451
 Mongolia 4,212 10,480 3,567
 North Korea 27,820 40,000 1,800
 South Korea 800,300 1,343,000 27,791
 Taiwan 379,400 693,200 29,829

See also

Compare Regions of Asia described by UN:      North Asia      Central Asia      Southwest Asia      South Asia      East Asia      Southeast Asia

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, 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, North Korea, South Korea, and Republic of China (Taiwan) as listed at List of countries by population (last updated Feb 22, 2010).
  3. ^ a b c "East Asia". encarta. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. http://www.webcitation.org/5kwbU9Hqq. Retrieved 2008-01-12. "East A·sia [ st áyə ] the countries, territories, and regions of China, Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Macau, and Taiwan." 
  4. ^ Columbia University - "East Asian cultural sphere" "The East Asian cultural sphere evolves when Japan, Korea, and what is today Vietnam all sh are 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."
  5. ^ See, List of countries by population density
  6. ^ "Northeast Asia." Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved on August 10, 2009.
  7. ^ Chongho Kim, "Korean Shamanism", 2003 Ashgate Publishing
  8. ^ Andreas Anangguru Yewangoe, "Theologia crucis in Asia", 1987 Rodopi
  9. ^ "Background Note: South Korea". State. U.S. Department of State. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2800.htm. Retrieved 2000-04-27. "Christianity (49% of religious population) comprises of South Korea's major religion." 
  10. ^ [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...."
  11. ^ a b The Republic of China (ROC) has limited recognition within the international community as a sovereign state, see Political status of Taiwan
  12. ^ Columbia University East Asian Cultural Sphere
  13. ^ R. Keith Schopper's East Asia: Identities and Change in the Modern World [2]
  14. ^ 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]
  15. ^ United Nations Environment Programme (mentions sinosphere countries) Approaches to Solution of Eutrophication [4]
  16. ^ Center for South Asia Studies: University of California, Berkeley
  17. ^ Center for South Asia Outreach UW-Madison
  18. ^ Department of South Asia Studies: University of Pennsylvania
  19. ^ South Asia Language Resource Center: The University of Chicago
  20. ^ AIIS Advanced Language Programs in India
  21. ^ Britannica Online Encyclopedia
  22. ^ "Encarta Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. http://www.webcitation.org/5kwbUdIqJ. 
  23. ^ Discussed in Christopher M. Dent (2008), East Asian regionalism. London: Routledge, pp.1-8
  24. ^ Charles Harvie, Fukunari Kimura, and Hyun-Hoon Lee (2005), New East Asian regionalism. Cheltenham and Northamton: Edward Elgar, pp.3-6.
  25. ^ Peter J. Katzenstein and Takashi Shiraishi (2006), Beyond Japan: the dynamics of East Asian regionalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp.1-33
  26. ^ "Northeast Asia." Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved on August 10, 2009.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : East Asia
Chinese characters at a king's former palace, Seoul, South Korea
Chinese characters at a king's former palace, Seoul, South Korea

East Asia is a cultural and geographic region of Asia.

  • China - the quickly awakening giant of East Asia, with huge cultural treasures among the rising skyline
    • Hong Kong - this former British colony now proclaims itself to be Asia's World City. Come for the shopping and find beaches and sleepy villages on car-free islands.
    • Macau - a former Portuguese colony with liberal gambling laws and beautiful colonial Portuguese architecture in its historic city centre (a UNESCO World Heritage site)
  • Japan - one of the most ultramodern countries in the world with advanced technologies; skyscrapers in the Megalopolis; empire of cool cultures: Samurai, Ninja, Zen, Sushi, Hello Kitty, Pokémon, Nintendo
  • Mongolia - a nomadic land of vast spaces
  • South Korea - dynamic but undiscovered destination of East Asia (at least for Western tourists)
  • Taiwan - an island of sharp contrasts: lush mountains, skyscrapers, gentle tai-chi and good food
  • Beijing - smoggy, noisy, and fascinating metropolis capital of China
  • Hong Kong - island city crowned by Victoria Peak
  • Kyoto - former capital of Japan
  • Lhasa - mysterious capital of Tibet
  • Pyongyang - North Korean capital with much communist architecture
  • Seoul - bustling South Korean capital
  • Taipei - vibrant capital city of Taiwan
  • Tokyo - the largest megalopolis in the world
  • Ulaanbaatar - capital of Mongolia
Tibetan Buddhism transmitted from China to Mount Koya, Japan
Tibetan Buddhism transmitted from China to Mount Koya, Japan

East Asia, also popularly known as "the Far East" (especially when compared the the other "East", the Middle East) is what used to be known in the West as The Orient, a mysterious land inhabited by a race of inscrutable tea-sipping Orientals. Behind the caricature, though, is a uniting factor in the form of Chinese influence: China, as by far the largest and, historically, the most technologically and societally advanced culture in the region, has given its writing system (Chinese characters), religion (Mahayana Buddhism) and philosophy (Confucianism) to all the countries in East Asia.

However, underneath these superficial similarities lie a vast range of differences. The geography alone covers the gamut, from the arid steppes of Mongolia to the vast deserts of northwestern China, the lush rice paddies of south central China and the beaches of the subtropical islands of Okinawa. The upheaval of the past centuries has also led the countries of the region along strikingly different paths, with the hyper-modern skyscrapers and consumerist culture of Japan having little if anything in common with the Stalinist austerity of North Korea.

Despite the unifying factor of Chinese influence, scratch below the surface and you will find a wide range of cultural differences. In China itself, even within the "Han Chinese" community, the local customs, traditional architecture and cuisine vary widely from region to region, and people native to one region may find certain customs from other regions entirely foreign. In addition, the respective ethnic minorities also practise their own local customs. While the traditional cultures of Korea and Japan have obvious Chinese influences, they still retain many native elements which make them unique in their own right.


East Asia was one of the cradles of world civilisation, with China developing its first civilisations at about the same time as Egypt, Babylonia and India. China stood out as a leading civilisation for thousands of years, building great cities and developing various technologies which were to be unmatched in the West until centuries later. The Han and Tang dynasties in particular are regarded as the golden ages of Chinese civilisation, during which China was not only strong militarily, but also saw the arts and sciences flourish in Chinese society. It was also during these periods that China exported much of its culture to its neighbours, and till this day, one can notice Chinese influences in the traditional cultures of Vietnam, Korea and Japan.

Korea and Japan had historically been under the Chinese cultural sphere of influence, adopting the Chinese script, and incorporating Chinese religion and philosophy into their traditional culture. Nevertheless, both cultures retain many distinctive elements which make them unique in their own right.

However, Chinese dominance was to end during the 19th century, when Western powers arrived and forced the various East Asian states to sign unequal treaties. It first started with Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States forcing Japan, which had adopted an isolationist policy for centuries, to open up to the West, which eventually resulted in collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate and started the Meiji restoration. China was also not spared from Western imperialism, and by then, government corruption had reduced what once was one of the world's greatest civilisations to a sorry state. As a result, China lost several wars to the Western powers as well as its newly modernised neighbour, Japan. As a result of these wars, China lost Hong Kong and Weihai to Britain, while Taiwan, Manchuria and the Liaodong peninsula were ceded to Japan. China also lost control of its tributaries, with Vietnam being annexed by the French, and Korea and the Ryukyu Islands being annexed by the Japanese. Shanghai was also divided among eight different countries (France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Japan).

World War II was to have disastrous consequences on East Asia, as Japan's drive to modernise turned into a drive to colonise its neighbours. The war brought great suffering to many, and destroyed much of East Asia's infrastructure. Japan itself was also not spared, as much of the nation was destroyed by American carpet bombing, and the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed by atomic bomb attacks. Japan's defeat after World War II forced it to give up its colonies, with Taiwan being returned to China, and Korea regaining its independence. However, the end of the war was anything but peaceful. The Chinese Civil War continued, which resulted in victory for the Communists, led by Mao Zedong, giving them control of much of the mainland, and the nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-Shek, forced to retreat to the island of Taiwan and several offshore islands of Fujian, where they remain in control to this day. Korea was split after World War II, with Kim Il-Sung establishing a Communist regime in the north with the support of the Soviet Union, and Syngman Rhee establishing a capitalist regime in the south with the support of the United States. The Korean War began when Kim Il-Sung attacked the south. The war lasted for 3 years and had disastrous consequences, which ended with neither side making any significant territorial gains. North Korea and the United States signed an armstice in 1953 which ended the armed conflict, with South Korea refusing to sign, but no peace treaty was ever signed and the two Koreas remain officially at war with each other to this day.

Despite decades of turmoil, East Asia has begun to grow into one of the most prosperous and technologically advanced regions in the world. Japan was the first to rise from the ruins of World War II, rapidly modernising in the 1950s-1960s and eventually conquering the world's marketplaces with its automobiles and advanced comsumer electronic products to become the world's second largest economy after the United States. This was followed by the rise of the Asian Tigers, which included South Korea, Taiwan and the British colony of Hong Kong, who overcame war and poverty to achieve unprecedented growth rates during the 1970s-1980s, earning their places among the world's richest economies. Today, South Korea and Taiwan are among the world leaders in consumer technology, while Hong Kong remains a leading financial center of the world. More changes were to come at the end of the 20th century, with China regaining control of the British and Portuguese colonies of Hong Kong and Macau respectively, and China also abandoning a hardline Communist policy to introduce market-oriented reforms. Economic reforms by Deng Xiaoping have allowed China to develop rapidly, making it one of the world's fastest growing economies. While the larger cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have grown to become rich and modern, much of the country still suffers from poverty and current president Hu Jintao has pledged to modernise the more inland parts of the country, though whether or not China can rise to achieve its past glories during the Han and Tang dynasties remains to be seen. Pretty much the only exception to East Asia's economic success is North Korea, which has refused market-oriented reforms and continues to adopt a hardline Stalinist policy to this day.


East Asia's major languages, including the many "dialects" of Chinese, are not mutually intelligible. However, while the spoken languages are very different, written Chinese characters can be puzzled out by Japanese and Koreans as well — although even these have wide differences from country to country. (The characters 手紙, literally "hand paper" and meaning "letter" to the Japanese, would be taken as "toilet paper" in China, for example.)

Overall, English remains a traveller's most useful language, though outside Hong Kong, English speakers are not widespread. When looking for English speakers, tourist areas tend to be a good bet and, in general, younger people or those around universities are most likely to speak at least a little. In particular, mainland China has put a big emphasis on English language education. Outside of that you'll encounter many areas where no English is spoken, so patience and a good phrasebook come in handy. For longer stays picking up at least some of the local language is essential.

Get in

By plane

The main intercontinental gateways to East Asia are Hong Kong (SAR, China) , Seoul-Incheon (South Korea) and Tokyo-Narita (Japan). Other airports with good intercontinental connections inclued Osaka-Kansai, Taipei-Taoyuan, Beijing-Capital, Shanghai-Pudong and Guangzhou. However, there are also many other cities with connections to other parts of Asia, which can be convenient entry points for certain travellers. Transferring through mainland China, though increasingly an option in terms of flights, is painful and time-consuming (you may also require visas) and best avoided. If arriving from Europe, transiting via Bangkok or Singapore in South-East Asia may prove cheaper than a direct flight.

By train

The Trans-Siberian Railway connects Russia to Mongolia and China, and China is also linked to Vietnam with the jointly operated Kunming and Nanning to Hanoi routes. Another increasingly popular alternative is going via Central Asia and take the twice weekly service between Almaty in Kazakhstan and Urumqi in China, a journey of around 31 hours dubbed the "new silk route".

By ferry

It's possible to take ferries from the Russian Far East to Japan and Korea, try Dungchon Ferry [1] (Zarubina - Sokcho), Heartland Ferry [2] (Korsakov - Wakkanai) and Fesco [3] (Vladivostok - Toyama) for the easiest options.

Get around

By plane

Plane travel is the fastest way to travel between countries in East Asia, as well as within them. Plane travel within China tends to be cheap by Western standards, although there is some governmental price regulation to keep the prices from being too low. Most flights include meals, which can range from boxes with assorted snacks to steaming hot meals. Vegetarian or halal meals are usually not available at short notice, but may be available if you make arrangements with the airline well in advance. To be safe, check with the airline or your travel agent before you book your flights. Delays are common in some places (like China), sometimes by several hours.

Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai and Taipei all have two main airports; one within the city centre for domestic flights, and one far from the city for international flights. Transferring from the domestic to the international airport and vice-versa can take up to two hours or more, depending on traffic conditions, so make sure you give yourself ample time to make any transfers.

By train

Japan, South Korea and Taiwan all have extensive train networks, but for reasons of geography and politics none connect to the mainland. China also has an extensive network, which is used as the main mode of long distance travel.

Japan has a well developed high-speed rail network known as the Shinkansen, which covers most of the country except Hokkaido and Okinawa. South Korea and Taiwan have begun to develop their own high-speed networks, with a high-speed service along the main business corridors between Seoul and Busan in South Korea and between Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan. Services in China are more limited, and are largely confined to the areas around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

By bus

Many long distance bus routes connect different cities within countries.

By car

Domestic travel by car is possible, though with the exception of Japan, driving habits and road courtesy are not up to the standards of the West. Roads are generally well maintained, though snow can be a problem in the winter in the northern parts of Japan and China, with expressways often having to close due to heavy snow.

Traffic moves on the left in Hong Kong, Macau and Japan, and moves on the right elsewhere.

Taipei 101,Taipei
Taipei 101,Taipei
  • Stroll through Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in Beijing
  • Enjoy some of the world's most beautiful natural scenery in Guilin
  • Take a cruise on the Yangtze River
  • Hike the breathtaking mountains of West Sichuan in the Tibetan Plateau
  • Marvel at the scores of Terracotta Warriors in Xian
  • Ascend the hill to Potala Palace in Lhasa
  • Take the long bus ride across Tibet to Mt. Everest base camp
  • Ride the tram up to Victoria Peak in Hong Kong
  • Take a ride across Victoria Harbour on Hong Kong's famous Star Ferry
  • Ascend Taipei 101, the world's tallest building, in Taipei
  • Ride the Bullet Train in Japan
  • Stay in a capsule hotel or traditional ryokan in Japan
  • Play Pachinko, vertical pinball, in Japan
  • Ride a cable car to Mount Aso, the world's largest caldera.
  • Stroll through the manic neon world of districts like Shinjuku in Tokyo
  • Observe the probably-spewing-ash volcano in the bay of Kagoshima
  • Watch the Arirang Festival's Mass Games, said to be one of the most impressive performances in the world in Pyongyang



East Asia is arguably the best place to experience baseball culture outside the Americas. The sport is hugely popular in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, with professional leagues that often draw a full house of spectators. In fact, the baseball league in Japan is considered by many to be the best professional league outside the United States.

Pop culture

The entertainment industry is huge in East Asia, which has caused it to developed a distinctive pop culture scene. Famous pop stars often perform at concerts which attract sell-out crowds.

Hong Kong and Taiwan are the main centres of Chinese popular culture, with most famous singers and actors originating or based in the two territories. Due to the linguistic variation of the "Chinese language", in addition to Mandarin, songs may also be performed in Cantonese or Minnan. Due to stricter government controls, which include the banning of popular television programmes such as Super Girl, the pop culture scene is not as well developed in mainland China, though it is also slowly beginning to emerge, with several good quality wuxia series being produced in the mainland in recent times.

South Korea is a relatively new comer to the international pop culture scene, though the hallyu or Korean wave phenomenon at the turn of the millenium has sent waves across much of the continent. Despite the language barriers, many famous Korean singers have almost always performed to sell-out crowds in other East Asian countries, and Korean soap operas carry a loyal following in many neighbouring countries. On the other hand, the pop culture scene is non-existent in North Korea, and only government propaganda is allowed to be broadcast in the mass media.

Perhaps the pop culture scene in Japan needs no introduction, as most Westerners would already be familiar with it to some extent through games, comics (漫画 manga) and cartoons (アニメ anime). In addition, the music scene is also very vibrant, with famous singers like Ayumi Hamasaki and Koda Kumi making headlines in newspapers all over the world.

A unique feature of pop culture in East Asia is the karaoke lounge, which was invented in Japan, but has since spread and is immensely popular throughout the region. Lounges vary from respectable to super-dodgy, with some geared for for groups of friends and colleagues getting together to sing their favourite songs and socialise, and others best known for extortionately priced booze and skimpily dressed hostesses who provide sexual services.


Every country in East Asia, as well as the Chinese special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau issue their own currencies, which are the sole legal tender in each of their respective countries/territories. US dollars and Euros are accepted at most banks and money changers, and are also widely accepted in larger department stores and major tourist attractions, though rates in those areas are usually poor. Other widely accepted currencies at banks and money changers include Swiss francs, British pounds, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, New Zealand dollars and Singapore dollars.


China and Mongolia are relatively cheap, but prices are generally expensive elsewhere. Expect the cost of living to be on par with most Western countries in Japan, and only slightly cheaper in South Korea, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong.


Chopsticks are the eating utensil of East Asia. Outside of restaurants specializing in Western cuisine, forks are rarely available and knives are not to be used at the table but spoons are necessary and available for soup!

Rice is an East Asian staple, although in much of northern China and Mongolia wheat predominates.

Fried rice is another popular dish, prepared in a variety of ways in different regions. Fried rice usually has some combination of eggs, vegetables, meat, and/or seafood fried with the rice. Occasionally, some places have other varieties, such as a fruit fried rice.


Tea is the quintessential East Asian drink. Generally, green (unfermented) varieties are preferred over Western-style black tea, but the varieties available cover the entire color and taste spectrum.

Stay safe

East Asia is probably one of the safest regions on the planet for travelers, and is characterized by stable politics and low crime. The main exceptions are China's restive western territories of Xinjiang and Tibet, along with its accompanying counties and prefectures, but even there the heavy police presence keeps crime low and it's not usually foreigners who are targeted. It is standard practice to block visitor entry at the slightest hint of trouble, so know before you go or you may be turned away from buying a bus or train ticket and have to re-route your entire trip in sudden frustration.

Large parts of China and especially Japan and Taiwan are at significant risk from earthquakes. If you're indoors and you feel a shake, stay indoors, as running outside during a quake is the most likely way you'll be injured. Extinguish gas burners and candles and beware of falling objects and toppling furniture. Shelter under furniture or a doorway if necessary. If you're outdoors, stay away from brick walls, glass panels and vending machines, and beware of falling objects, telephone cables etc. Falling roof tiles from older and traditional buildings are particularly dangerous, as they can drop long after the quake has ended.

Many parts of East Asia are mountainous. Use caution when driving or trekking up in these areas. Driving in mainland China can be very dangerous with little enforcement and very risky road habits.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:



Proper noun

East Asia

  1. the Far East



Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

East Asia

Area 11,839,074 km²
Population 1,552,942,700
Countries 6
Languages Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian and many others
Time Zones UTC +7:00 (Western Mongolia) to UTC +9:00 (Japan and Korean Peninsula)
Major Cities Beijing
Hong Kong
Geographic East Asia.
Geographic East Asia shaded in dark green, cultural and other possible definitions shaded in light green.

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:

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

All the countries in Eastern Asia: the countries of Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and eastern Siberia.

The following political entities are commonly seen as located in geographic East Asia:

  • Template:Country data People's Republic of China
(including the Special Administrative Regions of Template:Country data Hong Kong
and Template:Country data Macau


  • Template:Country data Republic of China
  • Template:Country data Japan
  • Template:Country data North Korea
  • Template:Country data South Korea
  • Template:Country data Mongolia

The following peoples or societies are commonly seen as being encompassed by cultural East Asia:

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:

(considered either East Asia or Central Asia—here culture and/or geography may be at issue)   
  • Template:Country data Singapore
(considered either East Asia or Southeast Asia—here the primary question is geographic)   
  • Template:Country data Vietnam
(considered either East Asia or Southeast Asia—here the primary question is geographic)   
  • Template:Country data RUS 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

See also


  1. ^ Center for South Asia Studies: University of California, Berkeley [1]
  2. ^ Center for South Asia Outreach UW-Madison [2]
  3. ^ Department of South Asia Studies: University of Pennsylvania [3]
  4. ^ South Asia Language Resource Center: The University of Chicago [4]
  5. ^ AIIS Advanced Language Programs in India [5]
  6. ^ Tibet is located on the Tibetan Plateau.[6]

External links

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.

This article uses material from the "East Asia" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

File:East Asia (Geog).PNG
Geographic East Asia.

East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that covers about 6,640,000 km², or 15% of the Asian continent.

The following countries are located in East Asia:

Other pages

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