|States and territories|
|• Total||11,839,074 km2 (4,571,092 sq mi)|
|• Density||140/km2 (350/sq mi)|
|Languages and language families|
|Revised Romanization||Dong Asia/Dong Asea/Dong A|
|Revised Hepburn||Higashi Ajia/Tō-A|
East Asia or Eastern Asia is the eastern subregion of the Eurasian continent, which can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms. Geographically and geopolitically, it covers about 12,000,000 km2 (4,600,000 sq mi), or about 28% of the Asian continent, about 15% bigger than the area of Europe.
More than 1.5 billion people, about 38% of the population of Asia and 22% or over one fifth of all the people in the world, live in East Asia. 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), although Mongolia has the lowest population density of a sovereign state. Using the UN subregion definitions, East Asia 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 and Korea. Major religions include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism or Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion in China and Taiwan, Shinto in Japan, Shamanism in Korea, Mongolia and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia, and recently Christianity in South Korea. The Chinese Calendar is the root from which many other East Asian calendars are derived.
The history of East Asia is predominantly the history of the Chinese Dynasties that dominated the region in matters of trade as well as militarily, such as the Qin and the Han Dynasties. There are records of tributes sent overseas from the early kingdoms of Korea and Japan. There were also considerable levels of cultural and religious exchange between the Chinese and other regional Dynasties and Kingdoms.
As connections began to strengthen with the Western world, China's power began to diminish. Around the same time, Japan solidified itself as a nation state. Throughout WWII, Korea, Taiwan, Eastern China, and Vietnam fell under Japanese control. Following Japan's defeat in the war, the Korean peninsula became independent, while Taiwan became part of the Republic of China.
Uses of the term East Asia
The UNSD definition of Eastern Asia purely based on statistical convenience, but also other common definitions of East Asia contain the entirety of China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan.
There are mixed debates around the world whether these countries or regions should be considered in East Asia or not.
- Vietnam (officially part of Southeast Asia geographically, although culturally it is a part of the East Asian cultural sphere, politically, it is related to both Southeast Asia and East Asia)
- Siberia in Russia (often described as North Asia due to its location, although this part of Russia is often seen as more closely related to its East Asian neighbours)
- Outer Manchuria in Russia (also known as Priamurye) - this part of Russia was ruled by the Chinese Qing dynasty until the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Treaty of Peking in 1860, when the Sino-Russian border was realigned on the Amur and Ussuri rivers in Russia's favour. In contrast to Siberia it has a humid continental climate.
- Sovereignty issues exist over some territories in the South China Sea. Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, the three disputed regions or states claimed by China, are considered as part of the Southeast Asia in some occasions, especially by the local people.
- For the purposes of recording plant distributions, the World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions uses a much smaller area, consisting only of Japan, Korea and Taiwan, plus some associated islands.
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 China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. However, in this context, the term "Far East" is often more appropriate which covers ASEAN countries and the traditional countries in East Asia. Far East describes the region's geographical position in relation to Europe rather than its location within Asia. Alternatively, the term "Asia Pacific Region" is often used in describing the Far East region as well as Oceania.
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, Taiwan, 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 Japan and Korea.
Territory and region data
|Area km²||Population||Population density
|Hong Kong||1,104||7,298,600||6,390||0.891||Hong Kong|
millions of USD (2015)
|GDP nominal per capita
millions of USD (2015)
|GDP PPP per capita
The culture of East Asia has been influenced by the civilization of northern China. East Asia shares a Confucian ethical philosophy, Buddhism, political and legal structures, and historically a common writing system. The relationship between Northern China and East Asia has been compared to the historical influence of Greco-Roman civilization on Europe.
Tokyo is the largest city in the world, both in metropolitan population and economy.
Seoul is the capital and largest city of South Korea (ROK), and is a leading global technology hub.
Shanghai is the largest city in China and one of the largest in the world, and is the leading commercial and financial center of mainland China.