- 北東アジア研究 (ISSN:13463810)
- no.7, pp.43-56, 2004-03
Where is "Northeast Asia" located in the world? The answers to that question are different by the disciplines or interests of the scholars at least in Japan. For instance, historians on premodern Asia recognize "Northeast Asia" as a historical cultural zone of the Tungus people. It covers East Siberia, Russian Far East, Northeastern China and Korea. The group of cultural anthropologists, linguists and archaeologists refer "Northeast Asia" to the living area of Palaeo-Siberian people in Siberia. The researchers of international relations, using the regional concept of "Northeast Asia", are discussing today's political issues and their international environment in Korean Peninsula. Moreover, in Japanese, there are two words for "Northeast Asia"; Tohoku Ajia (East-North Asia) and Hokuto Ajia (North-East Asia). Although the name of "Northeast Asia" has been used since the end of 19^<th> century in Russian works, it would be rare for English speaking people to use the words. At first stage, it showed the northeastern part of "Asiatic Russia". In 1931-41, when Robert Kerner founded the Northeast Asian Seminar in University of California, Berkeley, he intended to combine Russian studies with East Asian studies and put a new point of view to "Northeast Asia". In his understanding of "Northeast Asia", that words means "frontier" region between Russia, China and Japan. In the USA after the Second World War, among most of Asian researchers, "Northeast Asia" includes Korea and Japan, while "East Asia" means the wide area between China, Korea and Japan. In Japan, until 1945, a few anthropologists as like Torii Ryuzo utilized the words on their articles, introducing ethnic relations in East Siberia. Since 1950s, Mikami Tsuguo started to use the words for explaining the activities of the Tungus in the ancient time instead of the word Man-Sen (Manchuria and Korea). In 1951, just before the San Francisco Peace Conference, the end of Occupation time, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, following the example of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs in the USA's Department of States, organized Department of Northeast Asia. The Office of Northeast Asian Affairs in the USA takes cares of South Korea, Japan and Republican China, anti-Communist states in East Asia, while the Department of Northeast Asia in Japan covers all the Korean issues including North Korean. Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs avoided using the name of Department of Korea for political consideration, because there are two words for Korea, Chosen and Kankoku, in the Japanese. The words "Southeast Asia" has been also popularized over the world since 1945, and well recognized where that words indicate the area. However, in the case of "Northeast Asia" there is no consensus of indicating which range on the world map among the writers.