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East Asian

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East Asian

For other uses, see East Asia (disambiguation).
East Asia
Area 11,839,074 km2 (4,571,092 sq mi)[note 1]
Population 1,575,784,500[note 2]
Density 134 /km2 (350 /sq mi)
Countries and territories China China
   Hong Kong
 North Korea
 South Korea
Languages and language families Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, and many others
Nominal GDP (2011) $ 14.878 Trillion
GDP per capita (2011) $ 9,409
Time zones UTC +7:00 (Western Mongolia) to UTC +9:00 (Japan and Korean Peninsula)
Capital cities China Beijing
Japan Tokyo
North Korea Pyongyang
South Korea Seoul
Mongolia Ulaanbaatar
Taiwan Taipei
Other major cities South Korea Busan
South Korea Daegu
China Guangzhou
 Hong Kong
South Korea Incheon
Taiwan Kaohsiung
Japan Nagoya
Taiwan New Taipei
Japan Osaka
China Shanghai
China Shenzhen
Taiwan Taichung
China Tianjin
Japan Yokohama
(see list)

East Asia or Eastern Asia (the latter form preferred solely by the United Nations) is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical[1] or cultural[2] 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, 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 and Korea.[3] 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,[4][5] and recently Christianity in South Korea.[6] The Chinese Calendar is the root from which many other East Asian calendars are derived.


Main article: History of East Asia

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. Through WWII, North Korea, South Korea, and what is now Taiwan and the Eastern China fell under Japanese control. Following Japan's defeat in the war, the Korean peninsula became independent, while Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China.

Uses of the term East Asia

The UN subregion of Eastern Asia and other common definitions of East Asia contain the entirety of the People's Republic of China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan.[note 3][7][1]

Culturally, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam are commonly seen as being encompassed by cultural East Asia.[2][8][9][10]

Alternative definitions

There are mixed debates around the world whether these countries or regions should be considered in East Asia or not.

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[note 3]. 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".[11][12][13] The Council on Foreign Relations defines Northeast Asia as Japan and Korea.[3]

Territory and region data


Country Area km² Population Population density
per km²
HDI (2011) Capital
 China (PRC) 9,640,011 1,339,724,852 138 0.699 Beijing
 Hong Kong (PRC) 1,104 7,061,200 6,390 0.898 Hong Kong
 Japan 377,930 127,950,000 337 0.901 Tokyo
 Macau (PRC) 30 556,800 18,662 No Data Macau
 Mongolia 1,564,100 2,809,600 2 0.653 Ulaanbaatar
 North Korea 120,538 24,346,000 198 No Data Pyongyang
 South Korea 100,210 48,988,833 500 0.897 Seoul
 Taiwan (ROC) 36,188 23,174,528 639 0.882 Taipei


Main article: Economy of East Asia
Country GDP nominal
millions of USD (2012)
GDP nominal per capita
USD (2012)
millions of USD (2011)
GDP PPP per capita
USD (2012)
 China (PRC) 8,227,037 6,076 12,383,935 9,162
 Hong Kong (PRC) 263,021 36,667 351,119 51,494
 Japan 5,963,969 46,736 4,440,376 36,266
 Macau (PRC)[14] 44,300 78,275 47,190 87,765
 Mongolia 10,258 3,673 13,264 5,372
 North Korea 12,385 1,159 40,000 1,800
 South Korea 1,155,872 23,113 1,554,149 32,272
 Taiwan (ROC) 473,971 20,328 876,035 38,749


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.[15] The relationship between Northern China and East Asia has been compared to the historical influence of Greco-Roman civilization on Europe.[15]


Main article: Cities of East Asia

File:Pass over Eastern Asia to Philippine Sea and Guam.ogv

See also



External links

Geography portal
Asia portal
  • High resolution map of East Asian region

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