|States and territories|
|• Total||11,839,074 km2 (4,571,092 sq mi)|
|Population [note 2]|
|• Density||140/km2 (350/sq mi)|
|Languages and language families|
|Vietnamese alphabet||Đông Á|
East Asia is the eastern subregion of the Asian continent, which can be defined in either geographical or ethno-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. Although the coastal and rivery areas of the region form one of the world's most populated places, the population in Mongolia and Western China, both landlocked areas, is very sparsely distributed, with Mongolia having the lowest population density of a sovereign state. The overall population density of the region is 133 inhabitants per square kilometre (340/sq mi), about three times the world average of 45/km2 (120/sq mi).
Historically, 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. Major religions include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism or Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion in China and Taiwan, Shinto in Japan, Shamanism and Christianity in Korea. Shamanism is also prevalent in Mongolia and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia. The Chinese Calendar is the root from which many other East Asian calendars are derived.
Chinese Dynasties dominated the region in matters of culture, trade, and exploration as well as militarily for a very long time. 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, Republic of China, northeastern and eastern part of China, and Vietnam all fell under Japanese control. Following Japan's defeat in the war, the Korean peninsula became independent, while Taiwan returned to be part of the Republic of China after the WWII.
United Nations Statistics Division
The UNSD definition of East Asia is based on statistical convenience, but also other common definitions of East Asia contain the entirety of China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Republic of China, Mongolia, Japan, North Korea and South Korea.[note 3]
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)
- Sovereignty issues exist over some territories in the South China Sea.
In business and economics, "East Asia" has sometimes been used to refer to a wide geographical area covering ten Southeast Asian countries in ASEAN, People's Republic of China, Taiwan , Japan and South Korea.[note 3] However, in this context, the term "Far East" is often more appropriate which covers ASEAN countries and the countries in East Asia. However, being a Eurocentric term, 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 East Asia, Southeast Asia as well as Oceania.
Observers preferring a broader definition of "East Asia" often use the term Northeast Asia to refer to the greater China area, Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan, with Southeast Asia covering the ten ASEAN countries. This usage, which is seen in economic and diplomatic discussions, 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
|Country or region||Area km²||Population||Population density
|Hong Kong||1,104||7,298,600||6,390||0.912||Hong Kong|
The economy of East Asia is one of the most successful, developed and high-tech economies of the world, being home to some of the world's largest, most technologically advanced and most prosperous economies such as the industrialized developed countries of South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan. While the military and economic superpower of China is projected to soon become the largest economy in the world surpassing the United States of America. Major positive factors have ranged from favorable political-legal environments for industry and commerce, through abundant natural resources of various kinds, to plentiful supplies of relatively low-cost, skilled and adaptable labor.
In modern societies, a high level of structural differentiation, functional specialization, and autonomy of the economic system from government is a major contributor to industrial-commercial growth and prosperity. Currently in East Asia, trading systems are relatively open; and zero or low duties on imports of consumer and capital goods etc. have considerably helped stimulate cost-efficiency and change. Free and flexible labor and other markets are other important factors making for high levels of business-economic performance. East Asian populations have demonstrated highly positive work ethics. There are relatively large and fast-growing markets for consumer goods and services of all kinds.
|Country or region||GDP nominal
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 civilisation of China. East Asia, as well as Vietnam, share a Confucian ethical philosophy, Buddhism, political and legal structures, and historically a common writing system. The relationship between China and East Asia has been compared to the historical influence of Greco-Roman civilisation on Europe.
Major cities and towns
Seoul is the capital of South Korea, one of the largest cities in the world and a leading global technology hub.
- Economy of East Asia
- East Asia Summit
- East Asian Community
- East Asian cultural sphere
- East Asian Games
- East Asian languages
- East Asian studies
- Four Asian Tigers
- China–Japan–South Korea trilateral summit
- Chinese calligraphy
- Japanese calligraphy
- Korean calligraphy
- Mongolian calligraphy
- The area figure is based on the combined areas of China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Taiwan, Mongolia, North Korea South Korea and Japan as listed at List of countries and outlying territories by total area.
- The population figure is the combined populations of China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Taiwan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Japan as listed at List of countries by population (last updated Feb 22, 2011).
- Republic of China (officially the Republic of China) has limited recognition internationally as a sovereign state while most countries keeps unofficial relations with it, see Political status of Taiwan.
- "East Asia". encarta. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
the countries, territories, and regions of China, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Macau, and Taiwan.
- Columbia University - "East Asian cultural sphere" "The East Asian cultural sphere evolves when Japan, Korea, and what is today Vietnam all share adapted elements of Chinese civilisation of this period (that of the Tang dynasty), in particular Buddhism, Confucian social and political values, and literary Chinese and its writing system."
- Chongho Kim, "Korean Shamanism", 2003 Ashgate Publishing
- Andreas Anangguru Yewangoe, "Theologia crucis in Asia", 1987 Rodopi
- "United Nations Statistics Division- Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications (M49)". United Nations Statistics Division. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- "Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings". United Nations Statistics Division. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- R. Keith Schopper's East Asia: Identities and Change in the Modern World
- 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
- United Nations Environment Programme (mentions sinosphere countries) Approaches to Solution of Eutrophication 
- Christopher M. Dent (2008). East Asian regionalism. London: Routledge. pp. 1–8.
- Charles Harvie, Fukunari Kimura, and Hyun-Hoon Lee (2005), New East Asian regionalism. Cheltenham and Northamton: Edward Elgar, pp.3-6.
- Peter J. Katzenstein and Takashi Shiraishi (2006), Beyond Japan: the dynamics of East Asian regionalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp.1-33
- "Northeast Asia." Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved on August 10, 2009.
- "SEA GDP". IMF.
- Macau (2013)
- Edwin O. Reischauer, "The Sinic World in Perspective," Foreign Affairs 52.2 (January 1974): 341-348. JSTOR
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|North Asia||North Asia
|Central Asia||Pacific Ocean|
|South Asia||South Asia
|South China Sea|