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East Asia

Updated: 2017-09-09T07:38Z
East Asia
Location of East Asia
Major cities
Area[note 1]
 • Total11,839,074 km2 (4,571,092 sq mi)
Population [note 2]
 • Total1,601,709,712
 • Density140/km2 (350/sq mi)
Time zone
  • UTC +7:00 (Western Mongolia)
  • UTC +8:00 (China, Hong Kong, Macau, Rest of Mongolia and Taiwan)
  • UTC +8:30 (North Korea)
  • UTC +9:00 (Japan and South Korea)
Languages and language families
East Asia
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 东亚/东亚细亚
Traditional Chinese 東亞/東亞細亞
Tibetan name
Tibetan ཨེ་ཤ་ཡ་ཤར་མ་
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet Đông Á
Korean name
Mongolian name
Mongolian Зүүн Ази (Dzuun Azi)
ᠵᠡᠭᠦᠨ ᠠᠽᠢ
Japanese name
Kanji 東亜細亜(東アジア)/東亜
Kana ひがしアジア/とうあ
Kyūjitai 東亞細亞/東亞
Uyghur name
شەرقىي ئاسىي
Russian name
Russian Восточная Азия
Romanization Vostochnaja Azija

East Asia is the eastern subregion of the Asian continent, which can be defined in either geographical[2] or ethno-cultural[3] terms. Geographically and geopolitically, it includes China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan; it covers about 12,000,000 km2 (4,600,000 sq mi), or about 28% of the Asian continent.

The East Asian people comprise 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 riparian 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[4]), Confucianism or Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Chinese folk religion in China and Taiwan, Shinto in Japan, Korean shamanism in Korea. Shamanism is also prevalent among Mongolians and other indigenous populations of northern East Asia such as Manchus, Ewenki,even large Han in this area.[5][6] Islam is popular in Northwest China and Kazaks in Mongolia.The Chinese calendar is the root from which many other East Asian calendars are derived.


The Chinese Dynasties dominated this region culturally and militarily for a lengthy period of time. Cultural and religious exchange between the Chinese and other regional Dynasties and Kingdoms occurred.

As connections with the Western world strengthened, China's power began to diminish. Around the same time, Japan solidified itself as a nation state. During World War II, Korea, Taiwan, much of eastern China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam all fell under Japanese control. Following Japan's defeat in the war, the Korean peninsula became independent but then it was divided into two rival states, while Taiwan became the main territory of de facto state Republic of China after the latter lost mainland China to the People's Republic of China in the Chinese Civil War.

United Nations Statistics Division

File:East Asia map of Köppen climate classification.svg
East Asia map of Köppen climate classification.
UNSD geoscheme for Asia based on statistic convenience rather than implying any assumption regarding political or other affiliation of countries or territories:[7]
  East Asia

The UNSD definition of East Asia is based on statistical convenience,[7] but also other common definitions of East Asia contain the entirety of China (including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau) Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.[2][8]

Culturally, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam are commonly seen as being encompassed by cultural East Asia (East Asian cultural sphere).[3][9][10][11]

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" is sometimes 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. 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".[12][13][14] The Council on Foreign Relations defines Northeast Asia as Japan and Korea.[15]


The economy of East Asia is one of the most developed and high-tech economies of the world, being home to some of the world's largest, most technologically advanced, productive and most prosperous economies such as the industrialized developed countries of South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. 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.[citation needed]

In modern high-technology dependent societies, a high level of structural differentiation, functional specialization, and autonomy of the economic system from an efficient 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.[citation needed]

State/TerritoryGDP nominal
billions of USD[16]
GDP nominal per capita
billions of USD[16]
GDP PPP per capita
23x15px China 17,100.063 12,117 28,920.974 20,493
23x15px Hong Kong 405.781 53,813 525.547 69,695
 Japan 4,746.880 38,174 5,512.220 44,329
23x15px North Korea 25.000 1,000 40.000 1,800
23x15px South Korea 1,898.763 36,749 2,408.301 46,611
23x15px Macau 55.502 91,376 80.765 142,599
23x15px Mongolia 17.871 5,586 53.003 16,569
23x15px Taiwan 650.902 27,350 1,413.195 59,381

Territory and region data


FlagCommon NameOfficial Name
23x15pxChina中国People's Republic of China中华人民共和国
23x15pxHong Kong香港Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
of the People's Republic of China
23x15pxMacau澳門Macao Special Administrative Region
of the People's Republic of China
23x15pxNorth Korea조선Democratic People's Republic of Korea조선민주주의인민공화국 (朝鮮民主主義人民共和國)
23x15pxSouth Korea한국Republic of Korea대한민국 (大韓民國)
23x15pxMongoliaМонгол УлсMongoliaМонгол Улсᠮᠣᠩᠭᠤᠯ
23x15pxTaiwan臺灣Republic of China中華民國


State/Territory Area km2 Population Population density
per km2
HDI Capital
23x15px China 9,640,011[17] 1,373,000,000 138 0.727 Beijing
23x15px Hong Kong 1,104 7,298,600 6,390 0.912 Hong Kong
23x15px Macau 30 642,900 18,662 0.892 Macau
 Japan 377,930 126,890,000 337 0.891 Tokyo
23x15px North Korea 120,538 25,155,000 198 0.595 Pyongyang
23x15px South Korea 100,210 51,482,816 500 0.898 Seoul
23x15px Mongolia 1,564,100 3,041,648 2 0.698 Ulaanbaatar
23x15px Taiwan 36,188 23,468,748 639 0.884 Taipei

Major ethnic groups

Ethnicity Race Native namePopulation Mother Tongues (No Second Language Listed) Native Writing languages Major states/territories* Appearance
Han/ChineseMongoloid汉人/漢人, 汉族/漢族 1,310,000,000[18]Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Hokkien, Hakka, Gan, HsiangSimplified Han characters, Traditional Han characters23x15px (23x15px23x15px) 23x15px
125,117,000[19]JapaneseHan characters (Kanji), Katakana, HiraganaJapan
79,432,225[20]KoreanHangul, Han characters (Hanja)23x15px23x15px23x15pxJapan
8,942,528[21]MongolianMongol script, Cyrillic script23x15px23x15px
ZhuangMongoloid壮族/Bouxcuengh 18,000,000[22]Zhuang, Cantonese, Southwestern Mandarin, etc.Simplified Han characters, Latin script23x15px
ManchusMongoloid满族/ᠮᠠᠨᠵᡠ 10,422,873[23]Northeastern Mandarin, Manchurian (endangered), etc.Simplified Han characters, Mongol script23x15px
HuiMongoloid回族/回回 10,586,087[24]Northwestern Mandarin, other Chinese Dialects,Huihui language etc.Simplified Han characters23x15px
UyghursCaucasoid+Mongoloidئۇيغۇر 10,069,346[25]UyghurArabic script,Latin script(auxiliary)[26]23x15px[27]
HmongMongoloidGhaob Xongb/Hmub/Mongb 9,426,007[28]Hmong, Southwestern MandarinLatin script, Simplified Han characters23x15px
TibetansMongoloidབོད་པ་ 6,500,000[29]Tibetan, Rgyal Rong, Rgu, etc.Tibetan script23x15px
Baipho/BaiMongoloid白族 1,858,063[30]Bai, Southwestern MandarinLatin script, Simplified Han characters23x15px
LôLô/YiMongoloidꆈꌠ/彝族 8,714,393[31]Various Loloish, Southwestern MandarinYi script, Simplified Han characters23x15px
TujiaMongoloid土家族 8,353,912[32]Northern Tujia, Southern TujiaSimplified Han characters23x15px
KamMongoloidGaeml 2,879,974[33]GaemlLatin script23x15px
TuMongoloid土族/Monguor 289,565Tu, Northwestern MandarinSimplified Han characters23x15px
DaurMongoloid达斡尔族/ᠳᠠᠭᠤᠷ 131,992[34]Daur, Northeastern MandarinMongol script, Simplified Han characters23x15px23x15px
RussiansCaucasoidрусские 15,393[35]Russian, Northwestern MandarinCyrillic script, Simplified Han characters23x15px
Mountain TajiksCaucasoidتاجيک 3,556[36]Sarikoli, WakhiArabic script23x15px
AustronesianMongoloidPangcah, etc. 533,600Austronesian languages (Amis, Yami), etc.Latin script, Traditional Han characters23x15px

*Note: The order of states/territories follows the population ranking of each ethnicity, within East Asia only.



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.[37] The relationship between China and East Asia has been compared to the historical influence of Greco-Roman civilisation on Europe.[37]


Religion Native name Denomination Major book TypeEst. Followers Major ethnicities Major states/territories
Taoism道教Zhengyi, QuanzhenTao Te ChingPolytheism 303,320,000[38]Han, Zhuang, Hmong, Yao, Qiang, Tujia, Li23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px
Confucianism儒教Cheng-Zhu, Lu-WangAnalectsPolytheism 6,300,000[39]Han, Joseon, Yamato etc.23x15px(23x15px23x15px) Japan 23x15px 23x15px
Sino-Buddhism漢傳佛教 or 汉传佛教Mahayana, HinayanaDiamond SutraNon-God 250,000,000[40]Han, Joseon, Yamato, Manchus etc.23x15px (23x15px23x15px) Japan 23x15px 23x15px
Tibetan Buddhismབོད་བརྒྱུད་ནང་བསྟན།Mahayanaanuttarayoga TantraNon-God 5,000,000[41]Tibetan, Manchus, Mongols, Han etc.23x15px23x15px
ShamanismN/AN/AN/APrimitive 50,000[42]Tibetan, Manchus, Mongols, Oroqen, Han etc.23x15px23x15px
Shinto神道N/AN/APrimitive 2,700,000[43]YamatoJapan
IslamإسلامSunni, ShiaQuranHenotheism 24,690,000[38]Hui, Tajik, Uyghurs, Kazakh, Dongxiang etc.23x15px23x15px


FestivalNative NameOther nameCalendarDateGregorian dateActivityReligious practicesFoodMajor ethnicitiesMajor states/territories
Chinese New Year春節 or 春节Spring FestivalChineseMonth 1 Day 121 Jan–20 FebFamily Reunion, Ancestors Worship, Tomb Sweeping, FireworksWorship the King of GodsJiaoziHan, Joseon, Manchus etc.23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px 23x15px 23x15px
New Year元旦Yuan DanGregorian1 Jan1 JanFireworksN/AN/AN/A23x15px(23x15px23x15px) Japan 23x15px 23x15px 23x15px 23x15px 23x15px23x15px
Losar or Tsagaan Sarལོ་གསར་ or Цагаан сарWhite MoonTibetan, MongolianMonth 1 Day 125 Jan–2 MarFamily Reunion, Ancestors Worship, Tomb Sweeping, FireworksN/AChhaang or BuuzTibetans, Mongols, Tu etc.23x15px23x15px
Lantern Festival元宵節 or 元宵节Upper Yuan FestivalChineseMonth 1 Day 154 Feb–6 MarLanterns Expo, Ancestors Worship, Tomb SweepingBirthdate of the God of Sky-officerYuanxiaoHan, Joseon, Yamato23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px Japan 23x15px*
Qingming Festival清明節 or 清明节Tomb Sweeping DaySolar15th day since March equinox4 Apr–6 AprilAncestors Worship, Tomb SweepingBurning Hell moneyCold FoodHan, Joseon, Mongols23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px 23x15px
Dragon Boat Festival端午節 or 端午节Duanwu FestivalChineseMonth 5 Day 5Driving poisons & plague away, Dragon Boat Race, Wearing colored lines, Hanging felon herb on the front door.Worship various GodsZongziHan, Joseon, Yamato23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px Japan 23x15px*
Ghost Festival中元節 or 中元节Mid Yuan FestivalChineseMonth 7 Day 15Ancestors Worship, Tomb SweepingBirthdate of the God of Earth-officerHan, Joseon, Yamato23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px Japan 23x15px*
Mid-Autumn Festival中秋節 or 中秋节中秋祭ChineseMonth 8 Day 15Family Reunion, Enjoying Moon viewWorship the Moon GoddessMooncakeHan, Joseon, Yamato23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px Japan 23x15px*
Double Ninth Festival重陽節 or 重阳节Double Negative FestivalChineseMonth 9 Day 09Climbing Mountain, Taking care of elderly, Wearing Cornus.Worship various GodsHan, Joseon, Yamato23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px Japan 23x15px*
Lower Yuan Festival下元節 or 下元节N/AChineseMonth 10 Day 15Ancestors Worship, Tomb SweepingBirthdate of the God of Water-officerCibaHan23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px 23x15px
Dec 23 Festival小年Small New YearChineseMonth 12 Day 23Cleaning HousesWorship the God of HearthtangguaHan, Mongols23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px
International Labor DayN/AN/AGregorian1 May1 MayN/AN/AN/AN/A23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px
International Women's DayN/AN/AGregorian8 Mar8 MarTaking care of womenN/AN/AN/A23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px 23x15px 23x15px

*Japan switched the date to the Gregorian calendar after the Meiji Restoration.

*Not always on that Gregorian date, sometimes April 4.


East Asian Youth Games

Formerly the East Asian Games is a multi-sport event organised by the East Asian Games Association (EAGA) and held every four years since 2019 among athletes from East Asian countries and territories of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), as well as the Pacific island of Guam, which is a member of the Oceania National Olympic Committees.

The East Asian Games is 1 of 5 Regional Games of the OCA. The others are the East Asian Games, the Central Asian Games, the South Asian Games, theSoutheast Asian Games (SEA Games), and the West Asian Games. All nigh East Asian States/Territories join this Game.[44]

Free trade agreements

Name of agreementPartiesLeaders at the timeNegotiation beginsSigning dateStarting timeCurrent status
China–South Korea FTA23x15px 23x15pxXi Jinping, Park Geun-hyeMay, 2012Jun 01, 2015Dec 30, 2015Enforced
China–Japan–South Korea FTA23x15px Japan 23x15pxXi Jinping, Shinzō Abe, Park Geun-hyeMar 26, 2013N/AN/A10 round negotiation
Japan-Mongolia EPAJapan 23x15pxShinzō Abe, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj-Feb 10, 2015-Enforced
China-Mongolia FTA23x15px 23x15pxXi Jinping, Tsakhiagiin ElbegdorjN/AN/AN/AOfficially proposed
Mainland-HK CEPA23x15px 23x15pxJiang Zemin, Tung Chee-hwa-Jun 29, 2003-Enforced
Mainland-Macau CEPA23x15px 23x15pxJiang Zemin, Edmund Ho Hau-wah-Oct 18, 2003-Enforced
Hong Kong-Macau CEPA23x15px 23x15pxCarrie Lam, Fernando ChuiOct 09, 2015N/AN/ANegotiating
ECFA23x15px 23x15pxHu Jintao, Ma Ying-jeouJan 26, 2010Jun 29, 2010Aug 17, 2010Enforced
CSSTA (Based on ECFA)23x15px 23x15pxXi Jinping, Ma Ying-jeouMar, 2011Jun 21, 2013N/AAbolished
CSGTA (Based on ECFA)23x15px 23x15pxHu Jintao, Ma Ying-jeouFeb 22, 2011N/AN/ASuspended

Military alliances

NameAbbr.Parties within the region
Shanghai Cooperation OrganisationSCO23x15px(23x15px23x15px)
General Security of Military Information AgreementGSOMIAJapan23x15px
Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty -23x15px(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px
Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan -United States(23x15px23x15px) Japan
Mutual Defense Treaty Between the United States and the Republic of Korea -United States(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px
Taiwan Relations ActTRAUnited States(23x15px23x15px) 23x15px

Major cities and towns

File:Pass over Eastern Asia to Philippine Sea and Guam.ogv
Pass of the ISS over Mongolia, looking out west towards the Pacific Ocean, China, and Japan. As the video progresses, you can see major cities along the coast and the Japanese islands on the Philippine Sea. The island of Guam can be seen further down the pass into the Philippine Sea, and the pass ends just to the east of New Zealand. A lightning storm can be seen as light pulses near the end of the video.

See also


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External links

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  1. ^ Non-United Nations member state
  2. ^ a b "East Asia". Encarta. Microsoft. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2008-01-12. the countries and regions of China (Hong Kong, Macau), Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. 
  3. ^ a b 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."
  4. ^ include Tibetan Buddhism
  5. ^ Chongho Kim, "Korean Shamanism", 2003 Ashgate Publishing
  6. ^ Andreas Anangguru Yewangoe, "Theologia crucis in Asia", 1987 Rodopi
  7. ^ a b "United Nations Statistics Division- Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications (M49)". United Nations Statistics Division. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 
  8. ^ "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. 
  9. ^ R. Keith Schopper's East Asia: Identities and Change in the Modern World
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ United Nations Environment Programme (mentions sinosphere countries) Approaches to Solution of Eutrophication [1]
  12. ^ Christopher M. Dent (2008). East Asian regionalism. London: Routledge. pp. 1–8. 
  13. ^ Charles Harvie, Fukunari Kimura, and Hyun-Hoon Lee (2005), New East Asian regionalism. Cheltenham and Northamton: Edward Elgar, pp.3-6.
  14. ^ Peter J. Katzenstein and Takashi Shiraishi (2006), Beyond Japan: the dynamics of East Asian regionalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp.1-33
  15. ^ "Northeast Asia." Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved on August 10, 2009.
  16. ^ a b c d "SEA GDP". IMF. 
  17. ^ Include all area which under PRC's government control(exclude "South Tibet" and disputed islands).
  18. ^ "汉族". 维基百科,自由的百科全书 (in 中文). 2017-03-29. 
  19. ^ "人口推計 - 平成 28年 12月 報" (PDF). 
  20. ^ "한민족". 위키백과, 우리 모두의 백과사전 (in 한국어). 2017-03-29. 
  21. ^ "Mongols". Wikipedia. 2017-03-18. 
  22. ^ "壮族". 维基百科,自由的百科全书 (in 中文). 2017-03-25. 
  23. ^ "满族". 维基百科,自由的百科全书 (in 中文). 2017-02-23. 
  24. ^ "Hui people". Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2016-02-18. 
  25. ^ "维吾尔族". 维基百科,自由的百科全书 (in 中文). 2017-03-29. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ Khotons in 23x15px
  28. ^ "苗族". 维基百科,自由的百科全书 (in 中文). 2017-02-19. 
  29. ^ "藏族". 维基百科,自由的百科全书 (in 中文). 2017-03-20. 
  30. ^ "Bai people". Wikipedia. 2017-04-15. 
  31. ^ "Yi people". Wikipedia. 2017-04-15. 
  32. ^ "Tujia people". Wikipedia. 2017-01-19. 
  33. ^ "Kam people". Wikipedia. 2017-04-06. 
  34. ^ people&oldid=685737832 "Daur people" Check |url= value (help). Wikipedia. 2017-03-18. 
  35. ^ "Russians". Wikipedia. 2017-05-03. 
  36. ^ "Tajiks of Xinjiang". Wikipedia. 2017-03-29. 
  37. ^ a b Edwin O. Reischauer, "The Sinic World in Perspective," Foreign Affairs 52.2 (January 1974): 341-348. JSTOR
  38. ^ a b "Religions in China". Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  39. ^ "World Religions - Followers, Beliefs, and More". Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  40. ^ "World Religions - Followers, Beliefs, and More". Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  41. ^ "Tibetan people". Wikipedia. 2017-05-03. 
  42. ^ "Shamanism". Wikipedia. 2017-05-04. 
  43. ^ "World Religions - Followers, Beliefs, and More". Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  44. ^ "East Asian Youth Games". Wikipedia. 2016-10-22. 

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