The UOS Times
Opinion
‘Corea’ or ‘Korea’ ? - Where Are We from?
Kang, Byeoung-ju Junior Reporter  |  bjkang01@hanmail.net
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[0호] 승인 2004.09.09  
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Subjects of survey : The 100 UOSians
Date of survey : August 12th, 2003

Campus Survey is a new column in this edition of The UOS Times, No. 81. It has been created to find out what the UOSians think about hot issues in society. In this time, we surveyed the UOSians’ thoughts on the idea of changing the English name of our country from ‘Korea’ into ‘Corea.’

Recently, Kim, Seong-ho, a congressman from ‘The Millennium Democratic Party,’ put forward a proposal to modify our nation’s English name, that is, changing it from ‘Korea’ to ‘Corea,’ and this has become a topic of debate. By submitting the bill, he has attracted a lot of public attention. It has already become a hot potato among the netizens. What have the UOSians thought about this issue?


1. What do you think about the idea of changing our country’s English name from ‘Korea’ to ‘Corea’?
a. Agree b. Disagree c. No idea

1-1 If you agree, what is the main reason?
a. To get rid of the vestiges of Japanese imperialism
b. For peace on the Korean peninsula and for unity among Koreans: unifying Korea and Chosun
c. To recover our historical legitimacy
d. The others

As the chart above shows, more than half of the UOSians we surveyed agreed with the idea of modifying our country’s English name. The main reason for agreeing was to recover historical legitimacy (42%). Related to this, the opinion that modification is necessary to clear away vestiges of Japanese imperialism came next.

In other words, historical materials show us that ‘Corea,’ which was historically used as the name of our country, was forced to change into ‘Korea’ by Japanese imperialism. Therefore, we must recover our independence and legitimacy by using our historical country name, ‘Corea.’

To put it concretely, there were other opinions such as: ‘We should not be afraid to expend time and effort on this matter.

It is not a waste but a necessary process,’ ‘Although the modification should be made with great care, it has high symbolic value for our national self-confidence,’ and ‘The change needs to be done gradually, keeping pace with international publicity.’ In addition, some respondents mentioned a reason related to the name’s visual aspects, saying they thought that ‘Korea’ had a rather sharp image, so ‘Corea’ looked better than ‘Korea.’

1-2 If you disagree, why do you think so?
a. Due to the great economic costs that would bring
b. It is just a difference of expressing in English : Latinate languages are still using Corea (or Coree, in the case of French).
c. There is an insufficient evidence that Japan forcibly changed the name: there is an evidence that both names were used prior to Japanese occupation.
d. The others

According to the data above, potential economic losses were the main reason cited for opposing the idea. We have already had an experience of modifying an official name, changing ‘Pusan’ to ‘Busan.’ However, this has not been a simple progress.

The cost of amending all outward-bound ships, maps and traffic signs has been unimaginably high. According to one study, changing ‘Pusan’ to ‘Busan’ cost about 900 thousand billion won. So, changing ‘Korea’ to ‘Corea’ would impose a heavy burden on the country.

Also, the country’s official name is ‘Korea’ in England, America, Germany and Slavic countries, while it is ‘Corea’ in Spain, Mexico and the rest of Latin America. In other words, the modification could just be a change from an English name to a Latinate name. Opponents of the idea said, ‘It is not important whether the name starts with K or C. And the theory that the change to ‘Korea’ was part of a Japanese conspiracy does not have enough bases in fact.

It is also an established fact that the abbreviation for Korea is ROK internationally, while North Korea uses DPRK.’ A more general question arises on this point. Should we even respond to Japan’s childish behavior in the past, when they reportedly changed the name to Korea just because K(Korea) comes later than J(Japan) in international events?

Due to the emotiveness of our relationship with Japan, the issue of modification is an important one. But it is not a problem that will be solved in a hurry or by emotional responses. A country’s image is strongly linked with its name. For example, during the period of the World Cup, the name of ‘Korea’ became well known throughout the world, although the Red Devils used ‘Corea.’ In any case, such an international image must not be ignored. In the long term, the modification will undoubtedly be realized.

However, we have to ask ourselves the question whether a change from ‘Korea’ to ‘Corea’ will bring us benefits. We should spend enough time deliberating on this important question. Hence, considering all the present circumstances, it seems this modification does not need to be achieved too hurriedly.
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