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World Maps

Japan is in the "Far East." I wondered about this when I was in junior high school. Why "far"? From where? Who decided that Japan was in the "east" of the world? What in the world is "Near" East anyway? Why do people say that the US is among the "Western" countries? -- Japan was always placed in the center of the world maps I saw. Being an innocent country boy, I simply believed world maps all over the world were made that way. And on those maps, the US was to the east of Japan. (In fact, you have to go "east" to get there.) So it came as a kind of shock wave for me to know the fact in a later year that Japanese world maps place Japan at the center simply because this is Japan!

Recently, I found in an English exercise book for high school seniors that the first maps of the world were drawn by "people around the Mediterranean Sea." Aha.... I can't recall if I learned this in high school. Probably I did, yeah.


I wonder if it has anything to do with Greenwich Mean Time/the international time line? In that case, Japan is East of GMT and the US is West of GMT. Though I think it's more related to your example of where the original maps were drawn.

I also think India is referred to as East, thus Japan is "Far" East.

I dunno. Just guessing.

So what about Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudia Arabia, Egypt, etc...? I have always called them the "Middle East". :-) lol

Ha-ha! You're right, tatroyer. ;) Bcj, my understanding is that the real center of the world geographically may be around Italy. If GMT is the standard, then European countries other than the UK are in the "east", aren't they? Hmm...but I'm not sure. I think I need some research.

How do you mean Kiyo, 'the real centre of the world'?!

The other day I was at Greenwich - where they decided time should be measured relative to (GMT). I think there's a line on the floor showing the exact divide, but I didn't visit it this time.

Well, who are 'Westerners'? Does that include everyone more west than the Middle-East?