Far East

From ArticleWorld

The geographical area comprising of Ancient China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia is commonly known as the Far East. Sometimes Philippines and Indonesia are thrown in. New Zealand and Australia, Tibet and Xinjiang are never included in the definition of Far East. The term Far East is ancient and actually misused in the present context.

The historical relevance

Historically the term Far East was used to define the geographical land mass lying to the east of Asian part of the British Empire. Before the World War I, there were two terms in use. Near East referred to lands near the Ottoman Empire, encompassing Middle Eastern countries, Central and South Asia and Far East was used to refer to countries lying on the West Pacific coast. Many other European languages had various terms to define these lands - German Ferner Osten, French Extrême-Orient, Italian Estremo oriente, and Dutch Verre Oosten.

Far East today evokes a sense of exotic culture and geographical area and normally does not refer to westernized countries like Australia or New Zealand. So, it is more of a term used to denote a culture than to represent a group of countries as in the past. Far East in one word means the Orient.

Western interpretation

The UK and US defense units had different commands in the region which were once named:

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East referred to the post-World War II trials of Imperial Japanese war criminals. The usage of the term Far East in the western governments has been ascribed to the dominance and Imperialism in Asia by the French, Portuguese and British. To the west, the term Far East region means the eastern part of the world, hence the usage of the term in various commercial and government enterprises like Far East Shipping or the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review.