- Far East
The "Far East" is a term often used by people in the
Western worldto refer to the countries of East Asia. [ [http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/fareast?view=uk AskOxford: Far East ] ] It is a Eurocentric term that nevertheless retains strong popular usage. "Far East" came because from Europethe Eastern Asiais the "farthest" of the two "easts" (the others being Near Eastand Middle East) literally near the Pacific Ocean. For the same reason, ancient Chinese people called western country "Tàixī ( _zh. 泰西)" (lit. more west than Arabia).
The term "Far East" was popularized in the
English languageduring the period of the British Empireas a blanket term for lands to the east of British India. Prior to World War I, the " Near East" referred to relatively nearby lands of the Ottoman Empire, " Middle East" to northwestern South Asiaand Central Asia, and "Far East" for countries along the western Pacific Ocean and countries along the eastern Indian Ocean. Many European languages have analogous terms, such as the French "Extrême-Orient", Spanish "Extremo Oriente", Portuguese "Extremo Oriente", German "Ferner Osten", Italian "Estremo Oriente", Polish "Daleki Wschód", and Dutch "Verre Oosten".
Cultural as well as geographic meaning
Significantly, the term evokes cultural as well as geographic separation; the "Far East" is not just geographically distant, but also culturally exotic. It never refers, for instance, to the culturally Western nations of
Australiaand New Zealand, which lie even farther to the east of Europe than East Asia itself. This combination of cultural and geographic subjectivism was well illustrated in 1939 by the Prime Minister of Australia, R. G Menzies. Reflecting upon his country's geopolitical concerns with the onset of war, Menzies commented that:
"The problems of the Pacific are different. What Great Britain calls the Far East is to us the near north." [ [http://www.info.dfat.gov.au/info/historical/HistDocs.nsf/(LookupVolNoNumber)/2~73 Broadcast Speech by Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister ] ]
"Far East" in its usual sense is comparable to terms such as "the
Orient", which means East; the " Eastern world"; or simply the "East". South East Asiaand the Russian Far Eastmight now be included in the Far East to some extent due to recent Chinese migration to Russia, and the Korean diaspora in Russia.
Use of the term in the
Western worldhas become somewhat circumscribed due to its Eurocentrismand association with European imperialism in Asia. The more precise "East Asia" and "Southeast Asia", or larger umbrella terms, such as "Pacific Rim", are preferred in cultural and economic studies. The region's growth has also given new meaning to the term as meaning the Far East of the world (i.e. the easternmost continental land in the Eastern Hemisphere) rather than to the Far East of Europe.
Despite its shortcomings, the term is unlikely to fade from use completely due to historical usage within the names of many Asian-based commercial enterprises and institutions. Examples include:
Far Eastern National Universityin Vladivostok, Far Eastern Universityin the City of Manila, South Korean's Far East University, and the Hong Kong-based " Far Eastern Economic Review"NORTh America have historically used "Far East" for several military units and commands in the region:
British Far East Command
RAF Far East Air Force
U.S. Far East Air Force
* The U.S.
Far East Network
Territories and regions conventionally included under the term "Far East"
=Gallery of the major cities in the Far East=
Four Asian Tigers
Russian Far East
* Whitaker, Brian. " [http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,1154165,00.html From Turkey to Tibet] ," "
The Guardian", February 23, 2004.
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