Epic Games Korea Apologies To Fortnite Fans For Sea Of Japan Kerfuffle

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In much of the world, the body of water between Japan and the Koreas, China, and Russia is known as the Sea of Japan. In South Korea, it is not.


Russia calls it “Japanese Sea” (Yapónskoye móre) and China calls it “Sea of Japan” (日本海, literally “Japan Sea,” using the same characters as Japan). However, South Korea calls it “East Sea,” while North Korea prefers “Korean East Sea.”

So if you are promoting a video game in South Korea, you should probably use... That’s right, East Sea! But in a promo clip for Fortnite Korea Open 2018, there was an old-looking map that reads “Mar del Japan” (pictured, above). Epic Games Korea later clarified that the map should have read “Mar del Japón,” Spanish for the Sea of Japan.

Inevitably, South Korean players complained about the Sea of Japan inclusion.

According to This is Game, Epic Games Korea issued an apology, adding that this was a mistake by the production company that shot the spot, is unrelated to the game’s content and that the Epic Games Korea would be more careful henceforth.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.


This seems like a really weird hill to die on. I get that the Korea is very understandably super sensitive when it comes to many things Japan, but this feels like misplaced anger. The map clearly is meant to resemble 16th century Spanish cartography, it would make more sense for them to name the sea from what the SPANISH would know it as, right?

It would be as if Alaskans got mad at a promo video using an old German WWII map that used the name “Mt. McKinley” (yes, the degree of offense is not nearly as comparable but again, it feels like these folks are just using this as an excuse to get mad at anything Japan).

Now if they’d written out “Sea of Japan” in Hangul, THAT would be a totally mortifying kind of bad. But that’s not what happened here. So this definitely edges closer to ‘angry for the sake of being angry’ kind of offended.