East Asia is the eastern subregion of Asia, which is defined in both geographical and ethno-cultural terms.The region consists of China, Hong Kong, Macao, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The East Asian states China, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan are all unrecognized by at least one other East Asian state. Hong Kong and Macau are officially highly autonomous but are under effective Chinese sovereignty. North Asia borders East Asia’s north, Southeast Asia the south, South Asia the southwest, and Central Asia the west. To the east is the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast is Micronesia (a Pacific Ocean island group, classified as part of Oceania).
The region was the cradle of various ancient civilizations such as ancient China, ancient Japan, ancient Korea, and the Mongol Empire. East Asia was one of the cradles of world civilization, with China, an ancient East Asian civilization being one of the earliest cradles of civilization in human history. For thousands of years, China largely influenced East Asia as it was principally the leading civilization in the region exerting its enormous prestige and influence on its neighbors. Historically, societies in East Asia have been part of the Chinese sphere of influence, and East Asian vocabulary and scripts are often derived from Classical Chinese and Chinese script. The Chinese calendar preserves traditional East Asian culture and serves as the root to which many other East Asian calendars are derived from. Major religions in East Asia include Buddhism (mostly Mahayana), Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism, Taoism, Ancestral worship, and Chinese folk religion in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan, and Christianity, Buddhism and Sindoism in Korea.Tengerism and Tibetan Buddhism is prevalent among Mongols and Tibetans while other religions such as Shamanism are widespread among the indigenous populations of northeastern China such as the Manchus. Major languages in East Asia include Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Major ethnic groups of East Asia include the Han, Yamato, and Koreans. There are 76 officially-recognized minority ethnic groups in East Asia; 55 native to mainland China, 16 native to the island of Taiwan (collectively Taiwanese indigenous peoples), one native to the major Japanese island of Hokkaido (the Ainu) and four native to Mongolia.Histor.
China was the first region settled in East Asia and was undoubtedly the core of East Asian civilization from where other parts of East Asia were formed. The various other regions in East Asia were selective in the Chinese influences they adopted into their local customs. Historian Ping-ti Ho famously labled Chinese civilization as the “Cradle of Eastern Civilization”, in parallel with the “Cradle of Western Civilization” along the Fertile Crescent encompassing Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.
Chinese civilization existed for about 1500 years before other East Asian civilizations emerged into history, Imperial China would exert much of its cultural, economic, technological, and political muscle onto its neighbors.Succeeding Chinese dynasties exerted enormous influence across East Asia culturally, economically, politically and militarily for over two millennia. The Imperial Chinese tributary system shaped much of East Asia’s history for over two millennia due to Imperial China’s economic and cultural influence over the region, and thus played a huge role in the history of East Asia in particular. Imperial China’s cultural preeminence not only led the country to become East Asia’s first literate nation in the entire region, it also supplied Japan and Korea with Chinese loanwords and linguistic influences rooted in their writing systems.
Under Emperor Han Wudi, the Han dynasty made China the regional power in East Asia, projecting much of its imperial power on its neighbors. Han China hosted the largest unified population in East Asia, the most literate and urbanized as well as being the most economically developed, as well as the most technologically and culturally advanced civilization in the region at the time. Cultural and religious interaction between the Chinese and other regional East Asian dynasties and kingdoms occurred. China’s impact and influence on Korea began with the Han dynasty’s northeastern expansion in 108 BC when the Han Chinese conquered the northern part of the Korean peninsula and established a province called Lelang. Chinese influence would soon take root in Korea through the inclusion of the Chinese writing system, monetary system, rice culture, and Confucian political institutions. Jomon society in ancient Japan incorporated wet-rice cultivation and metallurgy through its contact with Korea. Starting from the fourth century AD, Japan incorporated the Chinese writing system which evolved into Kanji by the fifth century AD and has become a significant part of the Japanese writing system. Utilizing the Chinese writing system allowed the Japanese to conduct their daily activities, maintain historical records and give form to various ideas, thoughts, and philosophies. During the Tang dynasty, China exerted its greatest influence on East Asia as various aspects of Chinese culture spread to Japan and Korea. As full-fledged medieval East Asian states were established, Korea by the fourth century AD and Japan by the seventh century AD, Japan and Korea actively began to incorporate Chinese influences such as Confucianism, the use of written Han characters, Chinese style architecture, state institutions, political philosophies, religion, urban planning, and various scientific and technological methods into their culture and society through direct contacts with Tang China and succeeding Chinese dynasties. Drawing inspiration from the Tang political system, Prince Naka no oe launched the Taika Reform in 645 AD where he radically transformed Japan’s political bureaucracy into a more into a more centralized bureaucratic empire. The Japanese also adopted Mahayana Buddhism, Chinese style architecture, and the imperial court’s rituals and ceremonies, including the orchestral music and state dances had Tang influences. Written Chinese gained prestige and aspects of Tang culture such as poetry, calligraphy, and landscape painting became widespread. During the Nara period, Japan began to aggressively import Chinese culture and styles of government which included Confucian protocol that served as a foundation for Japanese culture as well as political and social philosophy. The Japanese also created laws adopted from the Chinese legal system that was used to govern in addition to the kimono, which was inspired from the Chinese robe during the eighth century AD. For many centuries, most notably from the 7th to the 14th centuries, China stood as East Asia’s most advanced civilization and foremost military and economic power exerting its influence as the transmission of advanced Chinese cultural practices and ways of thinking greatly shaped the region up until the nineteenth century.
|Customs territory||GDP nominal
billions of USD (2017)
|GDP nominal per capita
billions of USD (2017)
|GDP PPP per capita
|Hong Kong||1,104||7,371,730||6,390||0.933||Hong Kong|