far East

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Map of the "Far East" (green)

The Far East (also Far East ) describes a region in the east of Asia . Since the term starts from a Eurocentric point of view and is historically closely linked to European imperialism , it is mostly replaced by " East Asia " these days .

Historical definition

In the language of the British Empire , the Far East has been the name given to all Asian territories beyond the “ Near ” and “ Middle East ” since the early 19th century . These included Indochina , China , Japan , Korea and the areas of Russia close to the Pacific (" Russian Far East "), and more rarely the Indian subcontinent (which was mostly included in the Middle East). In today's terminology, this corresponds to East and Southeast Asia . The Americans also adopted this concept, although from the United States' perspective, the "Far East" is in the west. In British and French diplomacy and journalism, the Far East concept prevailed until the 1960s, while in German-speaking and Japanese diplomacy the concept of "East Asia" had been developed and maintained since the middle of the 19th century. Since the end of the Vietnam War , the “Far East” has clearly been on the decline in the English-speaking world .

This concept has never caught on as a geographical technical term, as there is no definition of the “Far East” that meets geoscientific requirements.

The image of the Far East

The Far East held a considerable fascination for Europe in the 18th century. This was reflected in an idealized China fashion, the chinoiserie of the Rococo down. Ornamental gardens with tea houses and pavilions were popular.

The 19th century was far more pessimistic about the Far East. Novels such as The Sorrows of a Chinese in China by Jules Verne (1879) and The bluish-red Methuselah by Karl May (1888) provided gloomy images of European superiority. One of the most important travelogues of this time was Ferdinand von Richthofen's five-volume work China. Results of own travels and studies based on them (1877ff). The Boxer Rebellion was reflected in Franz Treller's Hung-Li , among others , while Karl May's Und Friede auf Erden (1901) was an exception to the basic trend of his time.