Strait is a sea passage between
South Korea and Japan,
connecting the East
China Sea, the
Yellow Sea (West sea) and the East
Sea (Sea of Japan) in the northwest Pacific Ocean. The strait is split
Tsushima Island into the Western Channel and the Tsushima
Strait or Eastern Channel.
3 Economic significance
4 Naming of the strait
5 Historic impact
5.1 Land bridge
5.2 Early history
5.3 Mongolian invasion
Wokou and Ōei Invasion
5.5 Battle of Tsushima
5.6 Battle of Korea Strait
6 See also
8 External links
To the north it is bounded by the southern coast of the Korean
Peninsula, and to the south by the southwestern
Japanese islands of
Kyūshū and Honshū. It is about 200 km (120 mi) wide and
averages about 90 to 100 meters (300 ft) deep.
Tsushima Island divides the Korea
Strait into the western channel and
the Tsushima Strait. The western channel is deeper (up to
227 meters) and narrower than the Tsushima Strait.
A branch of the
Kuroshio Current passes through the strait. Its warm
branch is sometimes called the Tsushima Current. Originating along the
Japanese islands this current passes through the East sea then divides
along either shore of
Sakhalin Island, eventually flowing into the
Pacific Ocean via the strait north of
Hokkaidō and into the
Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk north of
Sakhalin Island near Vladivostok. The
water-mass characteristics vary widely because of the low-salinity
waters of the southeast coasts of Korea and China.
Numerous international shipping lanes pass through the strait,
including those carrying much of the traffic bound for the ports of
southern South Korea. Both
South Korea and
Japan have restricted their
territorial claims in the strait to 3 nautical miles (5.6 km)
from shore, so as to permit free passage through it.
Passenger ferries travel numerous routes across the strait. Commercial
ferries run from Busan,
South Korea to Japanese ports including
Fukuoka, Tsushima, Shimonoseki, and Hiroshima. Ferries also connect
Tsushima Island with Fukuoka, and South Korea's
Jeju Island with the
Korean mainland. Ferries connecting
Busan and Japanese cities with
China also traverse the strait.
Japan's territorial waters extend to three nautical miles
(5.6 km) into the strait instead of the usual twelve, reportedly
to allow nuclear-armed
United States Navy
United States Navy warships and submarines to
transit the strait without violating Japan's prohibition against
nuclear weapons in its territory.
Naming of the strait
Korean Peninsula - Kyushu
Korean Peninsula - Tsushima Island
Tsushima Island - Kyushu
(commonly used in English)
Strait Western Channel
Strait Eastern Channel
South Korean name
대한해협 - 大韓海峡
North Korean name
조선해협 - 朝鮮海峡
朝鮮海峡 or 対馬海峡西水道
Chōsen Kaikyō or Tsushima Kaikyō Nishi-suidō
"Korea Strait" or "Tsushima
Strait Western Channel"
対馬海峡 or 対馬海峡東水道
Tsushima Kaikyō or Tsushima Kaikyō Higashi-suidō
"Tsushima Strait" or "Tsushima
Strait Eastern Channel"
See article: Land bridge
Pleistocene glacial cycles, the Korea
Strait and the Bering
Straits, and the
Yellow Sea (West sea) were often narrowed and the
Japanese islands may at times have been connected to the Eurasian
Continent through the
Korean Peninsula or Sakhalin. At times, the East
sea was said to be a frozen inner lake due to the lack of warm
Tsushima Current and various plants and large animals, such as the
Palaeoloxodon naumanni are believed to have spread into Japan.
Historically, these narrows served as a highway for high risk voyages.
The shortest distance between Busan, South Korea, and the Tsushima
Island is about 50 km, as is the shortest distance from Tsushima
to Iki Island, Japan.
Yamatai periodically sent year-long embassies to Chinese
dynasties, believed to have traveled through the Korean strait and the
Korean peninsula, to obtain the latest culture and technologies. In
the 6th century,
Buddhism (Mahāyāna Buddhism) was transmitted by
Baekje people to the easternmost
Japan of the Emperor Kinmei's era
over this strait (See also: East Asian
See main article:
Mongol invasions of Japan
A joint Mongol-Korea fleet crossed this strait and attempted to invade
Japan in 1274 and 1281. The force severely ravaged the Tsushima Island
on the way to
Japan but failed to defeat Japan. The typhoon (kamikaze,
usually translated as "divine wind") is said to have saved
Mongol invasion fleet led by
Kublai Khan in 1281.
Wokou and Ōei Invasion
See main article:
Wokou and Ōei Invasion
After the Mongolian invasion ravaged Tsushima, it became a base of the
Wokou (Japanese pirates). The Korean
Joseon Dynasty sent a fleet to
Tsushima in 1419 for the suppression of
Wokou activity. Korea
subsequently agreed to grant the Japanese limited trading privileges.
Battle of Tsushima
See main article: Battle of Tsushima
The Battle of Tsushima, fought between the Japanese and Russian navies
on May 27 and May 28, 1905, took place in the Tsushima
Strait part of
the Korea Strait, east of the north part of Tsushima and due north of
Iki Island. The Russian fleet was virtually destroyed by the Japanese.
Battle of Korea Strait
Main article: Battle of Korea Strait
The Battle of Korea
Strait was a naval battle fought on the first day
of the Korean War, 25–26 June 1950, between the navies of South
Korea and North Korea. A North Korean troop transport carrying
hundreds of soldiers attempted to land its cargo near
Busan but was
encountered by a South Korean patrol ship and sunk. It was one of the
first surface actions of the war and resulted in an important South
The possibility of a
Japan–Korea Undersea Tunnel or bridge, similar
Channel Tunnel running under the
English Channel between France
and the United Kingdom, has been discussed for decades.
Geography of Korea
List of Japan-related topics
Geography of Japan
^ Kyodo News, "
Japan left key straits open for U.S. nukes", Japan
Times, June 22, 2009.
^ Park, S.-C.; Yoo, D.-G.; Lee, C.-W.; Lee, E.-I. (26 September 2000).
"Last glacial sea-level changes and paleogeography of the Korea
(Tsushima) Strait". Geo-Marine Letters. 20 (2): 64–71.
^ J. Marolda, Edward (26 August 2003). "Naval Battles". Naval History
& Heritage Command. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007.
Retrieved 20 November 2010.
^ "Submarine Chaser Photo Archive: PC-823". NavSource. Retrieved 20
^ For example, a) "Low-Frequency Current Observations in the
Korea/Tsushima Strait". W. J. Teague, G. A. Jacobs, H. T.
Perkins, J. W. Book, K.-I. Chang, M.-S. Suk Journal of Physical
Oceanography 32, 1621–1641 (2001). b) "Tsushima". Archived from the
original on 2013-01-08.
Russo-Japanese War Research Society
^ "Nautical Charts of SE
Japan Sea". Archived from the original on
Japan Hydrographic Association
^ "List of National and Quasi-national Parks,
Iki-Tsushima". Ministry of the Environment, Japan
^ "The Republic of Korea's Maritime Boundaries, page 18". Retrieved
June 23, 2005.
^ "Designated Area of Japan". Archived from the original on
2004-08-22. Hydrographic and Oceanographic Department, Japan
Encyclopædia Britannica article
Oceanographic Characteristics of the Korea Strait, from KORDI
Coordinates: 34°35′58″N 129°47′48″E / 34.59944°N
129.79667°E / 34.59944; 129.79667