A new law that requires school textbooks in Virginia to use the name "East Sea" alongside "Sea of Japan" for the body of water between Korea and Japan went into effect on Tuesday.
This means that schools will now be required to use textbooks and maps that have both names.
However, because the state reviews school texts every seven years, with the next review set for 2016, NEW texts using both names may not appear until 2017.
Yet it may not even take that long for the change to be implemented.
The organization behind the name-change campaign, Voice of Korean Americans, says some publishing firms have already started adding the name to their texts.
And about 60 percent of textbooks in Virginia already have both names, after guidelines encouraging the use of the East Sea name were distributed last year.
The Virginia law is expected to have a broad impact, as most U.S. publishing firms supply the same texts to schools nationwide.
Virginia is the first state to pass such a law and the landmark legislation passed through the Virginia House of Delegates in February, despite efforts by Japan to lobby against it.
Many Koreans see the name Sea of Japan as a cruel reminder of Japan's imperialist past, as the name was registered when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule.
Connie Kim Arirang News.