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Geographical place names are important. The naming of the Salish Sea on the west coast of Canada and the United States was a relatively smooth undertaking in comparison to other geographical naming disputes around the world. The dispute between the Republic of Korea and Japan over the name of the Sea of Japan is just one example of how topographical name changes can be a complex endevour. This paper examines the processes involved in the naming of the Salish Sea and compares it to the cultural and political dispute between the Republic of Korea and Japan over name of the Sea of Japan. Students in Advanced Placement Human Geography use these two examples and look at the similarites and differences. By doing so, students will be able to learn more about cultures and political organization and understand why topographic naming is more complex in some places than others.