竹島問題の歴史

17.6.07

1870 - "How Takeshima & Matsushima Became Part of Joseon"

The following is a description of Ulleungdo, from an 1870 Japanese mission report on Korea. It said that Takeshima (Ulleungdo) had a neighboring island called Matsushima (松島), which is pronounced as "Songdo" in Korean. This document is often used by Korean historians to claim that the Japanese recognized Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo) as Korean territory, but they focus only on the title of the document and ignore the contents.

Koreans say that the Japanese also used the name "Matsushima" to refer to Liancourt Rocks at the time, so the document was recognizing Korea's claim to Liancourt Rocks; however, in the report, the Japanese clearly said that they had no previous record of Ulleungdo's Matsushima, which means Ulleungdo's Matsushima could not have been Japan's Matsushima (Liancourt Rocks) since Japan did have records of Liancourt Rocks. Also, the report was describing Ulleungdo from information they received in Korea, which means that it was the Koreans who were calling Ulleungdo's neighboring island Songdo (Matsushima), not the Japanese, which also means it was not referring to Liancourt Rocks since Koreans have never used Songdo (Matsushima) to refer to Liancourt Rocks. Moreover, the Japanese writting the report were not recognizing anything; they were only describing what they heard about Ulleungdo during their stay in Korea, and what they heard was that Ulleungdo had a neighboring island called "Songdo" (Matsushima).

The following is a translation of the Ulleungdo section of the report.
How Takeshima & Matsushima Became Part of Joseon

As to this matter, Matsushima is a neighboring island of Takeshima (Ulleungdo). We have no previous records of Matsushima. In regard to Takeshima, after the Genroku years (1688 - 1704), Joseon (Korea) sent people there to live for awhile, but now, as before, it is uninhabited. It produces bamboo and also reeds thicker than bamboo. Ginseng and other products also grow there naturally. We have also heard that there is an abundance of marine products.

One of the four Japanese on the mission was, Sada Hakubo (佐田白茅, 1832-1907), a man who wrote a book in 1903 describing details of the mission. The book was entitled, "A Story of My Old Dreams about Seikanron – Debate on the Conquest of Korea" (征韓論の旧夢談). The following are some details from the book.

Sada Hakubo and colleagues received an order from the Meiji government in 1869 (2nd year of Meiji) to go to Joseon to conduct an investigation of the country in fourteen subject areas. They arrived in Busan at the end of Februry 1870 and stayed there for almost three weeks at the old Japanese Embassy (wakan), from which they conducted their investigation. Their 1870 written report was entitled "The Investigational Report on Details of Joseon's Friendship" (‘朝鮮国交際始末内探書). The last of the fourteen sections of the reported was entitled, “How Takeshima & Matsushima Became Part of Joseon,” which was written on just two pages. Hakubo investigated Joseon with Moriyama Shigeru and Saitoh Sakae, who were also from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Doctor Hirotsu Hironobu (Shunzo), joined the mission in Nagasaki, which was on their route to Joseon.

The mission was sent to find out why the Joseon government refused to receive an official letter from the new Meiji government, who wanted to establish a modern diplomatic relationship with the Joseon government instead of using the feudal clan in Tsushima as a go-between. Therefore, Hakubo and his colleagues were sent to investigate the situation in Joseon. Here is a quote from the book:

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sawa, summoned me [Hakubo] and explained that I had to make an official trip. The main reason was that the government had not received a reply from Joseon in regard to a sovereign letter reporting the restoration of Meiji, which was sent the previous year from the Dajoukan [the supreme ministry in the Meiji government until 1885] through the feudal clan of Tsushima. Even though the government repeatedly demanded a reply, Joseon did not respond, so the government wanted to know what was happening in Joseon and needed to press them for a reply.

To enter Korea, the minister advised us not to refer to ourselves as a mission, and suggested that we pretend to be probationers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (外務省出仕) or people from the feudal clan of Tsushima. No one, except for people of Tsushima, had traveled to Joseon in the 200 years since the Tokugawa shogunate stopped diplomatic relations, so we would be the first since then. The minister also advised me to consult with the feudal lord of Tsushima on everything. He then added that he had considered sending a merchant because we also had to investigate trade activities, but he gave up on the idea and decided to sent Saitoh Sakae, who was a specialist on commerce, andMoriyama Shigeru, who later became a member of the House of Peers. He said that there would be three of us, but that we could take two attendants with us.

They left Tokyo in November 1869 (2nd year of Meiji) for Yokohama, where they caught the Costa Rica, an American ship headed for Nagasaki. In Nagasaki, Hakubo became sick from a chronic illness and was treated at a hospital, where he became acquainted with a Doctor Hirotsu Shunzo, a man from the same prefecture. Hakubo then made Hirotsu one of his attendants.


They went by the steamship Onsen Maru to Izuhara in Tsushima, where they consulted with the feudal lord So. Before going on to Joseon, a chief retainer of the feudal lord told Hakubo the following:

Joseon is a bigoted country, as you know, and they are uncivilized, so please do not go by steamship; change to a Japanese sailboat. If you go by steamship, Koreans would be terrified and would become suspicious. You would be unable to negotiate with them, and the reply to the letter would be further postponed, so please do not use a steamship. We will give you a Japanese sailboat.

Instead, they took the steamship back to Nagasaki and caught a Japanese sailboat called Toraya Maru and sailed back to Tsushima. They sailed from Izuhara to Izumi harbour, on the northern part of Tsushima, and then to Waniura. They left Waniura and reached Busan in four hours.


Hakubo talked with Joseon government officials at the Japanese embassy (“Wakan”) in Busan about the reply to the Japanese sovereign letter. There was no mention in the book that Hakubo investigated the Takeshima and Matsushima issue. Saitoh Sakae, who went to Joseon with Hakubo, was a commerce specialist, so he may have been there to investigate trade and commerce.

In those days, Joseon maintained an isolationist policy, so activity of Japanese in Korea was strictly limited. Hakubo wrote in his book that there was a double checkpoint that foreigners, including Japanese, could not go beyond. To sail along the coast from Busan was also strictly prohibited. Hakubo did not go to Takeshima (Ulleungdo) or Matsushima, himself, so it is very likely that he obtained the information for his report in Busan, which means it was all hearsay.

By the way, Korean, Lee Gyu-won, surveyed Ulleungdo in 1882, twelve years after Hokubo’s report, and in Lee’s report there was no mention of Liancourt Rocks. However, in Lee's pre-inspection interview with King Kojong, both Lee and King Kojong said that Ulleungdo had a neighboring island called "Songjukdo," which they also said was sometimes called "Songdo" and "Jukdo." As mentioned above, "Songdo" is the Korean pronunciation of Matsushima (松島). Gerry Bevers has written about Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Songdo HERE.

Considering the above, it is very likely that the Matsushima (Songdo) mentioned in the 1870 Japanese report was referring to Ulleungdo's small, neighbouring island of Jukdo, which was sometimes called "Songdo" (Matsushima), according to both King Kojong and Lee Gyu-won in 1882.

35 comments:

  1. Gerry,

    Could you please correct my English if you find uneasiness.
    Thank you.

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  2. Pacifist,

    I have been goofing off all day, but now I need to get some work done by tomorrow, so I may not be able to edit your post tonight. I will definitely do it tomorrow, though. By the way, that background information on the 1870 document is very interesting.

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  3. Gerry,

    Please take your time, I'm not in hurry. Good night.

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  4. Pacifist,

    Do you mind if I rearrange the paragraphs a little bit in the 1870 post? For example, I would like to move the descriptions of the people in the mission a paragraph or two down.

    Also, those long links do not seem to go anywhere. What are they? Are they links to passages from that 1903 book? If they are, could you recheck the links since it would be nice to have links to the original quotes.

    Also, is it Toron Talker doing the narration? If it is, I assume he is basing his narration on information from the book, right?

    That is a very interesting story, but it would be great if we could get links to the original documents from which the information comes. Could you please recheck those links?

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  5. Gerry,

    Thank you for arranging the text, of course I don't mind the arrangement.

    The long narration (sorry) was made by me (!) after reading the original book which Hakubo wrote in 1903. The link to the book is in the text (I hope you can access).

    I gave up to post all the translated text because it's too long.

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  6. Pacifist,

    Thank you. The narration is good, but I want to experiment with it a little.

    Your right, the book is a little to long to post; however, from your narraction it sounds like it was interesting. So, it sounds like Hakubo and his group got his information about Ulleungdo from the people in the Japanese embassy. Is that right?

    By the way, I cannot see Occidentalism from Korea. Can you see it from Japan?

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  7. Gerry,

    I'm not sure but they were ordered to gather information about Chosun there, and it included the information about Takeshima-Matsushima. So naturally they seem to have collected information about the islands there in Busan.

    They may have asked some Koreans around them, or may have asked the Korean officials, or may have got some information from So (Tsushima's feudal lord), but I don't know. He didn't write about the information gathering about the islands.

    Occidentalism is okay here in Japan. But I'm surprised to hear that you can't access Occidentalism. Is there something wrong going on down under Seoul?

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  8. Thanks, Gerry.
    It looks great.

    BTW, can't you access Occidentalism still now?

    I hope your site won't be blocked in the future.

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  9. Pacifist,

    I can now access Occidentalism. I guess it was down for about an hour and half or two hours.

    By the way, would it be all right if I did not link to those two maps from Toron Talker since they are not really related to the subject?

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  10. Gerry,

    I feel safe, it's good to hear that you can access Occi. So was it an accident?

    I don't mind if you omit the links to the maps. I intended to show that in Korea in the 19th century, the maps which Hakubo may have seen in Busan, depicted Ulleungdo (Takeshima) and Usando (=Matsushima?), not Liancourt rocks.

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  11. Thank you, Pacifist. If I can find a good, clear map, I will link it to the post.

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  12. Gerry,

    Thanks a lot for your help.

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  13. Thank you, Pacifist.

    I did not even notice that it was the same document because I was so focused on the date, 1868. Pretty stupid of me. By the way, do you know why Mr. Tanaka listed that document under 1868? Did something happen in 1868?

    The title of the 1870 document is "How Takeshima & Matsushima Became Part of Joseon," which suggests that there was a question about Matsushima and Ulleungdo before the mission went to Korea in 1870. Was the 1870 document supposed to be the answer to a previous question? Do you know if there is anything in the 朝鮮事件 book that talks about something previous to 1870?

    I will delete the post, so I have recopied your answer to me below. Thanks, again.

    Gerry,


    The first part is the same text as the 1870 and the last part is Mr.Tanaka's thought. It says:

    「この儀は、松島は竹島の隣島」とあるが、現在の竹島(旧松島)を鬱陵島の隣島というには距離があり過ぎる。
    It says "As to this matter, Mastushima is a neighboring island to Takeshima" but it is too distant to say that Liancourt rocks (Takeshima, the old Matsushima) is the neighbor of Ulleungdo.

    また「これまで掲載セシ書き留めも無く」とあるが、松島(現竹島)は『隠州視聴合記』や『竹島松島之図』など様々な歴史資料があるので、この「朝鮮国交際始末内探書」でいう松島は現在の竹島とは違う島であることが分かる。
    And it says "we have nio previous records", but there are various documents such as "Onshu Shochou Gouki" and "Takeshima-Matshima no zu". So it is clear that "Matsushima" in this report in the "朝鮮国交際始末内探書" is different from today's Takeshima (Liancourt rocks).

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  14. Gerry,

    I couldn't find the 朝鮮事件 (Chosun incident) in Mr.Tanaka's site but the year 1868 is the first year of Meiji and they sent the soverign letter to Chosun for the first time, but they rejected to receive it because the letter included the character of 皇 (emperor).

    Korean people were only use the charcter for Chinese emperor and they used 王 for their king. So they couldn't receive it from the country inferior to them. (Sino centrism) But Japan was not under Chinese control so it was a false accusation for Japan.

    But anyway, this problem is the origin of the 1870 investigation and further 征韓論 (seikanron; argument to conqur Korea) later.

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  15. # Apr26 Says:
    June 19th, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Gerry-Bevers said, “Korean historical documents show that Korea was told about the annexation in 1906.”
    Would anyone translate this Korean document dated feb.22, 1905, the same day as Shimane prefecture declared Takeshima its territory.
    http://www.history.go.kr/openUrl.jsp?ID=gj_006_1905_02_22_0040

    It seems Korean Government knew the declaration of territorial title of Liancourt Rocks by the Japanese Government on the same day.

    Also, would anyone translate the “directive #3″ of this Korean document into English?
    http://www.history.go.kr/openUrl.jsp?ID=mk_002_001_000_0560

    (Occidentalism)...................................
    I don't know what they say, I pose it here, because they might be important docuemts and people do not notice the comment.

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  16. Ponta,

    The title of post that taking about the 1905 document is misleading because it says, "Japan Seizes Dokdo," but the document, itself, has nothing to do with Dokdo. I think the reason they gave the post that title, was because the document is talking about Japan's taking over Korea's communication and diplomatic responsibilities.

    I'm at school right now, so I cannot translate the 1905 document, but I am also wondering if it really needs translating. The document seems to be talking about the transfer of duties, but I do not think the transfer had taken place, yet.

    I will translate the other document when I get home tonight.

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  17. Thank you, Pacifist.

    By the way, have you read through the following document?

    太政類典 - 1867年~1881年

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  18. Gerry,

    The documents you indicated are about "Takeshima and another island in the Sea of Japan", and some of the report included that Oya drifted ashore to "Matsushima", not Takeshima.

    BTW, I am planning to translate some important documents during 1870-1880, the "Lost Weekend" period for Japan.
    During the period, Japan was in confusion concerning Takeshima and Matsushima. The 1870 document, which I posted the other day, was the beginning of the confusion. The report itself was not always wrong but the old "Matsushima" was gone somewhere and confusion began....

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  19. Thank you, Gerry.

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  21. The Japanese 1870 Secret Report on Chosun (朝鮮國交際始末內探書) is a very important document proving the Japanese Meiji Government considered Dokdo Island as part of Chosun(Korea) .

    This post skipped very crucial fact about Japanese 1870 report.

    Meiji Government sent 4 Japanese officials from MOFA including Sada Hakubo to Korea with a secret mission. The purpose of their mission was to gather some information about Korea for establishing new diplomatic relations with Chosun and checking the possibility of conquering Korea.

    The secret mission included several specific instructions for investigation. One of them was to investigate how Takeshima(Ulleungdo) and Matsushima(Dokdo) became Chosun Possessions, which proves Japanese government recognized Dokdo as Korean territory. Sada Hakubo's report regarding how Ulleungdo and Dokdo became Chosun Possessions was in response to Meiji Government's order. So, it's misleading pacifist says Matsushima in this report is not Liancourt Rocks(Dokdo) because he gathered the information about Takeshima and Matsushima in Korea.

    As you guessed,probably, Japanese officials gathered the information just by hearing from Koreans, but this doesn't prove he didn't know what Matsushima in his report was referring to.

    Even though Sada Hakubo had no interest in the Takeshima and Matsushima issue , his investigation was conducted on the condition that Takeshima and Matsushima are Korean territory as Meiji Government acknowledged.

    Japanese government referred to Matsushima as Liancourt Rocks(Dokdo) and Sada Hakubo referred to Matshshima as Jukdo? Does it make sense to you? Both Matsushimas in Meiji Government's order and Sada Hakubo's report indicate Liancourt Rocks(Dokdo).

    Japan had very clear knowledge about the Matsushima until 1880.
    There's no doubt Matsushima in his report is Dokdo.

    Sada's report was just reconfirming the Meiji Government's recognition of Ulleungdo and Dokdo as Korean territory and it was reaffirmed again in 1877 through Dajokan‘s document.

    I know Japanese are trying to make excuses to make this document as incorrect one, but this document is a historical truth that you can't deny.

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  22. Sloww,

    King Kojong confirmed in 1882 that Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島 - 죽도) was also called "Songdo" (松島 - 송도), which in Japanese is pronounced "Matsushima." Jukdo is just 2 kilometers off Ulleungdo's east shore.

    The Matsushima in the 1870 Japanese report was referring to Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo, not to Dokdo. Notice that the report said the Japanese had no record of the "Matsushima" to which was being referred. That means it could not have been "Dokdo" because the Japanese did have records of their "Matsushima" (Dokdo).

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  24. Gerry Bevers

    Sada Hakubo said Japanese had no record of the "Matsushima". This just means he didn't investigate about Matsushima throughly, because Japan had records of Matsushima as you said. When considering his main concern was the conquest of Chosun, this is quite possible.


    When the investigating assignment of ""How Takeshima & Matsushima Became Part of Joseon" was given to Sada Hakubo and 3 other Japanese by the Meiji government , how couldn't they know Matsushima was Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo)? If you say they didn't know what the Matusushima was referring to, it would be nonsense. They were MOFA officials and clearly Japan was using the name "Matsushima" for Liancourt Rocks at that time.

    Some Korean maybe knew Dokdo was called as Matsushima in Japan at that time, but there's no record Korean people called Jukdo as Songdo(Matsushima). Although we suppose that Korean people called Jukdo as Songdo(Matsushima) at that time as you claim, there's no difference, because 4 MOFA officials definitely knew Matsushima indicates Liancourt Rocks(Dokdo).

    King Kojong didn't confirm Jukdo was also called as Songdo. Even though his knowledge about islands around Ulleungdo was not perfect, Kojong recognized Songdo and Jukdo as two different islands, which means Songdo(Matsushima) was Dokdo. I'll agrue about this later. Even though you claim Kojong thought Jukdo was also called as Songdo, there's no difference, either, because the 4 Japanese didn't ask Kojong about Matsushima (Dokdo).

    Sada Hakubo and 3 Japanese were in Korea in 1870, and Kojong had conversation with Lee Gyuwon in 1882. It's very unreasonable to say the Korean people in Busan called Jukdo also as Songdo(Matsushima) in 1870 by the influence of Kojong.

    So Matsushima in Sada Hakubo's report can't be Jukdo.

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  25. Sloww,


    It will be necessary for you to prove that 4 MOFA officials were certainly using the name "Matsushima" for Liancourt Rocks at that time, being based on the maps or documents used in that time.

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  26. Pacifist,


    If you acknowledged Sada Habuko's report (本內探書=朝鮮國交際始末內探書) was 復命書 to the investigation list (調査事項) ordered by Dajokan(太政官) , you wouldn't ask me that. "復命書" means document reporting the result of mission assigned, as you may know.

    Refer to the Japanese Diplomatic Note(日本外交文書 第2-3冊, document No. 574, No.87) which was published in 1930s, then you can find the record about 太政官 調査事項指令 and "竹島松島朝鮮部屬ニ相成候始末". This is the evidence 4 MOFA officials already knew Matsushima(松島) was Liancourt Rocks before leaving for Korea.

    If you believe 4 Japanese MOFA officials were using the name "Matsushima" for Jukdo, can you answer to the question "Why did they investigate and make the report about Jukdo?" and " Can you present any evidence they were using the name "Matsushima" for Jukdo?"

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  27. Sloww,


    The report(朝鮮國交際始末內探書) had not said Matsushima is Liancourt Rocks.

    You should prove, based on the maps or documents used in that time, the fact that 4 MOFA officials considered Matsushima was Liancourt Rocks.

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  29. Chaamiey,

    I think I already proved what you asked. It seems you just don't want to accept what I said.
    The report(朝鮮國交際始末內探書) had not said Matsushima is Jukdo.
    Now it's your turn to prove Matsushima is Jukdo in 朝鮮國交際始末內探書.

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  30. Sloww,

    There is no need to accept the fact that is not proved. There is no explanation in your comments above to prove the fact that 4 MOFA officials were certainly using the name "Matsushima" for Liancourt Rocks at that time.

    It is not my turn to prove Matsushima is Jukdo because I have not said Matsushima in the report is Jukdo. But you wrote " Both Matsushimas in Meiji Government's order and Sada Hakubo's report indicate Liancourt Rocks(Dokdo)". So, you should show the evidence, using the maps or documents used in that time. What you are doing is only saying " Matsushima in the report is Liancourt Rocks(Dokdo)".

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  32. Chaamiey

    I don't need to explain it again.
    It's your will whether you accept the fact I explained or not.

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  33. Reading this post again, I can't help laughing at the way pacifist tried to make Matsushima in this record as other islands than Dokdo.

    The truth about Japanese mission report of 1870 is HERE

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  34. I don't mean to be ignorant but would someone please help me with the pronunciation of Dokdo, Takeshim, and Liancourt. Thanks!

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