The Dajoukan order (太政官指令) is famous because it said that Takeshima and another island were not Japanese territory, and Dajoukan was the superior office in the early Meiji government, ministries were positioned under Dajoukan. So pro-Korean people used to say that
At first, please look at the translated text of the Dajoukan order.
Dajoukan Order (太政官指令)
20th march 1877 (the 10th year of Meiji)
Ministers: Central office:
As to the inquiry by the Ministry of the Interior on the matter of
the land registration of Takeshima and another island in the Sea of Japan that
was attached separately, the former government (= the shogunate) and the
corresponding country (= Chosun) had exchanged opinions since 1692 (the
5th year of Genroku) when people from Chosun came to the island
(Takeshima = Ulleungdo), and in the end they decided that this country (Japan)
has nothing to do with the island and they stated so. Considering the point of
the inquiry, the following order was made. I would like to ask you to consult
via circular about the matter.
A proposal of the order
Concerning the inquiry about Takeshima and another island, you
should remember that this country (
has nothing to do with them.
29th March 1877 (the 10th year of Meiji)
There was an almost identical document to Dajoukan order in the compiled official documents (公文禄) of the Ministry of the Interior which was compiled in 1877.
20th March 1877 (the 10th year of Meiji)
Ministers: (stamp of “Iwakura”)
Central Office: (stamps of “Hijikata” and “Iwaya”)
Cabinet Councilors: (stamps of “Ohki”, ‘Terajima Munenori” and one unidentified
Added “27th the same month: a stamp of “Muta”.
As to the matter
of “Inquiry to the Ministry of Interior: Registry of land of Takeshima and
another island in the Sea of Japan” that was attached separately, the former
government (= the shogunate) and the corresponding country (Chosun) had
exchanged opinions since 1692 (the 5th year of Genroku) when people
from Chosun came to the island (Takeshima = Ulleungdo), and in the end they
decided that this country (Japan) has nothing to do with the island and stated
so. Considering the point of the inquiry, the following order was made. I would
like to ask you to consult via circular about the matter.
A proposal of the order:
Concerning the inquiry about Takeshima and another island, you should remember that this country (
) has nothing to do with them. Japan
29th March 1877 (the 10th year of Meiji) (* written in red) (a stamp of
(The stamps meant approval by the officials who read the document.)
This was the origin of the Dajoukan order, as the matter was discussed in the Ministry of the Interior and then it was sent to the upper office, Dajoukan. So the key to the truth about another island should be written in the compiled documents. Let’s see the whole compiled documents.
It comprises of 12 parts. I tentatively name them as Part A to Part L, the document above is part A.
Part A: the summary of the discussion, with approved stamps of officials. (20th March 1877)
Part B: an inquiry about Takeshima and another island from Shimane prefecture to the Ministry of the Interior (16th Oct, 1876)
Part C: the document “Otsu #28” (乙28号): a document inquiring about Takeshima from the Ministry of the Interior to Shimane prefecture. (5th Oct 1876)
Part D & part E: the documents explaining about Takeshima made by Shimane prefecture. These two documents are already available from this site:
(Both of the documents didn’t say the exact dates but these were attached to the part B.)
The first document (part D) mentioned Matsushima, where Oya Jinkichi drifted ashore, but it was illogical because he was washed up on the
Part F: a supplementary document perhaps made by Shimane prefecture. It stated that they attached a reduced copy of the map from the Kyoho years (1716-1735) owned by Oya family.
Part G: the old document (#1) from
Part H: the old document (#2): a letter from
Part I: the old document (#3): a letter from Chosun to
Part J: the old document (#4): a letter from
Part K: verbal note. Date not unknown but it seems that it was written just after the shogunate ordered not to trespass on Takeshima.
Part L: the final decision by the Ministry of the Interior. (17th March 1877)
As you may notice, almost all of the documents mention Takeshima but not “another island”. The document only related to “another island” was part D, in which Shimane prefecture reported about Takeshima and Matsushima although the content was illogical. Meiji government knew the illogicality so they didn’t say Matsushima in the title of the document and they didn’t refer to Matsushima in the final document. The “another island” only left in the title because Shimane prefecture used the title in the original inquiry (part B) but in reality they only discussed about Takeshima (Ulleungdo). So “another island” didn’t mean anything, it was just an echo of the phantom island in the western maps.
To follow are parts B to L. Please forgive me if the old documents (parts G to K) had some mistakes. These old documents were very hard to understsand and translate, but as a whole it won't affect the "another island" issue because these old documents only related the shogunate's ban to trespass on Takeshima (Ulleungdo).
Inquiry about registration of the
landof Takeshimaand another island in the Sea of Japan
The officials of geographical room of your ministry (the Ministry of Interior) made their rounds to our prefecture for registration of lands and inquired as the separate paper,
Otsu#28, concerning the investigation of Takeshima which is located in the Sea of Japan.
This island was discovered during the Eiroku years (1558-1570) and the merchants in Yonago town, Houki County in our feudal clan, Oya Kyuemon and Murakawa ichibee made voyages to the island every year under the permission of the shogunate and brought back animals and vegetables to sell them in the mainland for 78 years from the 4th year of Genwa (1618) to the 8th
year of Genroku (1695). There is a conclusive evidence for that and old
documents and old letters were handed down to their descendants. We first of all
attach separate paper relating the history and a map herewith. We should
investigate the whole island this time and note every detail of it , however it
was not certain that it was under this prefecture’s jurisdiction from the
ancient times. And it is far as over 100-ri in the north sea and sea route is
unclear and usual sailboats can’t make round trips. So we would like to report
the details from the documents which were handed down by those men Oya and
Murakawa later. And as we guess it generally, it locates at the northwest
direction of Oki county so it seems as it should be attached to the west area of
San-in district, we would like to ask about depicting the island in the
prefecture’s map and registration of land. Please give us an order.
prefecture governor Sato Nobuhiro,
Shimane prefecture, Sakai Jiro
October 1876 (the 9th year of Meiji)
To Sir Ohkubo
Toshimichi in the Ministry of Interior
We’ve heard that there is an isolated island which was called as Takeshima in the past at certain direction from Oki county under the jurisdiction of your prefecture. The former Tottori feudal clan’s merchant ships made round trips to there from the ancient times and there was a sea route. About the above, please investigate taking notes (of what people say) and discuss the matter. In addition, although there must be the article 5 in the land registration local officials’ regulations, please discuss the matter aiming at the article 5 for precaution’s sake. And we would like you to investigate old maps and ask this ministry for instructions, so we inquired about this.
5th October 1876 (the 9th year of Meiji)
Geographical room, Probationer #12 Tanabe Kenshin
Geography officer Sugiyama Eizoh
To whom in charge of land registration, Shimane prefecture
(It was) about 78 years from the 4th year of Genwa (1618) to the 8th year
of Genroku (1695). (Incidentally, the Benzaiten shrine in Fukuura, Minami-kata
village, Hochi-gun, Oki county was built in those days to pray for peaceful
voyage of Oya and Murakawa families. Still today, they will definitely tell both
families if there would be a need to repair the shrine.) We’ve heard that there
was the incident of Mr. Yanagisawa in those days, so that the shogunate couldn’t
think of the outside (of the government) and at last it resulted in this
situation. We will attach a reduced copy of the map which Oyas had handed down
from the Kyoho years (1716-1735). As to the old documents possessed by the two
families, we will make it complete after making a copy.
28th January the 9th year of Genroku (1696)
When Tenryuin-kou (So Yoshizane, the feudal lord of Tsushima) came to the
castleof Edo( ) to see the Shogunate, Toda Tokyo
Yamashiro-no-kami passed him a note concerning Takeshima before the four Chief Retainers in the room of Hakushoin. Since years ago two merchants from Yonago in Hakushu went over to Takeshima and engaged in fishing but Koreans also came to the island to fish. Toda said to him that because it is useless if Japanese work among Koreans, the Shogunate would prohibit merchants in Yonago from going there from now on.
Before this, on 9th January, Misawa Kichizaemon called Naoemon* and when he was going to Misawa’s house, he met with (Abe) Bungo-no-kami, (a Chief Retainer), who directly asked him about Takeshima. He also talked to the middle class officers, Dewa-no-kami, and Ukyo-dayu.
(*Hirata Naoemon? : chief-retainer of the Tsushima feudal clan who was staying
As to Takeshima, we don’t know exactly. As (they) came from Houki and went fishing there, so we asked Matsudaira Houki-no-kami (the feudal lord), but he didn’t say that it must be attached to Inaba-Houki. We’ve heard that the two merchants of Yonago wanted to go there as before and sent in an application for voyage, as the then feudal lord Matsudaira Shintaro explained, we gave the document (the permission to voyage: http://dokdo-or-takeshima.blogspot.com/2007/06/permission-given-to-oyas-and-murakawas.html)
to Shintaro before. It must be the era of Daitokuin as
Uta-no-kami, Doi Sakai
Ohi-no-kami, Inoue Kazue-no-kami and Nagai Shinano-no-kami signed the document together. Although it was “before”, we don’t know exactly what year it
In this way they had been there and had fished there, it didn’t mean to take Chosun’s island. There is no Japanese resident. When we asked the distance, they say about 160-ri from Houki, and about 40-ri to Chosun. Then it can be Ulleungdo (蔚陵島) of Chosun.
And if there is a Japanese resident, the island should be taken to this country
) but it’s hard to dispatch people from now and there is no evidence (of Japanese residence), so how about we would not dare to mention it? Japan
As to the matter that Tsushima-no-kami (the lord of Tsushima) wrote the name of Ulleungdo (蔚陵島) in a document, he asked to exclude it and return it but we’ve heard that they keep it because the lord of Tsushima died without receiving a reply.
If so, Mr. Gyobu already told them about the matter, so should we not mention
it? Or do you think that Mr. Gyobu should write a letter about the matter of Takeshima anyway?
Considering about the three intentions above, please think about it, we would like to hear (your opinion) in detail. They only went there to take abalones, it is a useless island. We wonder how it would be if the communications from old times were stopped due to this matter. If we won with our dignity or with our military
power over them, to say illogical things would be worthless.
As to the matter of Takeshima, (there will be) no works and (they) don’t need (to go there) every year. Sagami-no-kami said (to us) to tell them repeatedly not to go there, because foreigners came over.
We wonder what do you think if you engage in useless matter. Mr. Gyobu is square, so he thinks we can’t say it (to ban the voyage) after we already said that
(permitted to go). Don’t worry about it. We will manage the matter, so please
give us your frank opinions. We know all of you so you don’t need to hesitate to
say your opinions. Excuse us for repeating ourselves, but as we have to say it
to foreign country, we need to hear opinions repeatedly. As it is complicated,
we will say this to the shogun after making it in logical order.
They say that what we’ve heard above should be noted for our memory, so a note was directly handed to every one. When I received it and looked at it, the whole story we’ve heard was written on it. I asked, “Then, does it mean that Japanese should not make a voyage to that island?” and they answered, “That’s right”. As they said that the shogunate had repeatedly told for Japanese not to make a voyage to the island, I said, “As to the matter of Takeshima, even if we return it back, it would not affect us, would it?”, they answered, “That’s right too”.
(And he continued), “We didn’t take the island away, so it is illogical to say ‘return it back’. We wouldn’t dare to mention it. We would try not to mention it mistakenly.”
That was slightly different from what we’ve heard but they said that it would be good to say it lightly even if the meaning is slightly different than you say it
gravely. And they added that we should understand the situation. Therefore I set back and said. After I said that I would get back and tell Gyobu-Taifu
(vice-minister of judicial department) about this, I left.
The former lord sent you a correspondent and negotiated for twice but unfortunately he died so the matter was left undone. When (the new lord) went to
Edohe was asked about the geography of Takeshima. He explained it based on the facts. It is far from our country ( ) while it is nearer to your country (Chosun). We ordered not go to the island because it is troublesome if people from the both countries would be mixed in the island. Japan
Our friendship for 100 years is more valuable than the small island.
From Chosun Government Councilor. 李 善溥
To Gyobu Taifu, Sir Taira, of
It is a joyful spring time. We are glad to hear that you are okay. Our correspondent told us what your correspondent told him. It is apparent that Ulleungdo belongs to our country as it was written in the map (輿図). Of course it is far from that country (
) and near to this place (Chosun), and the boundary is naturally clear. Your feudal clan ( Japan Tsushima) already knows that Ulleungdo and Takeshima are one island with two different names. That means it is our land although the name is different.
We are happy that your country ordered their people not to come (to this island) to fish forever. Our country will dispatch the officials to inspect not to mix the two
people. As to the Japanese people who drifted ashore (to mainland of Chosun)
last year, their ship was wrecked by a typhoon so we permitted them to go back
to your country. How do you have doubt with this occasion? If the letter was
truth, there should be a sin of fabrication, so we would punish them. We made an
order to forbid to the coast area. It is our wish that there will be no
trespassing on the boundary. You already met our correspondent but nobody came here after that. That may mean you won’t send a man considering the old promise. I will send a letter to 萊館. I hope you will understand.
March, the year of 戌寅
From Taira Yoshizane, Gyobu-Taifu Shui,
To sir Chosun Government official
We received your great letter the other day and found your country
When our correspondent went there and told about the matter of
Takeshima last year, you showed sincerity and good faith in order to communicate with each other for a long time considering the circumstances, which made us very happy. We passed your intention to the shogunate. I would write the details and send it later.
Although it’s a spring time but it is still cold. Please take care of yourself.
January, the 12th year of Genroku (1699)
Taira Yoshizane, Gyobu-Taifu Shui,
1. There are various opinions concerning Takeshima for several years. Contrary to our expectation, the shogunate ordered to listen to them well. So we spoke to the Korean correspondent about it. It was passed to them and a letter came from
them. It was not a good letter but it went well thanks to Gyobu-Taifu (vice
–minister of the judicial department) who endeavored hard. This time we are
going to send a reply.
The matter of Takeshima has just completely finished. It went as the country of Chosun wanted, so it’s just the big happiness for both countries.
Takeshima was at first discarded by your country for years and it was gradually forgotten, so Japanese has been there for 80 years. A few years ago, people from Inaba (
) captured Korean fishermen, brought them back and reported to the shogunate. The shogunate ordered to tell Chosun that “fishermen from your country must not to come over to the island repeatedly”. Therefore, the former lord of Japan Tsushimasent a messenger and told this to them. They sent a reply and it said, “We understood. To go to Takeshima is bad thing, so we will punish them. We firmly said that they must go there from now on.”
But there was an unclear part in the letter and we thought that if we let it be there would be a trouble in the future, we dispatched a messenger. After this, they changed the contents of the letter and sent us a letter which was saying “Japanese came over the border, so order them not to come over”. So this was transmitted to Tsushima and a messenger was dispatched but while he couldn’t receive the reply unfortunately the former lord of
So the messenger returned to
Tsushimawithout receiving it.
However, as to Takeshima, I’ve heard that it is without doubt Ulleungdo in your country. Fortunately the Gyobu-Taifu was staying in
Edoso he told the shogunate the above. He said, “As Takeshima has been discarded by Chosun for years and after that they didn’t tell us when they had to tell us, so it went as like ’s territory. So it is very reasonable that we claimed, but it was drawn in the map輿地図 and is Chosun’s territory without doubt. And we have Japan
communicated with them with sincerity, so please understand and if you ordered
Japanese not to make a voyage to the island, it would be much honored.”
As I’ve been pleaded in secret, I told the superior retainer about it courteously and sincerely. Then soon it was conveyed to the shogun and he said, “For the friendship with the neighboring country, we will prohibit Japanese people from making voyages (to the island) from now on”.
Fortunately a Korean official were invited. And (the shogunate) said that when he came here we would tell him in details, so I told him so in previous year. So then I would expect they would thank us but he only wrote “it doesn’t say forever but otherwise it is good” without a thankful intention, which seemed not good. And I think it created an insincere impression in our mind.
Your country lacked in intention to examine the island and no thoughts. And you didn’t reflect on all you’ve done at all. The things are exaggerated and what you said at the beginning and what you said at the end are not consistent and
inconvenient. If we said this directly to you it would not only be unsuccessful
but also things won’t go smoothly. And since then the shogunate had the bad
impression on Chosun. But the Gyobu-Taifu performed his duty, treating the
shogunate with the utmost courtesy and he made every effort to advise that what
Chosun had said was reasonable. So it went well.
Concerning the belonging of Takeshima, about which your country didn’t consider, it returned to your country wholly thanks to the Gyobu-Taifu. It would be a grave mistake if you thought that this matter was done by Chosun or it was reasonable. I won’t explain in detail because you know it, if you think the profit considering the consequences, you will understand.
A letter, in which they wrote that the matter of Takeshima, could be brought by a messenger but when they told the Korean official about it (without a messenger), it was because they thought they should not use messengers on the matter out of the agreement, so it is natural for you to think they should use messengers to send messages.
As we’ve heard, a motion the shogunate makes is used to be passed to the assembly by a messenger, but the Korean official had been invited as mentioned above, so he was fortunately invited.
Then the shogunate thought that if he appears they can talk over this matter, it’s the same as the communication through a messenger, and they ordered to do so.
So they talked to the official. It’s not because the shogunate thought that they prohibited to use messengers except for the matters in the agreement. If they needed they can’t help dispatching a messenger. Because our thoughts are different as you can see in this matter, we would like to tell you this for future references. Please keep this in mind.
The matter went well as above mentioned, so what
we told may seem to be needless. But it is our duty, so we saw and heard from
the beginning how were the thoughts of both countries. There was a difference
between your country’s thought and
thought, if there will be a difference in an intention and if they won’t
communicate for many years it won’t be successful to make an agreement.
This is for our future’s sake. So please translate
our thought and transmit to 東萊 and the government. That’s all.
And to follow is the final document. Please note that they didn't mention Matsushima or another island.
(Part L) Inquiry about the land registration of Takeshima and another island in the Sea of Japan (日本海内竹島他一島地籍編纂方伺) As to the jurisdiction of Takeshima, as Shimane prefecture reported in the separate paper, the matter of the island is judged as follows: In 1692 (the 5th year of Genroku) Koreans came to the island as you can read in In January 1696 (the 9th year of Genroku), as the document number 1 indicated, the former government had a conference and the decision was transmitted to the To take or give a territory is an important issue, so I would like to inquire about this matter, as I attach the separate papers by way of precaution. Deputy of Sir Okubo Toshimichi in the Ministry of the Interior, assistant secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Maejima Hisoka 17th March 1877 (the 10th year of Meiji) To Superior Minister (右大臣) Iwakura Tomomi As to the inquiry, the matter of Takeshima and another island, understand that this country has nothing to do (with it/them). 29th March 1877 (the 10th year of Meiji) (written in red)
the separate report.
Korean official as the document number 2 shows. As the document number 3, which was sent from the country (Chosun), and number 4, the reply from Japan, and the verbal note show, in 1699 (the 12th year of Genroku) after the
communications with each other, it was said as “This country has nothing to do
(with the island)”.
Inquiry about the land registration of Takeshima and another island in the Sea of Japan (日本海内竹島他一島地籍編纂方伺)
As to the jurisdiction of Takeshima, as Shimane prefecture reported in the separate paper, the matter of the island is judged as follows:
In 1692 (the 5th year of Genroku) Koreans came to the island as you can read in
In January 1696 (the 9th year of Genroku), as the document number 1 indicated, the former government had a conference and the decision was transmitted to the
To take or give a territory is an important issue, so I would like to inquire about this matter, as I attach the separate papers by way of precaution.
Deputy of Sir Okubo Toshimichi in the Ministry of the Interior,
assistant secretary of the Ministry of the Interior, Maejima Hisoka
17th March 1877 (the 10th year of Meiji)
To Superior Minister (右大臣) Iwakura Tomomi
As to the inquiry, the matter of Takeshima and another island, understand that this country has nothing to do (with it/them).
29th March 1877 (the 10th year of Meiji) (written in red)