The Japanese Cabinet approved Nakai Yozaburo's petition on January 28, 1905 HERE, and then in a February 24, 1905 article in the Japanese newspaper San-in Shimbun it was reported HERE that the Shimane Prefecture Governor announced that "Takeshima" (Liancourt Rocks) had been incorporated into Shimane Prefecture under the jurisdiction of Oki County.
"Petition to Incorporate Ryanko-to (Liancourt rocks) and Lease it"
In the distant sea eighty-five ri to the west of Oki and fifty-five ri southeast of Joseon's Ulleungdo is an uninhibited island called “Ryanko-to.” It is comprised of two rocky islets, Islet A and Islet B (甲乙), each with a circumference of about fifteen cho. The two islets face each other and there is a channel between them and forty to fifty reefs around them. The two central islets have steep cliffs on four sides and are rising toward the sky. There is little soil on top and only weeds. There are no trees on whole islands.
On the shore at the curvature of the islet there is gravel that looks like a beach, but there is only one place where one can build a house on Islet A, facing the channel. In the middle of the Islet A there is a water pond, which looks brownish. On Islet B, there is slightly salty water dripping down from the cliff. Ships can be safe if they drop anchor in the channel, shifting toward the left or right to avoid winds.
This island is located on the route that ships take going back and forth between the Japanese mainland, through Oki islands and Ulleungdo, to Joseon's Gangwon (江原) and Hamkyeong (咸鏡). provinces. It would be convenient if there is someone who lived on the island and managee it. For example, he can offer firewood, water, and food to ships who lack them. It would benefit Japan’s fishery and trade with the Gangwon and Hamgyeong districts, which is now on the increase. Therefore, the management of this island will be most necessary.
This island is only a rock island rising into the sky in the distant sea, so no one pays attention to it and it has been left untouched. However, I land at the island whenever I was go to and from Ulleungdo and have seen lots of sea lions living there. I have thought that it was not good to leave it untouched, and have made various plans.
In the 36th year of Meiji (1903), I decided to invest and built a fishery house there, moved workers there, prepared fishing gear, and started hunting sea lions. At that time, people laughed at me saying it’s reckless. Of course, if somebody starts a new business on an uninhibited island, they risk failure, lose of equipment, and other things, and I didn’t know how to hunt sea lions, and was unsure of their use and marketability. I wasted lots of money, but after much effort, I developed a hunting method, product manufacturing techniques, and other inventions this year, so I began to market them.
Their skin, after preserving it in salt, will be used as a subsitution for cowhide, which is used in many ways. The oil from their fresh grease is equal to whale oil in quality and price. I confirmed that its well-squeezed dregs can be used for glue, and its meat will be made into powder and mingled with bone to make fertilizer. That means junting sea lions at this island is promising. However, there will be no business on this island other than sea lion hunting.
I haven’t researched it, so I am not sure of fishing in the area, but since it is in the middle of the Sea of Japan, there should be various fish around the island. If sea lion hunting continues, and if I am given a chance to research it, I think there will be a chance to start other new promising businesses in the future. In short, if someone has enough capital and equipment and started hunting sea lions, the management of this island will be very promising. However, the ownership of this island undetermined.
The other day I met a foreign ship in trouble. Such unexpected events can occur, but without firm protection, investment of lots of money in this island will be very dangerous. The sea lions on the island do not always live there. Every year in reproductive months, April and May, they come there and then leave in July or August after reproducing. So the hunting will be conducted during that season. Therefore, if hunting is not limited and reproduction not properly protected, the sea lions will soon vanish. However, limiting hunting and protecting reproduction cannot be managed if there is competition.
People gather around beneficial things like ants gather around sweets. If they know sea lion hunting is beneficial, people, including the ones who first laughed at me, will come and compete. They will exhaust all the sea lions by overhunting. In the end, collapse of all the hunters is inevitable. As I have said, I have tried various things and now prospects are good for hunting sea lions at this island. I want to increase capital and put various production machinery there and have fishery equipment for fishing. I want to limit the size and count of my catch, protect the sea lions, especially females and infants, and make preserves somewhere on the island. I want to expel the killer whales and sharks that hurt the animals, but as I have already say, I cannot because of the mentioned risk. This would be not only disadvantageous not only to me, but also to the nation.
Therefore, in order to assure the safety of the business and to complete the management of the island, please swifly incorporate this island into Japan’s territory and simultaneously lease it to me for the next 10 years.
I am enclosing a drawing.
29th of September, the 37th year of Meiji (1904)
Simane prefecture, 周吉gun, Saigo cho, Nishimachi
To: The Secretary of the Interior, Viscount Sir Norimasa Yoshikawa; The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Baron Sir Jutaro Komura; The Minister of Agricluture and Commerce, Baron Sir Keigo Kiyoura
The following is the roughly sketched map of Liancourt Rocks that Nakai Yozaburo attached to his petition: