The following is a translation of an April 6 1692 Japanese document from the Oya family archives. It is a transcription of an oral report given by Japanese fishermen of their trip to Ulleungdo, where they found Koreans fishing in the waters around the island. By 1692, the Japanese had been fishing the waters around Ulleungdo for decades and believed Ulleungdo to be Japanese territory.
A transcription of our humble oral report:
1. We set sail from here on February 11 in the 5th year of Genroku
(1692) and arrived at Oki Island's Fuku-ura on the last day of the month. We set
sail from Oki county on March 24 and landed at Ulleungdo's Ika-shima [Jukdo] at about 8 O’clock in the morning on the 26. Looking around we noticed that someone had apparently caught a big catch of abalones, which we thought was
On the morning of the 27th we went to Hamada-ura (of Ulleungdo) and saw two foreign (Korean) ships there. One of them was a “sue-bune” (fixed boat) and another one was a “uki-fune” (floating boat). We saw 30 foreigners (Koreans) there. Two of them were left and the others rode the uki-fune and went in the offing 8 to 9–ken apart from another boat and headed for so-called Osaka-ura. The two were left in the ship. One of the two was an interpreter and they came to our ship so we permitted them to ride on our ship. When we asked who they were, they answered that they came from Chosun’s “Kawaten” village. We told them, “This island was bestowed to us by the Shogun and we come here every year”. And we asked them why they came to this island. They said that there is another island at the north and that they used to go there every three years to catch abalones by the order of their king. They departed their homeland on 21st
February in 11 ships but suffered great damage because of a storm and 53 people
in five ships were drifted ashore to this island on 23rd February.
When they saw the situation of the island, they found that there were lots
of abalones so they decided to stay there to catch them. We told them,
“Then, you should go out of this island as soon as possible” but they said that
they need time to repair their ships because those were damaged. When we ordered to moor our ship and made a landing and told them that we’d like to examine the instruments we had left there, they said the eight boats and other instruments were gone. We asked the interpreter the reason why they were gone, he explained that they used the boats from inlets to inlets. We ordered before to moor our ship but the foreigners were in great numbers and we were only 21, so we could do nothing.
We departed Takeshima at about 4 pm (Nanatsu) on 27th
March. But we thought we would need the evidence, so we took before we left some skewered abalones, one knitted-hood and one “Kauji” that they had made
beforehand. We arrived at Hamada-ura of Sekishu on the 1st day of
April and Kumotsu-ura of Unshu on 4th. Then we got to Yonago at
around 4 O’clock (Nanatsu) of the 5th.
Heibei, the chief of the ship owned by Murakawa Ichibei.
Kurobei, the same as above.
From this document, one can understand that Koreans in those days thought that Ulleungdo didn’t belong to
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To follow is a document concerning the 1693 incident from Oya family’s archives:
What Oya Kyuemon’s boatmen orally reported about bringing back with
Koreans from Takeshima to Hakushu in the 6th year of Genroku (1693).
We departed Yonago of Hakushu on 15th February and
arrived at Kumotsu of Unshu in the morning of the 17th. We left
Kumotsu on 2nd March and arrived at Hashimura of Tozen district of
Oki island on the same day. After staying there until 9th March, we
then went to Fuku-ura of
district on the 10th. Togo
We departed Fuku-ura on 16th of April and arrived at
Tosen-ga-saki of Takeshima at “Yatsu” (about 2 O’Clock) on the
17th. When we landed and looked around, we saw lots of
“menoha” (seaweed?) were dried in the sun and we thought it was strange. We
looked around and noticed that there were Korean straw sandals. Although there was something that had been weighing on our mind, we left it to be as dusk fell.
On the next day, 18th, seven of us including 5 sailors rode on a ship
and went to Nishi-no-ura (west inlet) but there weren’t Koreans. So we went to
Kita-ura (north inlet), there were a Korean ship moored and a hut beside it.
There was a Korean in the hut. When we saw the inside of the hut, there were
lots of abalones and seaweed. So we asked the Korean about them but he couldn’t understand us because there was not an interpreter. Then we went to the place
called “Oh –tengu” (big long-nosed goblin) with him without hearing from him
about them, there were ten Koreans hunting and one of them was an interpreter.
So we dropped off the Korean we met at Kita-ura and picked up the interpreter
and one more Korean on our boat and when we asked them, the interpreter said,
“We came to this island to hunt (or fish) on 3rd March”. When asked
how many ships they brought, he answered that they came with 3 ships and they were 42 people. Takeshima’s coast was so rough that we returned to the mother
ship. We brought the Koreans back.
There were Koreans on this island last year, so we had warned and
scolded them not to come to this island to hunt (or fish) but the Koreans came
back again to hunt (or fish). In these circumstances, we won’t be able to keep
hunting (or fishing) on this island. We are very sorry to trouble you but we are very glad if you would pass judgment on this issue, as we brought the two Koreans with us.
We departed Takeshima on 18th April and arrived at Fuku-ura of Oki island on 20th.
As we were summoned and ordered at the magistrate’s office of Oki
county to submit a statement of the Koreans, we said that it would be good to
hear from them directly. They said that it is reasonable and the Koreans were
summoned and heard. And the village headmen also met with the Koreans and send a report of their statement to the office. They also wanted our opinion about the statement but we couldn’t say anything.
Then, one barrel of sake was presented to the Koreans by the
On the 23rd the same month, we departed Fuku-ura and
arrived at Tozen. On the 26th we left Tozen and got to Nagahama of
Unshu at noon on the same day. We reached Yonago on the 27th.
Kurobei, Chief of the ship,
Heibei, the same as above
Ahn Yong-bok and another Korean were detained at Oya Kyuemon’s house, while the local government heard about the Koreans from the chief retainer Arao Syuri and ask the Shogunate the instructions.
On the 26th May, an express-messenger came from Edo, who brought an order to transport the Koreans under guard to
They left Yonago on 29th May and arrived at Chofu (鳥府) on 1st June. They set off on 7th June, with the guards Yamada Hyoemon and Hirai Jin-emon and arrived at
The lord of
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●Another Korean who was arrested at Ulleungdo, Park Otton (朴於屯), later told to the Korean officer that it needed 3 days and 4 nights from Ulleungdo to Houki (Yonago) and there was no other island between them.
(According to Japanese record, they departed Ulleungdo on 18th April and arrived at Fuku-ura of Oki island on 20th and then went to Yonago on 27th. So it took 9 days but they arrived at Tozen of Oki island on 23rd before they went to mainland on 26th. So if Park misunderstood the second harbor of Oki island, Tozen, as mainland, it was not inconsistent to his story - it took 5 nights from Ulleungdo to Tozen of Oki island. )
●But Ahn Yong-bok told to the officers, "After one night, I saw an island in the sea after taking a supper. It was far bigger than Ulleungdo".(from the Korean document "邊例集要")
●He also mentioned about this island during the investigation by the officials of Tsushima; "There is a big island at northeast of 参候島 (Sanko-jima, Ulleungdo). I have seen this island twice during my stay at the place (Ulleungdo). Someone who knows the island said that it is called as Usando. But until today I haven't been there at all. They say that it will take almost one day to get there."
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So there is an inconsistency here. Park didn't see any island between Ulleungdo and Yonago (or Oki island) and Ahn also confessed in Tsushima that he hadn't been to Usando although he had seen it twice from Ulleungdo. But Ahn said during the investigation in Chosun that he saw an island far bigger than Ulleungdo during the voyage to Japan. Ahn may have told a lie to a Korean officer or he may have seen Oki island and thought it was Usando, but anyway, his story seems to be unreliable.