1913 Jun 22 - "Maeil Shinbo" (每日申報) Article Reports Location of Usando Unknown in early 1900s

Below is a June 22, 1913 article from the Korean newspaper Maeil Shinbo (每日申報), which reported that Ulleungdo resident, Kim Won-jun (金元俊), had ended his search for the uninhabited island of "Gansando" (干山嶋), which was almost certainly a misspelling of "Usando" (于山島). He believed the island to be forty to fifty ri northeast of Ulleungdo. Forty to fifty ri would have beeen about 160 to 200 Kilometers using the Japanese ri, which was the measure adopted by Korea in 1909. If the Korean ri were being used, it would have been sixteen to twenty kilometers.

The article also said that Koreans on Ulleungdo had gotten together more than a decade earlier to search for the island, but could not find it.

This article is more evidence that Usando was not Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima) since Koreans on Ulleungdo would have known of Liancourt Rocks by 1913, yet they did not believe them to be the island of Usando. In fact, they believed that Usando was an uninhabited island northeast of Ulleungdo that was big enough to support a community of settlers. Liancourt Rocks, however, is ninety-two kilometers southeast of Ulleungdo and does not have the water or soil to support settlers.

Old Korean documents and maps indicate that Usando was the old name for Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島), which is about 2.2 kilometers off Ulleungdo's northeast shore. Apparently, the residents of Ulleungdo in the early 1900s had forgotten the old name.

Here is what I was able to read from the article. If anyone finds any mistakes or can fill in some of the blanks, please let me know.
慶南鬱島郡 西面 金元俊은 鬱島로부터 東北方 約 4, 50里를 距하야 位置를 定한 干山嶋라하는 無人嶋가 有하다 한 즉 此를 發見하면 團體로 移住할 計劃인던 贊成者를 募集하고 其費用이 每人에 대하야 金 四 圓式 醵金하야 約 百圓으로 帆船을 雇入 後 三名의 乗組를 探索하기로 出發할 事를 決定하야 贊成者가 三十名에 達하였더니 右 干山島는 其實在의 傳說이 有하나 曾히 十數年前 同地內 鮮人의 聯合으로 射船을 雇入하야 探索하였으나 發見치 못할 뿐 안니라 近年에 海航路가 頻繁하여도 아즉 此를 現認하였다는 事가 無하고 又 海圖에도 現한 者 無한 즉 假令 存在하다 할지라도 此를 發見함은 容易한 事가 아니오 反히 無益한 費用을 消費함에 不過하겠다고 中止하였다더라.
Search for Uninhabited Island Abandoned
Kim Won-jun, of Seo Myeon in Gyeongnam's Uldo County [Ulleungdo], had said that an uninhabited island called "Gansando" (干山島) was located about forty to fifty ri northeast of Uldo and that if he discovered it, he planned to gather together a group of like-minded people and move to the island. He had decided to collect four won from each person to hire a boat for about 100 won. Then they would find three crewmen and depart. He had already gathered together thirty like-minded people.
He said that there is a legend that Gansando (干山島) really does exist, but already more than a decade ago, Koreans on Ulleungdo, who had joined together to hire a boat to search for the island, could not find it. Not only that, despite numerous voyages in recent years, the island has still not been found, and it does not appear on any navigational charts. He said that even if the island exists, it would not be easy to find, and a search for it would been nothing but a fruitless, waste of money, so he has abandoned it.
HERE is a link to a Japanese blog that talks about the article.


  1. Thank you, Gerry

    I added some Chinese caracter I could read.


    慶尙鬱島郡 西面 金元俊은 鬱島로부터 東北方 約 4, 50里를 距하야 位置를 宅한 于山嶋라하는 無人嶋가 有하다한 즉 此를 發見하면 團體로 移住할 계획인던 貸放者를 募集하고 其費用이 每人에 *하야 金四圓式 *金하야 約 百圓으로 帆船을 入한 後 三名의 乗組을 探索키로 出發할 事를 決定하여 賛成者가 三十名에 達하였더니 右 于山島는 其實在의 傳說이 有하나 曾히 十數年前同地內 鮮人의 聯合으로 *船을 雇入하야 探索하였으나 發見치못할 뿐 안니라 近年에 海航路가 頻繁하여도 아즉 此를 現認하였다는 事가 無하고 又 海圖에도 現한 者 無한 즉 合存在하다 할지라도 此를 發見함은 容易한 事가 아니오 反히 無益한 費用을 消費함에 不過하겠다고 中止하였다더라.

    This article says,

    ①Korean on Ulleundo thought Usando was inhabitable island which locates 16-20 km north east from Ulleundo in 1913. (Takeshima is not in habitable island which locate 92km south-east from Ulleundo.)

    ②They were not sure if Usando really exist. Choson on Ulleundo tried but failed to find Usando around 1900-1903. (Korean on Ulleundo knew about the island at least in 1900-1903 and calling the island as Japanese name "Yanko".)

    ③Even there were many ships sailing in the area, nobody had never recognized Usando. (Takeshima was already an important fishery island for Japanese, and Korean were hired by them to go to the island. Korean apparently knew about Takeshima in 1913.)

    ④Usando was not on sea chart. (Takeshima was on sea chart.)

    From those description, we can safely conclude Korean clearly knew that Usando was not Takeshima/Dokdo. I guess when Korean government dropped the name "Usando" from the Ordinance no.41 in 1900 and decided to use "Jukdo" instead which were practically meant same island before, Korean confused the location and existance of Usando(Jukdo) which were sometimes not recorded in many documents because of its poor accessibility.

  2. Thank you, Kaneganese.

    I think you may be right about 乗組 and 賛成者 and have changed the text, accordingly, but I am still not sure what 雁入 and 仮合 mean. Yes, it looks a lot like 雁入, but what does it mean? I cannot find it in my Korean dictionary.

    By the way, I am not sure if Koreans were still using the Korean 里 in 1913 or the Japanese 里.

  3. Gerry,

    "雁入" should be "雇入". Sorry, my bad. It means "hire" in English.

    "仮" should be an old Chinese, but I didn't have one, so I used modern caracter. It is used for "assumption". "Even if Usando did exist, it would be hard to find..." Does it make sence to you?

    As for "里" in 1913, I hope we can have clues someday.

  4. Thank you, Kaneganese. I think you are right, again. I have added 雇入and 假合. Good teamwork, right?

  5. dokdo-takeshima.com10/4/08 00:39

    More than anything this Korea article shows Usando could not be Jukdo Islet. It shows the Koreans of the day regarded Usando as a distanct island NOT Jukdo Islet which is only 2kms away.

    Korea adopted the Japanese ri at least four years before this article. It was in 1909 as shown here.

    Japanese ri in 1909

    16~20kms times 4kms (a Japanese ri) would be about the correct distance to Liancourt rocks and definitely not Jukdo Islet.

  6. "假" - Thanks, that the one.

    Yes, good team work. I hope Korean would join the study someday. It would be fun.

  7. Thanks Steve, but if the Koreans were using the Japanese ri in 1913, then 40 to 50 ri would be 160 to 200 kilometers northeast of Ulleungdo, which would be more than twice the distance to Liancourt Rocks and in the wrong direction.

  8. dokdo-takeshima.com10/4/08 14:00

    Actually, 40 Japanese ri is the exact distance to Liancourt rocks in many Japanese historical maps such as these maps.

    40 Japanese ri to Dokdo1

    40 Japanese ri to Dokdo2

    Yes, the direction on the document is northeast as opposed to southeast where it should be. There is confusion, but the newspaper document rules out any possibility there were using Usando to refer to Jukdo Islet.

  9. Anonymous13/4/08 16:34

    About "假合",it must be "假令".



  10. Yes, 假令 makes perfect sense. Thank you, Annonymous.

  11. chaamieyさん



    chaamiey(Anonymous on above comment) helped me to decipher the July 1906 article in "Hwangseong Shinmun" (皇城新聞) over at Sugino's blog,

  12. I didn't see the name. Sorry. Thank you, chaamiey

  13. Anonymous13/4/08 22:29

    My pleasure,Mr.Bevers,Kaneganeseさん


  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Hello, Gerry.

    Allow me to point out three errors in the above original article.
    About "계획",it must be "計劃" in Chinese character.
    About "于山", it might be "干山" or "千山".
    About "不過하겠다고",it must be "不遇하겠다고".

  16. Thank you, 小嶋日向守.

    I made your first two changes, but I do not agree with your third change. In Korean, 不過하겠다 fits very well.

    By the way, the 계획 I wrote was just the Korean pronunciation for 計劃. I just forgot to put it into Chinese characters. Also, do you have any suggestions for the three missing characters that I marked with red asterisks? I cannot figure them out.

  17. Hi, Gerry.
    Thank you for your prompt comment.
    Today, I have read more clear text on 35 mm micro film in the library attached to the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization.
    I identified the all characters, including the red asterisks.
    Especially, 南, 定, 干山, 對,醵金 and 射 are recognised definitely.
    So, I can contribute the following perfect text.


    慶南鬱島郡 西面 金元俊은 鬱島로부터 東北方 約四、五十里를 距하야 位置를 定한 干山嶋라하는 無人嶋가 有하다한 즉 此를 發見하면 團體로 移住할 計劃인던 贊成者를 募集하고 其費用이 毎人에 對하야 金 四 圓式 醵金하야 約 百圓으로 帆船을 雇入한 後 三名의 乗組를 探索하키로 出發할 事를 決定하여 贊成者가 三十名에 達하였더니 右 干山島는 其實在의 傳說이 有하나 曾히 十數年前同地内鮮人의 聯合으로 射船을 雇入하야 探索하였으나 發見치못할 뿐 안니라 近年에 海航路가 頻繁하여도 아즉 此를 現認하였다는 事가 無하고 又 海圖에도 現한 者 無한 즉 假令 存在하다 할지라도 此를 發見함은 容易한 事가 아니오 反히 無益한 費用을 消費함에 不過하겠다고 中止하였다더라.

  18. Thank you, 小嶋日向守. I made the changes you pointed out, and they all make sense, except 射船. Do you know what kind of boat it is?

    Anyway, thanks.

  19. Sure, it is a strange word today.
    But, Utsuryo Island as well as Takeshima were naturally utilized as a rich fishing ground for sea lions and seals.
    Therefore, I think the word means fishing boat that suits for sea lions hunters.
    However, I can't give example showing the actual use of the word "射船".

  20. 追伸

  21. 4年後のチョー亀レス。




  22. レスありがとう御座います。