Are Google & Korea conspiring to hide "Jukdo" (竹島)?

One of our frequent commenters here on this blog, GTOMR, has made a very interesting observation about a map of the Korean island of Ulleungdo (鬱陵島) on the internet map service "Google Earth." He compared the map of Ulleungdo on Google's "Google Earth" map service with the map of Ulleungdo on Microsoft's "Virtual Earth" map service and noticed that both maps appear to be the same, except that the Virtual Earth map shows Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島) while the Google Earth map does not.

See the maps belows:

Landsat Photo taken on April 8, 2000

Notice in the above photo that Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo can be clearly seen off Ulleungdo's east shore. Now compare it with the following Landsat photo of Ulleungdo taken on September 29, 1999.

Landsat - September 29, 1999

Even though it is slight obscured by clould cover in the above photo, Jukdo is still visible off Ulleungdo's east shore. Now compare the above photo with the following photo from Microsoft's Virtual Earth.

Microsoft Virtual Earth

Notice that the cloud pattern in the the Virtual Earth photo above is the same as that in the September 29, 1999 Landsat photo, which tells us that they are the same photos. Notice also that Jukdo can be seen in both photos. Now compare the above photos with the following photo from Google Earth.

Google Earth

Even though the cloud pattern in the Google Earth photo appears to be the same as that in the Virtual Earth and the September 29 Landsat photos above, Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo and the clouds near it are faded out in the Google Earth photo. Why? Could it be that Google does not what people to know that Ulleungdo has a neighboring island? See also HERE.

Now look at a satellite photo of Ulleungdo taken from Korea's Arirang 1 satellite.

Notice in the above photo that Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo does not appear because it has been chopped off. I do not know who did the chopping, but I wonder why they did it.
Below is a closeup shot of Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo from Microsoft's Virtual Earth satellite photos. The writing in red was added by me:

Old Korean and Japanese maps show that Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo was once called "Usando" (于山島 - 우산도). Even though Koreans claim that the Usando on the old maps was Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima), the fact that it was drawn just offshore Ulleungdo and the fact that it was drawn as one island, not two, tell us that it could not have been Liancourt Rocks. Liancourt Rocks is ninety-two kilometers southeast of Ulleungdo and is essentially made up of two rock islets, not one.

A suspicious person might jump to the conclusion that Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo was excluded from Google Earth's photo and Korea's Arirang satellite photo because it was feared that people might see the photos and realize that the Usando on old Korean and Japanese maps was actually Ulleungdo's Jukdo. Of course, that would be an unproven suspicion.

By the way, the following is an old Korean map of Ulleungdo made sometime between 1777 and 1787. Notice that it shows a small island just off Ulleungdo's east shore labeled as 于山, which is pronounced as "Usan" (우산). The map is stored in the National Library of Korea.


  1. Gerry,

    Is Google Earth under the control of the Korean government?

  2. Pacifist,

    I heard Panoramio case, one of the sister company of Google earth, the website customer upload their own taken photo and open in the public.

    I heard Panoramio don't delete overrule "Dokdo" post by Korean who use copyright violation and copied photo from Internet.

    It has also some rumor that there are Korean staff commit the company.

  3. GTOMR,

    Thanks for the comment. So there should be some doubts concerning the vanishment of Jukdo, I see.

  4. Pacifist,

    No, I do not think the Korean government has control of Google Earth. I just think it is a little strange that Google Earth does not show Jukdo.

    My post is half joking, but also half wondering about the coincidence.

  5. Anonymous16/7/08 14:33

    As a Japanese, I believe that "Takeshima" belongs to Japan. On the other hand, if Korean also believe the island as their own country, it's deserve to listen. Because, in any countries, people tend to believe what they want to believe and ignore other countries' opinions. I think it's worng. What is important is to know the truth and do justice according to international law.

    Japanese government has offered Korea to urgue this issue at International Court of Justice several times. But, Korea never accept the offer. I think that's the problem.

  6. Anonymous16/7/08 15:22

    I have doubt toward a Korean insincere manner. Takeshima is a territory of our country decided definitely as a result of careful examination by GHQ after World War II. 42 countries ratify San Francisco treaty, and it is recognized globally. Korea invades it militarily one-sidedly and stays. I am quite barbarian with the use of armed force even if I do not understand decision of GHQ. Furthermore, when we Japan argued about the document which I showed in detail and gave advice to Japan sometimes in the past, Korea fell silence and withdrew it. I have forged a map. There is distrust in a claim changing each time. That you judge it when a Korean is informed of all the documents properly is doubt.

  7. Anonymous16/7/08 15:26

    Article 3 1.The Territory of Japan shall comprise the four principal Japanese islands of Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido and all adjacent minor islands, including the islands of the Inland sea(seto Naikai); Tsushima,Takeshima (Liancourt Rocks), Oki retto, Sado, Okujiri, Rebun, Riishiri and all other islands in the Japan Sea (Nippon Kai) within a line connecting the farther shores of Tsushima, Takeshima and Rebun; the Goto archipelago, the Ryukyu Islands north of 29° N. Latitude, and all other islanls of the East China Sea east of longtude 127° east of Greenwich and north of 29°N. Latitude; the Izu Islands southward to end including Sofu Gan (lot's Wife) and all other islands of the Philippine Sea nearer to the four principal islands than the islands named; and the Habomai group and Shikotan lying to the east and south of a line extending from a point in 43°35' N.Lati- tude, 145°35' E. logitude to a point in 44°N. latitude, 146°30' E. longitude, and to the south of a line drawn due east on the parsllel in 44° N. Lati- tude. All of the islands identified above, with a three-mile belt of territorial waters, shall belong to Japan.

  8. Anonymous16/7/08 15:28

    from「Detailed Comment on November 2 Draft Treaty」

    With regard to the dispositon of islands formerly posessed by Japan in the direction of Korea it is suggested that Liancourt Rocks (Takeshima) be specified in our proposed Article 3 as belonging to Japan. Japan's claim to these islands is old and appears valid, and it is difficult to regard them as islands off the shore of Korea. Security considerations might render the provision of weather and radar station on these islands a matter of interest to the United States.

  9. Anonymous16/7/08 15:35

    PLEASE READ "Commentary on Draft Treaty of Peace with Japan"
    in JULY.1950

    Correction demand in 1951 of South Korea
    South Korea submitted the following opinion books to the U.S.-Britain cooperation draft that contained Takeshima in the area in Japan by the Yang Yuncha the garrison and the U.S. ambassador name on July 19, 1951.

    There is details where South Korea is not admitted to insist.

    Takeshima was excluded from a Korean territory by the consequential final decision on GHQ in Article 2, and ..substitute.. Ayagema was included. It had Treaty of Peace with Japan in a word and Takeshima was fixed as a Japanese territory.

  10. Anonymous16/7/08 20:11

    다케시마 영유권에 관한 일본의 일관된 입장

    1. 다케시마는 역사적 사실에 입각해 봐도, 국제법상으로도 명백한 일본 고유의 영토입니다.
    2. 한국에 의한 다케시마 점거는 국제법상 아무런 근거 없이 이루어지고 있는 불법 점거이며 한국이 이런 불법 점거에 의거하며 다케시마에서 행하는 어떤 조치도 법적인 정당성이 있는 것은 아닙니다.

    ※ 한국측으로부터 일본이 다케시마를 실효적으로 지배하고 영유권을 확립하기 이전에 한국이 이 섬을 실효적으로 지배하고 있었다는 사실을 보여주는 명확한 근거가 제시되지 않고 있습니다.

  11. Anonymous16/7/08 22:59

    Everyone, please look through these pdf files.
    These are written from the official viewpoint of Japanese government.



  12. Anonymous21/7/08 15:23








  13. Maybe from today, or last nite, I found on this morning that
    Google Earth converted unclear part north east of Ulluengdo into clear image of Usando-Jukdo and Gwaneumdo

  14. Thank you, GTOMR. I have made a new post about the new satellite photos. They are great.

    I guess Google was listening. :)


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