1891 American map of Japan

This colour map of Japan was included in a cyclopedia set called "International Cyclopaedia" published in 1891. It was engraved and printed by the Matthews-Northrup Works of Buffalo, NY. Railroads are shown and there is an inset map of the Kurile islands.

Please take a look at the Sea of Japan - there are "TAKA SHIMA", "MATSU SHIMA" and "LIANCOURT RKS". Although "Taka Shima" and "Liancourt Rocks" look uncoloured, "Matsu Shima" (Ulleungdo) looks green, the same colour as Oki islands and Hoki county. (Korea is coloured in pink.)

So this maybe another evidence to show that USA recognised Matsu-Shima (Ulleungdo) to be Japanese territory which means they didn't think that Liancourt Rocks, which are located 92 km east of Ulleungdo, belonged to Korea at all in the 1890's.


  1. Thank you for the interesting map, pacifist.

    Matsushima and Liancourt Rocks seems to be coloured in green, which is a same colour with Hoki(Tottori prefecture, not Shimane). It's very interesting that Ameirican defined them as Tottori prefecture. I think for foreigners, those two remote islands are not clearly determined to which prefecture of Japan they belong. Or it is possible that those are simply depicted and coloured as an reamote islands of Japan.

  2. Thanks Kaneganese for your comment.

    I haven't slightest idea why they thought the islands belonged to Hoki county but I'm sure that they thought these islands belonged to Japan, not Korea.

    As far as I researched, there is no map to depict Liancourt Rocks to be Korean territory in the 1890's at all.

    Seokdo in the Ordinance #41 (1900) can't be Liancourt Rocks.

    This is an objective evidence looked from outside of Korea. And from inside of Korea, there is no record to prove that Liancourt Rocks belonged to Korea at all.

  3. dokdo-takeshima.com2/7/08 01:15

    Pacifist, why don't you explain to all of us what "Takeshima" is located to the East?

    This map shows three islands in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) It shows a mapping error any reputable cartographer of this era knew was non-existent at least 30 years prior. (Takeshima/Argoanaut)

    If you wan't to prove Japan's ownership to Dokdo why don't use Japanese maps instead of relying on inaccurate, out of date American charts.

    Here are some Japanese maps to help us understand the territorial perceptions of Japan up to 1905 before their military annexed the island.


    Pacifist, I hate to post these Japanese maps but the public must know the truth. I feel sorry for you but you shouldn't mislead the public like this. Japan has no historical claim to Dokdo.

    In fact, we know Japan either omitted Dokdo from her territory or considered the islets as Korean.



    Pacifist, these maps do nothing but show how desperate you've become.

  4. Steve,

    The western maps from the 1890's I am showing are evidences that the world believed that Liancourt Rocks didn't belong to Korea.

    It seems to me that this was a common sense in those days.

    It was impossible for Korea to declare that it belonged to her without any grounds. So the 1900 Edict couldn't involve Liancourt Rocks - Seokdo was not Liancourt Rocks.

    Taka Shima was Argonaut Island, the phantom island which would disappear in the later maps. It is meaningless to argue about it.

  5. Steve,

    You wrote:
    "If you wan't to prove Japan's ownership to Dokdo....

    No, I am not trying to prove Japan's ownership here. I am just proving that Liancourt Rocks were not Korean islands at all.

    Usando was not Liancourt Rocks, Sambongdo was not Liancourt Rocks. So it was the last resort for Korea to say Seokdo was Liancourt Rocks, but it has been proved that Seokdo was not Liancourt Rocks.

    As watanabe Kouki mentioned, the world recognised Liancourt Rocks (Hornet Rocks) to be Japanese territory. At least, the rocks were not Korean teritory, so that Meiji government recognised the rocks as ownerless.

    As the rocks were ownerless, the country first discovered and declared to be her own land should be the owner. It is legal under the international law.

  6. dokdo-takeshima.com2/7/08 21:45

    You theory would be true Paficist had the Japanese not ceded both islands to Chosun during the Anyongbok Incident.


  7. Steve,

    You should read this:

  8. Pacifist,

    What is written on THIS MAP?

  9. Gerry,

    As for the sentences on the map, I've already translated most of it here for you a month ago. It's from Kawakami's book. According to him, it is a property of the shrine(早稲田穴八幡神社) in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The inscription are hard to read, but it seems same with some sentences from Hachiemon's testimony. Middle part of them are typed in his book.

    The first 3 lines seem to be the explanation of this map.
    "This map is drawn from the Hachiemon's testimony who was executed in 1836." (←rough translation)

    Middle part is,
    "Historically, this island (Ulleungdo) is about 100 ris north northeast from the coast of Iwami, and it is also called Ulleungdo. It is vacant, thus trees and weeds are thick It seems abalones and many kinds of fishes gather here.

    Other than Takeshima, there is a tiny island which is called Matsushima, and it is 7-80 ris apart from the coast of Iwami. Both islands seem to be all vavant.

    From Fukuura in Oki Country, sailing to north lead near Matsushima, but seeing from ship, it looked like that is a small island and not many trees are expected, thus we didn't land on it. I changed direction to north-west and reached to Takeshima.

    There are 5 more sentences, and it seems to be saying about what can seen from Ulleungdo including Choson. But I can't read them clearly and it is not typed in the book. Please give me more time to read them. I think there are typed text of Hachiemon's testimony.

  10. Gerry,

    It's very hard to read it all because it was written in a cursive hand and is too small. I will try to read it but is there anybody who is good at reading this kind of cursive style of writing?

  11. Oh Kaneganese, thanks. You are faster than bullets.

    BTW, what do you think about the map Steve brought in?
    In my opinion, the red colour in the map seems to be too thick as if someone painted later (as the tv programme in Korea Gerry introduced the other day).

  12. pacifist,

    I don't read his comment at all. Which one are you talking about?

    I couldn't read the last 5 sentences, but I sort of didn't try hard because it seems it doesn't read. But if you could, please let me know.

  13. Pacifist,

    If the map was drawn by Aizuya Hachiemon, then we know from his testimony that he did not believe Matsushima to be Korean territory, even though he had been warned about Takeshima. Therefore, we can assume that he marked the islands in red simply to show which islands were being discussed, not to show that they belonged to Korea.

    Thank you, Kaneganese.

    I am surprised that there are not Japanese translations for more of Japan's old Takeshima-related documents and maps. I would have thought that by now every single document and map related to Takeshima would have been translated by the Takeshima Research Center or by Takeshima historians.

  14. Kaneganese,

    It's in his site (he gave the address). He intoduced the Aizuya incident in the 19th century in it but he insists Matsushima (Liancourt Rocks) was Chosun's territory showing the map.

    But in my opinion, his insistency is not acceptable because of some reasons -
    1) there is a doubt that the map Steve brought may be a forgery (painted the colour later?),

    2) even if Aizuya himself painted Takeshima and Matsuishima in red, it doesn't always indicate the territory - he may have painted to indicate the islands and the country in the topic,

    3) even if he wrote the map himself and painted red to indicate the islands were Korean territory, it may have been his misunderstanding just as Nakai Yozaburo did at first (later his misunderstanding was corrected).

    4) such map drawn by an ordinary citizen is not an official map, so one can't claim ownership.

  15. Thank you Gerry, you too are faster than bullets!

  16. Gerry,

    The sentence is cited from his testimony, though modified a bit. And I think the map was drawn later since the sentences are different from original. His testimony itself is already written in modern Japanese. I posted all of them in my post. As far as reading it, he or none of Japanese didn't believe Matsushima to be Korean territory. I copied it from the book and corrected some words since it is a bit different from original. Or it will take more than a day for me.

  17. Thank you, Kaneganese.

    No, do not bother trying to translate it. I just thought that it might already be translated.

    By the way, was his testimony all of that which you linked to? If it was, then it was quite long.

  18. Yes. I think it is all of them. It is from the book called 「竹嶋渡海一件記 全」, property of Tokyo University. You can see the front page on my post. The map I posted was the property of private shrine, but the title and the contents matchs with the title of the map which says attached in his testimony. Kawakami must have considered it is the original or a copy of the original.

    The map on his site is from "朝鮮竹嶋渡航始末記 全" which was written much later and the year of the published is not defined. It is a property of Hamada city library. Hachiemon's map or map drawn based on his testimony was copied a lot by many people. I think it is one of them. The one I posted is much closer to the original, because the title of the map is same with the one mentioned in his testimony. But the map from "朝鮮竹嶋渡航始末記 全" depicts 釜山 and the distance from 対馬. There is no mention of Busan nor Tsushima in his testimony. Besides, the distance between Matsushima and Iwami(石見) Hachiemon told was 7-80 ris, not 89 ris. The distance is totally wrong. The map was apparently drawn later by someone.

  19. correction

    "Besides, the distance between Matsushima and Iwami(石見) Hachiemon told was 7-80 ris, not 89 ris. The distance is totally wrong. The map was apparently drawn later by someone."

    It seems like "八十九里(89 ris)" is written next to the distance between Takeshima and Iwami. Still, Hachiemon testified the distance between Takeshima(Ulleungdo) and Iwami is "百余里( about 100 ris)", it contradicts with his testimony.

  20. dokdo-takeshima.com3/7/08 23:09

    Kaneganese, the map I posted was a color-coded map showing Ulleungdo and Dokdo as part of Korea.

    Did you translate the following document related to the 1836 Incident?

    I found this on Han.Org


    The original map you posted is B&W but it also looks as if Ulleungdo and Dokdo have been coloured the same as Korea.

  21. hey yo.. it's not sea of japan!

    PLZ CHANG IT TO 'The Eastern or Corea Sea'

  22. This is why Koreans have to hate Japanese.
    You know a Japanese philosopher said that Dokdo is Korea's?
    Don't you guys have conscience?
    Seriously, how long are you going to claim that?
    Korean families are currently LIVING in Dokdo.
    And WTH? Sea of Japan?
    Yea right.
    When will Japan stop thinking that it controls the world?