Korea's online edition of the Chosun Ilbo has posted a November 7, 2009 article entitled, "1905 Edition of 'Oki Sinbo' ---Evidence of 'not original territory,'" which says that a researcher at the Korea Maritime Institute's Dokdo Research Center has found evidence in a March 1905 Japanese publication that the Japanese claim that "Dokdo" was "originally" Japanese territory is "a lie."
The researcher, whose name is Yu Mi-rin, supposedly said that the following sentence from a March 1905 article, entitled "Oki Boundary Expanded," in the Oki Sinbo (隱岐新報) is the evidence that Japanese are lying:
It is a happy event that two small islands and several islets, which our islanders have traveled to since ancient times, have been officially named Takeshima (竹島) and made a part of Oki territory.
우리 도민이 예로부터 도항하던 두 개의 섬과 많은 작은 섬들이 공식적으로 다케시마(竹島·독도를 일본에서 일컫는 말)라는 이름으로 오키 영토가 된 건 기쁜 일.
Here is the original Japanese with an English translation (courtesy of Kaneganese):
Contrary to what the Korean researcher claims, the above editorial seems to support Japanese claims that Takeshima (Liancourt Rocks) was Japanese territory even before their 1905 incorporation. The rocks seem to have been considered unadministered Japanese territory long before 1905. The incorporation of the rocks in 1905 under Oki administration simply made it offical.
"Oki News" - March 15, 1905 (16th vol.)
"Expansion of Oki District Territory"
Islets located eighty-five nautical miles to the northwest of Oki, which have been named Takeshima, have been made new Oki territory and put under the jurisdiction of the governor. I must toast it.
To begin with, the two sister islets which make up Takeshima are surrounded by several smaller islets. Though the exact area size is unclear, it is said it is big enough for a shelter. There are almost no profitable land products, but there are marine products. It is said that there is great profit in marine mammals and various kinds of fish.
Originally, a significant number of Oki islanders have long sailed to the islets, thus it has been de-facto territory of Oki from long ago. Considering that fact, it was lamentable that it was not recognized officially as Oki's territory before now. On receiving the notice of official authorization, our islanders cannot help having great expectations. However, the islets are narrow from the start, so we should not compete for a short-term profit while ignoring the long-term since excessive harvesting of the products there could hurt continuing profits. Those autorities in charge should take note of this concern.
Anyway, it is a great blessing that new territory has joined the Oki cadastre, no matter which town or village the islets belong. I cannot help feeling pleased and will congratulate the expansion of Oki's territory by making remarks on this situation. (Weak Fish)
Countries, including the United States, have incorporated and unincorporated territory. Before 1905, Takeshima was essentially considered unincorporated Japanese territory, as is evidenced by a 1878 letter in which Watanabe Kouki (渡辺洪基), who was the Director of the Bureau of Documents in Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said "Hornet Rocks" (Matsushima/Dokdo/Liancourt Rocks) was Japanese territory:
The above 1878 document is evidence that the Japanese considered Liancourt Rocks (Takeshima/Dokdo) to be Japanese territory before 1905, even though the rocks were not administered by any particular prefecture. That changed in 1905, when the Japanese government decided, officially, to incorporate Liancourt Rocks into Oki county after receiving a 1904 petition from Japanese businessman Nakai Yozaburo (中井養三郞), who argued that the rocks would be better managed and protected if they were incorporated.
Therefore, if the “Matsushima” being talked about here is Takeshima (Ulleungdo), then it belongs to them. If the Matsushima is not Takeshima, then it must belong to Japan....
Many records say that “Argonaut,” which is the Western name for Takeshima (Ulleungdo), does not exist, and that “Dagelet,” which refers to Matsushima, is actually Takeshima (Ulleungdo). So what we call "Matsushima” (Liancourt Rocks) is called “Hornet Rocks” by Westerners. Foreign maps show Hornet Rocks to be Japanese territory, but there is still no agreement among countries concerning the other two islands.
Mr. Nakai sent his petition to incorporate Liancourt Rocks to the Japanese government because he had been told that the rocks were a part of Japanese territory. That fact is evidence that the Japanese at the time distinguished between incorporated and unincorporated territory. The Japanese believed Liancourt Rocks to be Japanese territory, but by putting them under the administration of a Japanese prefecture, it became "official."