竹島問題の歴史

22.11.09

Important Mistranslation of 1694 Ulleungdo Inspection Report

I have found a very likely, important mistranslation of a passage in the "Ulleungdo Sajeok" (蔚陵島事蹟), which was a report of Jang Han-sang's 1694 inspection of Ulleungdo. I am not surprised that Koreans have mistranslated it, but I am surprised that I and others had not noticed the mistranslation before. I think my new translation is a very important piece of evidence supporting the Japanese claim to Takeshima (Liancourt Rocks) and would like others to reexamine the passages I present below.

In 1694, the Korean government sent Jang Han-sang (張漢相) to inspect Ulleungdo. In his inspection report, he wrote the following:

About five ri to the east is one small island. It is not very big or very high, and it has a grove of haejang bamboo (海長竹) growing thickly on one side. On a day the rain clouds cleared and the fog settled, we went into the mountains and climbed the central peak. Two tall mountains to the north and south were facing us. This was the so-called Sambong (三峯 - "Three Peaks"). The winding shape of Daegwanryeon (大關嶺 - mountain range on the east coast of the Korean peninsula) was visible to the west. Looking toward the east, there was one island far off to the southeast. The size was only about one-third of Ulleungdo. It was only about 300 ri [120 kilometers] away.

東方五里許 有一小島 不甚高大 海長竹叢生於一面 霽雨?捲之日 入山登中峯 則南北兩峯 岌崇相面 此所謂三峯也 西望大關嶺逶迤之狀 東望海中有一島 杳在辰方 而其大滿蔚島三分之一 不過三百餘里.

The small island five ri (two kilometers) to east of Ulleungdo, which was described as having haejang bamboo (海長竹) growing thickly on one side, was almost certainly Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島) because Jukdo is two kilometers off Ulleungdo's east shore and is Ulleungdo's largest neighboring island. The island was labeled as "Usando" (于山島) on Bak Jang-sang's 1711 inspection map of Ulleungdo.

The island that Jang Han-sang described as being far off to the southeast of Ulleungdo, about 300 ri away (120 kilometers), was almost certainly Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima), which are about 90 kilometers southeast of Ulleungdo. Inspector Jang described the rocks as being about one third the size of Ulleungdo, which tells us he did not travel to the rocks because Liancourt Rocks are actually only about 1/390th the size of Ulleungdo. Later, in the conclusion of his report, Inspection Jang seems to refer to the island as being Japanese territory. Here is the quote:

登島山峰審望彼國之域則杳茫無眼杓之島其遠近未知幾許

If one climbs a mountain peak on the island (登島山峰) and looks carefully (審望) at that country's (Japan's) territory (彼國之域), there is a distant, hazy (則杳茫), inconspicuous island (無眼杓之島). Its distance (其遠近) is unknown (未知幾許).

The above quote is my corrected translation of the mistranslation I was referring to above. It was in the conclusion of Inspector Jang's 1694 report. The "distant, hazy, inconspicuous island" was almost certainly referring back to the distant island referred to earlier in the report as being about 300 ri (120 kilometers) to the southeast of Ulleungdo. The fact that he reported seeing the island while looking at Japanese territory suggests that he believed the island to be Japanese.

Also, in a 1714 Korean report, an island visible to the east of Ulleungdo was described as being on the Japanese border, which suggests, again, that they believed the island to be Japanese:

I listened carefully to the people in the ports (浦人) who said, "Pyeonghae (平海) and Uljin (蔚珍) are closest to Ulleungdo, and there are no obstructions along the sea route. Visible to the east of Ulleung is an island that is on the border of Japan." In 1708 and 1712, strange-looking ships drifted to the borders of Goseong (高城) and Ganseong (杆城), so we know that Japanese ships frequently come and go. The government, however, says that the vast sea is a barrier, so there is no need to worry, but how can we be sure that a future war will not break out in the Yeongdong region instead of the Yeongnam region? We cannot allow even a little delay in taking measures to be thoroughly prepared.

In accordance with the request, the Myodang (廟堂) requested that Gangwondo be reprimanded to cracked down on its military officials.

辛酉江原道御使趙錫命 論嶺東海防疎虞狀略曰 詳聞浦人言 平海蔚珍 距鬱陵島最近 船路無少礙 鬱陵之東 島嶼相望 接于倭境. 戊子壬辰 異攘帆穡 漂到高杆境 倭船往來之頻數 可知. 朝家雖以嶺海之限隔 謂無可憂 而安知異日生釁之必由嶺南 而不由嶺東乎. 綢繆之策 不容少緩. 廟堂請依其言 飭江原道 團束軍保.

10 comments:

  1. Thank you Gerry.

    鬱陵之東 島嶼相望 接于倭境
    I think this sentence means that "an island faces (to Ulleungdo) each other at the east of Ulleungdo, which contacts Japanese area", which may indicate that the area beyond the island (Jukdo) is Japanese area.

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  2. Mr.Bevers,

    "because Liancourt Rocks are actually only about 1/390th the size of Liancourt."


    I guess you intended to write "because Liancourt Rocks are actually only about 1/390th the size of Ulleungdo."


    그런데,

    I think your first translation is right.

    登島山峰審望彼國之域則杳茫無眼杓之島其遠近未知幾許

    As for the conclusion of this sentence is that Jang Han-sang (張漢相) could not estimate how far from the point he was to Japan.

    I think the reason why he could not is that he did not see any island which could be a clue estimating distance.




    2009.11.22

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  3. Additionally,
    I would like to point out that Koreans may have known that their eastern limit was Ulleungdo (or Jukdo of Ulleungdo), as many books and maps in the 19th century say so.

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  4. Chaamiey,

    Yes, I meant to write 1/390th the size of Ulleungdo.

    登島山峰審望彼國之域則杳茫無眼杓之島其遠近未知幾許

    Jang had already written earlier in his report that he had seen a distant island to the southeast of Ulleungdo, so he would not have been saying in the conclusion of his report that there were no visible islands.

    He had estimated the island to be "only" about 1/3 the size of Ulleungdo, which not only tells us he did not know the actual size of the island, but also that he considered an island "only" 1/3 the size of Ulleungdo to be insignificant.

    The sentence in question appeared in the conclusion of the report, so he was summarizing what he had already written.

    There is no "cannot" in the sentence. 未知 means "is unknown," not "could not estimate." If they had wanted to say "could not estimate" or "could not know," then I think they would have written something like 不可知.

    無眼杓之島 means "no conspicuous island." It there had been no island, then I think he would have simply written 無島. Also, what was "distant and hazy" (杳茫)? It had to be the "inconspicuous island."

    I think 其 (its) was referring to the "distant, inconspicuous island," not to Japanese territory, but even it it were referring to Japanese territory, "the inconspicuous island" was included in it.

    Finally, "Its distance is unknown (其遠近未知) makes sense without 幾許, so I am thinking that 幾許 might mean that had to estimate the distance (to the distant island), which they did.

    I would just ask that people reconsider the sentence with an open mind. Again, Jang had already said he saw a distant island to the southeast of Ulleungdo.

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  5. Thanks,Mr.Bevers,

    "The sentence in question appeared in the conclusion of the report, so he was summarizing what he had already written."

    登島山峰審望彼國之域則杳茫無眼杓之島其遠近未知幾許

    I'm thinking that the sentence is not a summary of what Jang Han-sang (張漢相) had already written,but a new information about what he saw climbing on the top of Jukdo which is Ulleungdo's neighboring island.




    2009.11.23

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  6. Chaamiey,

    He was not looking from Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo because Jukdo does not have any "mountain peaks" (山峰).

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  7. Gerry are you still slyly trying to manipulate these records?

    The important thing we gather from the Ulleungdo Sajeok is the inspector reported seeing Dokdo and quoted the distance. Afterwards he said he could not see Japan and thus did not know how far away the nation was. This excluded Dokdo from Japanese territory alone.

    Why would Jang Han Sang say the distance of Dokdo was 300 ri (60kms) in his report and then later say he didn't know the distance? It doesn't wash, Gerry.

    Read further into the Ulleungdo Sajeok. The inspector describes a portion of Ulleungdo as being 50ri. Using a Chosun ri this would make only a portion of Ulleungdo to be 20 kms long when in fact the whole island is only about 10kms.

    Jang also describes as walking 20ri to the North from Seong-In Bong and 40 ri to the South. Using the standard Chosun ri doesn't work. However using the smaller ri also written on Chosun maps works perfectly within the true geographic size of Ulleungdo

    This means Inspector Jang Han Sang was using a smaller ri as with other inspectors of this era.

    In other words, Gerry. Inspector Jang considered Dokdo to be very close to Ulleungdo not far at all. Jang probably ballparked Dokdo to be 60kms. Certainly he would not have thought the nation of Japan was that close. I find it hard to believe the Koreans thought Japan to be six times a portion of Ulleungdo Island away from Chosun.

    Jang Han Sang describes the distance to Dokdo as "不過三百餘里" This means "not even 300 ri" or "only 300 ri" He wrote it in a manner to say the distance wasn't great. However, in his summary he describes trying to see Japan off in the distant hazy sea and could not determine the distance to Japan.

    At this time, Jang Han Sang hadn't didn't how far away Japan was but had estimated the distance to Dokdo reasonably well. Viewing a Korean map from this era we can see they figured Japan to be quite distant from Ulleungdo, much further away from Ulleungdo.

    During the 17th Century this map shows the territorial perceptions of Korea relative to Japan.

    Very Distant Japan

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  8. The 1714 record of Korea's Coastal defenses does not say the island was on Japan's border. You left out some critical characters.

    It states the island was "adjacent to" or "bordering on" Japan's limits. You omitted part of the translation. Two objects are mentioned here, Japan's limits (倭境)and the phrase "borders on" or is "adjacent to" (接于). Dokdo Island "bordered on" or was "adjacent to" the limits of Japan. Again, the Koreans did not have a concept of exactly how far away Japan was but it said to be very distant.

    Chosun perceived Japanese territory to be very far away certainly not within visual proximity of Korea's Ulleungdo. The 1714 report of Korea's coastal defenses states the sea was a "vast barrier" Mr Bevers.

    We can see by Chosun maps that show Ulleungdo to be very close to the Korean peninsula. Also Japan can be observed as very far from both Ulleungdo and Usando.

    Finally Mr Bevers, to understand Japanese territorial perceptions at this time consider the 1696 Shogunate’s letter about the distance of Ulleungdo from Korea and Japan.

    The Japanese government stated;

    "Takeshima is said to belong to Inbashu, but the Japanese people have never lived there. At the time of Itokukun, Tokugawa Iemitsu the third Shogun, the merchants of Yonagomura wanted to go there for fishing, and permission was given. Geographically, the island (Ullengdo) located at 160 ri (640 kms) from Inbashu, whereas it is only 40 ri (160) from Choson. Therefore, it is undoubtedly Choson's territory...”

    Although the distances are wrong, it’s clear the Japanese also thought Ulleungdo (and thus Dokdo) was much closer to Korea than Japan. Only one-quarter the distance. Dokdo (Matsushima) being adjacent to Ulleungdo would also have been outside of Japan using the distances from the historical data above. Also consider the fact the Japanese of the day used baseline measurements from the Japanese mainland’s West Coast. (Shimane) In other words, the Oki Islands were not a consideration when determining Japanese marine boundary.

    Ulleungdo and Dokdo were historically outside of Japanese territory and part of Korea.

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  9. I have made some slight changes to my translation:

    登島山峰審望彼國之域則杳茫無眼杓之島其遠近未知幾許

    If one climbs a mountain peak on the island (登島山峰) and looks carefully (審望) at that country's (Japan's) territory (彼國之域), there is a distant, hazy (則杳茫), inconspicuous island (無眼杓之島). Its distance (其遠近) is unknown (未知幾許).

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  10. Actually, the sentence should probably be translated as follows:

    登島山峰審望彼國之域則杳茫無眼杓之島其遠近未知幾許

    If one climbs a mountain peak on the island (登島山峰) and looks carefully (審望) at that country's (Japan's) territory (彼國之域), it is distant and hazy (則杳茫) and there are no prominent islands (無眼杓之島), so its distance (其遠近) is unknown (未知幾許).

    It seems I have returned to my original translation.

    Again, 無眼杓之島 does not mean there are no islands because the inspector had already reported seeing an island to the southeast of Ulleungdo that was "about one third the size of Ulleungdo," so 無眼杓之島 should be translated as "no prominent islands," which tells us that the inspector did not consider an island only one third the size of Ulleungdo to be "prominent" or threatening.

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