竹島問題の歴史

5.12.09

How should 三數十里 (삼수십리) be translated?

On April 7, 1882, King Kojong told Ulleungdo Inspector Lee Gyu-won (李奎遠) that Songjukdo (松竹島) and Usando (芋山島) were islands next to Ulleungdo and asked for their distance and the natural products they produced. Lee Gyu-won reported by saying the following. (The Korean translation is that of Korea's National Institute of Korean History and the English is my translation of the Korean.)

“芋山島卽鬱陵島, 而芋山古之國都名也。 松竹島卽一小島, 而與鬱陵島, 相距爲三數十里。 其所産卽檀香與簡竹云矣。”

“우산도는 바로 울릉도이며 우산(芋山)이란 바로 옛날의 우산국의 국도(國都) 이름입니다. 송죽도는 하나의 작은 섬인데 울릉도와 떨어진 거리는 30리(里)쯤 됩니다. 여기서 나는 물건은 단향(檀香)과 간죽(簡竹)이라고 합니다.”

Usando (芋山島) is just Ulleungdo. Usan is just the name of the capital for the old country of Usan. Songjukdo (松竹島) is just a small island appoximately thirty ri offshore (相距爲三數十里). The products there are juniper (檀香) and pipestem bamboo.

The small island, Songjukdo (松竹島), that Inspector Lee was referring to was Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島), which is two kilometers off Ulleungdo's east shore. In fact, in the same conversation, King Kojong said that Songjukdo (松竹島) was sometimes called "Songdo" (松島) and sometimes called "Jukdo" (竹島). However, the translation of "approximately 30 ri (里)" by Korea's National Insitute of Korean History would be a distance of approximately 12 kilometers, not two. That suggests that there may be a problem with the National Institute of Korean History translation of 三數十里.

In the Chinese phrase (三數十里), the character 里 (ri) was a unit of measure that was approximately 0.4 kilometers, which was different from the Japanese measure of 里. That means that ten ri would have been 4 kilometers. The Chinese characters in front of the 里 (ri) character was the number of ri. The number was 三數十, which literally translates as "three" (三), "number," and ten" (數十). However, instead of translating it as a possible range, the National Institute of Korean History translated it as "approximately 30 ri."

The problem with the Korean translation of "approximately thirty ri" is that it ignores the conventional way that Koreans translate numbers used with 數十 (수십). First, Koreans do not normally use 數十 (tens) with numbers less than ten. Second, Koreans always translate the number in front of 數十 (수십) first and then the "tens" (數十).

When Koreans say 백수십 (百數十), they mean "100 and some tens," which implies that it is more than 100 but less than 200. They could also say 오백수십 (五百數十), which means "500 and some tens" and implies more than 500 but less than 600. Koreans also say 천수백 (千數百), which means "1,000 and some hundreds" and implies more than 1,000 but less than 2,000. If we use the same convention with 삼수십 (三數十), the translation would be "three and some tens," which implies that it is more than three but less than "some tens." However, 삼수십 (三數十) is different from the normal way Koreans use 數十 (some tens) because the number in front of 數 is 3 (三), which is smaller than than the number that comes after 數, which is 10 (十). This suggests a different use of 數.

I think 三數十里 (삼수십리) should be translated as "three to ten ri" (1.2 km to 4 km) since the distance to Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島 - 죽도) from the northeast shore of Ulleungdo is about 2 kilometers, and the distance from Jedong Harbor, which is on the southeast shore of Ulleungdo, is about 4 kilometers. That means that 三數十里 (3 to 10 ri) describes the distance to Jukdo almost perfectly.

Since Lee Gyu-won told King Kojong in 1882 that the distance to Ulleungdo's neighboring island of "Songjukdo" (松竹島) was "3 to 10 ri," we can safely assume that Lee was referring to Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島). And since King Kojong said that "Songjukdo" (松竹島) was "sometimes called Songdo (松島 - 송도) and sometimes called Jukdo (竹島 - 죽도)," we know that Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo was sometimes called "Songgo" (松島 - 송도), which the Japanese pronounce as "Matsushima."

Link to an Old Post of the Subject

UPDATE:

Here is a more detailed explanation of the logic I used to translate 三數十里 as "3 to 10 ri.":

  • 數年(수년) = some years
  • 三數年(삼수년) = 3 and some years
  • 三十數年(삼십수년) = 30 and some years
  • 三百數年(삼백수년) = 300 and some years
    .
  • 數年(수년) = some years
  • 數十年(수십년) = some decades
  • 數百年(수백년) = some centuries
    .
  • 百數十年(백수십년) = a hundred and some decades
  • 三百數十年(삼백수십년) = three hundred and some decades
  • 千數百年(천수백년) = a thousand and some centuries
The above expressions are common Korean expressions, and the unit of measure "ri" (里) can replace "years" (年) without changing the meaning of the rest of the expression. However, the 三數十里 (삼수십리) expression used to describe the distance to Ulleungdo's neighboring island of "Songjukdo" (松竹島) in the 1882 passage is not a common expression and is not used in modern Korean to mean "approximately 30 ri," which was how the National Institute of Korean History translated it. In fact, the 三數十 expression appears only twice among all the entries in the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty. Therefore, when the people at Korea's National Institute of Korean History translated 三數十里 as "approximately 30 ri," they were most likely guesssing, and I think they guessed wrong.

The reason that 三數十里 does not make sense, in the way that the people at the National Institute of Korean History translated it, is the same reason that 三百數千里 (three hundred and some thousands) would not make sense; that is, the number before 數 cannot be smaller than the number that comes after 數 when one wishes to express such a meaning. Therefore, we need to consider another translation for 三數十里.

When Koreans want to say "3 to 4 years," they say 삼사년 (三四年). When they want to say "40 to 40 years," they say 삼사십년 (三四十年). I think 三數十里 (삼수십리) was using the same grammar and that the character 數 was placed between the 3 (三) and 10 (里) to make sure it was read as "3 to 10 ri" instead of as "30 ri." As similar use of 三數十 (삼수십) can be found in the following February 17, 1874 entry in the Annals of King Kojong:

當初被選之人語其久則或過三數十年或在十餘年

If one talks about the length of time of the people first selected, some have exceeded three to ten years, and others have exceeded ten years.

The fact that 三數十年 was followed by 十餘年 (more than 10 years) suggests that 三數十年 meant "3 to 10 years" because if it had meant "approximately 30 years," then there would have been no need for 十餘年 (more than 10 years).

Therefore, I believe Lee Gyu-won's 1874 statement to King Kojong should be translated as follows:

松竹島卽一小島, 而與鬱陵島, 相距爲三數十里

Songjukdo (松竹島) is just a small island and its distance from Ulleungdo is 3 to 10 ri.

The above translation makes the most sense because it describes almost perfectly the distance to Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島), which is the largest of Ulleuungdo two neighboring islands. The other is Gwaneumdo (觀音島), which is only about 100 meters offshore. Ulleungdo has no neighboring island "approximately 30 ri" (12 km) offshore, which is more evidence that Korea's National Institute of Korean History translation is wrong.

28 comments:

  1. Gerry bevers,

    Please attach your old post link if you start new topic related to old post of yours.

    Regards,

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think "三數十里" means "at least 30ri".

    그들은 그 거리가 적어도 30리로 생각했지만, 더 긴 거리일 가능성도 생각했겠지요.



    2009.12.5

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  3. Chaamiey,

    When Koreans say 백수십(百數十), they do NOT mean "at least 100" or "approximately 100." They mean "100 and some tens of ri," implying that it is "more than 100 but less than 200."

    Likewise, when Koreans say 천수백 (千數百), they mean "1,000 and some hundreds, implying that it is more than 1,000 but less than 2,000.

    We cannot use the same intepretation with 삼수십 (三數十) because three (三) is less than the units of ten in 수십 (數十). Therefore, I think 三數十 was meant to be a range of either "three to ten" or "three to tens," similar to the Korean expression 서너, which means "three or four."

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  4. I have modified my post to try to make my logic a little clearer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. GTOMR,

    When you suggested "3 to 10 or more ri" for 三數十里 back in October 2007, I was reluctant to agree with you, but after considering it again, I see that your translation was most likely correct.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gerry,
    My suggestion is just a my assumption, inspired from Korean Ulluengdo detailed maps.It is because Lee Gwyuwon's converssation was made before he go to Ulluengdo.

    I think we shuold check usage from Korea history online or kyuujanggak, imputting 數十里 and its result.
    http://e-kyujanggak.snu.ac.kr/index.jsp
    http://www.koreanhistory.or.kr/eng/index.jsp

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  7. Gerry, the discussion Lee Gyu Won had with the King was before he surveyed the island. In fact, Lee Gyu Won goes on to say the information he had came from third-hand sources. Lee Gyu Won hadn’t even talked to anyone who even been to Ulleungdo. Thus Lee Gyu Won’s data couldn’t be trusted, it was just unsubstantiated heresay.

    In the same conversation King Kojong, who was citing previous Korean historical records knew that Jukdo Island and Songdo (Matsushima~Dokdo) were different islands. He had rightfully concluded there were three islands in total. The King was onto the truth, that Songdo (Matsushima-Dokdo) was another of Ulleungdo’s neighbour islands.

    Most importantly, there is nothing in the record to suggest that Jukdo Island was the Usando of old which makes your conclusions based on Ulleungdo maps highly doubtful.

    ReplyDelete
  8. BTW Mr Bevers the way, how does one ballpark a distance you can chuck a stone at as between 3 to 10 ri?

    It doesn’t make sense at all. Can you seriously imaging telling somebody that the distance to that building over there is between 1.2kms and 4kms or more?. It doesn’t make sense.

    You can look at Jukdo Island from the shore of Ulleungdo and give a good guess without being so ambiguous because it’s so close. I know, I’ve been there three times and looked from Ulleungdo to Jukdo and vise versa.

    Here is a picture of Jukdo from Seokmok. Even Helen Keller could ballpark this distance to within a hundred yards.

    Seommok

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  9. Steve,

    Yes, Lee Gyu-won's discussion was before his survey, but in his post survey report pretty much agreed with what he had told King Kojong before his survey.

    He had told King Kojong that Songjukdo (松竹島) was a small island 3 to 10 ri offshore (based on my translation), and he found Jukdo (竹島) five five ri offshore.

    He also said he could find no neighboring island called "Usando" (于山島), though the people on the island said they had heard of it, but did not know where it was. He concluded that Usando was just another name for Ulleungdo. However, the real reason he could not find it was because it was the old name for Jukdo. The people transpassing on Ulleungdo at the time had just gotten used to calling the neighboring island Jukdo.

    Lee did find Gwaneumdo (觀音島), which was being called "Dohang" (島項) at the time. However, previous inspectors' maps had labeled Jukdo and Gwaneumdo as "Big Udo" (大于島) and "Little Udo" (小于島), respectively. "Udo" (于島) was obviously an abbreviation for Usando (于山島). See HERE and HERE.

    Also, Bak Seok-chang labeled Jukdo as "Usando" (于山島) on his 1711 inpsector's map, so before Lee's 1882 inspection, Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo had apparently also been called Usando, Songjukdo, Songdo, and Jukdo.

    The three island that King Kojong believed made up Ulleungdo was Ulleungdo, Songjukdo, and Usando, and Lee did find three islands.

    What does not make sense about Lee telling King Kojong the distance to Songjukdo, especially after King Kojong had asked for the distance?

    The distance to Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo is different depending on where you are on Ulleungdo. From Jeodong Port, which is on Ulleungdo's east shore, Jukdo is about 4 kilometers away. See HERE.

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  10. I have added a more detailed explanation of the logic I used to translate 三數十里 as "3 to 10 ri."

    ReplyDelete
  11. Why has no one challenged my interpretation of 三數十里, besides Chaaimiey? Is it because you think my argument is silly or is it because my logic has won you over? :)

    I think this is an important translation, so I hope people consider my translation with an open mind.

    三里 = 3 ri
    三數里 = 3 or 4 ri
    三數 ~ 十里 = 3 to 10 ri
    三十數里 = 30 and some ri
    三數十里 = "at less 30 ri" or "at most 30 ri"?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gerry,

    After reading your update, it is possible that "三數十里" is "三、數十里", I guess. I don't have logical explanation here, but we usually use "三數十里" for (3 to 9) ×(multiply) 10 ris. Which means 30, 40,50,60,70,80 and 90 ris. But it sounds more natural if it is 30-40 or up to 60 ris. 80-90 ris are too much for "三數十里". In that sence, approximately 30 ris is not so extremely weird to me, though it should be more than 30 but less than 90 ris.

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  13. >we usually use "三數十里" for (3 to 9) ×(multiply) 10 ris. Which means 30, 40,50,60,70,80 and 90 ris

    すみません、意味が分からないので日本語で書いてもらえませんか?

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  14. 3 × 10 里 より多くて、 9 × 10 里まで、つまり、30から90里という意味です。例えば、三四十里だと、30か40里くらい、ということなので、数という以上は、90を超えないのではないでしょうか。ただ、80里とか90里だと30から始まるには大きすぎるので、せいぜい70里を超えないのが自然に聞こえませんか?日本語でも上手く説明できませんね。三から十里という概念自体がいささか不自然なのですが、その場合、漢語で三数十里と書くのでしょうか。

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  15. 全く関係ありませんが、さっき非常に便利なサイトを見つけたので皆さんにお知らせします。

    misima 旧仮名遣い・旧字変換支援(Ver.2.5)
    http://yasuda.homeip.net/misima/misima.html



    旧暦カレンダー
    http://koyomi.vis.ne.jp/i/9rekical.php

    というサイトです。

    特に上記、旧漢字にまで変換してくれます。私はいちいち手書きで変換していたのですが、かなり負担が軽減されそうです。

    ReplyDelete
  16. Kaneganese,

    If 三數十里 is translated as "30 to 40 or more ri" in Japan, then it is translated differently than it is in Korea.

    The reason the National Institute of Korean History stopped at 30 ri (里), instead of translating 三數十里 as "30, 40 or more ri" is that the number before 數 has to be larger than the number after 數. They were translating the number before 數 as 30, which means the number following 數 must be smaller than 30. If Korea's National Institute of Korean History could have taken the number any higher than thirty, I can almost guarantee you they would have. That is why even many Korean Dokdo advocates translate it as "20 to 30 ri.

    Anyway, it is unnatural for Koreans to say 三數十. If Koreans had wanted to say "20 to 30 ri, they would have simply said 二三十里. That is why I believe 三數十里 was meant to be read as a range from "3 to 10 ri."

    If what you say about 三數十里 in Japan is true, and it might be since Chaamiey said something similar, then that may explain why the Japanese seem to not be taking this important piece of the puzzle very seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  17. 數行=3.4行(又は5.6行)
    數口=3.4人
    數刻=3.4時間又は5.6時間)
    3.4又は、5.6ってのは”Some"でいいと思いますが、

    ただし、漢和辞典で調べる例で、
    数十百歩=数十歩又は数百歩
    てのもあります。

    これを考えると、三+数十里で
    まあ、3~some 10里って感じで、少ない距離ってことを言いたいんだと思いますが…以前のPostに書きましたが、ちょうどこれが鬱陵島地図2タイプに合致するような距離なんですよね。(あまり自信はありません)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am having second thoughts about my logic.

    I can see why the National Institute of Korea History translated it the way they did, and I can see why Chaamiey translates it as "at least 30 ri." I will need to think about this more.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have thought about it and still think my logic is correct.

    三數十里 had to mean "3 to 10 ri because that is the only possible translation that makes sense. It describes perfectly the distance from the east shore of Ulleungdo to its neighboring island of Jukdo.

    There is almost no way the previous inspectors could have missed seeing Jukdo, which is close enough to Ulleungdo that inspectors could not have misjudged the distant so badly. As Steve Barber wrote, even "Helen Keller could have ballparked the distance" within a few hundred yards.

    As I said, 三數十里 is not a common expression in Korea, so the translation must be reasoned from the context of the sentence, which means that 三數,十里 had to be a range of "3 to 10 ri." That is the only translation that makes sense because there are no islands "30 ri (12km) offshore of Ulleungdo.

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  20. Sorry, but one more thing.

    三四十里 (삼사십리) is a common Korean expression that refers to a range meaning "30 to 40 ri." The 三十 (30) is the low number and 四十 (40) is the high number in the range. Likewise, I think 三數十里 was using the same grammar. In other words, 三 (3) was the low number and 十 (10) was the high number. The 數 character was simply placed between the 3 (三) and 10 (十) to keep them from being read as 三十 (30) and to signal that it should be considered a range.

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  21. Gerry, the example you have shown might resolve the三數十problem.

    You wrote,
    Here is other example of 三數十.
    1874 Feb 17 - 語其久則或過三數十年, 或在十餘年



    當初被選之人, 語其久則或過三數十年, 或在十餘年,

    당초에 뽑힌 사람은, 그 오래된 것으로 말하면 어떤 이는 수십 년이 넘고 어떤 이는 10여 년이 되는데,(translation by the Korean site)

    当初に選ばれた人は、その古くなったことについて言えば、ある者は数十年を越え、ある者は10年余りになるのに、(Japanese translation of above)

    In this translation, 三數十年means “some ten years.”

    But it might mean “ less than 10 years” (3 to 10 years) as it is written BEFORE “十餘年” =Ten years and more.


    In this case, if you survey how long the people who were mentioned stayed in that status, you can see the way of using the word 或過三數十年, 或在十餘年,

    We can estimate 三數十年 might mean “less than 10 years”, or “3 to 10 years.” as you mentioned.



    But one more thing I want to say is we should not start from what we know about the situation of Jukdo, but we have to start what the document say without any presumption.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Matsu,

    三數十里 is not a common Korean expression, so I do not think it can be translated without considering the context of the sentence and the geography for Ulleungdo.

    Yes, checking on the background of the 或過三數十年, 或在十餘年 sentence would also help to confirm the meaning of 三數十, just as considering the geography of Ulleungdo would.

    Again, 三數十里 is not a common Korean expression, so the translators were probably only guessing at the meaning and, I suspect, probably guessed in a way that would be most favorable to Korea's Dokdo claims.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Mr.Bevers,


    The Japanese rarely use “三数十” in everyday life.

    But I found a few Japanese had wrote “三数十年” in Japanese web cites.

    For example,”I have been living here for 三数十年.” or “I worked as a carpenter for 三数十年.”

    In these examples,it seems that “三数十年” means 30 years or more.

    I think “三数十”is a kind of poeticism which means “30 or more tens”.

    Also, please remember the example of “三四十” which means “30 to 40”.

    Changing “四” of “三四十” into “数”, it will mean 30 to several tens.

    So I think “三数十里” means “at least 30-ri”.

     
    Sorry for my poor English.



    2009.12.8

    ReplyDelete
  24. Gerry,

    I googled 「三數十」,
    and only found the 2 cases you have already shown.

    http://sillok.history.go.kr/inspection/insp_search.jsp?mState=0&mTree=0&clsName=&searchType=a&query_ime=%E4%B8%89%E6%95%B8%E5%8D%81&keyword=%E4%B8%89%E6%95%B8%E5%8D%81


    And next I googled 「三數」,
    and found 47 cases

    http://sillok.history.go.kr/inspection/insp_search.jsp?mState=0&mTree=0&clsName=&searchType=a&query_ime=%E4%B8%89%E6%95%B8&keyword=%E4%B8%89%E6%95%B8

    7 cases are in Kojong period.

    http://sillok.history.go.kr/inspection/insp_search_list.jsp?tid=wza&mTree=0&inResult=0&clsName=&indextype=1&searchType=a&keyword=%E4%B8%89%E6%95%B8&keyword2=&setlist_K=kaa,336118,0;kba,336119,0;kca,336120,0;kda,336121,0;kea,336122,0;kfa,336123,0;kga,336124,0;kha,336125,0;kia,336126,0;kja,336127,0;kka,336128,0;kla,336129,0;kma,336130,0;kna,336131,0;knb,336132,0;koa,336133,0;kob,336134,0;kpa,336135,0;kqa,336136,0;kra,336137,0;krb,336138,0;ksa,336139,0;ksb,336140,0;kta,336141,0;ktb,336142,0;kua,336143,0;kva,336144,0;kwa,336145,0;kxa,336146,0;kya,336147,0;kza,336148,0;kzb,336149,0;kzc,336150,0;&setlist_W=waa,336151,0;wba,336152,0;wca,336153,0;wda,336154,4;wea,336155,0;wfa,336156,0;wga,336157,2;wha,336158,0;wia,336159,0;wja,336160,1;wka,336161,2;wla,336162,0;wma,336163,1;wna,336164,0;wnb,336165,0;woa,336166,3;wob,336167,1;wpa,336168,1;wqa,336169,0;wra,336170,0;wrb,336171,0;wsa,336172,1;wsb,336173,0;wta,336174,0;wtb,336175,0;wua,336176,5;wva,336177,12;wwa,336178,5;wxa,336179,1;wya,336180,1;wza,336181,7;wzb,336182,0;wzc,336183,0;&detail=0&opH=0&opAll=0&opP=0&opA=0&opB=0&opC=0&opQ=0&chkID=0&qH=&qAll=&qP=&qA=&qB=&qC=&qQ=&idS=&idE=


    In these cases, I think the meaning of 「三數」is “three or some more”

    So, the meaning of「三數十」 should be “30 or some more tens”

    I have not yet checked all the cases of 47.
    .

    ReplyDelete
  25. Chaaimiey & Matsu,

    Yes, 三數 is common and appears in Korean dictionaries, but 三數十 does not, and it is not used in Korea to mean "30 or more tens."

    I have been researching the background of the 1874 Feb 17 example of 三數十年, and am now convinced that 三數十年 meant "3 to 10 years."

    The 1874 entry was referring to a group of corrupt government officials, including 趙光淳 and 趙源祖, who had first been accused of crimes and corruption in 1870, but even though they had been given relatively light punishments, some continued their evil practices. By the time of the 1874 passage, still none of the officials had been in office, from what I can tell, for 30 years, much less "30 and some 10 years." Also, some had been officials for just a few years, so the "more than 10 year" phrase would not have covered them.

    That means that a translation of "approximately 30 years" would not apply to any of the corrupt officials. Also, since the other phrase was "more than 10 years," there would be nothing to account for those who had been officials for just a few years. Therefore, the 三數十年 had to mean "3 to 10 years."

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  26. Gerry,
    If your survey is right, it can be read as “3 to 10 years.”

    「三数」 is 「三~数」 which means “3 to some more,”

    but
    「三数十」 might mean 「三~数~十」 , namely “3 to 数=4~5(or ~6or7) to 10”

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  27. 中国人に聞いたんですが、

    三,六,九などは、
    感覚的に大きさを表すな文語的表現との話といってました。

    三数十、六数十、九数十は
    特に実数や具体的な距離感を表すのではなく、感覚的な文語的表現との話だそうです。

    この場合は、まあ、そんなに遠くない距離をあらわしている程度と云った感じだろう、とのことです。
    (この解釈の信頼性の程度は保証できません。)

    で、こんな歌を紹介されました。
    http://www.yagoora.jp/you/v/N-FUhL1sApI/

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