"Matsushima 1906": Japanese Police substation on Ulleungdo (警察官駐在所)?

Does anyone have any information on the photo below? Robert Neff, who owns the photo, published it in a March 3, 2019 Korea Times article entitled "Timber poaching on Ulleong Island." Mr. Neff has said that on the back of the photo is written "Matsushima 1906."

Since Matsushima was the old Japanese name for the Korean island of Ulleungdo in 1906 and since the sign on the front of the building seems to read "警察官駐在所" (경찰관주재소), the photo seems to show the Japanese police substation on Ulleungdo in 1906. A Japanese police substation was established there in 1902 to help control the Japanese residents there.

Does anyone know who the people in the photo are? Did Westerners visit Ulleungdo in 1906?


Planned Wadal Village (臥達里) Rest Stop

The photo below is of the planned Wadal Village Rest Stop on Ulleungdo. It seems that before long you will not be able to walk or hike anywhere on the island without hearing and seeing cars and buses, especially along the shoreline. Koreans seem to be turning a quiet, beautiful island into another noisy, concrete tourist trap seen only from the window of a noisy Korean tour bus.

Planned Wadal Village Rest Stop

Koreans are now building a road from Seom-mok (섬목) to Naesu-jeon (내수전) that will complete a 44.2 kilometer perimeter road around the island, a project begun in 1963. You can read the Korean article HERE.

The dotted red lines on the map show where the new road is being built.

Road near Sucheung Bridge (水層橋 - 수층교)


Late 18th C. Korean Map of Gangwon Province & Ulleungdo

I cannot remember if we posted this map or not. It is stored in the Hyejeong Museum (혜정박물관) at Kyung Hee University (경희대학교). I would guess we did post it.

Where was “Wadal Ungtong Cove” (臥達雄通邱尾) in 1882?

Could the “Wadal Ungtong Cove” (臥達雄通邱尾) described in Ulleungdo Inspector Lee Gyu-won's 1882 diary entry have been the gap between Gwaneumdo and the main island instead of where Wadal Village (臥達里) is today? Could the rock sticking out from the main island have been considered a part of Gwaneumdo, which would explain why it was described as "a harbor inside the island"? Did the name 通邱尾 (통구미) describe a kind of cove that could be passed through since  通邱尾 literally means "a passing-through cove"? Or maybe the cove was where they built the 6-story tower leading up to the rock that crosses over to Gwaneumdo, as can be seen in the second and third pictures?

Read the description of the cove from Inspector Lee's 1882 report, and then consider the two picture below it. I got the first picture from the video below at about the 2-minute mark. It is quite an interesting video.

After describing Ulleundo's two neighboring islands, “Dohang” (島項) and  “Jukdo" (竹島也), Ulleungdo Inspector Lee then wrote the following:
Inside them is a harbor named (其内浦名) “Wadal Ungtong Cove” (臥達雄通邱尾), but the current is very strong (而水勢太強), so a ship would have difficulty entering (船路難進). Even on a day with no wind or waves (雖無風無波之日), the rocking of the ship (船之搖動) is like that of a lightly drifting gourd dipper (如瓢子輕漂之像). It is a place one must be extremely careful (極其操心處也). Therefore, I carefully look left and right at the stone walls (仍察左右石壁), which are layers of large and small rocks (大小層巌). They look strange and dangerous (則形容危険奇恠). The tempo of the tide going in and out (潮汐進退緩急) is sometimes like the sound of a beating drum, and sometimes like the sound of a ringing gong (箇中自有鼓鼓然錚錚然).  It is the tempo of music (音楽之節奏矣).

By the way, while watching the video, consider where "Ship Plank Cove” (船板邱尾) might have been. Remember! It was a cove with a long valley behind it where there were traces of trees being dragged.


1882, 9th Day of 5th Lunar Month -- Lee Gyu-won (李奎遠) Sails Around Ulleungdo

In 1882 on the 30th day of the 4th lunar month, Ulleungdo Inspector Lee Gyu-won (李奎遠) arrives on the Korean island of Ulleungdo and stays until the 11th of the 5th lunar month inspecting and surveying the island. On the 9th day, Inspector Lee and his crew board a small boat at Little Hwangto Cove (小黃土邱尾) and begin to circle Ulleungdo in a clockwise direction with the intent of going to the east side of the island. Inspector Lee describes the trip in the diary entry below.

There are a few inconsistencies between the diary entry and Inspector Lee's map. The first is that Inspector Lee wrote that they reached Hyangmok Cove (香木邱尾) before reaching Big Hwangto Cove (大黄土邱尾), but going in the direction they were going, they should have reached Big Hwangto Cove before reaching Hyangmok Cove, according to Inspector Lee's map. Another inconsistency is that the diary entry mentions "Jukam" (竹岩), but the map does not show it.

There are also a couple of confusing things about the diary entry. One is that it says there are two islands, and it gives two names, "Dohang” (島項) and “Jukdo" (竹島也), but it gives only one set of measurements, without specifying if it is for just one island or both islands.

Another confusing thing is the location of Wadal Ungdong Cove (臥達雄通邱尾). First, the map does not show a beach for the cove, so we cannot be sure if it was on the shore of the main island or somewhere else. Second, the map shows the cove between "Seokganju Cave" (名石間朱穴) and "Ship Plank Cove” (船板邱尾), both of which the diary describes as being north of "Dohang" (島項) and "Jukdo" (竹島), but modern-day Wadal Village (臥達里) is south of Gwaneumdo (觀音島), the island Inspector Lee seemed to label as "Dohang" on his map. Third, the report also describes Wadal Ungdong Cove as being a harbor inside one or both of the two neighboring islands (其内浦). Finally, the report describes it as a place you go into with stone walls on the left and right. It also says that when the current goes in and out of the cove, it makes sounds like the musical tempo of drums and gongs. That seems to be describing reverberations inside some kind of enclosed space, possibly a cave.

I also have one opinion on the description in the diary of the "rock that floats upright" (一石浮立) and "looks like a Bodhisattva" (形如弥勒佛). I think it was describing a rock in the water whose base had been eroded by the sea water, leaving a kind of mushroom-head shaped rock that is especially noticeable at low tide. Such a rock might look as if it were floating on the water. As for it looking like a Bodhisattva, Inspector Lee seemed to have been thinking of a painting or statue of a Bodhisattva levitating, meaning he was floating in the air slightly off the ground.

I will stop with my comments here and let people judge for themselves. Here is Inspector Lee's diary entry for the 9th day of the 5th Lunar Month in 1882

The following is Inspector Lee's diary entry of the trip made that day.
The 9th (初九日)

On the 9th (甲午) there is a red sunrise (朝霞), but the day is clear (午晴). We hold our morning religious service (晨朝) and pray to the Mountain God (山祭祈祷). Sea cloud cover is thin (海雲薄掩). The mountain mist (山嵐) is damp (漏濕). After breakfast (朝飯後), we board a boat (乗船) and depart (離發). We row (以櫓力) out past (越) the first shallow (一湫) breakers (水宗). Then we head east (次向東) and go about 10 ri (而行十餘里) to reach (至) Hyangmok Cove (香木邱尾), but even though it is called a harbor (則名雖謂浦), the wind and waves (風波) pound us (衝突). As for the shape of the rocks facing the sea (臨海岩形) many are strange (多有奇恠). Most of the red sandalwood trees are among them (其中紫丹香木最多).
Northwest Corner of Inspecter Lee's 1882 Map
We still row (仍以櫓力) gradually forward (次次前進) and reach a harbor (至一浦). The harbor (此浦) is Big Hwangto Cove, the very harbor at which we spent the night the day before we went into the mountains (卽前日山行時一宿大黄土邱尾也). Since there is no need to cover old ground (今不必疊床), we immediately launch the boat (而卽爲放船) and go quite a few ri (行幾許里) to reach (到) Daepung Harbor (待風浦). The shape of the harbor (浦形) and that of (亦與) Hyangmok Harbor (香木浦) are roughly the same (略同矣). The name “Daepung” (待風之稱) comes from (由於) using it to wait for fair winds (以待順風), but as a nickname (而稱名), this is actually an inappropriate name (此實不符之名也). The strangeness of the rocks on the shoreline (浦邊岩石之奇), the luxuriantly dense growth of valuable wood (珍恠之材鬱密), the difficult, mountainous paths (崎路之難行)--though I write, I cannot record it all (書不可盡記). Therefore, we launch the ship (仍爲放船) and row (以櫓力) down past (進下経) Hyeonjakji (玄斫支) to reach (到) the Japanese Ship Landing (倭船艙). These ports are the same ones we already passed by and had lunch at the day we entered Nari-dong (則此等浦 卽前日入于羅里洞時 所経中火之處也), so, of course, it would be wrong to again record them (亦不可更録矣). Therefore, we launch the boat and gradually move on (仍爲放船漸下).
Next to there is a peak (其傍有一峯). Its height is several thousand jang (高爲数千丈). It is shaped like the edge of garlic (形如蒜稜), so it is called “Garlic Peak” (名日蒜峯). A few ri farther (其下幾里許) there is “Dae Rock.” (有大岩). Its height is several thousand jang (高爲数千丈), and it is so towering it is an amazing sight. (而屹立亦一奇観也). On the foothills behind it (其後山麓) there is a big stream (有大川). In the interior (其内), several ranges of peaks overlap (峯巒数疊) to form a screen (爲屏), and beneath them (而其下) there again is a waterfall (又有瀑布一線), streaming layer after layer down to the sea (層層落海者), which, of course, is a grand sight (亦一壯観也). The shape of the mountain below that (其下山形) is a tall wall of layered rock (石壁層峻). In the water offshore is Jukam (其洋中有竹岩). The name alone implies (名色只) it is overgrown with bamboo (有竹叢生). Its height is several hundred jang (高爲数百丈), and its base is steep and bare (而山麓嵂屼).

North Shore of Inspector Lee's 1882 Map
Also there is a large, unnamed rock (又有無名大岩). Its height is dozens of jang (高爲数十丈). There is also a wide, flat, level rock (又有廣平盤石) that can hold dozens of people (可容数十人). Below that, at the foot of the mountain (其下山足), there are two standing rocks aligned east and west (有東西雙立岩石). As for the eastern rock (東岩則), it has one trunk (一根) and two heads (両頭). Its height is several hundred jang (高爲数百丈). As for the western rock (西岩則), it appears threatening (形容険悪). Its height is close to 1,000 jang (高爲近千丈). They appear like two brothers standing together (形如兄弟雙立). Next to them is also a lofty rock standing straight up (其傍又矗石直立) several hundred jang (数百丈). It is called (名曰) Choktae Rock (燭台岩也). Beside that is another rock floating upright (其傍又有一石浮立). It looks like a Bodhisattva (形如弥勒佛), and at the shore is a rock cave (而其海邊有石穴) that is reddish purple (色紫) with lightly dripping sea water (海水細滴). It is called "Seokganju Cave" (名石間朱穴), but it is not red orcher (而不是爲石朱也). Beyond that is a small harbor called (其下有一小浦名曰) “Ship Plank Cove” (船板邱尾), where there are traces of temporary shelters (而有結幕痕). Behind that is (其後有) a long valley with traces of trees being dragged (長谷曳木之痕矣).
In the sea on the south side are two small islands (南便洋中有二小島). They look like cows lying down (形如臥牛), but one is turned to the right (而一爲右旋) and one is turned to the left (一爲左旋). Each, on one side (各其一便則), has groves of young bamboo (稚竹有叢), and, on the other side (一便則), weeds worthlessly grow (卉雑腐生). The height is several hundred jang (高爲数百丈). The width is several * of land (廣爲数●之地). The length is five- or six-hundred paces (長爲五六百歩). People call it (人云) “Dohang” (島項) and they also call it (亦云) “Jukdo (竹島也). The circumference is about 10 ri (周可十里許). It is too dangerous to climb (危険不可攀登).  
Inside is a harbor named (其内浦名) “Wadal Ungtong Cove” (臥達雄通邱尾), but the current is very strong (而水勢太強), so a ship would have difficulty entering (船路難進). Even on a day with no wind or waves (雖無風無波之日), the rocking of the boat (船之搖動) is like that of a lightly drifting gourd dipper (如瓢子輕漂之像). It is a place one must be extremely careful (極其操心處也). Therefore, I carefully look left and right at the stone walls (仍察左右石壁), which are layers of large and small rocks (大小層巌). They look strange and dangerous (則形容危険奇恠). The tempo of the tide going in and out (潮汐進退緩急) is sometimes like the sound of a beating drum, and sometimes like the sound of a ringing gong (箇中自有鼓鼓然錚錚然).  It is the tempo of music (音楽之節奏矣).
Northeast Corner of Inspector Lee's 1882 Map
We board the ship and go down (乗船而下). The cliffs wind like those of Hangju’s Mount Seok-jong (宛如杭州石鐘山絶壁也). The shores of the harbors to which we sailed today (此日周回之各浦沿邊) had nine caves where fur seals and sea lions bear and raise their young (有九窟海狗水牛之産育處). The coastal people who come to the island to build ships (而入島造船之海民) use nets and guns to capture them to eat their meat (以網以銃捕捉食肉矣).
The sun is already setting (日已当暮), so we want to stop and sleep (仍欲止宿), but there is no place we can stop (則無處可留). Moreover, we want to gradually continue forward (更欲漸進), but the sea route is unknown (則水路未詳), so unavoidably we turn around (故不得還) and head to Jukam (向竹巌), where we disembark (而下陸), set up camp (結幕), and spend the night (留宿).


Ongdo (옹도), Janggundo (장군도), & Dokdo (독도) all mean "Jar Island"

General Rock (將軍巖 - 장군암),
1882 Korean map
Ongdo (瓮島 - 옹도), Janggun Rock (將軍巖 - 장군암), and Dokdo (독도 ) can all refer to the same rock off the east shore of Ulleungdo.
In his 1794 Ulleungdo inspection report, Han Chang-guk (韓昌國 - 한창국) wrote the following to describe the view from near Ulleungdo's Jeojeondong (楮田洞 - 저전동), which is on the east shore of Ulleungdo and was most likely the port town of Jeodong (苧洞 - 저동):
There were three islands in front (前有三島). The one to the north was called  (在北曰) "Bangpaedo" (防牌島). The one in the middle was called (在中曰) "Jukdo" (竹島). And the one to the east was called (在東曰瓮) "Ongdo" (瓮島). The distance between the three islands (三島相距) was only about 100 paces (不過百餘步), and the circumference of each was tens of pa (島之周回, 各爲數十把). They were so steep and towering (險巖嵂, it was difficult to climb up and look (難以登覽, so we stopped and slept (仍爲止宿).
Though the distances and some of the measurements of the islands in the report make no sense, the islands line up fairly well with either islands or rocks off the east shore of Ulleungdo. Bangpaedo" (防牌島 - 방패도) was most likely Gwaneumdo (觀音島 - 관음도), the northernmost island off the east shore of Ulleungdo. Jukdo (竹島) was almost certainly present-day Jukdo (竹島 - 죽도), which is southeast of Gwaneumdo. And Ongdo (瓮島 - 옹도) was most likely referring to Bukjeo Rock (北苧巖 - 북저암), which is the most prominent rock offshore of Jeodong (苧洞 - 저동).

Tourist Map of the Northeast Section of Ulleungdo, showing Kwaneumdo, Jukdo, and Bukjeo Rock

The Chinese character 瓮 (옹) in the name 瓮島 (옹도) means "jar" or "pot." The pure Korean word for "jar" can be either "독" or "장군." The Korean word for "chamber pot," for example, is 오줌 장군. Therefore, the island or rock referred to as 瓮島 (옹도) in the 1794 report on Ulleungdo could also be written as either "독도" or "장군도."

In 1882, Ulleungdo Inspector Lee Gyu-won (李奎遠 - 이규원) made a map of Ulleungdo. Among the rocks and islets he drew off the east shore of Ulleungdo, one was labeled "Janggun Rock" (將軍巖 - 장군암), which translates as "General Rock." However, the Sino-Korean word for "general" and the pure Korean word for "jar" are both pronounced "janggun" (장군). Since pure Korean words have no Chinese characters, Inspector Lee would have had to select Chinese characters to represent the sound for place names on Ulleungdo with pure Korean names.

When the poor Korean islanders on Ulleungdo told Inspector Lee that the name of the rock off the east shore of Ulleungdo was called "Janggun Rock" (장군암), they most likely did not mean "General Rock," but rather "Jar Rock," since that was the name given to one of the rocks in the 1794 inspection. Inspector Lee wrote the characters 將軍巖 (장군암) to represent the sound of the rock's name, not its meaning.

Portion of Inspector Lee Gyu-won's 1882 Map of Ulleungdo

In 1948, when the Korean men of the Patriotic Old Men's Assocition wrote to General MacArthur to claim "Docksum" (Dokdo) was Korean territory, they wrote the following:
Japan, however, never dismiss the fishering profit around the island "Ulneungdo," but planned to occupy a corner of it by some means and became to find out a small island called "Docksum" (Dokdo) in the Korean name, meaning a small pot-shaped island, near the Ulneungdo, where whales gathered.
You can read the full letter from the Patriotic Old Men's Association HERE.

As you can see, Koreans in 1948 believed the name "Dokdo" (독도) meant "Pot Island," not "Lonely Island (獨島 - 독도), which has the same pronunciation and is how Koreans write the name of the island today. They also believed the reason it was called "Dokdo" was that it was "pot-shaped," but anyone who has seen photos of Liancourt Rocks knows they are not shaped like a pot. Famed Korean historian Choi Nam-seon (崔南善) said the same thing in a 1950s newspaper article, explaining that the name "독섬" (독도 - Dok Island) meant "甕形小嶼" (옹형소서), which translates as "a small, pot-shaped island."

1950s Newspaper Article by Choi Nam Seon (崔南善)

The interesting thing about Choi Nam-seon is that in his 1948 book, "General Knowledge of the the Joseon Kingdom," he wrote that Korea's eastern-most island was Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島 - 죽도), not Japan's "Jukdo" (竹島 - 죽도), which is 92 kilometers away from Ulleungdo's Jukdo. To help ensure there was no mistaking it, Mr. Choi even wrote the longitude as 130° 56' 23" E, which is the same longitude  as Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo. Here is the quote from the book:
Adding Islands-- 
Most Eastern -- 130° 56' 23" E (Jukdo, Ulleungdo, North Gyeongsang Province) 
島嶼를 넣어서 
極東 --  東經 130° 56' 23" (慶尙北道 鬱陵島 竹島)


Ulleungdo had a neighboring islet just off its eastern shore named "Jar Island" or "Pot Island," which can be written as either Dokdo (독도), Janggundo (장군도), or Ongdo (옹도 - 瓮島), so it is true that Ulleungdo had a neighboring "Pot Island," but it was not Liancourt Rocks. It was one of the rocky islets just off the eastern shore of Ulleungdo, and really the only island off the eastern shore of Ulleungdo that looks like an overturned pot is Ulleungdo's Jukdo (竹島), which is only about 2 kilometers off Ulleungdo's eastern shore.


Question About Lee Gyu-won's 1882 Ulleungdo Inspection Report

Today I noticed that Mr. Tanaka has added very high-quality scans to his Web site of Inspector Lee Gyu-won's 1882 Ulleungdo Inspection Report. Among the scans of the report,  I have a question about one character in the section shown below.

What is the first character within the red box in the scan? I ask because Mr. Tanaka seems to have left that character out of his transcription of the document. Mr. Tanaka simply wrote the following: 松竹于山等島.

Is the character a mistake? Is the right half of the character circled to show that he made a mistake? Or could it be a slight variation of 松? What if Inspector Lee had wanted to write 松松竹于山等島, but wanted a way to separate the first 松 from 松竹? Is there a way of doing that without using periods or commons?

If the character is not a mistake, I suspect Inspector Lee meant 松島, 松竹島, and 于山島 with his expression. The Koreans translated 松竹于山等島 as 松島, 竹島, and 于山島, but we know Inspector Lee did not mean to write 竹島 because here he was listing the names of the islands he could not find. We know he found  竹島 because it was on his map, so here he meant to write 松竹島, not 松島 and 竹島.

Remember that before Mr. Lee's inspection, King Kojong had said Songjukdo (松竹島) and Usando (于山島) were next to Ulleungdo. Inspector Lee responded by saying that Usando was just another name for Ulleungdo and that Songjukdo (松竹島) was a small island between 3 to 10 ri offshore of Ulleungdo. The King responded by saying “Both Usando and Songjukdo (敎曰 或稱芋山島 或稱松竹島) are written in the Yeojiseungram (輿地勝覽)," and that although the names 松島 and 竹島 are also used, there were three islands that made up Ulleungdo. You can read the full conversation HERE.

Therefore, during his inspection of Ulleungdo, Mr. Lee would have been looking for islands named 松島, 竹島, 松竹島, and 于山島. Lee found Jukdo (竹島), but he did not find the other three. The Koreans the Inspector found on Ulleungdo all said they had heard of a small island named "Songjukdo" (松竹島) and/or "Usando" (于山島), but they did not know where it was, and Inspector Lee said he could not see any other neighboring islands in the area.

So, again my question is, "What is the first character in the red box below?"


1870 - "Travels of a Naturalist in Japan and Manchuria," by Arthur Adams, F.L.S.

In his 1870 book "Travels of a Naturalist in Japan and Manchuria," Arthur Adams not only gives a fairly detailed description of the plant and animal life on Dagelet (Ulleungdo), but he also said a wall of rock seemed to surround the island, except for "seven little sandy coves at which it is possible to land." That suggests the ship he was on did a pretty good survey of the island.

Also, Mr. Adams seemed surprised at how curious and uproarious the reddish brown "sea-bears" living in the waters around Ulleungdo were. "Sea-bear" was the name Europeans first gave to the fur seal.

Mr. Adams also wrote that they saw "three poor Koreans at work" repairing a dilapidated boat. He also said the Koreans had collected "great heaps of dried seals' flesh," so apparently the Koreans were harvesting a lot of seals on Ulleungdo back in 1870.

I think GTOMR posted the text from the book describing Ulleungdo in the comments section of a post, but I do not think we have ever posted about the book, so I am doing it now.

1899 July 6 - Ulleungdo Inspection Report by Acting Commissioner E. Laporte

The following report was submitted by Acting Commissioner E. Laporte of the Busan Custom-house to the Chief Commissioner of Korean Customs McLeavy Brown on 6 July 1899.

At the request of the Korean Government, Commissioner Brown had asked Mr. Laporte to go to Korea's Ulleung Island (鬱陵島 - 울릉도) and personally investigate the situation there. A copy of the report was confidentially provided to Mr. John Newell Jordan, who at the time was the  Chargé d'affaires of the British Legation in Seoul, Korea. This copy is apparently the copy given to Mr. Jordon or the copy Mr. Jordon sent to the British Prime Minister since this copy is now housed in The National Archives of the United Kingdom.

A 23 September 1899 article entitled "Ulleungdo Situation" (鬱陵島 事況) in the Korean newspaper Hwangseong Sinmun (皇城新聞 - 황성신문) was, at least, partially based on Mr. Laporte's report.

It is no surprise that this report says nothing about Liancourt Rocks ("Dokdo" - 獨島 - 독도), like all the other Ulleungdo inspection reports before it. This report was pretty much Korea's last gleam of hope for finding something to support her claim to "Dokdo," but is seems that last gleam of hope is now extinguished.

The first clipping below shows that Mr. Jordan transmitted on 24 July 1899 a copy of the report to the Marquess of Salisbury, who was the British Prime Minister at the time. The Prime Minister received it on 11 September 1899. The second, third, and forth clippings are the report itself.

Letter sent with a copy of the Laporte Ulleungdo Report to the British Prime Minister from the British Chargé d'affaires in Seoul

Page 1 of Laporte Report

Page 2 of Laporte Report

Page 3 of Laporte Report


Congressman Ed Royce of California makes fool of himself with "Dokdo" comment.

U.S. Congressman Edward Royce (CA)
According to a May 19 Yonhap News article entitled "Royce reiterates Dokdo is Korean territory," U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward Royce, while rejecting Japan's claims to Liancourt Rocks, supposedly made the following comment to a conference of Korean Americans at the Congress:

"This has been the case throughout history. The only time that I've ever seen it show up differently on the map was after Japan occupied Korea ... then Japan claimed South Korea -- all of Korea and claimed Dokdo island."

How could "Dokdo" show up differently on a map when it had never showed up on any maps prior to the Japanese annexation of Korea? And Liancourt Rocks never appeared on any Korean map by any name prior to Japan's annexation of Korea.

On July 19, 1951, after reading the request by the Korean Ambassador in Washington that Dokdo and Parangdo be added as Korean territory to the Japan Treaty, John Foster Dulles asked the location of the islands. The Korean Ambassador said he believed they were in the general vicinity of Ullungdo. When Dulles asked if they had been Korean territory before the Japanese annexation, the Korean Ambassador said, "Yes," after which Dulles said that if that were the case, there would no problem adding the two islands. The following paragraph is the recorded description of the relevant part of the meeting:
Mr. Dulles noted that paragraph 1 of the Korean Ambassador's communication made no reference to the Island of Tsushima and the Korean Ambassador agreed that this had been omitted. Mr. Dulles then inquired as to the location of the two islands, Dokdo and Parangdo, Mr. Ha stated that these were two small islands lying in the Sea of Japan, he believed in the general vicinity of Ullungdo. Mr. Dulles asked whether these islands had been Korean before the Japanese annexation, to which the Ambassador replied in the affirmative. If that were the case, Mr. Dulles saw no particular problem in including these islands in the pertinent part of the treaty which related t the renunciation of Japanese territorial claims to Korean territory.
As you can see in the above passage, Mr. Dulles was ready and willing to give Dokdo and Parangdo to Korea if Korea could only tell him where they were located and prove that they had been Korean territory before the Japanese annexation. Unfortunately for Korea, the Koreans could do neither; they could only say they thought the islands were near either Uleungdo or "Takeshima Rock," which means they did not know that Dokdo was supposed to be Liancourt Rocks or that Parangdo was actually in the East China Sea. In fact, according to THIS KOREAN ARTICLE, the Koreans did not find the submerged Parangdo rocks until 1973, about 150 kilometers southwest of Korea's Jeju Island. And it was a submerged reef, not an island, as Koreans had claimed. If Dokdo had really been Korean territory, one would think they would have known where it was.

In an August 7, 1951 telegram to the U.S. Ambassador to Korea, John J. Muccio, Mr. Dulles wrote the following:
Neither our geographers nor Korean Embassy have been able to locate Dokdo or Parangdo Islands. Therefore unless we hear immediately cannot consider this Korean proposal to confirm their sovereignty over these islands.
Then just three days later on August 10, 1951, Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk wrote the following to the Korean ambassador:
As regards the island of Dokdo, otherwise known as Takeshima or Liancourt Rocks, this normally uninhabited rock formation was according to our information never treated as part of Korea and, since about 1905, has been under the jurisdiction of the Oki Islands Branch Office of Shimane Prefecture of Japan. The island does not appear ever before to have been claimed by Korea. It is understood that the Korean Government's request that "Parangdo" be included among the islands named in the treaty as having been renounced by Japan has been withdrawn.
As you can see, after the Americans finally found out that Korea was claiming Liancourt Rocks as Korean territory, it did not take them any time at all to decide that the Korean claim on the Rocks was as ridiculous as their claim on Japan's island of Tsushima had been, and Mr. Rusk politely told them so. Apparently, the U.S. had already done its homework and confirmed that Liancourt Rocks was Japanese territory. The fact that the Korean ambassador and the Korean embassy staff did not know the location of "Dokdo," even while knowing about "Takeshima Rock" (Liancourt Rocks), probably sealed the deal in favor of Japan.

Finally, in a "Top Secret" report of his mission to the Far East in 1954, General James Alward Van Fleet, Special Ambassador for U.S. President Eisenhower, wrote the following:
4. Ownership of Dokto Island 
The Island of Dokto (otherwise called Liancourt and Take Shima) is in the Sea of Japan approximately midway between Korea and Honshu (131.80E, 36.20N). This Island is, in fact, only a group of barren, uninhabited rocks. When the Treaty of Peace with Japan was being drafted, the Republic of Korea asserted its claims to Dokto but the United States concluded that they remained under Japanese sovereignty and the Island was not included among the Islands that Japan released from its ownership under the Peace Treaty. The Republic of Korea has been confidentially informed of the United States position regarding the islands but our position has not been made public. Though the United States considers that the islands are Japanese territory, we have declined to interfere in the dispute. Our position has been that the dispute might properly be referred to the International Court of Justice and this suggestion has been informally conveyed to the Republic of Korea.
Congressman Royce needs to stop pandering to the large Korean population in his district (Northern Orange County) and start showing some moral backbone. Rather than making a ridiculously false statement just to get votes, he should have simply said that the matter of "Dokdo" was something that Japan and Korea needed to work out between themselves.

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951, Volume VI

7 Aug 1951 Telegram to Muccio from Dulles

10 Aug 1951 Letter from Dean Rusk to Korean Ambassador
Excerpt from the Van Fleet Mission Report submitted to President Eisenhower on 4 Oct 1954


1895 - Former Korean Customs Official F. H. Morsel (牟世乙) said "Wosan" (Usan) an Islet a quarter of a mile off Ulluengdo

This post was originally made in 2011, but I came across it again today and noticed two things. The first was that only one person had commented. The second was that the man who wrote the article was F. H. Morsel, a German who once worked as the Chemulpo Harbor Master for the Korean Customs Service and a friend of James F. Mitchell (25 May 1829 - 11 June 1903), "The Timber King of Ulleung Island." In the 1895 book entitled "The Korean Repository" (Vol. 2), Mr. Morsel described Ulleungdo's neighboring island of "Wosan" (Usan) as follows:
 On the south east is an islet, called "Wo-san, about 500 feet high, a quarter of a mile from the main island with a deep passage between the two.  
Unless examined closely, a landing seems impossible, but between Wo-san and the point projecting from the main land, there is a small beach and here close to the shore a vessel can find anchorage in from 16 to 25 fathoms, but even this harbor is available only in fine weather.
You can read more about James F. Mitchell and his timber business on Ulleungdo HERE.

As for Ferdinand H. Morsel (牟世乙), he was a German working in China in some way with the Chinese Merchant Company when he was hired by the Korean government is 1883 to work as a "maritime pilot" (指泊所) for the Korean Customs Office in Incheon. The following article, which was printed in the September 16, 1899 edition of "The Japan Weekly Mail," briefly introduces Mr. Morsel and talks about a book he had just published entitled "Korea: General Information on the Approaches to Chemulpo Harbour and Navigation of the Hankang" (1899). Mr. Morsel seems to have been somewhat of an expert on Korea's seas and waterways, and based on another article posted below,  he seems to have also known a great deal about the geography of Ulleungdo.
Mr. F. H. Morsel, formerly Acting Harbour Master in the Korean Customs, and since 189I commander of a steamer on the Han River and pilot for vessels entering Chemulpo, has just published, from the Shanghai Mercury Office, a small volume called "Korea." It contains general information about the approaches to Chemulpo harbour and the navigation of the Han-kang.  
There is a great want of any trustworthy charts for the aid of ship-masters in those waters. The Japanese naval authorities made some surveys of the coast northward of Chemulpo in 1890, but their charts, being in the Japanese language, are of no use to foreigners. We may here refer to a curious statement which finds a place in Mr. Morsel's pages. "To the North from Chemulpo," he writes, " no surveys have been made since the opening of Korea to foreign intercourse by any other except the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1890, and it was then done by them for their own particular use, for at that time it was well-known to them that they intended to go to war with China, which broke out in 1894."  
A strange assertion surely! On the very next page Mr. Morsel tells us that the east coast has been well surveyed by the Imperial Russian Navy, but he does not infer any bellicose intention on Russia's part. That by the way, however. We note that according to Mr. Morsel the dangers of navigating Korean waters have been exaggerated, the absence of charts, not the presence of perils, being chiefly responsible. The Han River, however, gets a bad character from him. It changes its conditions perpetually, and a chart made of its course to-day might be quite useless six months hence. The best boats for navigating it, Mr. Morsel thinks, would be flat-bottomed craft, drawing from two to three feet when loaded, and having stern-wheels.  
We are not in a position, of course, to express any opinion about the accuracy of the information contained in the book, but the author's painstaking minuteness is quite apparent, and we should imagine that the volume will prove of great value to every ship-master visiting Chemulpo or navigating the Han-kang.
Also, Ferdinand H. Morsel's name (牟世乙) was listed among the tax officials in the 12/29/1883 edition of the Hanseong Sunbo (漢城旬報), as you can see below. His name, job, and nationality is outlined in red:

Below Ferdinand H. Morsel writes of Ulleungdo as if he had actually been there, but more probably his friend James F. Mitchell described the island to him with much detail and emotion. Mr. Mitchell had also worked as a ship's captain. Also, Mr. Morsel was friendly with the Russians, who surveyed Ulleungdo and the eastern coast of Korea.


In an 1895 book entitled "The Korean Repository" (Vol. 2), F. H. Morsel describes "Wolung Do" (Ulleungdo), on pages 412-413, as having an islet that was a quarter of a mile off the southeast shore of the main island that was about 500 feet high and was named "Wo-san" (Usan).

In spite of a discrepancy in compass direction and distance, Mr. Morsel was almost certainly describing Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島 - 죽도), which is about one and quarter miles off Ulleungdo's northeast shore.
     WOL-UNG-DO or Matsusima as it is called by the Japanese, is an island off the east coast of Korea, 37° 48' north latitude and 130° 17' east longitude. It is about 190 miles from Fusan, 170 from Wonsan and 63 miles direct from the coast. I think this will be found more correct than the position given by the charts in common use, with the exception of those surveys made by the Japanese and Russians.
Explorers of those waters first named the island Dagelet. Some navigators gave it the position of another island and called it Argonaut and so named it on the charts. About 50 years ago, careful surveys were made by Russian, English and French navigators and it was then found that the island Argonaut had no existence, only Dagelet. There is no doubt the sailors who first located Argonaut, after leaving Dagelet got into a fog and after a day's sail, with perhaps contrary winds and currents, sighted Dagelet again and placed it on the chart as another island.
   Wol-ung-do is a gem in the sea. Notwithstanding its distance from the mainland the right of the Korean government to the island, has never been questioned by the Japanese government. The length from east to west is about ten miles, from north to south about six and a half. Seen from the distance it looks like a dark towering rock, but on nearer approach it will be  seen to be composed of a collection of conical hills, with a peak 3,000 feet high rising from the center and having the appearance of being supported by the smaller ones. The shore is steep and rugged; on all sides the water is very deep. A number of detached rocks, some having a height of 300 feet, are found near by. On the south east is an islet, called "Wo-san, about 500 feet high, a quarter of a mile from the main island with a deep passage between the two. 
Unless examined closely, a landing seems impossible, but between Wo-san and the point projecting from the main land, there is a small beach and here close to the shore a vessel can find anchorage in from 16 to 25 fathoms, but even this harbor is available only in fine weather.

The inland is not inhabited, at least not permanently. In the spring Koreans visit it and remain until autumn and occupy their time building junks which are taken to the coast and sold. The island is not cultivated further than what is required to sustain the junk builders during their stay. There is good, fresh, cool water on the island.
W'ol-ung-do, whatever the Korean meaning may be. is an emerald gem of many shades. The whole island is rich in vegetation, wild flowers abound while among the trees are found the cedar, pine, teak, camphor and fir. The first three mentioned are not only numerous, but some of them are very large. Pine and teak from three to four feet in diameter can be found while the grain of the teak when sawed presents beautiful patterns. The camphor tree is not so plentiful, as most of the trees of this species have been pilfered. It is well worth the while of the owners of this beautiful spot to take good care of it and to guard its riches, for the island from its outer appearance is not alone a gem, but it is a real gem from the standpoint of the mineralogist, but where the door is open every one thinks he has a right to enter.
The rocks are of granite formation with veins of quartz and and gneiss. Gold, cinnabar, Dragon's blood or red sulphur of mereury are among the minerals found in the island. I believe others will yet be found, and it is for this, more than for its valuable trees that I call it a gem in the sea.
Japanese junks at times visited the island, camphor and teak are cut in convenient lengths, loaded and taken to the Kobe and O-aka market.
In 1884 a British subject, a friend of mine, obtained permission from the Korean government to cut timber on this island. The season was late and the emeute of December came on, so that he did not reach the island until the following March when he went there with fifty Japanese wood cutters. He spent four or five months felling trees, but was disturbed by a company of Japanese who likewise came armed with permission from the Korean government to cut timber. A dispute naturally arose, a lawsuit followed, which ended in wind, my friend left the island and the same party of Japanese made a second visit and took all the cut timber to Kobe.
F H. Morsel

1888 Sep 15 - "Woodcutting on Matsushima," The Japan Weekly Mail

The following was printed as a Letter to the Editor in the 15 September 1888 edition of "The Japan Weekly Mail." Entitled "Woodcutting on Matsushima," it points out a mistake made in an article written in Japan's "Nichi Nichi Shimbun." Does anyone know of the article to which the letter is referring?


1887 Inspection of Ulleungdo.

The following is a description of an 11-day inspection of Ulleungdo from the 9th to the 20th in the 4th lunar month of 1887, as reported in the Hanseong Jubo (漢城周報) on July 25, 1887, which was 5th day of the 6th lunar month.

I found a few interesting things in this report. One thing was that the Inspector and crew seemed to anchor their ships at Daehwangto Cove and then travel by land, skipping over the eastern shore of the island where they would have found the neighboring islands of Jukdo (竹島) and Gwaneumdo (觀音島). That would explain why the islands were not mentioned in the report. They seemed to leave Nari-dong (羅理洞) by the pass that led to beach that Lee Gyu-won described on his 1882 map as the "Japanese Boat Dock" (倭船艙), where they turned west and headed back along the shore toward Daehwangto Cove.
Below is my translation of the report. Please check it for mistakes; I was getting tired near the end.
English Translation
On the 5th day of the 6th lunar month (July 25, 1887) Gangwondo Governor Jeong Tae-ho (江原道觀察使 鄭泰好) reported as follows: 
According to a written report (牒呈內) from Pyeonghae County Magistrate and Ulleungdo Inspector Bak Tae-won (平海郡守 兼鬱陵島僉使朴泰遠), the inspector's Ulleungdo inspection proceeded as follows (僉使鬱陵島討搜次):  
Between 5 and 7 a.m. on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month, [the inspector] had food, provisions, and assorted materials divided and loaded onto two ships. Leading forty people, including minor officials and sailors and their assistants (員役沙格), they all set out for the island. On the 9th, between 7 and 9 p.m. the inspector's ship was the first to arrive at Taehwangto Cove (大黃土浦). The supply ship (卜船) arrived soon afterwards. They then offloaded at the Island Magistrate’s official residence 65 seok of rice plants (正租), 40 seok of high-quality rice (大米), 25 seok of medium-quality rice (中米), 10 seok of soybeans (太), 5 seok of buckwheat (木麥), 3 seok of salt (鹽), and 2 seok of soy (醬). Afterwards, they gathered the residences to equally distribute the famine relief supplies. 
At daybreak on the 15th, they marched overland and arrived at Gokpo-dong (谷浦洞), which was surrounded by mountains of dense forest. As the valley entrance gradually widened, it was divided between hunters living among the hills and farmers who had cleared trees and made farmland. When they arrived at Tong-gumi (樋口尾), there were various strange sights, including cliffs that seemed to have been carved out and fold after fold of mountain peaks. Crossing over Gadodu (假道頭), the mountain rocks were very rugged, and paths were so threadlike that they could barely pass through in single file. They headed to Jangpo-dong (長浦洞), where a village had formed of people living in wooden huts. The rugged land had been sufficiently cultivated into farmland, but their water source was not deep enough to cultivate rice paddies. When they arrived there it was getting dark, so they spent the night. 
On the 16th, to get to Jangsa-dong (長社洞), they advanced toward Dobang Cove (道傍浦), where there were not many people living and where there were very few cultivated fields. There was one harbor back deep between two sheer cliffs. When they reached that harbor site (浦洞), it was thick with green ramie, and there were strange-looking rocks that spring up and seemed to have been carved. They had to climb the cliffs to continue on. When they arrived at Jukjeon-gumi (竹田邱尾), the bamboo groves were so scarce that there was barely enough to present as a tribute to the king. Then they came back over the ridge and spent the night. 
On the 17th, they entered Nari-dong (羅理洞). Then the area was vast. It was a good 30 ri of land. Accordingly, there were many places where rice paddies could be cultivated, but the trees were thick and overgrown, and there was still no clearing. They then came out to the harbor entrance, where there was a peak so pointed that it looked like a gimlet rising up to the sky. Turning, they came to Gwangam-dong (廣巖洞), where the mountains gradually opened up into level land with a lot of fertile soil. Also, when they arrived at Hyangmok Valley (香木谷), a village in between the cliffs left barely enough Chinese juniper to prepare the tribute to the king. Below there were the sea and a deep cave into which a colony of sea lions would disappear and reappear. They got two of them. Next to there was Hwangto Cave (黃土窟), from which they dug a little. 
On the 18th they returned to Daehwangto Cove, where they first anchored. They calculated the distance around the island to be about 160 ri, from north-to-south 70 ri, and east-to-west 60 ri
Farming Situation (農形) 
Barley and wheat (兩麥) were planted in the fall and both were bumper crops. The planting of red beans and soybeans (豆太) was in full swing, and the hemp (生麻) was gradually getting fuller.  
On the 20th between 3 and 5 p.m. they departed Ulleungdo. The force of the wind was poor, and fog was everywhere, so they sailed in circles until they were suddenly hit by wind and waves sometime between 7 and 9 p.m. on the 23rd, breaking the rudder (鴟板). The sailors did not know what to do. The night passed and the waves calmed enough that they could row a little. 
Between 10 a.m. and noon on the 25th, they barely made it to the waters in front of Samcheok military camp (三陟鎭). When they finally returned to the County Office on the 29th, they found that the supply ship had already returned to the county’s Gusan Camp (邱山鎭). 
According to established practice, they are sending a map of Ulleungdo, the situation on households and development, and tributes of red sandalwood incense (紫檀香), green bamboo (靑竹), sea lion pelts (可支魚皮), and red ocher (石間朱).

They traveled a thousand ri into the distant sea and returned safely, but honestly they were very lucky to do so. When the said inspector saw the island residents’ cruel and desperate living situation, he donated 600 ryang and bought foodstuff to take to the island to provide relief. The grains were as much as 150 seok. By doing this he gave strength to the enfeebled people on Ulleungdo so they could go on living. Actually, previous commanders had not done this. Not only was this the right thing to do, the kindness he showed can only be described as extremely praiseworthy.

I am sending you under my seal from my headquarters a book [entitled] "Various Features of Ulleungdo" (鬱陵島各形一本), two pieces of sandalwood incense in the original package (紫檀香 元封二吐) and ten more pieces in an additional package (加封十吐), three lengths of green bamboo (靑竹三個), six seung of red ocher (石間硃六승), and two sea lion pelts (可支魚皮二領). In addition, I am sending you a revised record of the resident households and cultivated land, which is the reason for this mounted-courier report (馳啓).
Original Chinese
同日 江原道觀察使 鄭泰好 謄報。平海郡守 兼鬱陵島僉使 朴泰遠 牒呈内 僉使鬱陵島搜討次。

閏四月初八日 卯時、粮饌雜物 分載二隻船 率員役沙格等四十名 齊發向島。初九日戌時、僉使船 先泊大黄土浦。卜船 鱗次到泊。正租六十五石、大米四十石、小米二十五石、太十石、木麥五石、鹽三石、醬二石、一一卸下 于島長公舎。後抄出民口 均排賑恤。

十五日早朝、離發陸行 抵到谷浦洞、則 山形抱擁 谷口稍濶、搆巣者隔岸分居 治畝者閥林爲耕。至樋口尾、則 峭壁層巒 奇恠萬狀、仍踰假道頭、則 峰岩危險 線路纔通。向往長浦洞, 則 板屋居生 自作一村 菑畬起耕 洽爲百畝、而以泉源不長 無水田可墾。日已昏黒 仍爲止宿。

十六日、轉向長社洞 出往道傍浦、則 居民不多 墾田尠少、而雙璧屹立 一港深通。至苧浦洞、則 青苧簇立 奇岩削出緣崖。而行入于竹田邱尾、則 篁林稀踈 僅備進獻之數。還爲踰嶺 止宿。

十七日、入于羅里洞、則 幅圓廣濶 洽爲一舎之地、雖多冝畓處、亂樹叢林 姑未開拓。 仍出海口、錐巖一峰 挿入半天。轉至廣巖洞、則 山開平陸 田多土桁。又到香木谷、則 村在巖壁間、故僅爲斫取 準備進上元數。其下臨水 窟穴深邃、而可支魚一隊出沒 捕得二頭。 傍有黄土窟、故如于掘取。


計其環一島周囘 爲一百六十餘里、而自坎至离 爲七十餘里、自震至兌 爲六十餘里。農形秋耕 兩麥墾皆豐熟 豆太方張耕播 生麻漸次茁茂。

二十日申時、島離發。風勢不利 瘴霧四塞 逗遛中洋。二十三日戌時、猝遇風浪 鴟板折傷 篙師莫知所措。經宵浪息 稍稍行。二十五日午時、艱辛抵到 于三陟鎭 前洋。同月二十九日 始爲還郡、則卜船亦已來泊 於本郡邱山鎭。

本島圖形 及 民戸起墾形止、與 進上紫檀香・青竹・可支魚皮・石間朱 依定式上送。今此搜討之行 千里層溟、無事往返 誠甚奇幸。該僉使、爲念新接島民之生涯 以其殘况、捐出六百兩 餐穀往哺 至爲一百五十石之多。島居殘民 賴以資活、此實 前僉使之所未行者也。揆以施惠 極庸嘉尚。
鬱陵島各形一本、紫檀香 元封二吐・加封十吐、青竹三箇、石間朱六升、可支魚皮二領、自臣營監封、并民戸墾田修錄上送。緣由馳啓。

25 July 1887, "漢城周報"

This page shows the date as 25 July 1887


Great Collection of Documents on the Draft Treaty of Peace with Japan

In 2011, Chaamiey provided THIS LINK to a well organization collect of WikiSouce Documents on the Draft Treaty of Peace with Japan. I do not remember if I clicked on the link back then, but I clicked on it today and was impressed. I saw documents I do not remember seeing before. I wonder if new documents have been added since Chaamiey first provided the link. Check it out.

1901 May - "Journal of Geography" (地学雑誌) - "An Island in the Sea of Japan"

In the May 1901 edition of Japan's "Journal of Geography" ("地学雑誌," 13輯148巻, 1901.5, pp. 301-302), the writer of the following article questioned the claim that a new island had been discovered in the Sea of Japan, which had been reported in several Japanese newspapers a month earlier. The writer believed the information on the so-called new island corresponded with that of an outcropping of rocks in the Sea of Japan known as Liancourt Rocks, though he added that a more detailed report would be needed to know for sure.

The newspaper reports of a new island in the Sea of Japan seem to have been sparked by an article in a 10 March 1901 publication of the Black Dragon Society, also known as "The Amur River Society." The Black Dragon Society article can be read HERE.

Here is an English translation of the May 1901 article in Japan's "Journal of Geography":
"An Island in the Sea of Japan (Yanko)"
In mid April several Tokyo newspapers reported that an island had been discovered in the Sea of Japan. According to the reports, an island yet unknown to the world was discovered in the sea 30 ri to the southeast of Korea’s Ulleungdo and about the same distance to the northeast of Japan’s Oki County. They said the island had not yet been recorded on Japan’s sea charts nor on British sea charts, but that the island did, in fact, exist. It said Japanese on Ulleungdo could, in fact, see the distant form of the island to the southeast from a mountain top on clear days.
According to the history of its discovery, one or two years ago a fishing boat with diving apparatus from the Kyushu area discovered the existence of the island in an unfamiliar area in the distance sea while hunting for fish. The fishermen happily used the island as a base to explore the surrounding waters. They found that the area was inhabited by a great many fish, but a colony of hundreds of sea lions obstructed the fishing boat. Finally, unable to do their job, it is said the fishermen returned.
A diver on the fishing boat who actually saw the island reported that it was about 30 cho in length; its hills were not very high. Here and there were weeds and bushes. The shape of the island was quite irregular, so it was a good place for ships to harbor and avoid the wind and waves. However, even if you dig a few feet below the surface, there is no water, so it cannot be described as a viable place for processing sea products. However, it is still sufficiently worthwhile for researchers and industrialists to explore. Japanese and Korean fishermen call it "Yanko."
According to the above article, the location is not precise, but I think this island corresponds to Liancourt Rocks, considering the article and the island's name, though it is yet to be plotted. Since this might not be the case, a precise judgment cannot be made without first receiving a detailed report. For reference, here is an excerpt from an article on Liancourt Rocks from Page 263 of the Second Edition of the “Joseon Waterways Directory” (朝鮮水路誌, 1899).
Liancourt Rocks
Liancourt Rocks are named after the French ship Liancourt, which discovered them in 1849; they were also called Menalai and Olivutsa rocks by the Russian frigate Pallas in 1854, and Hornet islands by H.M.S. Hornet in 1855. Captain Forsyth, of the latter vessel, gives their position as lat. 37°14′N. long. 131°55′E., and describes them as being two barren rocky islets, covered with guano, which makes them appear white; they are about a mile in extent N.W. by W. and S.E. by E., a quarter of a mile apart, and apparently joined together by a reef. The western islet, elevated about 410 feet above the sea, has a sugar-loaf form; the easternmost is much lower and flat-topped. The water appeared deep close-to, but they are dangerous from their position, being directly in the track of vessels steering up the Sea of Japan for Hakodate.

Here is the Japanese
"日本海中の一島嶼 (ヤンコ)" 
去る四月中旬 東京發行の各新聞紙は日本海中に一島嶼を發見せることを報せり、
韓國欝陵島を東南に去ること三十里 我日本國隱岐を西北に距ること殆んと同里數の海上に 未た世人に知られさる一島嶼を發見せり、該島は 未た本邦の海圖には載らす イキリスの海圖にも亦之を記せされとも 其島の存在は確實にして、現に欝陵島にありし日本人は晴天の日 山の高所より東南を望みたるに 遙に島影を認めたりといへり、今此の島發見の歴史を聞くに 一兩年前 九州邊の一潜水器船が 魚族を追ふて遠く海中に出てたるに、見慣れさる所に一島嶼の存在せることを發見し 喜んで之を根據地と定め 其四隣の海中を漁り回りたるに、此の邊魚族の棲息せるもの頗る多かりしも 海馬數百群を爲して潜水器船を沮みたれば 終に目的を終へすして引還したりといふ、此の船中にありし潜水業者の實見したる所なりとて報する所によれは 其島は長さ三十町に近く 丘陵甚た高からされとも 處々に蓁莾蕪穢、島形又極めて屈曲に富み 漁船を泊し風浪を避くるに最も便あり、只地上より數尺の間は之を鑚るも水を得ず 從て現今の所にては水産物製造場としての價値は乏しといふべし、故に學者實業家は猶充分なる探検を施すの餘地を留む、日韓漁民之を指してヤンコと呼へりといふ 
以上の記事に據るに其位置固より確實ならず、想ふに此の島は未だ海圖に示されすといふも 其記事及び稱呼より之を察せば 恰もLiancourt rocksリアンコートロツクに符合せり、或は之を指すに非ずやと疑はるヽも 尚其精確なる斷定は精細なる報告を得たる後に非れは下す能はず、
且らく參照の爲めに 左に朝鮮水路誌第二版(明治三十二年水路部刊行)二六三頁よりリアンコート島に關する記事を抄録せん

此列岩は洋紀一八四九年佛國船「Liancourt」初て發見し稱呼を其船名に取る 其後一八五四年露國「フレガツト」形艦「Pall as」は此列岩を「Menalai」及「Olivutsa」列岩と名つけ 一八五五年英艦「Hornet」は此の列岩を探検して「ホル子ツト」列島と名つけり 該艦長「Forsyth」の言に據れば 此列岩は北緯三七度一四分東經一三一度五五分の處に位する二座の不毛嶼にして 鳥糞常に嶼上に堆積し嶼色爲めに白し 而して北西彳西至南東彳東の長さ約一里 二嶼の間距離約二鏈半にして 見たる所一礁脉ありて之を連結す●西嶼は海面上高さ約四一〇呎にして其形棒糖の如し 東嶼は較低くして平頂なり●此列岩附近は水頗深きか如しと雖 其位置は實に凾館に向て日本海を航行する船舶の直道に當れるを以て頗危險なりとす

Copy of the Journal Article


"Yanko" island "never incorporated into Korean territory," Black Dragon Society Bulletin, 10 March 1901

On 10 March 1901, the Black Dragon Society of Japan, also called the Amur River Society, published a collection of articles that included one that announced the discovery of a new, unnamed island midway between the Korean island of Ulleungdo and Japan's Oki County. Not only did the article claim the island did not appear on British, Russian and Japanese sea charts, but the article also claimed the island "has never been incorporated into Joseon territory" (又朝鮮の版圖にも編せられず).

The discovery of a new island in the Sea of Japan in 1901 was big news not only in Japan, but also in Canada and the United States, where several newspapers reported the discovery. It was hard for people to believe that an island in the Sea of Japan could have gone undiscovered for so long.

The article in the March 10 publication also claimed that both Japanese and Korean fisherman referred to the newly discovered island as "Yanko," which the article claimed was discovered by a Japanese fisherman a couple of years earlier.

The island described in the article was almost certainly Liancourt Rocks (Takeshima / Dokdo), which had been discovered centuries earlier by Japanese fishermen and did appear on British, Russian, and Japanese sea charts at the time, so the article was wrong to claim the island was newly discovered.
The editor and publisher of the Black Dragon Society publication was a man named Kuzuu Shuusuke (葛生修亮), who, according to another article in the same publication, had spent a few years in Korea researching its geography, so he probably got his information on the mysterious island of "Yanko" in Korea, where he was enrolled in the Association of Korean Fishery. The fact that he knew that both Japanese and Korean fishermen referred to the newly discovered island as "Yanko" suggests that he had either traveled to Ulleungdo during his trip to Korea or interviewed someone who had been to Ulleungdo, where both Japanese and Korean fishermen probably knew of the island. Also, it is very likely someone in Korea told him that "Yanko" was not part of Korean territory, someone who knew of the island.
The following is Kaneganese's English translation of the 10 March 1901 Japanese article:
"A Newly Discovered Island in the Sea of Japan"

About 30 ri southeast of Joseon’s Ulleungdo, and about the same distance northwest of Japan’s Oki County, there is an unnamed island unknown to the world. The island has never been shown on British sea charts, nor on sea charts of Japan or Russia. It has also never been incorporated into Joseon territory, but the island does, in fact, exist. Those who have returned from Ulleungdo have said that one can see it in the distance to the southeast from the highest peak of Ulleungdo when the weather is good. 
According to the history of this island’s discovery, one or two years ago, when a western Japan fishing boat with diving apparatus was searching for fish far out to sea in an unfamiliar area, the crew unexpectedly saw the island. They happily established a base there and explored the surrounding waters. There were many fish, but, unfortunately, many of them could not be caught because of a colony of several hundred sea lions. They were forced to return frustrated. 
After this incident some fishing experts investigated and reported that the fishing boat with the diving apparatus probably went to the island in about May or June, which is the breeding season for sea lions. They said that was probably why they were obstructed. 
According to the diving contractor, who himself saw the island, it has a slope of close to 30 cho, and the hills are not very high. Here and there are weeds and bushes. The shape of the island is quite irregular, so it is a good place for ships to harbor and avoid the wind and waves. However, even if you dig a few feet below the surface, there is no water, so it cannot be described as a good place for processing sea products.
However,  it is still sufficiently worthwhile for navigators and fishermen to explore. By the way, Japanese and Korean fishermen call this island "Yanko."
Here is the Japanese:
朝鮮の欝陵島を東南に去ることを三十里、我帝國の隠岐國を西北に距ること又殆んど同里数の海中に於て世人未知の無名島あり 此島未だ英國の海圖にも載せられず 日本露西亜の海圖にも記されず 又朝鮮の版圖にも編せられず 然れども其島の存在することは事実にして、現に欝陵島より帰りたるものは晴天の日同島山峯の高處に於て東南の方に遥かに島あるを認むと云へり  
今此島發見の歴史を聞くに 一二年前西國筋の一潜水器船魚類を尋ねて遠く海中に出でたる時 見馴れざる場所に不圖一島嶼あるを認め 悦んで此處に根拠を据へ其四隣の海中を漁り廻りたるに 魚類の生息することは非常なれども 不幸にして數百頭の海馬の群れに悩まされ 何分にも饒多なる魚類の捕獲を全ふせず、ホウボウの体にて逃げ帰らざるべからざることとなりぬ、 
其後此事を以て或水産家に糺したるに 潜水器船の同島に到りたるは季節恰も五六月の交なりし故 海馬の産期に当るを以て其妨害を受けたるものなるべしと云ふ  
同潜水業者が實見せる所にては 同島は流れ三十町に近く丘陵甚だ高からざれ共處々雑草雑木を生じ 島形又極めて屈曲多く漁船を泊し風浪を避くるには頗る好地位に在り 但し地上數尺の間は之を穿て其水を得ざるを以て 現今の處水産物製造場としては未だ好都合なりと云ふを得ずとのことなり 去れど 
航海家水産業者の為めには尚ほ充分探険の価値あるべし 因みに曰く 日韓漁民は此島を呼んで「ヤンコ」と云へり
10 March 1901 Article from the Black Dragon Society publication

Publishing information page from the 10 March 1901 Black Dragon Society publication

13 April 1901 Article from "The Tokyo Daily Newspaper." This article is very similar to that in the Black Dragon Society publication, but it omits the reference to Russian sea charts and the sentence that says the island is not part of Joseon territory. This was probably done to fit the article within the limited space on the pages of the newspaper.

14 April 1901 Article from "The Japan Times"

18 April 1901 Article from the "San-in Shimbun"

31 May 1901 Article from "The Long Island Farmer," Jamaica, New York

22 June 1901 Article from the "Straits Times," Singapore

30 July 1901 Article from "The Pacific Commercial Advertiser," Honolulu