1903 "Fishery Guide for Korean Waters" (韓海通漁指針), by the Black Dragon Society (黒龍会)

This is a description of Ulleungdo and Yanko Island (Liancourt Rocks) from the Black Dragon Society's (黒龍会) 1903 edition of the "Fishery Guide for Korean Waters" (韓海通漁指針).

Some Koreans claim that this guidebook is evidence that the Japanese recognized Liancourt Rocks as Korean territory since the Rocks was listed under the section describing the waters near Gangwon Province, but the passage on Liancourt Rocks, which were called "Yanko Island" in the article, does not describe them as belonging to Gangwon Province. Also, while Ulleungdo and other islands and ports in the Gangwon Province section are preceded with circle symbols, "Yanko Island" is preceded with a triangle, suggesting that it was somehow different than them. The triangle may have indicated a simple footnote, added to inform Japanese fishermen of the Rocks' presence since they would have had to pass the rocks on their way to Korea's Ulleung Island. In fact, a map of Korea at the back of the book shows the island of Ulleung, but not Liancourt Rocks.

Also, in a 1901 Black Dragon Society publication, the author of this 1903 guided specifically wrote  that Yanko Island was not part of Korean territory. See HERE.

This translation was done by "Pacifist."

Ulleungdo (Uryanto)  
Since ancient times it had been under the direct control of the Chuncheon Office (春川府), but since the 8th lunar month of 1901 [sic], when they newly dispatched a magistrate of the county and had him govern the island. It is located between lat. 130°45’ N ~ 53’ 50” N and long 37°34’ 40” E ~ 31’ 50” E. And it is an isolated island about 40 ri south of Port Weolsong in Pyeonghae County (平海郡越松浦) on the sea. Koreans also call it "Mu-leung" (武陵) or "U-leung (羽陵), which was (Usan-guk) in the ancient times. The Chinese call it "Matsushima" (松島).  
Incidentally, people say that this island consists of 6 islands of big and small, or some say that it is a generic term of two islands Takeshima and Matsushima. The most extreme examples are maps which depicted the two islands side by side, which is really one of the biggest errors,is island is originally a part of the mountain 金剛山脈 which ran through east sea and raised its head upon the sea. It covers an area of about 5-ri by 5-ri (400 square km). There is one mountain towering high at the center of the island and it is high as about 4000-shaku (1212m). Craggy rocks surround it and it looks like a blue spiral shellfish at a distance. Harbours are scarce in the island, so they find a difficulty in anchoring of merchant ships and fishing boats. We’ve heard that they pull up the ships to the level ground whenever it’s going to be rough.  
Although it is poor in the level ground, the nature of the soil is a kind of so-called black soil, made from piled and decayed fallen leaves and dry grass. So they don’t need to fertilize the soil from agricultural viewpoint, however they seldom use ash to cultivate. The main farm products are soybean, barley and wheat. In particular, as soybeans are in large size and of fine quality, they are directly exported to our country and its amount is increasing year by year and they say that it reached to 400-500 koku now.  
The forestry products include timber of zelkova, paulownia, pine and sandalwood. Above all, zelkova is famous and its timber with a diameter of about 6-shaku (181.8cm) is available. Paulownia is loved as “Matsushima Giri” (Matsushima’s paulownia) and is used as high-quality craftwork. Sandalwood is valued highly as a perfume. These kind of trees grew thick all over the island in the past and it looked as unlimited, but in recent years they are on the decrease because Japanese people vigorously exported them and reckless deforestation occurred. There are many wild grapevines too.  
As to the sea products, there are lots of fish, abalone, and sea cucumber but fishery has not yet flourished here except Japan’s “shark net ships” (鱶網船) which visit in spring time, because sea is deep as 100 to 150~160 hiro (181.6m – 290.56m). However, agar-agar (tengusa) can be cropped at the shallows along the shore and it is of good quality and plenty.  
In autumn, there are many kinds of woodcocks. The islanders beat them to death, dried and stored flesh is used as side dish all through the year and fat is dissolved and used as lantern oil. They say that there are lots of albatross here but we suppose that it was misinformed about this bird – woodcock.  
We should say that fertility of natural products of this island is incomparable to any other places of Korea. There is one fountain in the island. Plenty of clear water is gushing out of it, it tastes slightly sour. The islanders call it as a drug spring and drink it as a substitute drug when they are sick and they say it’s effective. We wonder whether it is not a kind of a spring of carbonated water, just like Hirano-water or Kanayama-water in Japan.  
This island was one of ports of call as well as Oki island in the old times while our Imperial Court communicated with 新羅. When Wako (倭寇 Japanese pirates) was full of power in the past, this place was once a base of them. So, it has a close relationship to our country in history, Kaibara Ekiken insisted that this island definitely belonged to our country. After many years had passed untouched, Japanese sent workers to the island to make them engage in cutting down trees in 1882 or 1883 (15th or 16th year of Meiji), but Korean government claimed for it and our government gave in to them, so it was defined for the first time to what country it belonged.  
In 1883 (the 16th year of Meiji) Korean government appointed Kim Ok-kyun (金玉均) to the chief of both reclamation office of south-east islands and whaling office, and made 白春培 to engage in reclamation business of the islands as a working officer. However, the incident of Seoul happened next year and the purpose was not accomplished. Later, an islander 徐敬秀 was ordered to be a 越松萬戸, he tried to breed the residents and tried to prohibit foreigners to cut down trees. But Japanese continued the same business, only paying 2% to the government on selling cargo and on paying 100 両, that is 20 yen in Japan, to the government for selling timbers loaded on one ship, that was an open smuggling.  
In around 1898, as soon as the stumpage once went to the Russians, the Russians referred the matter to the Korean government and forced them to forbid foreigners, who were Japanese, to cut down trees without permission and to reside in the island. The matter was referred to the minister of Japan and he once ordered Japanese residents to withdraw from the island but later, they found that it was impossible to leave the island all of a sudden and the reasons were transmitted to the Korean government.  
There were not so many people in this island in the past, but in recent years many people who were businessmen, fishermen and farmers came here and Japanese people lived together with them. The number of Korean houses reached 400 or 500. Japanese population was almost 300 a few years before but it decreased to only 140-150 after the order of withdrawal. These Japanese came here directly from Tottori prefecture, they engage in exporting timbers, soybeans and agar-agar, forming a Japanese village. In the village, there is a general store who sells alcohol beverages (sake), tobacco, paper and oil, and they say that there are a few restaurants with serving ladies.  
Yanko island  
About 30-ri south-east of Ulleungdo, and almost the same distance north-west from Japan’s Oki county, there is an uninhibited island. One can see it from the highest point of 山峯 (mountain) in Ulleungdo when the weather is fine.  
Korean and Japanese fishermen call it “Yanko”, its length is about 10-cho. Its coast is full of bends and twists, so it’s useful for fishing boats to be in anchor and to avoid winds and waves. However, it is very difficult to get firewood and drinking water, one can dig the ground for several shaku (1.0 – 1.5 meters) from the surface but hard to get water.  
There are lots of sea lions living in the island and the area around the island is rich in abalone, sea cucumber and agar-agar. Several years ago. a ship with diving apparatus from Yamaguchi prefecture went fishing but they were impossible to engage in business and went home because they were obstructed by numerous sea lions while they were diving and because of lack in drinking water. We assume that the obstruction may have been due to their period of giving birth, as it was just May or June.  
There are good points for wickerwork shark trap around there, longline fishing boats from Oita prefecture went there fishing sharks in May or June since several years before. We asked a fisherman who returned from the points last spring and he said that although he couldn’t say they got enough catch because he had been there for only two or three times but he also added that they got a certain catch every year. He then said that from his professional point of view after viewing the state of the wickerwork fish trap and how sharks and fish were living, it was no doubt that the area would be a good fishing ground in the future. This island is worth investigating for the business.
Here is the Japanese.
 舊ゟ春川府直轄なりし処、34年8月以来新たに郡守を遣はして之れに蒞治せしむ。 北緯130度45分乃至53分50秒、東経37度34分40秒乃至31分50秒の間に位置し、平海郡越松浦の南40余里の海中に在る孤島にして、韓人は別名之を武陵又は羽陵とも書す、乃ち古の于山國にして、支那人之を松島と呼ぶ。 
 本島は、往古新羅の我朝と交通したる時代に、隠岐島と共に航海の寄港地となしたる所にして、中古倭寇の旺盛を極めたりし際一時據て以て根據となしたることあり、其他我邦とは歴史上殊に密接の関係あるを以て、貝原益軒の如きは断じて之れを我邦の属島なりと論じたることありたれ共、久しく其●(米へんに莫)稜の裏に経過したりしが、明治十五六年の頃、本邦人某工人を泒して伐木に従事したるに、韓廷抗議する所あり、我邦之れに譲りて其所属始めて一定するに至れり、尋いで明治16年に至り、韓廷金玉均を以て東南諸島開拓使兼捕鯨使に任じ、白春培を以て従事官となし、該島の開拓事務を辯理せしめたりしが、翌年京城の變ありて果さず、其後島民徐敬秀を以て越松萬戸に差定し、住民の繁殖を計り、外国人の樹木伐採を防禁せしめたりしも、本邦人は依然として前状を維持し、唯貨物売却の時、口銭百分の二を官に納れ、材木には船一隻に100両(我二〇圓)を納れ以て公然の密貿易を為せり、次て明治31年の頃、該島の伐木植林の権利一度露人の掌裡に落つるや、露人は直ちに韓廷に照會して外国人(即ち日本人)の本島の木材を盗伐し、及び島内に居住するを禁ぜんことを迫り、外部は更に之れを我が公使に照會し、我公使は一時本島に在りたる本邦人に退去を命ずることとなりたりしも、其後邦人をして急に同島を撤退せしむるは事情の能はざるものあるに依り、其事由を韓廷に復牒したりと云ふ 本島は、往時は住民極めて稀少なりしも、近世に至りて商売及び農夫漁夫の●(至に秦)り聚る者相踵ぎ、本邦人亦た此間に雑居し、韓人の戸数約四五百に達し、本邦人は両三年以前は其数殆んど三百に達したりしが、一時本邦政府より退去の命令ありてより減少して本年春には百四五十人の居住に過ぎざりしと云ふ、是れ等の本邦人は概ね鳥取県下より直接渡航したるものにして、材木及び大豆、石花菜の輸出を以て営業とし、純然たる日本村を形成して、中には酒、煙草、紙、油其他日用の雑貨店あり、或は二三の料理店を開き酌婦の来り往するもの亦た此れありと云ふ  
ヤンコ島。鬱陵島より東南の方三十里、我が隠岐国を西北に距ること殆ど同里数の海中に於て、無人の一島あり。晴天の際 鬱陵島山峯の高所より之れを望むを得べし。韓人及び本邦漁人は之れをヤンコと呼び、長さ殆んど十余町、沿岸の屈曲極めて多く、漁船を泊し風浪を避くるに宜し。然れども薪材及び飲料水を得るは頗る困難にして、地上数尺の間は之を牽けども容易に水を得ずと云う。  此島には海馬非常に棲息し、近海には鮑・海鼠・石花菜等に富み、数年以前山口県潜水器船の望を属して出漁したるものありしが、潜水の際、無数の海馬群に妨げられたると。飲料水欠乏との為に、満足に営業すること能わざるして還りたると。察するに当時の季節は恰も五六月にして、海馬の産卵に当りしが故に、特にその妨害をうけたるものならんか。  また、付近に鱶漁の好網代あり。数年以来五六月の候に至れば大分県鱶縄船の引き続き之に出漁するものあり。昨年春、同処より帰航したる漁夫に就いて之を聞くに、出漁した二三回に過ぎざるが故に、未だ充分の好果を得たりと云うべからざれ共、毎季相応の漁獲あり。従来の経験上、その網代の状態、及び鱶類棲息の規模等より観察するに、将来頗る有望の漁場たるを疑わずと。  同島は、盖し営業者の為には尚充分探検の価値あるべし。

 This is the map of Korea in the back of the book. Notice that Ulleungdo is shown, but not Liancourt Rocks.


  1. Gerry,

    I posted this because all of the text has not been translated in English before.

    I tried to put some spaces here and there to make it clean but it didn't work.
    Could you please arrange them?

  2. Pacifist,

    Yes, I will arrange it, but I am not sure if I will be able to get to it tonight, but i will certainly do it by tomorrow evening.

    Anyway, it is good to have that translation. Thanks.

  3. Gerry,


    May I ask you one more thing? I would like to ask you to add the map from the book. (I think it'll be available from the website I wrote.)

  4. Pacifist,

    I will add the map. In fact, I copied it the other day. :)

  5. Gerry,

    Thanks a lot.
    Good night, sleep tight.

  6. Anonymous10/6/07 23:36

    Great translation. However...

    To say the Black Dragon article is proof of Korean ownership is not the issue here.

    What is at issue is did the Japanese fishermen consider Dokdo part of Japan prior to the island being annexed by the military?

    The answer is no. The Japanese did not consider Liancourt Rocks to be part of Japan prior to 1905.

    The other fact we can glean is that Japanese who had intimate knowlege of the region considered Dokdo part of both Gangwan Province and as an appended island.

    All Japan references to Dokdo are through Ulleungdo. Historically the Japanese considered Matsushima, Liancourt, Yangkodo as appended to Ulleugdo.

    That is fact.

  7. Good night, Pacifist. Thanks for the translations.

  8. Annonymous,

    The "real" fact is that Liancourt Rocks never appeared on any Korean map or in any Korean document before the Japanese told Korea about the Rocks in 1906.

    Now compare that to Japan, who has documented and mapped the rocks for centuries.

    Takeshima (Liancourt Rocks) is historically Japanese territory.

  9. anonymous,

    This book only proves that Liancourt rocks didn't belong to Korea in 1903.

    You can't decide whehter
    Japanese didn't think that Liancourt rocks to be Japan's territory or not with this book.

    As you read the article, there were various Japanese fishermen or fishery companies were around the rocks while there are no records of Korean ships, except Korean fishermen called it Yanko (and it was only written in Japanese record), why?

    Japan recognised Liancourt rocks as Matsushima to be Japan's territory in the Edo period, this is truth with evidences.
    But in the late 19th century, with the turmoil in the new government after the Meiji restoration, there occured confusion of the name concerning Matsushima (and Takeshima too), so they didn't notice that Liancourt rocks were the same island that they owned as Matsushima.

    So to make it clear, Japan officially incorporated it.

    And as Gerry already wrote, Korea had never ever knew, used or owned the rocks. So Korean people can't claim for the rocks.

  10. Pacifist,

    I am sorry that I was not able to edit and format your translation again tonight, but this is the end of the semester and a very busy time for me. Hopefully, I will be able to do it tomorrow night.

  11. Gerry,

    Take your time, Gerry. There is no need to hurry.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. "韓海通漁指針" is a clear evidence Japan at that time admitted Dokdo as Korean land.

    If 韓海通漁指針 is the guide book for Japanese fishermen who go to sea around Korea for business, precise information might be a must.

    In this guide book, Dokdo is listed under Gangwon Province of Korea and bracketed under Ulleungdo in the table of contents. Gangwon Province(江原道) was explained at chapter 3. Later, in the same chapter, Ulleongdo(鬱陵島) was described and at the end of article of Ulleongdo, the description on Dokdo (ヤンコ島)was added.

    For the table of contents of the "Fishery Guide of Sea around Korea (韓海通漁指針)",
    go to http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-MEMUS-zWud0/T_J7f5vS5jI/AAAAAAAAAeY/ZvMk5DZyCnY/s1600/1903+%ED%95%9C%ED%95%B4%ED%86%B5%EC%96%B4%EC%A7%80%EC%B9%A8+%EB%AA%A9%EC%B0%A8+ste.jpg.

    For the text of the
    "Fishery Guide of Sea around Korea (韓海通漁指針)", go to http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7DFrpESDjsM/T_J7pME6tPI/AAAAAAAAAeg/K-LBtCfVpW8/s1600/1903+%ED%95%9C%ED%95%B4%ED%86%B5%EC%96%B4%EC%A7%80%EC%B9%A8+ste.jpg.

    The book explains :
    "Yanko" island(=Dokdo) About 30-ri south-east of Ulleungdo, and almost the same distance north-west from Japan’s Oki county, there is an uninhabited island. One can see it from the highest point on Ulleungdo when the weather is fine......Korean and Japanese fishermen call it “Yanko."
    (ヤンコ島 鬱陵島より東南の方約三十里、我が隱岐國を西北に距ること殆んど同里數の海中に於て、無人の一島あり、晴天の際鬱陵島山峯の高所より之れを望すを得べし、韓人及び本邦漁人は之れをヤンコも呼び、)

    If Dokdo was not considered as Korean land, why was it described under the section of Ulleongdo of Gwangwon Province of Korea?

    It's noteworthy the publisher of this book was 'Black Dragon Society (黒龍会) which was a Japanese ultra-nationalist organization whose views were considered extremely right-wing during Japan’s expansionist era. It's hard to believe 黒龍会 gave the Japanese fishermen wrong information on the ownership of Dokdo.

    The author of 韓海通漁指針 is 葛生修吉 who was a member of Black Dragon Society. This book was not produced from 葛生修吉's head. It was based on his field survey. Supported by Japanese governmental promotion of an extraterritorial deep-sea fishery policy that extended Japanese fishing areas into Korean coastal waters, he traveled to Korea in 1899 and investigated the sea around Korea to gather the information. The result of his field survey on Korea is 韓海通漁指針, which means he was well aware of Dokdo was Korean land and told Japanese fishermen so in his book.

    It's pretty possible Japanese people who read this book naturally understood "Yanko" island(Dokdo) belonged to Korea without doubt. It's no wonder Nakai Yozaburo regarded Dokdo as Korean land and intended to ask the Resident-General(統監府) in Korea for leasing Dokdo. It's not sure if Nakai read "韓海通漁指針", but his initial recognition on Dokdo as Korean land indicates other Japanese fishermen trespassing to Ulleungdo and fishing in Dokdo like him also recognized Dokdo as Korean territory.

    As for "韓海沿岸略図", it didn't include Dokdo, but Dokdo was already explained in the book that it was an appended island to Ulleongdo of Gwangwon Province. This map alone can't prove 韓海通漁指針 didn't consider Dokdo as Korean land.

    韓海通漁指針 is very important evidence how Japan considered Dokdo as Korean land at the early period of 1900s. In spite of this significant evidence, Japanese government illegally incorporated Dokdo into Japanese land claiming it was ownerless. As the result, Japan had to return Dokdo to Korea after defeat of WW2 because it was the land gained by Japanese imperial greed.


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