A Korean scholar, Kim Byung Ryull, wrote in the book “史的検証 竹島・独島” (Historical examination of Takeshima/Dokdo; published in April 2007 in Japan) that Usando had not meant Liancourt rocks until the 15th century (it meant Ulleungdo at first but changed to mean Jukdo) but that it became to mean Liancourt rocks in the 17th century. (* This book was co-written with Naito Seichu, the pro-Korean scholar in
We will take a look at the old documents concerning Usan/Usando here. Please think yourself whether Usando was Liancourt rocks or not, and whether
(1) From “三国史記” (it means “the record of the history of the three countries” ) that was edited in 1145:[ 『三国史記』巻第四 新羅本紀 智証麻立干紀]
The Usan country yielded to us in June 512 and they had paid tribute to us with its products every year. The Usan country located at the island in the sea at the east side of 溟州 and it was also called as Ulleungdo and its circumstance is 100-ri (40km).
They hadn’t yielded to us depending on the difficulty for us to make a voyage. Isabu (異斯夫) of I (伊) who became the head of the troops of 何瑟羅州 said that people of Usan were ignorant and brutal.
(He also said that) it was difficult to threaten
them but was easy to subdue them with a stratagem. So
they made many wooden statues of lion and distributed them on each of the
battleships and reached the coast of the country.
As they said menacingly “If you will not yield to us we will soon release these fierce animals and let them stomp on you and kill you”, the people of Usan shuddered in fear and surrendered
The text clearly proves that Usan in the 6th century was not Liancourt rocks but it was Ulleungdo.
(2) From “太宗実録” (Annals of King Taejong) that was edited in 1431: [『太宗実録』第二十三之四 十二年; about the 12th year of Taejong, 1412]
The inspecting official of 江原道 reported that 12
people of Yusanguk-do (流山國島) including白加勿 came to
stay at Eorajin (於羅津) in Goseong (高城). He said, “We were born and lived in Muleung (武陵). The 60 men and women from the 11 families in the island now moved to this island (Yusanguk-do).
The length of the island is 2-sok (２息=about 16km) from
east to west and the same from south to north. The circumference is 8-sok (about
64km). There are no bulls or horses or paddy fields. Only 1-to (about 18 litter)
of seed bean will produce 20-koku or 30-koku (3600 – 5400 litter) of bean. The
1-koku (180 liter) of barley will produce 50-koku or more (over 9,000 litter) of
barley. The bamboo are as big as rafters, and there are all kinds of sea
products and fruit trees ”.
They were very concerned about them and made them dwell at通州, 高城
and扞城 for a while.
This document means that there were Yusan-guk island and the island called Muleung (武陵), both of which were inhabitable islands. It has been thought that Yusan was the same as Usan. So Usan was not Liancourt rocks, the uninhibitable rocks, still in the early 15th century. It was Ulleungdo or its neighboring island Jukdo.
(3) From “太宗実録”: [『太宗実録』第三十三之四 十七年: about the 17th year of Taejong, 1417]
The officer (按撫使) Kim In-u returned
from Usando and brought local products as tribute, including large bamboo, seal
skins, raw yams, cotton yarn, and geombak wood (trees). He also brought back three residents of the place.
There were fifteen families living on the island for a total of 86 men and
women. On his way back from the island, Kim In-u ran into two typhoons and
barely made it back alive.
This is the first record in which the word “Usando” was used. Apparently, Usando in this document was not Liancourt rocks, but Ulleungdo or Jukdo because no bamboos available on Liancourt rocks..
(4) From “高麗史” (The history of Koryo) that was completed in 1451: [『高麗史』巻五十八 地理三 欝陵島]
Ulleungdo is located
at just east of the prefecture (県) in the sea. It was
called as Usanguk in the Shilla’s era (57 BC – AD 935).
Some say it was called as Muleung, some say it was called as Uleung
(羽陵). Its circumference was 100-ri (40km).
People of the island sent 白吉 and gave beans as
an offering which were produced in the place during the time from the
12th year of 智證王 (512) to the 13th year of 太祖 (930). In the 11th year of 穀宗 (1207?) the king heard that there was broad and productive land in
Ulleungdo and it was a county or a prefecture where they could make people
dwell. The king ordered 倉金 of 溟州道 to go and inspect the island.
He said, “ There is a big mountain in the middle of the island. If
you go from the top of the mountain to east, you will reach the sea shore on
10,000 steps. If you go to west it will be 13,000 steps, if you go to south it
will be15,000 steps and if you go to north it will be 8,000 steps. There are
seven ruins of villages. There are stone Buddhist images, iron bells and stone
towers. There are 柴胡 (a Chinese herb),
mugwort and rhododendron. There are lots of rocks so that people couldn’t
live there but we managed to sleep there”. There is a view that Usan and Muleung are two islands and the distance between them is not far and visible on windy and fine day (一云 于山 武陵 本二島 相距不遠 風日清明則可望見).
As to the last sentence, the text says it is “a view” (or a theory) which means the editor of the book had not seen the islands himself. At the first part of the text, the author treated Usando and Muleungdo as equal but there is no island of the same rank around Ulleungdo today. So there is a possibility that the editor only wrote about the imaginary island relying on hearsay. Pro-Korean scholars are saying that the sentence means that Liancourt rocks can be seen from Ulleungdo on fine days, but there is no mentioning about Liancourt rocks in the text. Pro-Japanese scholars think that it means that the Ulleungdo can be seen form the mainland of
(5) From “世宗実録” (the real record of Sejong, or Annals of King Sejong) which was edited in 1454; [『世宗実録』世宗七年十月乙酉條: Under the heading concerning October the 7th year of Sejong]
The officer (按撫使) of Usan-Moleung
(于山茂陵) and others, Kim In-u, arrested 20 men and women at the island who were evading compulsory labor.
He came to report about this. He went to Moleungdo (茂陵島) at first with two
soldier ships but a ship with 46 soldiers was lost in typhoon. The upper (king)
said, “Although In-u captured about 20 people and came back, he lost about 40
people. How useless”.
In the text Ulleungdo was written as 茂陵. There is no explanation about Usan here, but some scholars think that Usan and Moleung （茂陵）is indicating the same island, Ulleungdo.
By the way, 10 of the lost soldiers drifted ashore to Nagahama of Iwami county (Simane prefecture) in October 1425. Japanese fishermen found them and fed them. And the lord of the district prepared a ship to send them back. The king of Chosun (Sejong) was pleased with this news and gave presents to the lord. He went to Chosun several times after that. A lion-head （獅子頭） which he got in Chosun at that time is still present in Hamada city, Shimane prefecture.
(6) From “世宗実録” (Annals of King Sejong): [『世宗実録』地理志 江原道蔚珍縣 the topography; 江原道蔚珍縣]
The two islands Usan and Muleung locate at just east of this prefecture in the sea. The two islands left each other but not far. They are visible on windy and fine day.
(于山武陵二島在県正東海中 二島相去不遠 風日清明則可望見)
As every one notices, the text is quite similar to the History of Koryo (高麗史; please see the item (4)). The difference from the original text in the History of Koryo is that the character “去” is used instead of “距” (相去不遠 instead of相距不遠), these two words sound the same but meaning is not the same. (“去” means to leave while “距” means to make a distance.) However, rest of the text is almost same to the original text of the History of Koryo, although I won’t repeat here. So the difference in one word may not have important meanings. Anyway, it is apparent that the author didn’t see Usan and Muleung himself. And again, there is no evidence to show that Usan was Liancourt rocks.
(7) From “新増東国輿地勝覧” that was edited in 1530: [巻之四十五 蔚珍縣; Vol.45]
Some say Muleung (武陵), some say Ulleung (羽陵) – the two islands locate at just east of the prefecture in the sea. Three peaks support the sky, the south peak is slightly lower than others. On a windy and fine day, one can clearly see the trees on the top of the hills and the sea shore at the foot of a mountain. If wind is high,
one can reach the island(s) in two days. There is a view (theory) that Usan and
Ulleung are one island and its circumference is 100-ri (40km).
There was a map of Gangwondo attached in the book. Usando was depicted at west of Ulleungdo in the map. They apparently had no exact information about the islands around Ulleungdo. Usan in the text was not Liancourt rocks, as it didn’t locate at west of Ulleungdo and no one would mix up it with Ulleungdo, the island located far as 92 km.
(8) From “春官志” written by李孟休 in 1745:
This island is called as Bamboo island (竹島 Jukdo, or
Takeshima in Japanese) because of its product bamboo. They also call it as
Sambongdo (三峯島) as it had three peaks. Usan, Ulleung (羽陵), Illeung
(蔚陵), Muleung (武陵) and 磯竹島（Isotakeshima in
Japanese）are all corrupted names.
Even in 18th century, Usan was one name of Ulleungdo. It was not Liancourt rocks.
(9) From “旅菴全書” edited by申景濬 in 1756. [巻之七「疆界考」十二 鬱陵島: Vol.7, No.12 Ulleungdo]
Thinking about ”輿地志”, it says that
there is a view (theory) that Usan and Ulleungdo are one island, but considering
other topographies they were two islands and one was so-called Matsushima.
Probably the two islands were Usan-guk.
Here you can see the effect of Ahn Yon-bok’s wrong statement about "so-called Matsushima" in the “粛宗実録” which was edited 28 years beforehand (1728). But as many readers have already read, his statement was not credible at all.
By the way, the old document “輿地志” has been lost for many years and not available today.
To follow is the translation by Gerry (Occidentalism):
The king called Lee Gyu-won forward to give his pre-departure
The king said, “It is said that these days there is the evil
practice of foreigners freely coming and going to Ulleungdo and doing as they
please. Also, Songjukdo (松竹島 – 송죽도) and Usando (于山島 – 우산도) are next to Ulleungdo, but there are still no
details on the distance between them and what products they have. You were
chosen especially for this trip, so pay particular attention to your inspection.
Also, we have plans to establish a settlement there, so be sure to prepare a
detailed map with your report.”
Lee Gyu-won replied, Usando is just Ulleungdo. Usan was the name of
the ancient country’s capital. Songjukdo is a small island about
thirty ri offshore (相距爲三數十里 = 1.2km~4km). The products there are rosewood trees and pipestem bamboo.”
The king said, “It is called either Usando or Songjukdo
(敎曰 或稱芋山島 或稱松竹島), which are both written in the Yeojiseungram
(輿地勝覽 – 여지승람). It is also called Songdo (松島 – 송도) and Jukdo (竹島 – 죽도). Together with Usando, there are three islands
that make up what is called Ulleungdo. Inspect the situation on all of them.
Originally, the Samcheok commander (三陟營將 – 삼척 영장) and the Wolsong commander (越松萬戶 – 월송 만호) took turns searching Ulleungdo, but they were
all careless, inspecting only the exterior of the island. This has led to these
Lee Gyu-won said, “I will go deep inside and conduct my inspection.
Some say that Songdo and Jukdo are east of Ulleungdo, but there is only
Songjukdo, no separate Songdo and Jukdo.”
The king asked, “Did you possibly hear that from previous
Lee Gyu-won said, “I have not yet talked with previous inspectors,
but that is the gist of what I have heard.”
Gerry’s comment on “鬱陵島検察日記” (1882):
When Lee Gyu-won returned from his survey of Ulleungdo, he reported
finding two small islands off the east
. One was called Jukdo, which was shoreof Ulleungdo
present-day Jukdo, and the other was called Dohang (島項), which was present-day Gwaneumdo. The two islands can be seen on the map to the right, which is a cutout of Lee’s 1882 map of Ulleungdo. Lee said that he could not find any island named Usando, though he climbed to the highest peak on the island on a clear day and looked for one.
Ulleungdo residents told Lee that they had heard Ulleungdo had a neighboring
island called Usando, but they did not know where it was. Lee concluded that
Usando was just another name for Ulleungdo.
Apparently Usando was not Liancourt rocks even in the 19th century.
(11) From the “Hwangseon Shinmun” (1899):
To follow is from Gerry’s posting at Occidentalism:
an 1899 article from the Korean newspaper, “Hwangseong Shinmun,” described Ulleungdo as follows:
In the sea east of Uljin is an island named
Ulleung. Of its six, small neighboring islands, Usando/Jukdo
(于山島竹島) are/is the most prominent (崔著者). The Daehanjiji says that Ulleungdo is the old Country of Usan. It has an area of 100 ri. Three peaks stand out (律兀).
(12) From “Daehanjiji (大韓地誌)” (1899):
To follow is from Gerry’s posting at Occidentalism:
In 1899, Korean historian Hyun Chae
(玄采) published a geography text entitled, Daehanjiji
(大韓地誌), which means “Geography of the Korean Empire.”
In the text, he included the following map, which was made by what was
considered to be Korea’s Education Ministry (學部).
According to the geography text that the map
appeared in, the easternmost boundary of
was 130 Korea
degrees, 35 minutes, which means that the map showed Ulleungdo and Usando to be
inside Korean terroritory. We know that Usando was not Dokdo (Liancourt Rocks)
since Dokdo is located at an east longitude of 131 degrees 52
The updated version of the book “大韓新地誌” (1907) also defined the Korean territory as the same as the 1899 version. So Korean Empire didn’t think that Liancourt rocks to be their territory. You have to remember that the incorporation of Takeshima (Liancourt rocks) happened in 1905 which means it was during the Korean Empire era.
(13) From “Maeil Sinbo” (June 22, 1913)
To follow is from Gerry’s posting at Occidentalism:
Kim Won-jun, a resident of Seo-myeon
(西面) in Uldo County (鬱島郡), wanted to gather people to migrate to Usando
(an uninhabited island), which was supposedly forty to fifty ri northeast of
Uldo [Ulleungdo], and decided to search for the island. However, he said that
Koreans on the island [Ulleungdo] had tried conducting a joint search for the
island [Usando] ten or more years earlier, but were unable to find it. He also
said that the island was uncharted, and that even after several trips in search
of it, he could not find it, so he gave up.
Maeil Sinbo, June 22, 1913
Even after the incorporation of Takeshima (Liancourt rocks) into Shimane
(14) From “朝鮮常識問答 (Qs & As about common sense of Chosun)” (by 崔南善) 1947 and “朝鮮常識” (by the same author) 1948:
The former book defined Korean eastern boundary to be from an east longitude of 130 degrees 56 minutes 23 seconds to 124 degrees 11 minutes, and the latter defined as the same (130 degrees 56 minutes 23 seconds) which includes Ulleungdo and Jukdo. And it says the eastern limit （極東) is Ullengdo's Jukdo. BTW, Liancourt rocks locate at 131 degrees 51 minutes, which is apparently out of the Korean territory.
After looking at all the Korean documents, there was no evidence to show that Usan or Usando was Liancourt rocks. Pro-Korean people only believed Ahn Yong-bok’s groundless statement that Usando was Matsushima. We hope all the people will think logically. Please think yourself whether