1786 June 4 - Kim Chang-yun (金昌胤) Inspects Ulleungdo

The following is a June 4, 1786 record of Wolsong Commander Kim Chang-yun's (金昌胤) 1786 inspection of Ulleungdo, as recorded in the Ilseongrok (日省錄), which was a Korean record of daily affairs of state from 1760 to 1910.

This record is interesting for a couple of reasons. One reason is that it mentioned an island named "Bangpaedo" (防牌島), which was reported to be three ri (1.2 km) east of the main island (Ulleungdo). That was almost certainly a reference to Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo (竹島), which is about 2.2 kilometers off Ulleungdo's east shore.

Another reason this record is interesting is that it referred to a place on Ulleungdo called "Gaji-gumi" (可支仇味 - "Sea Lion Cove"), which is where the inspectors found two caves and sea lions. Even on Ulleungdo today, there is a cave on the west shore of Ulleungdo called "Gajae-gul," which means "Sea Lion Cave." Korea claims that Ulleungdo inspectors traveled to "Dokdo" (獨島 - Liancourt Rocks) to hunt sea lions, but this record and others are evidence that the inspectors hunted sea lions on Ulleungdo, not on Liancourt Rocks.

Wonchun Governor Lee Chi-jung (李致中) Reports the Results of Ulleungdo Inspection

Wonchun Governor Lee Chi-jung (李致中) reports that the inspection of Ulleungdo was scheduled to take place in 1785, but because of the terrible famine in the Yeongdong region that year, the previous governor, Seo Jeong-su, petitioned the king and it was cancelled. This year's inspection was conducted by Wolsong Commander Kim Chang-yun (金昌胤), who submitted the following report:

On April 19, we checked the wind at the Kumi Naval Base in Pyeonghae. At between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on the 27th, eighty people, including Japanese interpreter Lee Yu-mun, various ranks of officials, sailors, and assistants all divided up, boarded four ships, and departed. Between 5 and 7 a.m. on the 28th, the assistants pointed toward something and said, ‘Below that dark cloud over there is the island’s tallest peak.’ Within a few hours, the island’s three tallest peaks were clearly visible. At about 3 a.m., the four boats assembled, and with mixed feelings of joy and sadness everyone talked about the fears and the dangers he had encountered. On the 29th, we raised anchor and landed at Jeojeon-dong (苧田洞), where everyone took baths and made offerings to the Mountain Spirit. Then we begin a thorough inspection.

It was about twenty ri from the village entrance (洞口) to the central peak, over a series of overlapping peaks that weave in and out. Three peaks were especially towering. This was the island’s main fortress. In a village there was still the obvious remains of a stone fortress that had a circumference of two to three ri. Inside the fortress were large and small stone pillars and foundation stones. Covered with plants such as ramie, the land was flat and wide enough to cultivate eight to nine seok (石) of fields or paddies.

We advanced to Gaji-gumi (可支仇味 - Sea Lion Cove), where we found two caves in the side of the mountain. It was difficult to calculate their depth. We surprised some sea lions that dashed out (of the caves), but before they could get into the water, all our riflemen fired at once and got two of them.

On May 1st., between 5 and 7 a.m., we changed direction and headed south toward the Japanese boat dock. From the entrance (of the Japanese boat dock) to the central peak it was about thirty ri of mountainous wasteland with clear remains of what included a stone fortress, stone pagodas, and stone-piled graves. We changed direction and headed forward and found a steep rock wall stretching out at the water’s edge that looked as if it had been craved out . When we arrived at the Jangjakji (長作地) bamboo forest, we found it sparse. The big bamboo that had been there was gone. We headed north and arrived at Cheonmagumi (天磨仇味).

At sunrise on the 2nd, we began a thourough inspection. One rock towering in the middle of the sea looked like the horns of a cow. It was called “Hujuk-am” (帿竹巖). Bangpaedo (防牌島) was to the east, about three ri from the main island.

On the 3rd, we arrived at Hyeunjakji (玄作地), where we found overlapping stone mountains and a rocky coastline. Chusan (錐山) had a strange shape and was made of a strange back rock. Jukam (竹巖) was two towering rocks that looked like “Hujuk” (帿竹). Next to Jukam was Gongam (孔巖), through the center of which a small transport boat could pass. When we arrived at Hwangtogumi (黃土仇味), we found overlapping peaks and a mountain stream. There was enough land to farm about thirty seok of rice paddies or tens of seok of fields. It was about thirty ri from the village to the central peak. Above “Cave Rock,” on the right and left, were written the names of previous inspectors.

On the 4th, we headed toward Hyangmok Pavilion (香木亭). The circumference of the entire island was about 120 ri. The distance from north to south was between seventy and eighty ri, and from east to west was sixty to seventy ri. All four sides of the island were cliffs and all of the mountains were steep. There were large and small streams falling and flowing down the valleys that looked like a silver rainbow 1,000 jang high. It looked like 10,000 pieces of jade had been spewed up into the air. Looking out from the Daepungso (大風所 - Wind-waiting Place), we saw the following trees: camellia, Oriental arborvitae, juniper, maple, hoinamu, kalopanax, paulownia, mulberry, elm, and birch. The birds were crow and seagull. The only wild animals we saw were cats and mice. The sea products were brown seaweed, abalone, and sea lions. After our search, between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. on the same day, we all went up to the alter and respectfully made offerings to the sea god. Then we set sail and immediately returned.

Between 5 and 7 p.m. on the 5th, the commander’s ship arrived at Jangori in Wondeok-myeon, Samcheok. Between 7 and 9 p.m., the Japanese interpreter's two ships arrived and anchored. Between 9 and 11 p.m, Ha Bok’s ship also arrived. On the 7th, we returned to the Wind-waiting Place (大風所), and on the 8th, we returned to our camp.

The products brought back were two sea lion skins, three green bamboo trunks, two blocks of rosewood incense, five seung of red ocher, one map of the island, and a report, which were sent to the Bibyeonsa. That is why I am sending this.

July 4, 1786


原春監司 李致中以鬱陵島搜討形止馳聞

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1786 June 4 Ulleungdo Inspection a1

1786 June 4 Ulleungdo Inspection a2


  1. 1786 is right. 1886 is wrong.

  2. Thank you, Yabutarou. I made the corrections.

  3. Please someome translate .

    1786年の記録には" 防牌島距大島爲三里許"とあり、1794年の記録には"有三島在北曰防牌島在中曰竹島在東曰甕島三島相距不過百餘歩" とあります。
    韓国人は"大島"を " dedo , de島 " のような発音していて昔の韓国人は "竹島"を"deseom, de島 "と言った具合に発音していました。そこで私は大島, 竹島, 大于島 そして 大干島 の間には何らかの関連性があるのではないかと推測しています。

  4. ( Translation of Yabutarous's comment above.)

    In 1786 document, it says "防牌島距大島爲三里許" and in 1794 one, it says that "有三島在北曰防牌島在中曰竹島在東曰甕島三島相距不過百餘歩". Korean today pronounce "大島" as "dedo" or "de島 " and Korean in those days used to pronounce "竹島" as "deseom" or "de島 ".

    From those, I suspect that there must be some relationships among "大島", "竹島", "大于島" and "大干島".

  5. Yabutarou,

    The 1786 report seems to have referred to Ulleungdo's neighboring island of Jukdo as "Bangpaedo" (防牌島), but the 1794 report seems to have used "Bangpaedo" to refer to Ulleungdo's Gwaneumdo (觀音島). That means that both Gwaneumdo and Jukdo were at different times referred to as "Bangpaedo."

    In Korean, "Bangpae" (防牌)means "shield," which means that Bangpae-do (防牌島) could be translated as "Shield Island." The Chinese character 干 also means "shield," so the "小干島" and "大干島" on this old Korean map of Ulleungdo means "Small Shield Island" and "Large Shield Island," rspectively. Their positions on the map suggest that "Small Shield Island" was Ulleungdo's Gwaneumdo (觀音島), and "Large Shield Island" was Ulleungdo's Jukdo (竹島).

    If an inspector saw old reports or maps that showed both Gwaneumdo and Jukdo as "Shield Island," then how would he distinguish between the two islands on his map? I think he would do it by labelling the smaller island "Small Shield Island" (小干島) and the larger one "Large Shield Island" (大干島).

    By the way, I think 干島 (Gando) was originally 于島 (Udo), which was originally 于山島 (Usando).

  6. Gerry ,

    In " 防牌島距大島爲三里許"

    First, there is not a Chinese character falling under "was to the east".

    And next, You translate "防牌島 was to the east, about three ri from 鬱陵島"
    But I translate "防牌島 was about three ri from 竹嶼"

    I think that there is too much unreasonableness that the name of 防牌島 turned into another island during only eight years.

  7. Yabutarou,

    Here is the Chinese:


    "East of Hujuk Rock (帿竹巖束) is Bangpaedo (有防牌島). It is about three ri from the main island (距大島爲三里許)"

    Hujuk Rock was on the northeast shore of Ulleungdo, so if Bangpaedo is east of Hujuk Rock and 1.2 kilometers from the main island, then what other island could it be besides Jukdo (竹島)?

    Maybe the 1794 inspector saw the above 1786 report talking that Bangpaedo being east of Hujuk Rock and assumed it was Gwaneumdo (觀音島) instead of Jukdo, even though it means he would have been ignoring the fact that the report said that Bangpaedo was 3 ri (1.2 km) offshore of Ulleungdo?

    So, what island do you think Bangpaedo was?

    By the way, I cannot imagine Koreans confusing the pure Korean word for "bamboo" (대 - Dae) with the Sino-Korean word for "big" (大 - Dae), even though they have the same pronunciation. Remember that Ulleungdo Inspecters did not use pure-Korean words in their reports, and I cannot see why they would substitute the pure Korean word for bamboo for the very popular 竹.

  8. The comments by Ulluengdo official site implies 観音島 as 倭舡艙? I have no idea from which ground or legend they tell the comments below;
    "There are two caves that are 14 m high, one of which is Gwaneum-ssanggul, said to have been the den of pirates. The pirates hired their boats here and stole the boats."

    In addition, what is Gwaneum-SSANGGUL?

    Though Inspector's Maps(古2702-2 and Samchek museum) draw 倭舡艙 as the location of 臥達里 in the south of 大于島(and Jukdo竹島?) ,Round-shape maps(e.g.輿地図 or 海東地圖) suggests 倭舡艙 in the northwest of 所謂于山島 with 刻石立標 ,seems to be combination.
    防牌島 means, Protect(防) Stanging sing刻石立標=牌? island? because those sign need to show Japanese because there were Japanese base nearby?

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. 初二日 平明省審則 有巖 屹立水中 狀如牛角 名以帿竹巖 束(東?)有防牌島 距大島爲三里
    It seems not to be 束 but 東.Is there any other example that 帿竹巖束 in other records?
    So,in the east (of 帿竹巖) there are 防牌島, 3 ri from 大島(竹嶼Jukdo). 

    大島 seems to be Jukdo竹嶼 which Yabatarou suggest above. In this record, there is no discription about Jukdo except 大島,if not,it is strange that they report about only Gwanumdo(if Gwanumdo be 防牌島) without report of Jukdo,which is bigger island than Gwanumdo.

  11. Gerry ,

    束 and 東 are totally different words. 束 has not the meaning of "east". However, when I watch an original image, and if I consider context, There is a possibility that Kyujanggak mistook 東 for 束

  12. Yabutarou,

    No, I think the original does show 束, but an island cannot "be tied" to a rock, so we have to assume they meant 東, which makes sense.


    The 大島 is almost certainly referring to Ulleungdo (the Main island), not to Jukdo.

    Good night, everyone. I will post the 1794 survey report tomorrow.

  13. Gerry ,

    I think both 防牌島 mean 観音島 .
    If the document says "防牌島距本島爲三里許" No doubt 本島 is the Main island .
    But the document says "防牌島距大島爲三里許" I cannot distinguish 大島 is the Main island .
    22 cases make a hit when I search "距本島" in Google. But only 2 cases make a hit when I search "距大島".

    I cannot imagine Koreans confusing the pure Korean word for "bamboo" (대 - Dae) with the Sino-Korean word for "big" (大 - Dae), even though they have the same pronunciation.

    Please remember how Korean explains "勅令41号石島 and 独島 is same island". I do not think that their explanation is really nonsense .At least explanation as the hypothesis nobody can prove.

  14. これから登山にいくので三日ほどかきこめません。

  15. to GTOMR

    "Stanging sing刻石立標=牌? island?"

    I think that "刻石立標" means stony tower of the Buddhism. It writes in 新増東国輿地勝覧 about Uleungdo as follows.

    毅宗十三年。王聞鬱陵地廣土肥。可以居民。遣溟州道監倉金柔立往視。柔立回奏云。島中有大山。從山頂向東行。至海一萬餘歩。向西行一萬三千餘歩。向南行一萬五千餘歩。向北行八千餘歩。有村落基址七所。或有石佛鐵鍾石塔。(There are a stone Buddhist image, iron bell, and a stony tower.)

    There is a similar description also in 高麗史.

  16. To Opp-san,
    The previous post I Just guess the meaning of the name of 防牌島.

    Mr.Gerry sugegst "防碑" means Sield so 防牌島 Sield island in Korean language.Sorry I dont know Korean language and I dont have any korean language dictionary.It would be "Sield-shape" island?

    But, it is rare cases that 牌 implies Sield, though ”Sield" meaning of 牌 is listed on dictionaly in the low priority. Mostly general meaning of 牌 is Sign board標札/立標, by the Japanese Kanji漢和 and Chinese language中文 dictionary.

    So I thought,防牌島 means;
    防 means "protect"
    牌 means "the stanging Signboard"
    >I consider it is 刻石立標識 in 1711.
    島 is ofcourse island.

    Most of Ulleungdo detail maps refer to each places about 石葬 (stone tomb?)on Ulleungdo,may be it is "stony tower of the Buddhism" that you suggested quoted from 新増東国輿地勝覧.(see:some 石葬 places on in 鬱陵島圖形1711,輿地圖 and many detail maps of Ulleungdo)
    (I need to check whether there are a stone Buddhist image, iron bell, and a stony tower only nearby 倭舡艙 or not) 

    On the detail maps of Ulleungdo,there are 刻板立標 in the southwest that inspector carved their name when they inspection nearby 朱土窟 on 黄土邸尾.
    There is 刻石立標 next to 倭舡艙 in the northeast of Ulleungdo,nearby Usando.
    They put the stanging sign in 倭舡艙when in 1711,
    辛卯五月初九日 到泊于倭舡倉
    以爲日後憑考次.....搜討官折衡將軍三陟營將兼僉節制使朴錫昌 拙句刻石于卯方

    So I guess 牌 means 刻石立標.

    To Mr Gerry
    Though it is sure that record on 1794 防牌島 must be Gwanumdo, there has some possibility on the record in 1786 that 防牌島 be Jukdo because they refer to 3里 and dont' refer two island,Jukdo and Gwanumdo. There are some example that Jukdo away from Ullgundo 3里 or 5 里. As i remember there are no discription about Gwanumdo Seommok is away from X 里 from Ulleungdo because it is almost connect wz Ulleungdo.

    Im not sure but there would have been a elements that confuses inspector about Jukdo and Gwanumdo,if they recognize Gwanumdo as "island" or not.
    The Inspector in 1786 couldn’t recognized Gwanumdo as "island" but recognized part of cape and "island" of Jukdo,3里 away from Ulluengdo. The Inspector in 1794 recognized Jukdo and other adujnctive "island" of Gwanumdo?so he thought 防牌島 as Gwanumdo,not Jukdo.
    I think those confusion has some relation with the issue of 大于島 and 小于島. In addition,map in 1917 n 1918 by Chosun Sotokufu,Gwanumdo観音島 as テッスムトー(Tessumu-do),though report in 1902 call てっせみ島(Tessemi-tou) as Jukdo in front of 臥達里.

  17. GTOMR,

    "Bangpae" (防碑) is the Korean word for "shield," and I am surprised to hear that it is not used in Japan as well.

    By the way, the Japanese above Gwaneumdo on the 1917 and 1918 maps does not look like テッ.

  18. GTOMR,

    "In addition,map in 1917 n 1918 by Chosun Sotokufu,Gwanumdo観音島 as テッスムトー(Tessumu-do),though report in 1902 call てっせみ島(Tessemi-tou) as Jukdo in front of 臥達里."

    I think it says "クヮ ヌム トー(Kwa-Numu-Toh)", not "テッスムトー"in those maps, though it looks similar. And "牌 " basically means wooden sign, not stone. (But I think your theory is very interesting.)


    ""Bangpae" (防碑) is the Korean word for "shield," and I am surprised to hear that it is not used in Japan as well."

    You mean 防牌? Honestly, I didn't even know that "牌" and "干" both has the meaning of "Shield" at all. We don't use those words for the meaning of "Shield" in modern Japanese, as GTOMR said. It was really good to get a new knowledge, though. Did Korean "Bangpae" (防牌) come from Chinese?

    By the way, as for "束", is it possible that it was used as "a bunch of..."? As in "a bunch of 帿竹巖"...

    Anyway, it is really good to read those constructive debate. I think we should check all the possibility, and be open for any logical theory.

    (I went on hiking and "harvested" a lot of wild watercress today, just like those inspectors...)

  19. Hi Kaneganese,

    Yes, it should be 防牌. Here is the dictionary definition:

    Definition of 防牌

  20. We advanced to Gaji-gumi (可支仇味 - Sea Lion Cove), where we found two caves in the side of the mountain.

    It was difficult to calculate their depth.
    ⇒The depth of the Twin Caves?
    I found interesting photo on Ulluengdo, maybe this is in the north of Ulluengdo.
    It seems to be big and deep caves.
    Picure of coves with twin cave? 1
    Cave inside 1
    Cave inside 2

  21. GTOMR,

    Those are nice pictures, but those do not really look like caves, at least, not the deep caves mentioned in the inspection report. I suspect that the caves were on the west coast of Ulleungdo since Lee Gyu-won's 1882 map showed three caves on the west shore, and one was labeled "可支窟" (Sea Lion Cave).

    If you look at the north shore of Lee Gyu-won's 1882 map of Ulleungdo, you will notice that he drew only one cave, and I think that is the cave on Ulleungdo that is said to have a hole in the back wall that emits cold air.

    Here is a link to a scan of Lee's 1882 map showing the north shore of Ulleungdo:

    1882 Map - Ulleungdo-woido - North Shore

  22. By the way, on the scan of the 1882 map, you can see a red line that starts at the "Japanese Boat Dock" (倭船艙) and winds through the mountains to the center of the island. That red line probably marked the route Lee Gyu-won took to get to the center of the island.

  23. Gerry,
    I think those are caves, see another photo here.
    (see:4th row)

    the cave's discription are,
    1.beside the mountain山腰
    2.Twin 両
    3.they don't know how deep it is, that is to say, it is big.

    I think , from the discription above, the cave is prominent appearance. But,it is not on Gwaneumdo because Gwaneumdo's twin cave is not beside the mountain(山腰)

    Ofcourse I know the sea lion cave on the map 1882 which you suggest.
    I want to know any photo of the sea lion cave,same cave of the map in 1882 nearby 沙汰邱味?

    And it is not sure same "Sea lion cave" between 1786 and 1882.
    There are another doccument which discribes various place of Sea lion on Ulleungdo.

  24. GTOMR,

    Yes, the photo HERE looks like a pretty deep cave.

    And, yes, I think I remember reading that there were sea lion breeding caves on the north shore of Ulleungdo, but I do not know how deep they were or if there were any "twin caves," but the caves on the west shore of Lee's 1882 do look like twin caves.

    I think the caves on the west shore were destroyed when they built the road along the shoreline there. In fact, the road may go through one of the caves.

  25. Oh ,the red-line must be the route of Lee-Gwyuon.
    Is there another part of the map?
    This map is more clear than you posted before on occidentalism.
    Thank you clear photo.

  26. GTOMR,

    Yes, Lee Gyu-won's 1882 map is marked with red lines showing what were most likely the paths Lee took on his survey of the island. On the link I posted, you can see another of the red lines leading up from "Taehwangto-gumi (大黃土邱尾), and there are other red lines on the map, as well.

    I did not get good pictures of the whole map because my battery ran out while I was taking pictures of the 1882 map. The battery in my digital camera is not very good and only lasts for a few minutes of picture taking. However, here are a couple of other pictures of the 1882 map that I was able to snap before the battery ran out:

    Jukdo and Dohang


    Notice that there is also a red line running up from Dobangcheong (道方廳)

  27. Here is the "Jukdo-Dohang" link again since the above link did not work:



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