2008- July 14 - The New Guidelines for Teacher's Handbook

Japanese government decided to describe "Takeshima" in a teachers's handbook on the new curriculum guidelines for middles school social studies, finally !! Yesterday's article from Yomiuri Shimbun cache

Teaching handbook set to mention Takeshima

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The government has begun discussions over how to refer to the disputed Takeshima islets in a handbook on the new curriculum guidelines for middle school social studies, but is expected to stop short of referring to them explicitly as part of "the nation's territory," The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Saturday.

Once a final decision over the description has been reached, the Education, Science and Technology Ministry plans to present the handbook to prefectural boards of education officials at a meeting to be held in Tokyo on Monday to explain the handbook.

The ministry initially planned to describe the islets as "inherent territory of Japan" in the new manual.

But after a strong response from South Korea, some within the government argued Japan should give greater consideration to maintaining good bilateral relations.

The government has been consulting with relevant departments over a plan to mention in the new teaching manual the islets as an example of the country's ongoing territorial disputes, which along with the four islands off eastern Hokkaido, known as the northern territories, are required to be studied.

On the northern territories, the ministry plans to say, "The Habomai islets and the Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu islands are the inherent territory of Japan and illegally occupied by Russia."

In the case of the Takeshima islets, known as Dokdo in South Korea, the ministry has discussed a proposal to mention in the manual that Seoul claims sovereignty over them.

New editions of handbooks on the curriculum guidelines are drawn up for each subject at primary, middle and high schools when the guidelines are revised, about every 10 years.

As the manuals give detailed explanations about the content of the guidelines, they are also used for publishers producing textbooks.

Currently, only four of the 14 publishers mention the Takeshima islets in their textbooks for social studies classes at middle school.

However, the introduction of the description about the islets in the new handbook is expected to prompt more publishers to mention them.
(Jul. 13, 2008)

The Takeshima part of new guidlines for teacher's handbook is as follows. I don't have much time to translate all of them. But the lines in red are Takeshima related part and translation is in orange. Honestly, it sounds very reasonable and nothing confrontational against Korea. I think there should be description about Korean illegal occupancy and it's logical breakdown, and Japanese government did backed a lot. But it is better than nothing. Especially, it is really good to hear PM Fukuda, who had been indecisive, did stand firm against Korean president. Korean should stay calm and need to understand this was just a due course which had already been decided two years ago. And they also need to understand Japan has its right to teach kids what they need to do just like Korean are doing. Read more from Choson Ilbo.


○ 中学校学習指導要領 社会[地理的分野]

(※ 平成10年12月告示の現行のままで変更なし

○ 解説
改訂版(Revised) 現行(Now in use)
 (略)…。また、我が国は四面環海の国土であるため直接他国と陸地を接していないことに着目させ、国境がもつ意味について考えさせたり、我が国が正当に主張している立場に基づいて、当面する領土問題や経済水域の問題などに着目させたりすることも大切である。  その際、「北方領土が我が国の固有の領土であることなど、我が国の領域をめぐる問題にも着目させるようにすること」(内容の取扱い)とあることから、北方領土(歯舞群島、色丹島、国後島、択捉島)については、その位置と範囲を確認させるとともに、北方領土は我が国の固有の領土であるが、現在ロシア連邦によって不法に占拠されているため、その返還を求めていることなどについて、的確に扱う必要がある。また、我が国と韓国の間に竹島をめぐって主張に相違があることなどにも触れ、北方領土と同様に我が国の領土・領域について理解を深めさせることも必要である。 (Northern territories (Etorofu island, Kunashiri island, Shikotan island and Habomai islands of Kuril Islands)“ are our inherent territory, they are illegally occupied by Russia.) It is necessary to deepen understanding about our country's territory in a way identical with the Northern territories by mentioning that there exist differing assertions between our country and Korea over Takeshima.  (略)…。なお、我が国は四面環海の国土であるため直接他国と陸地を接して いないことに着目させ、国境がもつ意味について考えさせたり、我が国が当面する領土問題や経済水域の問題などに着目させたりすることも大切である。 その 際、「北方領土が我が国の固有の領土であることなど、我が国の領域をめぐる問題にも着目させるようにすること」(内容の取扱い)とあることから、北方領土 (歯舞諸島、色丹島、国後島、択捉島)については、その位置と範囲を確認させるとともに、北方領土は我が国の固有の領土であるが、現在ロシア連邦によって占拠されているため、その返還を求めていることなどについて、我が国が正当に主張している立場に基づいて的確に扱う必要がある。


  1. Anonymous15/7/08 01:34

    As I was going through this blog roughly, I realized that lots of Japanese have interest in Dokdo/Takeshima.

    I grew in Korea, often hearing about Dokdo but without any opinion made by Jananese.

    This Blog is good place to see and feel both Korean and Japanese opinion and I believe, this site should be one of few sites that have numerous opinions with lots of information about the issue of Dokdo/Takeshima.

    Justice and Truth always win, hope this issue ends fast as possible. (Tell the truth, I didn’t go through details in this blog that my English is not that good…)
    Anyway Cheers to this site~!

  2. AJH

    Thank you, for your opinion on our site. And frankly, I'm relieved to see Korean like yours leave unemotional message. Sometimes, radical pro-Korean illogical comments drives me crazy and I was almost losing belief in Korean people as a fellow East Asian recently. And honestly, I'm worried about Korean kids since when they go to international arena, they are required to speak logically, but as far as I read on this blog, almost no one did explained logically about the issue. What's going on in Korea?

    If you are Korean, it is very natural that you believe it is Korean territory, but all I'm asking for Korean is to think about what you are told at school is true or not on your own just for once.

    Anyway, we desparately need Korean who can discuss the issue logically, so hopefully, do read the posts and give us your opinion. Thanks, anyway.

  3. ajh,

    As Kaneganese told you, it is good to know that there are Korean people who are going to think about the issue logically.

    I like Korean culture, actually I go to Korea sometimes to eat Korean foods and to buy Korean goods. (Actually I'm planning to go to Cheju island this summer and to Pusan this late summer.) I know that Korean people are usually kind people.

    But I was astonished to see the people demonstrating claming Takeshima/Dokdo were furious, I wondered why the people occupying the island are furious against the people who are not occupying the island...

    I realized that this issue is the important problem that affects the true friendship between Korea and Japan. So I decided to help this site in order to correct the relationship of the two countries.

    ajh, please read all of the postings in this site and give us your opinion. Thank you.

  4. I forgot yo tell Kaneganese thank you for uploading the article. It is important to know the information in details before you accuse it or praise it.

  5. "Northern territories (Kuril Islands)“are our inherent territory, they are illegally occupied by Russia.)..."

    Does the manual actually say that?

    It is certainly not a good way to positively influence the Russians into returning it. Where does the idea come from that the islands are "illegally held"?

  6. me,

    Northern territory (北方領土) is not equal to the Kurile islands.

    Northern territory includes southern part of the Kurile islands, which are Etorofu island, Kunashiri island, Shikotan island and Habomai islands.

    The Ainu tribe of Japan lived in these islands in the ancient times, but in 1945 USSR invaded the islands.
    For details of this issue, please read here:

  7. In addition:
    (from the Wiki)

    Japan's view
    The Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Declaration do not apply to the Northern Territories on the grounds that the Northern Territories never belonged to Russia even before the 1904-1905.
    Russia has not claimed the disputed islands since diplomatic relations with Japan began in 1855 and thus were not acquired by Japan "by violence and greed".
    The Yalta Agreement does not apply because the "Northern Territories" are not part of the "Kuril Islands".
    Soviet invasion/occupation of the islands was illegal because Japan had already surrendered.
    At the time of the 1951 San Francisco peace conference, Japan held that the islands of Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan and the Habomai rocks were technically not a part of the Kuril Islands and thus were not covered by the provisions of Article (2c) of the San Fancisco Treaty

    Russia's view
    The islands are Russian territory.

  8. Pacifist, in the manual translated above it says " ... (Northern territories (Kuril Islands)“are our inherent territory,". Is that translation incorrect?

    When you say "invaded," do you mean occupied. The word "invaded" denotes an illegal act; but it wasn't illegal during WWII was it?

    If we are to solve these problems peacefully then we need to be careful of words in all the languages. Korean and Japanese and, in the case above, Russian ships could easily start ramming and shooting at each other over these loosely used words in schoolbooks as the children reading them grow into adults and confront - or respect each other, based on what they are taught.

  9. Me,

    I think the translated text has a bit incorrect, it should have been "Northern territories - Etorofu island, Kunashiri island, Shikotan island and Habomai islands".

    As to the words "invasion", it was a right word for Japan (maybe not for Russia) because Russia broke the nonaggression pact between Japan and USSR one-sidedly and declared the war against Japan in August 1945 just a week before Japan surrendered. And they occupied these islands since then. It was an "invasion" to Japan.

    Words sometimes have different meanings to some countries. America's independent war was a rebel to UK. Discovery of America was the beginning of the invasion to the native Americans.

    Back to the topic, it was a text written from the Japan's view. So the word "invasion" maybe a right word.

  10. Anonymous15/7/08 13:20

    The Koreans don't betray the Japanese expectations, do they?

    Their stupid behaviors make me think even more that the Liancourt Rocks do not belong to them. :-)

  11. Anonymous15/7/08 14:44


    There are reasons why Koreans become so emotional on the issues related to Japan. If you still have hard time understanding why, I just have to say you first have to study Korean and Japanese history.

    Every time I visit this blog and read through the articles, I get the feeling that the administrator of this blog has a very shallow knowledge on Korean/Japanese History. I guess that's partly our - Koreans - fault since Korea, compared to Japan, did not have enough national power to publicize Korean point of view.

    Some people says Korean/Japanese issues must be solved through documentations and records of the past; I agree. But, those people must also keep in mind that Japanese once colonized Korea. During the colonization, Korean culture, language and history have been fabricated by Japanese imperialism/militarism. That means Japanese has muscle with Korea in terms of historical records. You might argue by saying "that's Korean point of view" and say something like, "think about what you are told at school is true or not on your own just for once." Well, you made a great argument; why can't Japanese think about whether their schools are telling the truth? By the way, I am a Korean but studied in American school, learning US history and JK history from the eyes of Americans; sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not tainted by the way Korean schools teach.

    Kaneganese, you may believe you are providing a very objective view on Dokdo issue. But I don't think so. You are providing lots of "facts" without considering the subtle relationship between Korea and Japan. That is why you have hard time understanding some Koreans posting illogical pro-Korean comments.

    In Korean(and Chinese) point of view, Japanese Imperialism was not so different from German Nazism. When you take a look at historical records, you'll realize that I'm true. The funny thing is, Germans regret their past and spend enormous resources to teach their students about the "truth." whereas Japanese hardly does anything. Their history textbook is filled with beautified Japanese imperialism. I do understand some Japanese may feel they are the victims of WWII due to the atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But that does not mean Japan can be freed from committing atrocity in Korea.

    Throughout 35years of Japanese Illegal Colonization over Korea, Koreans formed firm distrust against Japanese. However, Japan never tried to relieve it. That is the funadamental reason why most Koreans are reacting so logically against Japan. It's a human nature. Just to give you an anology, can you behave coolly and logically in front of a murderer who killed all of your family members? I can't.

  12. Anonymous15/7/08 15:12


    Your having been educated at an American school does not neccesarily make you to see things
    from an American point of view as you yourself have already shown it in your posting.

    Anyway, answer my following question with yes or no.

    Do you agree that, if Japan had not colonized Korea, Russia instead would have colonized Korea?

  13. Anonymous15/7/08 15:50

    "Also, in exposing such as the existence of differences of opinion over Takeshima between our country and Korea too, it is needed as well to make (students) deepen (their) understandings on the possession/boundary of our country similarly as the Northern Territories."

    This is my translation of the part concerning the Liancourt Rocks from
    the new Japanese educational guideline manual.

    I think nobody with fair mind will understand why the Koreans are making such a fuss over it. :-)

  14. I'm sorry that I couldn't find the proper page for the error on your blog. For the vote, you mentioned "small group of rocky islets located in the Sea of Japan" but "... in East Sea" iw right. I hope you may change it. Thanks.

  15. Anonymous15/7/08 16:02

    SO, what is your logic behind your claim on Dokdo/Takeshima as a Japanese territory?

    I doubt whether history books and teaching materials on the issues of Dokdo show only 'facts' on the on-going territorial dispute between Japan and Korea.

  16. Anonymous15/7/08 16:07


    I understand that the Yellow Sea is called "West Sea" in Korea.

    Why don't you try to change it to "West Sea" in the world maps as you do for "East Sea"?

  17. Anonymous15/7/08 16:16


    The basic logic behind the Japanese claim is that the Liancourt Rocks had been "nobody's land" until Japan incorporated it in 1905.

  18. Anonymous15/7/08 16:20


    Do you believe that "Sambongdo" is Dokdo?

    Yes or no?

  19. Anonymous15/7/08 16:22

    This site is still useless because the author already made his mind about the question before openindg this site.

  20. Anonymous15/7/08 16:28


    I can change my mind if you can show me a pre-1905 map of Korea with Dokdo.

    Can you show me such a map?

  21. nzle,

    Thanks for your opinion.
    But fundamentally, Takeshima/Dokdo issue has nothing to do with the problem about colonization or not.

    In my opinion, the word colonization is not correct. It was an annexation, the two countries became the same country. And the annexation occured in 1910, five years after the incorporation of Takeshima/Dokdo into Shimane prefecture of Japan.

    The largest Korean political party 一心会 asked Japanese government to annex Korea, as Korea was in a miserable state in those days. Itoh Hirobumi was against the annexation but he was assasinated in 1909...

    Unfortunately, Korea in those days was a weak country which lacked lots of money. It was on the verge of collapse. If it collapsed and if Japan didn't protect her, Russia or China would occupy it.

    So Japan had to protectorate her in the 1900's (before the annexation), Japan spent lots of money to Korea and the money was originated from Japanese people's taxes. And the Takeshima/Dokdo was incorporated in such a protectorate era, not annexation era.

    So please look at the historic facts, not with emotional eyes concerning the annexation. Unfortunately, Korea has no records of usage, or voyages to Takeshima/Dokdo in ancient times. Korea even didn't have a proper name for the island. The word Dokdo was created in the early 20th century.

    Korean government says you knew the island from ancient times but there is no historic grounds. They say Usando was Takeshima/Dokdo but it was not true (as you can see the articles in this blog).

  22. The truth is over there.
    watch this movie.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Correction:

    The name of the political party was 一進会, not 一心会.

    Here you can see the welcome gate of 一進会 to cerebrate the annexation.


  25. Anonymous15/7/08 17:55

    To answer your question, yes, Russia could have taken control over Korea. But what does it have to do with this issue?
    You told me that having US education does not necessarily mean I see things in American point of view. Yes, that is also correct. But what I wanted to tell you is that I wasn't affected by Korean schools; my point of view has developed voluntarily through reading various articles and books.

    And I'm not sure what exactly "Japanese Expectations" are. If Dokdo was truely their island, why should they have some kind of "expectation" on how Koreans would react about this "New Guidelines"?

    And the reason Koreans are so angry about this new guideline is because Dokdo is not not a island of controversy; it is clearly Korean island with Korean people living on it.

    Also, Sambongdo IS Dokdo. In Korea, Sambongdo has been Dokdo's alternative name since Choson dynasty. Dokso has been also called as Hajido and Jasando.

    I'm not sure what Japanese ppl think about this fact, but fact is fact.

    Again, I have to say you are wrong. You said Korea "wanted" to be annexed. Logically, do you think that is reasonable? What kind of people would give up their country and be "annexed" with another country? The history you just told me is what Japanese claims to be true. Have you ever read how Koreans say about that period? There were basically two groups of ppl at the time of annexation (I prefer calling it colonization though. Annexation is another way Japanese beautifies their imperialism). One group was pro-Japanese and another was pro-Chosun(Korea). The annexation was agreed by those pro-Japanese, who didn't realy have right to do so.

    And yes, Japanese colonization is not directly related to Dokdo issue. Yet, a person who wants to thoroughly understand the issue must have profound knowledge about the history of Korea and Japan.

  26. nzle,

    I didn' say "Korea 'wanted' to be annexed". I wrote the largest political party 一進会 wanted the annexation.

    The party held 800,000 to 1000,000 members in 1908, although some Korean scholars think it was 4~50,000 members. (Even if the latter was the case, it was the largest party.)

    There were arguments in the Japanese Cabinet and government about whether Japan should annex Korea or not. Not all the politicians/statesmen agreed the annexation.

    And I know that not all the Korean people wanted annexation but the 一進会 wanted it. The 一進会 was the party to revolt the Korean political situation and esatblish a democratic and free country. They thought it was reasonable to be annexed because it was difficult to achieve their goal under the Korean conservatives' rule.


    This is the comment of 一進会. I won't dare to translate it in English but you may understand what it says.

    nzle, the situation of Korea in those days was worse than you expected today. So the progressive people had to expect Japan's help, it was a historic fact.

  27. I put the names of four islands of Northern territories in the post. It was confusing.

    Thank you, pacifist.

  28. Anonymous15/7/08 18:31


    To cut our talk short, I have only two things to tell you:

    1. Blame the rules of the game of that time, Imperialism. It could be Russia that had colonized Korea.

    2. Sambongdo, Kajido, and Jasando
    are the names of the present-day Ulleungdo. I promise you that, if you can prove that they refer to Dokdo, I personally give up on the Liancourt Rocks. Fair enough?

  29. nZLE,

    Sambongdo was not Dokdo. Please read the following:

    Also there is no grounds to say Hajido was Dokdo, or Jasando was Dokdo.

    Please read the following:

  30. Anonymous17/7/08 16:07

    Find 新撰 朝鮮國全圖 and 日淸韓 三國對照 朝鮮變亂詳細地圖. Those maps are all printed before 20th century by your japanse gov't. You can see Takeshima is coloured as same as Korean territory. Your gov't was already admitted the islands are part of Korea. Can you can change your mind? But I don't think so. You want to find another excuse.

  31. anonymous,

    We have already argued about the map 新撰朝鮮国全図 here.



    Please read them and think yourself who is lying.
    Also the same goes for the map 日淸韓 三國對照 朝鮮變亂詳細地圖.
    (If you can read the longitude precisely, you will find the truth.)


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