1906 Aug - "Korea Review," Vol. 6 -- "Ul-leung Do"

Below is an interesting August 1906 article  from the Korea Review entitled "Ulleungdo." What I found especially interesting about the article was the following description of Ulleungdo:
The main island is about eighteen miles long from east to west and perhaps twelve miles wide. There are several little rocky islets near it.
Notice that it gave the dimensions of Ulleungdo and said that it had "several little rocky islets  near it." The Korean for "rocky islets" is seokdo (石島 - 석도). Nothing was said about Dokdo (Liancourt Rocks), which is ninety kilometers southeast of Ulleungdo.
AUGUST, 1906.
UI-Ieung Do.
For the Korean, the far-away, isolated island group in the Japan Sea is well named Ul-leung, which may be freely translated "Lonely Forest Expanse." On the mariners'chnrts it is called Dagelet Island, doubtless after some early explorer in this region. To the Japanese it is known as Matsushima or Isle of Pines. It lies 400 li (120 miles) off the eastern coast of Korea, almost due east from the town of Sam-ch'uk which is the point of embarkation for the infrequent craft which ply to the island. With a good west wind Korean boats reach the island in two days. It is this distance which lends enchantment and which has worked so powerfully upon the imagination of the people. In their estimation the island of Quelpart is comparatively near. No one was ever banished to Ul-leung. It would be too cruel a fate. It would be exile, not mere banishment in the Korean sense.
    Anciently the Chinese named this island Mu-reung, "Military Hill," after the name of a certain celebrated spot in China, but later they concluded that this name was too honorable for the distant and uninhabited island; so they changed it to U-reung or "Wing Hill." There is poetry in the name, for the main island is not unlike in shape to a wing spread out upon the sea.
    Isolated as this spot is it is not unrenowned in history. The Sam-guk-sa, the most ancient of Korean histories, states that under the name of U-san a Kingdom or tribe existed on the island in the days of ancient Silla. How it became known to Silla that the island was inhabited we are not told but we know that, in 513 A. D. during the reign of the Silla King Chi-jeung, the great general Yi Sa-bu, "Chief of A-Silla"* devised a way of conquering the semi-savages of this U-san without the shedding of blood. He fashioned a number of wooden lions and placed them in the prows of his war boats. As he neared the coast of the island and the startled natives saw these lions gaping with red mouths and glittering eyes, and heard the threat of the general that if they did not surrender at discretion he would let loose the horrid beasts upon them, they fell on their knees at once and did obeisance to Silla. At this time the name Ul-leung Do was conferred.

The main island is about eighteen miles long from east to west and perhaps twelve miles wide. There are several little rocky islets near it.
In the year 1160 Kim Yu-rip the governor of Kangwun Province was so adventurous as to make a trip to this island. His report is interesting and shows that he was a fairly keen observer. He said in his report to the King at Songdo that he had climbed to the crest of the central mountain peak and found it 13,000 paces from the west coast and from the summit to the east coast was 10,000 paces. From the summit to the south and north coasts was 15,000 and 8,000 paces respectively. This would make the island 23,000 paces long and the same in width. Reckoning even three feet to a pace, which is excessive, we should have about fourteen miles. We imagine he measured it with his eyes rather than his feet, but in any case his estimate was fairly accurate.
He reported that he found seven places where villages had formerly existed. He also found a bell, a pagoda, stone images and trees that had been planted by man. But at that time the island was without inhabitants.
FOOTNOTE: *It is surmised by some that the "a" of this A Silla meant "great." It is probable that the word Silla is of purely native origin and not of Chinese derivation. The "A" is probably identical with the Japanese O meaning great.

He said furthermore that he had seen in histories that in the thirteenth year of King Wang-gbn's reign, 931 A. D., tribute had been sent to Songdo in the shape of toraji, a species of campanula, used for food and medicine and also beans. His opinion was that the land was very fertile and he stated that the pine forests were magnificent. He could make no definite estimate of the number of people who were living there at the beginning of the dynasty, 918 A. D., but he found slab's of stone {probably slate) with which the houses were roofed.
At the time of the founding of the present dynasty, 1392 A. D., this island had become a place of refuge for criminals. In 1400 a government detective of Sam-ch'uk, named Kim In-u, went to the island and persuaded some of the refugees to come back to the mainland and submit to the authorities. He reported that bamboo, the size of a pine tree, flourished on the island and that the rats there were as large as cats.* Not fearing contradiction he affirmed that the peach stones there are as large as a man's two fists!
In the days of King Se jong, the palmy days of the present dynasty, 1437 A. D., a man named Nam was appointed to have charge of the island. At that time some seventy refugees, all of the Kim family or clan, were living there.
In 1470 a man named Pak Chong-wun visited the island and was detained there several months because of the weather. He found no inhabitants but brought back to the King an offering of bamboo of enormous size and some oysters to match.
    From early in the present dynasty the government sent a military officer to the islaud once in three years. He took fifteen axes and brought back samples of wood and other vegetable products.
    Japanese connection with the island began at least twenty years ago. They had
FOOTNOTE: *This through mistranslation probably gave rise to the storv that the shores of Ul-leung are infested with huge rats and the forests with 'wild cats ami that the two have periodical pitched battles.

discovered the splendid pine timber and began to help themselves. Koreans in greater or smaller numbers have occupied it for the better part of a century. In 1886 it was the writer's fortune to meet a man named Mitchell who had obtained some sort of concession to cut timber on Ul-leung and was on his way to Seoul in connection with the business. Complaints were frequent lietween the years 1880 and 1895 that Japanese were denuding the island of its fine growth of pine. Representations were made, we believe, by the Korean government and an attempt was made to put an end to this thieving but with poor success.
In 1898 the government began to take a more lively interest in that outlying domain and put the island in charge of an officer called a Kam and later, in 1900 placed a prefect there and named the place Mu-ta-dong or "District of the Fog Star," not inappropriately, since the prevailing rains are all from the east. The island was carefully measured and found to be sixty li (eighteen miles) from east to west and and forty li (twelve miles) from north to south.
The products of the island as reported today are bamboo, pine timber, peaches, a wood called sung-nam  (石楠), rattan, cedar, reeds, a sea animal "like a cow with red eyes but no horns," [probably the sea lion]. This animal is called kaji by the Koreans and they say it will attack and kill single men but will retreat to the water before a number of men. It is said the mountain ginseng abounds there but no one dares to bring it to the mainland, because if the attempt is made the boat will surely be wrecked. In verification of this the Koreans relate the story of a Japanese who defied the augury and took a basket of the valuable roots on board a boat in a basket. The trip was a stormy one and at last the waves became so high that the impious man threw the Jonah overboard; whereupon the sea calmed at once!
At the present time there is a Korean population of 3,500 living in 600 or 700 houses. There are some Japanese police there to keep order between Koreans and Japanese, though up to a recent time, there were almost no Japanese resident on the island.

    Little as the Koreans know about Ul-leung they prize its possession very highly and consider it an important part of the empire. The most valuable product is the pine lumber, which is so large that the finest and largest coffins can be made of it withont showing a single knot in the wood! Ul-leung pine is always requisitioned for royal burial caskets

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