Asahi Shimbun - "Takeshima issue explained in Q&A format"

Below is an August 16, 2012 article from the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun. LINK

It is a pretty good article, but it oversimplifies the answer to the question, "What about the history?" It fails, for example, to mention that while Japan has numerous maps and documents to support her claim to Liancourt Rocks (Takeshima/Japan), Korea has none to support hers.

Also, how can Korea claim the Rocks were "taken by force" in 1905 when the Rocks had never been part of Korean territory or even had Koreans living on them? In fact, the only way Koreans could get to the Rocks at the time were as deckhands on Japanese fishing boats.
The Asahi Shimbun 
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's surprise visit to the disputed Takeshima islets on Aug. 10 sent relations with Japan into a tailspin.  
Staff Writer Toru Higashioka attempts to put the issue in perspective in the following question-and-answer format:  
Question: What was the Japanese government's reaction to Lee's visit?
Answer: Both Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba lodged strong protests.  
Q: What is the Japan's position with regard to the islets, which are called Dokdo in Korean?  
A: While South Korea claims the islets, Tokyo maintains they are Japan's sovereign territory, both historically and under international law. It also maintains that South Korea is illegally occupying them.  
Q: What is at issue right now?  
A: Lee's visit to Takeshima was an affront to Japan. Here was the leader of a country landing on territory it illegally occupies. His visit was completely unacceptable for the Japanese government.  
Q: Why does Japan maintain that South Korea is illegally occupying the islets?  
A: The 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty stipulates all territory that Japan should renounce all rights, titles and claims to. But it does not include Takeshima. Then in January 1952, South Korean President Rhee Syngman one-sidedly declared the Rhee Syngman Line, or boundary, on the open sea, putting Takeshima on the South Korean side. South Korea went ahead and stationed security forces on the islets, effectively placing them under its control.  
Q: What about history?  
A: Japan claims it established sovereignty of the islets early in the Edo Period (1603-1867). Takeshima was incorporated into Shimane Prefecture based on a Cabinet decision in 1905. That same year, Japan declared that Korea no longer has diplomatic sovereignty as it moved to annex the Korean Peninsula in 1910. This is why South Koreans regard the islets as having been "taken by force." As a result, the issue has stirred up patriotism and anti-Japan sentiment among South Koreans.  
Q: How has Japan coped with the problem?  
A: In 1954 and 1962, Japan proposed to South Korea that the dispute over sovereignty be referred to the International Court of Justice. But South Korea rejected the idea. So far, Japan has refrained from taking the matter to the court out of consideration for its peaceful relationship with South Korea. Past attempts by Japan to resolve the issue in the ICJ were met with strong opposition from Seoul.  
Q: In spite of all this, Lee went ahead with the visit, didn't he?  
A: Genba said Japan no longer needs to give South Korea's stance on the issue any consideration and can go ahead with filing a suit with the ICJ.  


  1. Oh wow.. even Japan's own historical documents & maps say Dokdo belonged to Korea for a very long, long time. Korea has more solid backup data ready to prove its historical ownership, and should there be anyone that wants to discuss on history related matter, let's open another forum solely dedicated to the topic.

    Illegally occupying the territory? omg, don't get me started on Japan's illegal occupation on Daemado, which Chosun rightfully conquered in 1389 from Japanese priates.

    And San Francisco Peace Treaty? I understand this is almost the one and only reasonable argument Japan has which makes sense, but the treaty itself was unjustful. Korea was not allowed to have a say in the council when her interest is directly involved with and related to the treaty. What the article claims is that, just because the US failed to pay attention to details, the historical territory of Korea now belongs to Japan. The article is basically saying the Japanese are taking advantage of an American's mistake?!

    If you can argue with these facts, please convince me with reasons so that i can ease off with my anger.

  2. La verdadera presentación sobre Takeshima

    La maldad por los coreanos

    El punto de vista por el gobierno japonés sobre Takeshima

  3. I think Japanese and Korea have different opinions definitely.

    Now,we have to remember territorial dispute "Pedra branca" between Malaysia and Singapore.

    They finished long territorial dispute at ICJ justifiably.

    Korea hates japanese assetions and feels be in trouble because of Japan.
    Also Japan wants to conclude this uncomfortable trouble.

    OK,so why does Korea always refuse to go to a fair trial?
    If Korea wins this dispute at trial,Japanese accepts the conclusion without any excuses.

    The reason why Korea doesn't wanna bring this case is obvious.
    "Korea understands its insistence on Dokdo will be denied by ICJ"

    1. I dont think so Dokdo is apparent Korea territory also korean live there so korea dont need to attend to ICJ.

    2. I dont think so Dokdo is apparent Korea territory also korean live there so korea dont need to attend to ICJ.

  4. First of all, you used Takeshima instead of Dokdo. I want you to correct this expression. Further more, you have a 'short' information about Dokdo dispute. Korea has been occupy for years. Also, it is fact that Dokdo belongs to Korea.
    Japan is just forcing for resources under the Dokdo(East Sea) and more territories.

  5. Mr. Han Sem Kim

    I have simple question.

    1) You said San Francisco Peace Treaty is “unjustful” and "make sense for Japan". Does it mean Dokto still seems to remain in Japanese territory on San Francisco Peace Treaty?

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  7. Basically, living, or using by nation people could be a proof of occupation on land. Exploring report could be enough. (See Russians in Siberia) If there was taxing, it would be perfect. Color of maps or references in documents, they would show some reorganization or hearsay of the land, but they would not be enough proof of occupation at all. We both have many of them, some are doubtful, but it is not the point of the argument.
    In this context, Japan has some clear evidences of exploring (f.e. precise in-island map) and using Dokdo for hunting in 17th. But it was not continuing in 18th, and it would not have been enough proof of occupation in modernized context, as we did in 1905.

    We could not find any evidence of the occupation by Korea also.
    If Koreans have good evidence of living, using, and exploring Dokdo, I am very willing to see them.
    (It will ease and persuade us a lot to agree with the present situation.)

  8. You know what, if Korea insists on possession of Dokdo for occupying for years, it would be rejected at the international court. Unfortunately, the effective control afterward cannot be a good reason for sovereignty territory, just because the occupancy is illegal.

    Now that Korea is going to be accused of illegal possession third time while Japan has never been and if Japan goes on this challenge, Korea could keep the islands only by its military effort, i.e. potential violence, for which it always blames past Japan.

    How long is Korea going to stay on a bench in Japan's backyard, escaping lawsuit? Is it really a constitutional country?

  9. Gerry Bevers,

    Let's forget about the Korean old maps with Usando because you deny every Usando in the Korean old maps as today's Dokdo. I know it's useless to talk abut them with you.

    Instead, let's talk about Japanese maps. Present us at least 5 Japanese maps depicted Dokdo as Japaense land. I have more than 30 images of Japanese maps excluded Dokdo as Japanese and more than 20 images of depicted Dokdo as Korean land. (I included Meiji-era maps. Recently Japanese Takeshima Research Center reputed to Korean insistence "There's no Japanese old maps depicted Dokdo as Japanese land." by saying "It's natural because Japan considered Dokdo as ownerless before 1905.", which is very contradictory to Japanese MOFA's insistence "Japan established the sovereignty over Takeshima by the mid 17th century in the early Edo Period at the latest.")

    And please introduce us Japanese documents supporting Japanese claim to Dokdo.

    I introduce the Japanese maps admitted Dokdo as Korean land even after Japanese incorporation of Dokdo in 1905.


  10. 吉田望様
     熱心な投稿ご苦労様です。韓国の人たち(含sloww君)は、17世紀末の竹島(鬱陵島)渡海事件の後、日本は現在の竹島に関しても渡海を禁止したという虚偽を喧伝しています。あからさまなウソを言い続ける人たちに対して、「In this context, Japan has some clear evidences of exploring (f.e. precise in-island map) and using Dokdo for hunting in 17th.But it was not continuing in 18th, and it would not have been enough proof of occupation in modernized context, as we did in 1905.」という表現は、少し迂闊な印象を持ちました。江戸時代初期から90年間に及ぶ現竹島の利用は、鬱陵島への付随的なものでありましたから、たしかに、アワビ漁は行われなくなりました(アシカ猟というよりは)。しかし、いわゆる鎖国下の日本に於いて、18世紀から19世紀に盛んになった北前船の浜田から松前への最短距離をとる、沖乗り(大圏航路)航海として、毎年三月から四月にかけて、現在の竹島を航路の目安としてそのすぐ外側をまわる形の航海目標地点としての利用は継続的になされていたのです。これに関しましては、老中松平康任の発言や、高田屋嘉兵衛の記録、鳥取藩番所の海図などの証拠があります。

  11. Sloww,

    The reason you want to forget about old Korean maps is that there are none that show Liancourt Rocks by any name. Link to even one Korean map you think shows Liancourt Rocks.

    Second, Liancourt Rocks was officially incorporated as part of Oki County in Shimane Prefecture on January 28, 1905. You can read about the Cabinet decision HERE. It gives the coordinates of Liancourt Rocks and renames them "Takeshima." Not even Korean scholars dispute that fact. Do you dispute it?

    Third, all five of the Japanese maps to which you linked were made after the Japanese government had incorporated Liancourt Rocks, which means that any maps that show otherwise are wrong.

    Forth, the first map to which you linked shows Liancourt Rocks named as "Takeshima" (竹島), which means that it recognizes the Rocks as Japanese territory. Why? Because Takeshima was the official name given to the Rocks upon their incorporated into Shimane Prefecture.

    Your link claims that the map recognizes the Rocks as Korean territory because they are uncolored. However, the Rocks look like dots on the map. How can you uncolor dots?

    Fifth, your second map simply shows Liancourt Rocks. That does not mean it recognized them as Korean territory. It also shows the Japanese island of Tsushima (Daemado). Do you also claim it recognizes Tsushima as Korean territory?

    Sixth, your third map shows a dotted line drawn from Japan's Oki Island to "Takeshima" (竹島). It does not show a line drawn from Ulleungdo to Takeshima or from anywhere on the Korean peninsula.

    Why would you think that Map shows Liancourt Rocks as Korean territory, considering it was made two years after the Rocks were officially incorporated as part of Oki County and that they are named "Takeshima," which was the official name given to the Rocks upon their incorporation?

    Seventh, your forth map was made 31 years after Liancourt Rocks were incorporated as part of Oki County and renamed "Takeshima." If the map were recognizing Liancourt Rocks as Korean territory, why are the Rocks labeled with the Japanese name "Takeshima" instead of the Korean name "Dokdo"?

    Your fifth and finally map was made in 1939, which was 34 years after Liancourt Rocks had been incorporated as part of Oki County and renamed "Takeshima." Again, if the map were recognizing Liancourt Rocks as Korean territory, why is it labeled using the Japanese name "Takeshima" instead of the Korean name "Dokdo"?

    Since Korea has no maps or documents to support any historic claim to Liancourt Rocks, you are forced to look at Japanese maps and try to make silly arguments based on them, which shows how desperate you are.

    Japan, on the other hand, has numerous maps and documents to support her historic claims to Liancourt Rocks. Do I really need to link to all of them for you?

  12. Sloww,

    In 1714, even Koreans recognized Liancourt Rocks as Japanese territory.

    In a July 22, 1714 entry in King Sukjong's "Bo Gweol Jeong O" (補闕正吳), an official of the Korean king reported on the poor condition of defenses on the East Coast of Korea. The official feared that the Japanese could possibly attack Korea from the direction of Ulleungdo rather than from the direction of Daemado (Tsushima) since a Japanese island was close enough to be visible from Ulleungdo. Here is what was reported:

    Gangwon Provincial emissary Jo Seok-myeong (趙錫命) discussed the neglected coastal defenses in the Yeongdong region. Here is a summary:

    I listened carefully to the people in the ports (浦人) who said, "Pyeonghae (平海) and Uljin (蔚珍) are closest to Ulleungdo, and there are no obstructions along the sea route. Visible to the east of Ulleung is an island attached to Japanese territory." In 1708 and 1712, strange-looking ships drifted to the borders of Goseong (高城) and Ganseong (杆城), so we know that Japanese ships frequently come and go. The government, however, says that the vast sea is a barrier, so there is no need to worry, but how can we be sure that a future war will not break out in the Yeongdong region instead of the Yeongnam region? We cannot allow even a little delay in taking measures to be thoroughly prepared.

    Notice the following sentence:

    To the east of Ulleung (鬱陵之東) an island is visible (島嶼相望) that connects to Japanese territory (接于倭境).

    That island was almost certainly Liancourt Rocks (Takeshima/Dokdo), and Koreans believed them to be part of Japanese territory, probably because the Koreans had frequently seen Japanese ships coming to Ulleungdo from that direction.

    Again, Korea has no old maps of Liancourt Rocks by any name and no documents showing that Koreans ever traveled there before Japanese fishermen started taking them there as deckhands on Japanese fishing boats in the early 1900s.

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  14. Mr.小嶋日向守 had pointed and noticed me;
    There are many evidences that show one of the most important Japanese sea route in Edo era was located between Ulleungdo and Dokdo. ( sorry I do not know)

    After mid Edo era, until early Meiji era, there were many trade ships called ”Kitamae-bune”.
    Basically they started Osaka in spring, sailed through Setonaikai and Japan Sea, then reached Hokkaido in late May. Then they started Hokkaido in July, sailed through Japan Sea and Setonaikai, and arrived Osaka in November.
    Wealthy merchants managed Kitamae-bune, and they got cross-sea license from feudal domains like Kaga not by Edo-bakufu.
    Famous sea chart found in 2009 at Tottori is here
    And other references about this sea route between Ulleungdo and Dokdo is here

    Basically Edo-bakufu had prohibited ships to go outside of her territorial waters, so some Japanese seems to think it is important sub-evidence that Edo-bakufu had recognized Dokdo within her territorial waters.
    Now I know this, I do not have my opinion yet. It could be, and Edo-bakufu might not be aware or just tolerate this. I think they did not tax for sea trading; they ware revenue source for local feudal domains.
    As I told on another article, “ (Japanese) government’s control was something fictional, real control was entrusted to understructure, local governments or families.” It seems to be the good example.

    My impression to know this; what active, fruitful and recording maniac our history was! These evidences would be very decentralized, privatized and enormous.

  15. Mr. Nozomu Yoshida,

    Thank you.
    I appreciate your consideration and a suitable comment.

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  17. Gerry said:

    "In 1714, even Koreans recognized Liancourt Rocks as Japanese territory."

    No, they didn't.
    The 1714 document doesn't say that "Visible to the east of Ulleung is an island attached to Japanese territory."

    The original text says, "鬱陵之東 島嶼相望 接于倭境."
    "일본의 영역에 인접되어 있는 섬은 울릉도 동쪽으로 보입니다."

    "인접되다" means "adjacent to", or "bordering upon".
    So, the correct translation is "Visible to the east of Ulleung is an island bordering upon Japanese territory."
    Now, if the island was "bordering upon" Japanese territory, it couldn't possibly have been a part of Japan. It was a part of Korea.

    more info here:

  18. JK6411,

    The character was 接, not 隣接.

    接 can mean "to extend; to connect; to receive; to join." LINK

    Therefore, 接于倭境 means the island was "connected (接) to (于) Japanese (倭) territory (境).

    And if the island was connected to Japanese territory, that means it was part of Japanese territory.

    To translate it as being "adjacent to Japanese territory" would be as silly as saying Hawaii is adjacent to Japanese territory.

    Also, if the island were part of Ulleungdo, why didn't the official simply say "Ulleungdo was adjacent to Japanese territory"?

  19. Why are you using a Mandarin dictionary?

    境 doesn't mean "territory".
    It means "limits of a territory" or "borders".
    1. 지경(地境: 땅의 가장자리, 경계) 2. 경계(境界), 국경(國境)

    Therefore, 接于倭境 means that the island was connected to the borders of Japanese territory.

    In other words, it was adjacent to the limits of Japanese territory, not within it.

    Go here and look at the image at the bottom of the page, which illustrates the Korean/Japanese territorial perceptions in ancient times.

  20. There are another evidences;
    彼国 or 日本山.

    (1694年) 蔚陵島事蹟
    If you climb the island's peak[s] and look closely at that country's (Japan's) territory, it (Japan's territory) is distant and hazy and there is no imposing island, so the distance (to mainland Japan) cannot be known.

    英祖四十五年(1769年)十月十六日 承政院日記
    日本山望見者, 亦書標以入, 可也。

    英祖四十五年(1769年)十月十七日 承政院日記
    仁孫曰, 鬱陵島地圖入之, 而日本山則無所望見, 故不爲畫矣。

    英祖四十五年(1769年)十一月二十七日 承政院日記
    又啓曰, 鬱陵一島, 距倭境不遠, 島中物産, 禁其私取, 法意甚嚴, 而近聞該道蔘貨, 遍行於傍近列邑, 多有現官贖公者, 傳說狼藉, 至及於都下, 此必奸細貪利之民, 冒法採取, 而地方官之矇未覺察, 極爲可駭, 請三陟前府使徐魯修挐問嚴査。上曰, 依啓。



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