Dokdo, the Korean Territory Essay

Dokdo (“??” in Korean), also called the Dokdo island, is a group of islands in the East Sea (Sea of Japan). These islands are collectively called Dokdo. The name means a “rock island.” Dokdo has been a Korean territory throughout all known history except during the Japanese occupation of Korea between 1905 and 1945. Dokdo is also called Liancourt Rocks after the French whaling ship, Le Liancourt, which rediscovered Dokdo on January 27, 1849. The Japanese name for Dokdo used to be Matsushima (??) until 1905, at which time it was renamed as Takeshima (??) along with a Japanese territorial claim. Dokdo has been under the control of South Korean since August 15, 1948, on which the Korea-based U.S. XXIV Corps transferred Dokdo to the newly born Republic of Korea. The Japanese government challenges Korea’s territorial sovereignty over Dokdo.

The Japanese government also alleges that Koreans illegally occupy Dokdo because Dokdo belongs to Japan by terra nullius incorporation (incorporation of land owned by nobody) in 1905. In fact, the Japanese government decided to escalate the conflict by teaching their children that Takeshima (Dokdo) is a Japanese territory taken by the Koreans. To support their position, the Japanese government alleges that there is no evidence that Dokdo has historically been controlled by Korea whatsoever! For example, see the contents of the official website of the Foreign Ministry of Japan: www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/takeshima/index.html. The local government of Shimane Prefecture of Japan makes essentially the same claim (See here: http://www.pref.shimane.lg.jp/soumu/takesima_eng/). In contrast, the South Korean government asserts that Korea has owned Dokdo all along since the beginning of known history. See http://www.korea.net. Surely, one party must be grossly wrong. Who is wrong and who is right?

Takeshima does not exist!”Takeshima” as a new island that was newly discovered in 1905 and incorporated into Japan, has never existed! How is this possible? First, the island that Japan claimed to be “new” was not new at all, but has been known since the beginning of known Korean history. This island had also been previously known to Japan as Matsushima, and Japan repeatedly disowned it because Japan recognized this island as a Korean island. Second, this island was already administered by Korea before 1905 under a modern administrative decree issued in 1900 by the Korean Empire.

Third, although Japan pretends that a notice was issued on the subject of the annexation of Dokdo, any kind of notice that Japan allegedly made was in reality a stealthy notice that even the Japanese public did not know, let alone any Koreans. The term “Takeshima” is a recycling of a word that referred to another island of Korea, Ulleungdo. The Japanese name for Dokdo was Matsushima until 1905. The “Shimane notice” of 1905 created the fantasy of a new island that belonged to no one in the middle of the East Sea. The name “Takeshima,” an old Japanese name for Ulleungdo was assigned to this new creation. But both Korea and Japan have known about this island for many centuries. Therefore, “Takeshima” as a new island discovered in 1905 does not exist. See the table below for the names of Ulleungdo and Dokdo at various times.