The Koreans knew about Liancourt Rocks at least by 1904, although I do not know if the Korean government was aware of it. According to this article,
Shimojo claims that a Japanese named NAKAI Yousaburo (中井養三郎) set up a sea lion hunting business in the Liancourt Rocks. Subsequently, a man named Iwasaki (岩崎) from the Yamaguchi prefecture did the same using hired Korean hands in 1904, and NAKAI, fearing exploitation and also international confrontation since the ownership of the island was not clear in the modern sense, submits a request to the Japanese government to clarify the ownership of the Liancourt Rocks and to give NAKAI the rights to hunting. In response to this request, the Japanese government conducts research and confirms that the Liancourt Rocks was not the territory of any other country and citing Nakai’s hut as proof of occupation of terra nullis, declares it a part of Japan in 1905.
What I found interesting about the article is that Shimojo says that agriculture was the main industry for Koreans in Ulleungdo, contrary to popular belief, and that fishery had always been dominated by the Japanese. So I guess the Japanese continued to fish (poach) on Ulleungdo even after the Ahn incident. Forestry on Ulleungdo declines by 1903 through over-exploitation, and only then did fishery became the main industry of Ulleungdo with the discovery of fertile fishing grounds for cuttlefish near Ulleungdo, and the unemplyed Koreans were hired by the Japanese fishermen. That does explain why only 3 of the 23 produce of Ulleugdo listed in the Haedongjido (海東地圖) map were marine products.
I do not think it is a coincidence that the word Dokto came into being around 1904, when Iwasaki brought Korean hired hands to the Liancourt Rocks. Does anybody know of any Koreans sources that prove that Koreans used the word Dokto prior to 1904, or whether Koreans cared about the Liancourt Rocks? two cents at occientalism
Management of the Dokdo Fishermen in the vicinity of Ulleungdo knew that sea lions abounded on Dokdo. As I thought the island was Korean territory attached to Ulleungdo , I went to the capital trying to submit a request to the Resident-General. But as suggested by Fishery Bureau Director Maki Bokushkin, I came to question Korea’s ownership of Takeshima. And at the end of my investigation I convinced myself that this island was ownerless through the conclusion of the then Hydrographic Director Admiral Kimotsuki. Accordingly I submitted an application through the Home Ministry, Foreign Ministry and Agriculture-Commerce Ministry for incorporation of this island into Japanese territory and for its lease to me. The Home Ministry had an opinion that the gains would be extremely small while the situation would become grave if the acquisition of a barren islet suspected of being Korean territory at this point of time would amplify the suspicions of various countries that Japan has an ambition to annex Korea. Thus my petition was rejected…..
Thinking I cannot turn back I rushed to the Foreign Affairs Office to discuss the matter with the then Political Affairs Bureau Director Yamaza Enjiro. He said the incorporation was urgent particularly under the present situation, and it is absolutely necessary and advisable to construct observation posts and install wireless or submarine cable and keep watch on the hostile warships. Particularly in terms of diplomacy he told me not to worry about the Home Ministry view. He asked me in high spirits to urge the Home Ministry to refer his application speedily to the Foreign Ministry: In this way Takeshima came under our country’s dominion.Toadface at occidentalism
Petition asking to make Ryanko-to (Liancourt rocks) incorporated (into Japan) and to let it lend
In the west of Oki 85-ri, and in the east-south of Chosun’s Ulleungdo 55-ri, there is an uninhibited island so-called “Ryanko-to” in the distant sea, and it comprises of two rock islets 甲乙 (*it means A & B) with each circumstance of about 15-cho. Two islets stand toward each other and there is a channel between it, and there are 40-50 reefs around them.
The central two islets have steep cliffs on four sides and are rising into the sky. There are a few soil over the top, with weeds on it.
There is no trees on whole islands.
On the seashore at the curvature of the islet there are gravels and looks like beach but there is only one place where one can build a house at the 甲 islet facing the channel.
On the middle of the 甲 islet there is a water pond, which looks brownish.
On the 乙 islet, slightly salty water is dripping down the cliff.
Ships can be safe if they drop anchor at the channel, shifting toward left or right avoiding winds.
This island is located at the route of ships which go back and forth from Japan mainland through Oki islands and Ulleungdo to Chosun 江原 and 咸鏡 districts.
Ｉｆ ｔｈｅｒｅ is a man who manages the island who lives here, it will be convenient ,for example he can afford firewood, water and foods to ships who lack them, it will add some benefits to Japan’s fishery and trade with 江原 and 咸鏡 districts, which is now on the increase, so the management of this island will be most necessary.
This island is only a rock island rising into the sky in the distant sea, nobody didn’t take a look and they let it be untouched.
However I landed at the island whenever I was going back and forth to Ulleungdo and saw lots of sea lions were living here and thought it was not good to let it be untouched, and have made various plans. In the 36th year of Meiji (1903) I decided, invested capital and built a fishery house, and then moved workers and prepared fishing gear and started sea lion hunting.
At that time they laughed at me saying it’s reckless, of course if somebody started new business on uninhibited island there will be a chance to fail and loose equipments etc,
and I didn’t know how to hunt sea lions,
and its use and market were not sure.
I spent lots of capital in vain and after many efforts I got hunting method,manufacturing method of products, and some inventions this year.
And I could open up the market.
Their skin, after preserving in salt, will be used as subsitution for cowskin which is used in many ways, and oil from their fresh grease is equal to whale oil in quality and in price.
I could confirm that its well-squeezed dregs will be used for glue, meats will be made into powder and mingled with bone and will be used as fertilizer.
That means hunting sea lions at this island is promising.
However there will be no business on the land of this island other than sea lion hunting, I haven’t researched for fishery so I am not sure. But as this is the centre of Sea of Japan, there should be various fish around the island. If sea lion hunting could be continued, and if I could be given a chance to research I think there will be a chanced to find out new promising business in the future.
In short, if someone used lots of capital and completed equipments and started sea lion hunting, the management of this island will be very promising.
However, this island’s belonging is not determined. The other day I met a foreign ship in trouble, such unexpected events can occur but without affirmation of protection, using lots of money into this island would be very dangerous.
Sea lions on the island are not always living here.
Every year in reproductive months, April and May, came here and after reproduction they leave in July-August.
So the hunting will be conducted during the season.
Therefore, if there were not for moderate limiting of hunting and proper reproduction protection, they will soon be vanished.
However, limiting and protection won’t be conducted if there are competitions. Poeple gather at benefitial things like ants gather at aweets. If they knew sea lion hunting will be benefitial, people including one who laughed at me at first will come and compete, and they will exhaust all the sea lions by overhunting. In the end collapse of all the hunters is inevitable.
As I’ve told, I tried various things and now prospects are good as to sea lion hunting at this island,
I want to increase capitals and to put various machines to make various productions and to have fishery equipments to do fishery, while making a limitation about size and count to hunt, and protecting especially females and infants, and making preserves somewhere in the island, and expelling killer whales and sharks who are harmful animals, but as I told before I can’t because of the mentioned risk.
But this is not only my damage but a disadvantage to the nation.
Therefore, in order to assure the safety of business and to complete the management of the island, please incorporate this island swiftly to Japan’s territory and simultaneously lend it to me for next 10 years, I enclose a drawing hereby.
29th September the 37th year of Meiji (1904)
Simane prefecture, 周吉gun, Saigo cho, Nishimachi
内務大臣 子爵 芳川 顕正 殿
the Secretary of the Interior, Viscount Sir Norimasa Yoshikawa,
外務大臣 男爵 小村寿太郎 殿
the Minister of Foreign Affairs, baron Sir Jutaro Komura,
農商務大臣 男爵 清浦 圭吾 殿
the Minister of Agricluture and Commerce, baron Sir keigo Kiyoura
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.Pacifist 106 at occiendalism
A brief translation by me. Correct me if I am wrong.
“96 years old former fisherman in Oki island was interviewed by Sankei Shinbun(06/01/2007 Osaka edition) and gave verbal evidence of Japan’s precedent occupation of Takeshima.
Takeshi Yoshiyama(96) recognized himself in the picture which was taken on the Takeshima island in June of 1934. He confirmed that (Japanese fishermen) hired Korean 海女s (woman divers) from Chejudo(済州島) and they were taken by the Choson boatman. He also said that Choson only came to recognize Takeshima as fishing grounds by Japanese.”original: 竹島「先占」を元漁師が証言 領土編入の根拠裏付け ～ 昭和１０年前後「済州島の海女雇い、隠岐の仲間と出漁」
産経新聞(大阪版) 2007年１月６日 ３面kaneganesse at occidentalism