Although the Korean government did not wish to allow the presence of Japanese on Ulleungdo (but they never checked out the island until 1882), the islanders seemed to have been getting along quite fine with each other, before 1882. The islanders and their leader seemed to not have considered the Japanese on the island as poachers.
There is a Japanese document titled “Report of a secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs Higaki Naoe who made an official trip to Ullung-do in Korea” which can be found at JACAR. Higaki had received orders from the Japanese government to go to Ulleungdo in 1883 and round up all Japanese on the island, in response to a complaint field by the Korean government that Japanese were conducting illegal lumbering on Ulleungdo. (A fact probably discovered by the 1882 inspection by Lee Gyun-yon.) It seems the men of both countries were getting along very well and wept when they were upon their parting like brothers or best friends. The Korean islanders (a little over 60 in all) seemed to have had been heavily dependent on the Japanese (who counted about 150) for their living. Thus they were horrified to hear that the Japanese were all leaving. Especially, they had just experienced a bad season and the horrible typhoon season had nearly cut off all travel between Ulleungdo and the Korean peninsula, the departing Japanese leave what food they have for the Koreans and the island leader also come to Higaki asking to loan him some food to prevent the remaining Koreans from starving to death, so Higakai gives them some rice from his private stock. A different document shows that Higaki was later compensated for the rice he gave the Koreans by the Japanese government, for the reason that the act could be considered the official duty of a Japanese policeman, since he wan in Ulleungdo under orders.
Report of a secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs Higaki Naoe who made an official trip to Ullung-do in Korea
Japan Center for Asian Historical Records
Reference code: A03023617600, Nov. 12, 1883
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