Monday, January 08, 2007

Takeshima/Dokdo effective conrol during Edo period

As far as I know, the Oya and Murakawa families considered Ulleungdo to be uninhabited land discovered accidentally by one of their men. Chosun at the time had been following an empty island policy to supress Korean pirates posing as Japanese (仮倭) and deprive them of their bases. The two families and the shogunate were unaware of this, and so you could say they took effective control of the empty Ulleungdo. They had been going about their business for 80 years since the Korean officials never even bothered to patrol the island. When Ahn, learning from Koreans who had gone to Ulleungdo the year before and hearing of their success, goes to Ulleungdo. (He claimed that he was acting under official orders to fish on Ulleungdo in his statement in Japan, but later in Chosum claimed that he had been shipwrecked and arrived at Ulleungo accidentally to downplay his offense.) The Murakawa’s upon arriving at Ulleungdo find signs of activity on the island and discover that their boats and gears had been used without their consent by the “tresspassing Koreans.” The Murakawas take Ahn and several others back to Japan as evidence to the shogunate that there are tresspassers on Takeshima (Ulleungdo). At first, Chosun was willing to cede Ulleungdo. But while Japan was pondering over the wordings of the treaty, the opposing faction takes control of things in Korea, and ultimately in 1698, Japan agrees to keep the island off-limits, like Korea. Since both Japan and Chosun were not willing to go to war over Ulleungdo, it seems no treaties were traded to explicitly state which country the island belonged to. (I think, like most Japanese, that Japan basically forfeited its claim on Ulleungdo at this point.)

In 1836, the Shogunate executes a fisehrman, Aizuya Yauemon, for “going to Takeshima while claiming to have gone to Matsushima.” This indicent is proof that the Shoguante did not consider Matsushima to be included in the off-limits agreement with Chosun or even considered it foreign territory, unlike Takeshima (Ulleungdo).two cents at marmot

As for present-day Takeshima, even after Japan accepted the Korean claim to Ulleungdo and ceased to go there, the fishermen still went to Takeshima for the abalone and seagrass, and eventually sea lions. Proof that they went to Takeshima (Matsushima) is that the Japanese maps of Takeshima (Matsushima) keeps becoming more accurate through the ages, unlike maps in Korea which one has a difficult time being convinced that it even represents Dokto.two cent at marmot

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