Pre-colonial Japanese textbooks mark Dokdo as Korean territory

Posted on : 2012-08-29 15:59 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Maps are evidence to refute Japan’s claim to Dokdo, but can’t be taken as official statements
 thus marking them as Japanese territory. The area of detail shows Ulleungdo and Dokdo in the shaded area marked as Korean territory. (provided by the Independence Hall of Korea)
thus marking them as Japanese territory. The area of detail shows Ulleungdo and Dokdo in the shaded area marked as Korean territory. (provided by the Independence Hall of Korea)

By Song In-geol, Daejeon correspondent

Japanese textbooks have been found by that describe Dokdo as Korean territory. On August 28, the Independence Hall of Korea announced its discovery of five Japanese textbooks and two atlases published between 1886 and 1925.

The national institution made public five textbooks and two atlases, all but one of which were published before Japan’s occupation of Korea, which started in 1910. Among the texts were four geography textbooks and one history textbook, along with two atlases.

Okamuru’s 1887 textbook’s map of Japan surrounds Japan’s nearby islands with a shaded area, thus marking them as Japanese territory. Ulleungdo and Dokdo are included in the shaded area marked as Korean territory.

The map of Japan in the 1905 textbook marks the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa); Taiwan, which Japan colonized in 1894; and the northern Chishima (Kuril) Islands as Japanese territory, but Dokdo is clearly marked as belonging to Korea.

The 1886 history book marks Tsushima, Okinawa and other islands as Japanese, but Dokdo is not separately marked.

Independence Hall of Korea researcher Yoon So-young said, “The documents prove that Japan’s claim that Dokdo is historically Japanese territory is baseless and that the islands are in fact Korean territory. We determine that Japan had no territorial awareness of Dokdo prior to its forced occupation of the islets during the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, when they were forcibly incorporated into Shimane Prefecture. Even the textbooks published by the Japanese government reflect this lack of awareness.”

Some scholars have expressed the opinion that there are limits to how far these materials can be seen as conclusive evidence to support Dokdo being Korean territory.

Seowon University professor Sim Jeong-bo, an expert on old Japanese maps, said, “Conclusive evidence would be a government map, attached to an official document related to a government decision, which says Japan has no sovereignty over Dokdo or marks Dokdo as Korean territory. These materials contain no such maps.”

Northeast Asian History Foundation researcher Kwak Jin-o said, “Japan claims Dokdo was annexed by Japan with an official announcement by Shimane Prefecture on Feb 22, 1905; Japanese textbooks from before this hardly mark Dokdo. It appears the materials released this time are similar.”

The textbooks were an elementary school geography textbook published by the Japanese Ministry of Education(小學地理用新地圖) in 1905, a Japanese history textbook(日本史要 卷上) screened by the Japanese Ministry of Education in 1886, another elementary school geography textbook(小學地理 1·2券) screened by the Japanese Ministry of Education in 1900, a geography textbook (新撰地誌 1) published by Okamuru Matsudaro in 1887, and a Japanese geography textbook (分邦詳密日本地圖) written by Otsuki Shuji in 1878.

The two atlases were one (日本地誌要略 1·4券) written by Aoki Tsunesaburo in 1878 and one (標準日本地圖) published by a Tokyo publishing house in 1925.

 

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