• Dokdo in the East Sea
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  • Junior High School Version

Discovery Learning 2[Teacher Notes]

Figure 1: “Map of the Three Countries”
The “Map of the Three Countries” was compiled by a Japanese military scholar named Hayashi Shihei. Its unique feature is that each country is illustrated by a different color. Ulleungdo and Dokdo are colored in yellow along with Joseon, and the map also includes the words “Joseon land” next to the islands.
During a territorial dispute in the 1860s between Japan and the United States over the Ogasawara Islands (a chain of islands approximately 80 islands south of Honshu island), the Japanese government presented as evidence a French-language version of the “Map of the Three Countries” translated by the German scholar Julius Heinrich Klaproth. This map showed the Ogasawara Islands to be Japanese territory, and Ulleungdo and Dokdo to be Joseon territory.
『Greater Three Kingdoms Map』(1785)
Figure 2 『Joseon Map of the East Sea』
First published in 1857, this map was composed by the Russian Navy based on the 1854 exploration results of Russian warships in the East Sea. This map was re-published by the Japanese Department of the Navy in 1876 for military operations.
A detailed illustration of the Korean peninsula, its coastline, and coastal inlets are presented. Ulleungdo and Dokdo are adjacent to each other and labeled as Joseon territory.
“Map of Joseon and the Coast of the East Sea”
Figure 3: “Map of Joseon”
This map was compiled by Kuki Yoshitaka and others at the request of Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the Imjin War in 1592. Ulleungdo and Usando are identified in the “Gangwon-do” addendum. This is the first known case of Ulleungdo and Dokdo being labeled in their Korean names in a Japanese map.
Ⓐ “Map of the Eight Provinces” from “Map of Joseon”
Ⓑ “Gangwon-do” addendum from “Map of Joseon”
Figure 4: Dokdo is not on Japan’s principal maps!
Inō Tadataka, the founder of modern cartography (mapping) in Japan, completed the following maps in 1821 after surveying the country. The “Complete Geographical Map of the Japanese Coasts” illustrates Sado Island and Tsushima Island, which are near Dokdo, but Dokdo is not illustrated. The “Complete Map of Japan for Elementary Study” does not show Dokdo, but the southern Kuril Islands are labeled as Japanese islands.
- Donga Ilbo, October 27, 2004 -
Ⓐ “Complete Geographical Map of the Japanese Coasts”
Ⓑ “Complete Map of Japan for Elementary Study”
Discovery Learning 2
1. Arrange the maps in chronological order.[Answer]
2. Read Figure 1 and state the information that can be claimed about Japan.[Answer]
3. State Japan’s main purpose for composing the maps in Figures 2 and 3.[Answer]
4. Based on Figures 1 - 4, estimate the date of Japan’s first claims over Dokdo.[Answer]

Teacher Notes
Explain that the Japanese public recognized Ulleungdo and Dokdo as Korean territory based on Japanese maps, and arrange the maps in chronological order. Dokdo is excluded in Japan’s own territorial maps and Ulleungdo and Dokdo are labeled in Japan’s maps of Korea. Maps from the Imjin War label Ulleungdo and Dokdo in their Korean names, and Tsushima Island is shown as Korean territory.
The “Map of the Three Countries” shows the words “Joseon land” next to Ulleungdo and Dokdo. The French language version of this map was used as evidence during the French-American territorial disputes. Recent discoveries have shown that Tsushima is shown in as the same color as Joseon.
1. | Figure 3 | → | Figure 1 | → | Figure 4 | → | Figure 2 |
2. Dokdo is labeled as Korean territory in various Western maps.
3. The main purpose for compiling the “Map of Joseon” (Figure 2) in 1592 was to learn about Joseon in preparation for the invasion. The “Map of Joseon and the Coast of the East Sea” (Figure 3) was also compiled for a similar reason, and it focused on the coastal areas of Joseon.
4. The earliest possible date would be in the mid-nineteenth century.
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