• Dokdo in the East Sea
  • Educational material
  • Junior High School Version

Discovery Learning 1

Japan’s Dokdo Argument 1: Japan has been aware of Dokdo’s existence since ancient times.[Teacher Notes]

”Revised Map of Japan’s Land and Roads”
Japan presents Nagakubo Sekisui’s “Revised Map of Japan’s Land and Roads” and other old maps and historical documents as evidence. However, Nagakubo’s first edition map does not include Ulleungdo and Dokdo as Japanese territory (different colors) and marks them as outside the border. Thus, Ulleungdo and Dokdo are viewed as foreign territory.
Both private and government maps illustrate Ulleungdo and Dokdo as Joseon territory. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs published the “Chōsen-koku kōsai shimatsu naitansho” (Confidential Inquiry into the Particulars of Korea’s Relations with Japan) in 1870. This text stated that “Takeshima [Ulleungdo] and Matsushima [Dokdo] are Joseon territory.” This was an acknowledgement by Japan that the islands were Joseon territory.
“Map of Joseon and the Coast of the East Sea,” composed by the Japanese Department of the Navy in 1876, also illustrates Dokdo as Korean territory. The Daijōkan, the highest administrative office in the Meiji government, stated through the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1877, “Ulleungdo and Dokdo have no relation with Japan, and you must keep that in mind.”

Japan’s Dokdo Argument 2: There is no historical evidence of Korea’s awareness of Dokdo.

”Revised Map of Japan’s Land and Roads” is presented as evidence by Japan as proof of past awareness of Dokdo. However, Korean evidence suggests that Korea’s awareness predates Japan by at least 600 years.
According to History of the Three Kingdoms (1145), “In the sixth month of 512 Usan surrendered and paid annual tribute.” The Annals of King Sejong Geographical Records (1454) states, “Usan (Dokdo) and Mureung (Ulleungdo) islands are in the middle of the ocean directly east of Uljin. The two islands are close enough that the other is visible on a clear day.”
New and Expanded Complete Conspectus of the Territory of the Eastern Country (1531) also states, “Usan (Dokdo) and Mureung (Ulleungdo) islands are in the middle of the sea directly east of Uljin.” The Compilation of Reference Documents on the Eastern Country (1770) recorded, “Ulleung and Usan are part of Usan, and foreigners refer to Usan as Songdo.” Essentials of Governance (1808) and Comprehensive Study of Civilization, Revised and Expanded (1908) include similar references.
Discovery Learning 1
1. Japan argues, “Korea claims Usando to be Dokdo, but Usando refers to either Ulleungdo or a non-existent island.” Find the evidence from the previous section that refutes this claim.[Answer]
2. Although Ulleungdo and Dokdo were marked in old Korean maps, Dokdo’s location and size were incorrectly illustrated on several occasions. If so, does that mean that Koreans did not properly recognize Dokdo’s existence?[Answer]

Teacher Notes
The Main Body deals with Japan’s 10 different claims to Dokdo and offers logical evidence to refute each claim. The arguments for each side include highly logical evidence. This part may be difficult for some students to comprehend. Therefore, the teacher must have a thorough understanding of the claims and rebuttals for both sides. In the “Reference” section, the easy-to-read list “The 10 Truths about Dokdo Unknown to Japan” summarizes the material.
Japan has claimed Dokdo for a long time through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. The list of 10 arguments are provided in pamphlet format, and available in Japanese, Korean, English, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Recently, Japan has included the subject of Dokdo in elementary and junior high school social studies. Through a series of curriculum revisions, Japan has strengthened educational programs that emphasize Japanese sovereignty over Dokdo, and these results are reflected in the textbooks.
Japan has explicitly expressed its desires toward Dokdo through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, rather than the Ministry of Education.
The first argument on page 55 is related to “Critical Thinking,” and discusses “Knowledge of Dokdo’s existence.” The “Revised Map of Japan’s Land and Roads” (1779), “Chōsen-koku kōsai shimatsu naitansho” (Confidential Inquiry into the Particulars of Korea’s Relations with Japan, 1870), “Map of Joseon and the Coast of the East Sea,” and the Daijōkan Order are presented as evidence against Japan’s claims. In fact, Korean historical sources contain evidence of Dokdo’s Korean sovereignty, and this material could be presented as evidence, as well.
The rebuttal for the first argument continues for the second argument, and History of the Three Kingdoms, New and Expanded Complete Conspectus of the Territory of the Eastern Country, and Compilation of Reference Documents on the Eastern Country are presented as evidence. The evidence testifies to the fact that Korean records predate Japan’s maps by more than 500 years.
1. Ulleungdo (or Mureung) and Usando appear together in Korean historical sources. The name “Ulleungdo” existed, and the fact that another name, “Usando,” was in use can be taken to mean that another island was known. Therefore, the claim that Ulleungdo was referred to incorrectly and that Dokdo did not exist is not logical.
2. Old maps frequently contain errors regarding size, location, and names. This is evident in all historical maps made before advanced mapping techniques were available.
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