2. Korean Territorial Claims Proven by Korean Historical Sources
Uljin County and Samcheok County, in The Annals of King Sejong Geographical Records (1454).(“The two islands of Usan and Mureung lie in the East Sea. The two islands are not far apart and can be seen with the naked eye on a clear day. They were called the State of Usan during the Silla period.”): This text identifies the two islands as Usan and states that they can be seen with the naked eye on a clear day. From this it is clear that Usan is Dokdo.
The oldest Korean source that mentions Dokdo as being part of Korean territory is Samguk sagi (三国史記, The History of Three Kingdoms
), which was written in the twelfth century. According to this book, General Kim Isabu of Silla conquered the State of Usan in 512. At the time, Usan was a small country consisting of Ulleung and Dokdo. Dongguk munheon bigo (Reference Documents on the Eastern Country, 1770)
, a history of Korea compiled by the Joseon government (1392-1910), states, “Ulleung and Usan both were territories of the State of Usan. Usan is the so-called ‘Matsushima’ as referred to by Japanese.” Other, later Korean government history books and maps identified Dokdo as part of Joseon territory. Matsushima was the Japanese name for Dokdo at that time. Sejong sillok chiriji (The Annals of King Sejong Geographical Records)
completed in 1454) stated, “The two islands of Usan and Mureung lie in the eastern sea of the country. The two islands are not far apart and can be seen with the naked eye on a clear day. During the Silla period, they were called the State of Usan.” The two islands of Usan and Mureung in these remarks refer to today’s Dokdo and Ulleungdo. The geography text identified the two islands as the State of Usan. Other government texts compiled during the Joseon period, such as Sukjong sillok
(The Annals of King Sukjong
; r. 1674-1720), Ganggye go
(Notes on Joseon’s Frontiers
, 1756), Mangi yoram
(Essentials of Governance
, 1808), and Jeungbo Munheon bigo
(Revised and Enlarged Reference Documents
, 1907), all state that “Ulleung and Usan are lands of Usan, and Usan is the so-called Matsushima as the island is called by Japanese.”
Haejwa JeondoIn this map Usan Island is marked accurately, with the two peaks in the east and the western rocks of Dokdo clearly indicated. This is clearly distinguished from today’s Jukdo (an islet that is two kilometers east of Ulleungdo) which has no peaks.
The Joseon court dispatched a group of surveyors led by Jang Han-sang, a military official, to Ulleungdo. The surveyors found Dokdo in the process of investigating Ulleungdo and recorded it in Ulleungdo sajeok (Historical Records of Ulleungdo
, 1694). In Joseon maps, Usan Island (Dokdo) appears as part of Joseon territory. In the “Paldo chongdo” (“Map of the Eight Provinces of Joseon”) in the state gazetteer Sinjeung Dongguk yeoji seungnam (New and Expanded Complete Conspectus of the Territory of the Eastern Country, 1530) are the islands of Ulleung and Usan (Dokdo), though their locations are reversed. In subsequent government maps, however, the location of Usan Island is marked accurately as lying east of Ulleungdo. One such map is “Haejwa jeondo” (“Map of Joseon”). This map depicted two peaks in Usan and made clear that Usan is Dokdo.