• Dokdo in the East Sea
  • Dokdo in History
  • Dokdo is Korean Territory
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3. The Japanese government’s claim that it established territorial rights over Dokdo in the mid-seventeenth century is a fabrication.
In the early seventeenth century, the Oya and the Murakawa families in Matsue domain (present-day Tottori Prefecture) received approval from the Edo shogunate (1603-1867) and began sailing to and from Ulleung and Dokdo in the 1620s. After the An Yong-bok Incident occurred in the spring of 1693, the shogunate began prohibiting Japanese from fishing in the waters near Ulleungdo in 1696. But the Japanese government claims that the orders did not include fishing in the waters off Dokdo, using this as the basis for the establishment of subsequent territorial rights on the island in the mid-seventeenth century. But this fabrication disregards the process in which the shogunate ordered that fishermen be prohibited from sailing to Ulleungdo.
Report by the daimyo of Matsue domain stating that Matsushima (松島; Dokdo) is not part of his domain
On the fifteenth day of the first month of 1696, the daimyo of Matsue domain reported in a reply to the shogun, “Takeshima [Ulleungdo] and Matsushima [Dokdo] belong to no domain of Japan, and Matsushima is located in the middle of the route to Takeshima.” Three days after receiving this report the shogunate issued orders that no fishermen would be allowed to cross the sea to Ulleungdo. As this was the feudal era in Japan, all lands beyond the territory of a daimyo were considered foreign lands. The order not to sail to Ulleungdo certainly extended to sailing to Dokdo, as well, as that islet was located along the route to Ulleung. At this time, Dokdo clearly was the territory of Joseon. This is verified by the fact that the daimyo of Matsue domain never included Dokdo in the maps detailing the domain’s territory.

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