1. The Great Han Empire declared to the world in 1900 in Imperial Decree No. 41 that Dokdo is part of Korean territory
In 1900 the Great Han Empire proclaimed to the world Imperial Decree No. 41, which was published in the official Gazette No. 1716. The Imperial Edict stated, “Ulleung will be renamed as Uldo and its administrator will be replaced by a county governor of a junior rank.” In Article 2 of Edict No. 41, “The location of the county office will be in Daeha-dong and the office’s jurisdiction will span the whole of Ulleung, as well as Jukdo and Seokdo.” Here, Jukdo indicates an island two kilometers off Ulleung in the east, and Seokdo is Dokdo. Dokdo had been called Usan-do throughout the Joseon period, but the name changed after an 1882 conversation between King Gojong and the Ulleungdo Inspector Lee Gyu-won, during which the king said, “Combining Ulleung, Jukdo, and Songdo (Dokdo), we shall call all of the islands as Ulleung.” After this, the name Songdo was abandoned because it was of Japanese origin and instead the islet was called Dokdo, as Ulleung residents had called it “Dolseom” or “Dokseom.” The first source to mention the name “Dokdo” is from 1904, when the Japanese naval vessel Niitaka recorded, “It is called Dokdo in Joseon.” In Korean sources, the first mention is from 1906, when the Ulleung County magistrate Sim Heung-taek used the name “Dokdo” in a report to the central government. This indicates that the name Dokdo had existed from before. “Seokdo” is a rendering in Chinese characters of the name Dolseom.
Imperial Decree No. 41 of the Great Han Empire
Some Japanese scholars have stated that Seokdo is not Dokdo, and have instead pointed to an island called Gwaneum (the Korean rendering of “Avalokitesvara”). Given that this island had several other names, such as Dohang or Kkaksae, there would be no need to have another name. The island was also called Gwaneum-gi (Kannon-saki in Japanese), signifying a non-existent island. The name “Dohang” means the nape of an island, which is not really an island. From this, one can conclude that Seokdo was indeed Dokdo and the Great Han Empire officially annexed Dokdo in 1900 as part of Uldo County. This is five years before the Japanese government’s illegal annexation of the island to Shimane Prefecture in 1905.