Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 24)

King Mentions Muleungdo & Asks Gangwon Governor to Find Yodo

In April 1430, King Sejong sent officials to Hamgil (here) and Gangwon (here) Provinces to find a rumored island named "Yodo." In October that year, the Hamgil governor reported that he sent people to Cape Muji to look for the island and that his men had seen what looked to be an island, but it was not confirmed. After that, there was no more mention of Yodo until its mention in the following record, which is dated July 26, 1438. Based on the following record, we know that Yodo had not yet been found, but King Sejong still had hope.
Source:『世宗實錄』 卷 八十二, 世宗二十年 七月 戊申條

July 26, 1438

傳旨江原道監司 茂陵島 本人物所居之處 自昔徃來之地也 然近日差人經涉大洋 尙恐險阻 夙夜憂慮 况此蓼島 雖稱在某處 固無來徃之者 予以衰老之年 敢望尋覓 但本島諺稱在襄陽之東 不可不知其在何處也 卿宜更加訪問以達.

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강원도 감사에게 전지하기를, “무릉도(茂陵島)는 본래 사람이 살던 곳이며, 옛날부터 왕래하던 땅이다. 그러나 근일에 사람을 파견하여 큰 바다를 건너게 하고서는, 오히려 그 험난함을 두려워하여 주야로 이를 우려하여 왔다. 하물며, 이 요도(蓼島)는 비록 모처에 있다고는 일컬어 왔으나, 본시 내왕하는 자가 없었으니, 내가 이미 쇠로한 나이에 감히 그의 탐방(探訪)을 바라겠는가. 다만 본 섬이 양양(襄陽) 동쪽에 있다고만 일컬어 왔을 뿐이니, 어느 곳에 있다는 사실만은 불가불 알아야 할 것이다. 경은 마땅히 다시 이를 탐문하여 계달하라” 고 하였다.

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The King communicated the following to the governor of Gangwon Province:

"Muleungdo is a place where people once lived and have traveled to since ancient times. These days, however, when I dispatch people to cross the big sea, I fear the dangers and worry about this day and night. It is said that this Yodo is somewhere, but no one has travelled there. I am already too old and weak to dare hope to travel there, but I think we need to, at least, know where it is since it is said only to be east of Yangyang. Do another proper investigation and report."
Notice that before asking the governor to do another search for Yodo, King Sejong referred to Muleungdo and how he worried about the risks of sending people there. He seemed to be trying to say that he knew the risk of searching the sea for Yodo, but that it was a risk that needed to be taken. The fact that he used Muleungdo as an example seems to show just how risky he considered the trip to Muleungdo to be. He seemed to be trying to convince the Gangwondo governer that his desire to find Yodo was not based on some selfish wish to travel to the mysterious island, himself, but was based on a need to know its location for the benefit of the country.

King Sejong may have mentioned the journey to Muleungdo because he considered it the most dangerous of any journey to Korea's outlying islands. Of course, a trip to Dokdo/Takeshima is farther and more dangerous than a trip to Ulleungdo, so the fact that the king did not mention trips to any islands beyond Ulleungdo may be a indication that he did not know of any islands beyond Ulleungdo. I point this out just so that it is considered.

By the way, it sounds as if King Sejong might have wanted to travel to Yodo when he was younger. He must have heard some interesting stories about the island.

Monday, August 14, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 23)

Nam Hoi & Jo Min Return from "Muleungdo" with 66 Squatters

In April 1438, Nam Hoi and Jo Min were appointed "Muleungdo Inspectors" and sent to Muleungdo bring back people hinding on the island. They ended up bringing back sixty-six people and some products from the island. The following record describes their return.

Source:『世宗實錄』 卷 八十二, 世宗 二十年 七月 戊戌條

July 15, 1438

護軍南薈司直曹敏 回自茂陵島復命 進所捕男婦共六十六及産出沙鐵石鍾乳生鮑大竹等物 仍啓曰 發船一日一夜乃至 日未明 掩襲人家 無有拒者 皆本國人也 自言聞此地沃饒 年前春 潛逃而來 其島四面皆石雜木與竹成林 西面一處可泊舟楫 東西一日程 南北一日半程

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호군(護軍) 남회(南薈)와 사직(司直) 조민(曹敏)이 무릉도(茂陵島)로부터 돌아와 복명하고, 포획한 남녀 모두 66명과 거기서 산출되는 사철(沙鐵) 석종유(石鍾乳) 생포(生鮑) 대죽(大竹) 등의 산물을 바치고, 인하여 아뢰기를, “발선(發船)한 지 하루 낮과 하루 밤 만에 비로소 도착하여 날이 밝기 전에 인가를 엄습(掩襲)하온즉, 항거하는 자가 없었고, 모두가 본국 사람이었으며, 스스로 말하기를, 이곳 토지가 비옥하고 풍요하다는 말을 듣고 몇 년 전 봄에 몰래 도망해 들어왔다고 하였습니다. 그 섬은 사면이 모두 돌로 되어 있고, 잡목과 대나무가 숲을 이루고 있었으며, 서쪽 한 곳에 배를 정박시킬 수 있고, 동서는 하루의 노정(路程)이고 남북은 하루 반의 노정이었습니다” 라고 하였다.

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Hogun Nam Hoi and Sajik Jo Min returned from Muleungdo and reported that they captured a total of sixty-six men and women and that they brought back such products as lodestone, stalactite, and abalone as tribute.

They said, "We arrived after only one day and one night at sea. Before daybreak we conducted a surprise raid on the households there, who surrendered without any resistance. All were people of our country. They said they had secretly gone to the island in the spring a few years before after hearing that the land was fertile and bountiful. All four sides of the island is made up of rock, and the forrest is made up of various trees and large bamboo. On the west side there is a place to anchor boats. It takes one day to travel the island (on foot) from east to west and a day and a half to travel it from north to south."

Notice that the above record mentions only Muleungdo, not Usando. Their description of the island fits that of the main island of Ulleungdo, so again, Muleungdo is either referring to the main island or to the island group, in general, not to any neighboring islands.

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 22)

Nam Hoi and Jo Min Are Apppointed "Muleungdo Inspectors"

The following record talks about the appointment of two inspectors tasked with going to Muleungdo (Ulleungdo) to bring back people hiding on the island. On February 8, 1437, King Sejong had talked about sending people to Muleungdo, so the selection of these two inspectors was probably the result of that.
Source: 『世宗實錄』 卷 八十一, 世宗 二十年 四月 甲戌條

April 21, 1438

以前護軍南薈 前副司直曹敏 爲茂陵島巡審敬差官 二人居江原道海邊者 時國家聞茂陵島在海中 多産異物 土沃可居 欲遣人尋訪 而難其人 乃募於海邊 此二人應募 故遞授敬差官之命 以遣 仍使搜檢逃匿人口

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전 호군(護軍) 남회(南薈)와 전 부사직(副司直) 조민(曹敏)을 무릉도순심경차관(茂陵島巡審敬差官)으로 삼았는데 두 사람은 강원도 해변에 거주하는 자이다. 이때 국가에서는 무릉도가 바다 가운데 있는데 이상한 것이 많이 나고 토지도 비옥하여 살기에 좋다고 하므로 사람을 보내 찾아보고자 해도 그 사람을 얻기가 어려웠다. 이에 해변에서 이를 모집하니 이 두 사람이 응모했으므로 경차관을 제수하도록 명령하고 파견하여 섬에 도망하여 숨어있는 사람들을 수색하여 오도록 한 것이다. 이에 도망해 숨은 인구도 탐문하여 조사하도록 한 것이다.

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Former hogun Nam Hoi and former busajik Jo Min were assigned as "Muleungdo Inspectors." Both men live on the coast of Gangwon Province. Muleungdo was then known to be in the middle of the sea and was said to be a good place to live because it had fertile land and many strange products. Even though we wanted to send people to search the place, it was not easy to find people to do it. Therefore, people were solicited from the coast and these two people were recruited. They were given the title of "inspector" and sent to the island to search out and bring back people hiding there. They also were supposed to investigate and determine the number of people hiding there.

On August 8, 1425, Kim In-u was made "Inspector for the Usan-Muleung Region," but notice that in the above record Nam Hoi and Jo Min were given the title of "Muleungdo (Muleung Island) Inspectors." This could mean that the main island of Ulleungdo was being called Muleungdo, or that Muleungdo was being used to refer to the island group (Ulleungdo and its neighboring islands). Based on the fact that the main island of Ulleungdo has also been referred to as "Usando" (See 1412, 1417, and 1436), I tend to believe that Muleungdo was being used as a general reference to the island group. Also, Kim In-u had previously been called the "Usan-Muleung Regional Inspector," which suggests that Usan was the larger island since Usan came before Muleung.

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 21)

King Responds to Yu Gye-mun's Request to Settle "Muleungdo"

On June 19, 1436, Gangwondo Governor Yu Gye-mun proposed that people be sent to settle "Muleungdo's Usan." It was reported that his request was denied, but, based on the following record, the governor apparently made another request, which King Sejong responded to in the record below:

Source:『世宗實錄』 卷 七十六, 世宗 十九年 二月 八日 戊辰條

February 8, 1437

傳旨江原道監司柳季聞 去丙辰秋 卿啓 茂陵島土地膏腴 禾穀所出 十倍陸地 且多所産 宜設縣置守 以爲嶺東之藩籬 即令大臣僉議 並云此島 遠於陸地 風水甚惡 不宜蹈不測之患 以設郡縣 故姑寢其事 卿今又啓云 聞諸古老 在昔倭奴來住 連年侵掠 嶺東蕭然 予亦以爲 曩者倭奴陸梁 居于對馬島 尙且侵掠嶺東 至于咸吉道 茂陵島無人日久 今若倭奴先據 則將來之患 亦未可知 其設縣置守 徙民實之 則勢固難矣 每歲遣人 或探島內 或採土産 或爲馬塲 則倭奴亦以爲大國之地 必不生竊據之心 在昔倭奴來住之時 何代耶 所謂古老者幾人耶 若欲遣人 則風水調順 何時何月耶 入歸之時 裝備之物 舟楫之數 備悉訪問以啓

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강원도 감사 유계문(柳季聞)에게 전지하기를, “지난 병진년 가을에 경이 말하기를, 무릉도(茂陵島)는 토지가 기름져서 곡식의 소출이 육지보다 10배나 되고, 또 산물이 많으니 마땅히 현(縣)을 설치하여 수령을 두어서 영동의 울타리를 삼아야 한다고 하였으므로, 곧 대신으로 하여금 여러 사람과 의논하게 하였더니, 모두 말하기를, 이 섬은 육지에서 멀고 바람과 파도가 매우 심하여 예측할 수 없는 환난을 겪을 것이니, 군현을 설치하지 않는 것이 마땅하다고 하므로 그냥 그대로 두었더니 경이 이제 또 말하기를, 고로(古老)들에게 옛날에 왜노들이 와서 거주하면서 여러 해를 두고 침략하여, 영동(嶺東)이 빈 것 같았다는 말을 들었다고 한다. 내가 역시 생각하건대, 일찍이 왜노들이 날뛰어 대마도에 살면서도 오히려 영동을 침략하여 함길도에까지 이르렀었는데, 무릉도에 사람이 없는 지가 오래니, 이제 만일 왜노들이 먼저 점거(點據)한다면 장래에 어떠한 우환이 생길지 알 수 없을 것이다. 현을 신설하고 수령을 두어 백성을 옮겨 채우는 것은 지금 형세가 어려우니, 매년 사람을 보내어 섬 안을 탐색(探索)하거나, 혹은 토산물을 채취(採取)하고, 혹은 마장(馬場)을 만들면, 왜노들도 대국의 땅이라고 생각하여 반드시 몰래 점거하려는 마음이 들지 않을 것이다. 옛날에 왜노들이 와서 산 때는 어느 때이며, 소위 고로(古老)라고 하는 사람들은 몇 사람이나 되며, 만일 사람을 보내려고 하면 바람과 파도가 순조로운 때가 어느 때 어느 달이고 섬에 들어갈 때에는 장비(裝備)할 물건과 배의 수효를 자세히 조사하여 보고하라” 고 하였다.

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The king wrote to Gangwon Provincial Governor Yu Gye-mun:

"In the autumn of 1436, you said that because the land of Muleungdo was so fertile that crop yields were ten times greater than the mainland and that because it had many products, it would be an good place to set up a hyeon (an administrative district) with a magistrate. You said we should consider it as a fence for the Yeongdong region (eastern Gangwon Province). I immediately had the ministers discuss the issue with several people and all of them said, 'The island is too far from the mainland and the wind and waves are so severe that unforeseen difficulties would likely occur and, therefore, would be unsuitable for the establishment of a settlement. They recommended that it be left as it is.'"

"Now you say that you have heard from elderly residents that Japanese pirates used to come there and live for several years while raiding the Youngdong region, which left the area almost empty. I also think that Japanese pirates used to run wild while living on Daemado (Tsushima), raiding the Yeongdong region and even up to Hamgil Province. It has been a long time since people have been on Muleungdo, so if Japanese pirates have already occupied the island, then there is no telling what misfortunes lie ahead. However, now the circumstances are too difficult to set up a new hyeon, appoint a magistrate, and move citizens there. Instead, if we sent people to search the island each year and also gathered local products or set up a grazing area for horses, Japanese pirates may think the land belonged to us and think twice about secretly occupying it."

"How long ago was it that Japanese pirates came and lived there? How many of these so-called elderly people are there? If we are going to send people, when are the wind and waves calm? Which month? If we go onto the island, what kind of equipment will we need and how many ships? Investigate thoroughly and report."
Notice that in the above record, King Sejong said that the governor made a request in the fall of 1436 to settle "Muleungdo," but according to this June 19, 1436 record, the governor actually made a request to settle "Muleungdo's Usan." This suggests that King Sejong either considered Muleungdo and Usan to be the same place or considered Muleungdo as an island group of which Usan was a part. At the time of the above record, it had already been established that Muleungdo and Usando were separate, neighboring islands, so I think King Sejong was using Muleungdo to refer to the two islands as an island group. By the way, I do not understand why King Sejong said the request was made in the fall when the record reporting the request was dated June 19. It appears that there may have been two or three requests from the governor.

The king seemed to sympathize with the governor's belief that settling "Muleungdo" would help protect the mainland from Japanese pirates, but the king, nevertheless, turned down the governor's request, saying that circumstances were too difficult at the time. I think the king was referring to the fact that 1436 was a famine year in Chosun Korea.

Instead of settling Muleungdo, the king suggested that yearly inspections be made and that signs of harvesting and maybe even a horse pasture be left behind to give the impression that the land was already claimed. At the time, Chosun Korea seemed more interested in scaring away Japanese pirates than in expanding territory.

All the evidence up until this time suggests that Muleungdo and Usando were neighboring islands close enough to be considered essentially one island. Both names have been used to refer to land that was fertile and suitable for settlement. That means that neither island could have been Dokdo/Takeshima, which is basically just a couple of barren rocks.

Friday, August 11, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 20)

Gangwon Govenor Suggests a Plan to Populate Usan

In the following record, the governor of Gangwon Province asks King Sejong to allow him to populate Usan, which he described as being a fertile island with many products and having a diameter of fifty ri. He also said it was surrounded by cliffs, but had places to anchor.
Source:『世宗實錄』 卷 七十三, 世宗 十八年 閏六月 甲申條

June 19, 1436

江原道監司柳季聞啓 武陵島牛山 土沃多産 東西南北各五十餘里沿海四面 石壁周回 又有可泊船隻之處 請募民實之 仍置萬戶守令 實爲久長之策不允

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강원도 감사 유계문(柳季聞)이 아뢰기를,“무릉도(武陵島)의 우산(牛山)은 토지가 비옥하고 산물도 많사오며, 동서남북이 각각 50여 리로 사면이 바다이며 석벽(石壁)으로 둘러싸여 있고, 또 선박이 정박할 만한 곳도 있사오니, 청컨대, 백성을 모집하여 이를 채우고, 인하여 만호수령(萬戶守令)을 두게 되면 실로 장구지책이 될 것입니다.” 라고 하였으나 윤허하지 아니하였다.

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Gangwon Provincial Governor Yu Gye-mun said: "The land of Muleungdo's Usan is fertile and has many products. It is surrounded by the sea and is about 50 ri from both north to south and east to west. It is surrounded by rock cliffs, and there are also places where ships can anchor. Please allow me to gather people to settle this place. If we do this and assign a magistrate there, it will likely be a long-lasting endeavor." The request, however, was denied royal sanction.
The island being described in the above record is almost certainly present-day Ulleungdo. The fact that it is described as "Muleungdo's Usan" suggests that Muleungdo was being used to refer to the island group and that Usan was the largest island in that group. This April 15, 1412 record also suggests that Usan ("Yusanguk-do") was the main island, and that a smaller neighboring island was called "Muleungdo." This would explain why Korean maps up until sometime in the 18th century showed Usando to the west of Ulleungdo, instead of the east, where Ulleungdo's neighboring islands are. For example, here is the famous 1530 map, which shows Usando (于山島) to the west of Ulleungdo.

Chosun officials seem to have taken the information in the April 15, 1412 record into account because according to this September 2, 1416 record, Kim In-u was made inspector of the "Mulueng Area", not "Mu-leung Island." Also, even though the record says that Kim In-u was sent to the "Muleung area," this February 5, 1417 record says that he returned from "Usando" with local products that included large bamboo, seal skins, raw ramie cloth, silk wool, and geombak trees (or wood). This suggests that the people that Kim In-u met on his trip told him that the name of their island was "Usando." After Kim In-u's return from "Usando," as mentioned in the February 5 report, the "Muleung area" began to be referred to as "Usan-Muleung," as this February 8, 1417 record shows:

Minister Han Sang-gyeong told the six government authorities and the Daegan to discuss the best ways to evict the Usan-Muleung residents....

The appropriate thing to do is to keep Kim In-u as the area inspector, and send him back to the Usan-Muleung area to bring its residents to the mainland....

Notice that in the above quotes, "Usan" comes before "Muleung," which suggests that it was the bigger island.

Also, an August 6, 1417 record reported Japanese pirates at "Usan/Muleung," and an August 8 1425 record said that Kim In-u was made Inspector of the "Usan-Muleung Area." However, even with all the references to the "Usan-Muleung area," there still seemed to have been a tendency to use "Muleungdo" to refer to the island group as this October 20, 1425 record and the above June 19, 1436 record suggest.

I believe that at the time of the above record, Ulleungdo was being called "Usando," and its neighboring island, Jukdo, was being called "Muleungdo." However, I think that "Muleungdo" was also used to refer to the island group (Ulleungdo and its neighboring ilsands). There is still no evidence that either Muleungdo or Usando was referring to Dokdo/Takeshima, which is ninety-two kilometers southeast of Ulleungdo. On the contrary, all the evidence suggests that Muleungdo and Usando were neighboring islands that were close enough to each other to cause name confusion.

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 19)

Hamgil Governor Sent People to Find Yodo

In April 1430, King Sejong sent officials to Hamgil and Kangwon provinces to find a rumored island named "Yodo." More than six months later, on October 23, there is a record that said that the governors of Hamgil and Kangwon provinces were instructed to send people to search for Yodo and were given directions where to look. The record also reported that the four people that the Hamgil governor sent to find Yodo found what appeared to be an island due south of Cape Muji, which was in the area of Gilju. Here is the record:

Source:『世宗實錄』 卷 五十, 世宗 十二年 十月 庚寅條

October 23, 1430

先是傳旨于江原咸吉道監司曰 今所訪蓼島 在襄陽府靑臺上 通川縣堂山登望 則見于子丑間在 吉州無時串 洪原縣蒲靑社望見 則見于巳午間 基今詳明勤恪人 望見以聞 至是 咸吉道監司報 今殿直田闢等四人 往無時串 登望海中 有東西二峯 如島嶼 一微高 一差小 中有一大峯 立標測之 正當巳午間 遂送闢于京.

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이보다 앞서 강원도와 함길도의 감사에게 교지를 내리기를,“지금 조사하려는 요도(蓼島)가 양양부(襄陽府)의 청대(靑臺) 위에서나 통천현(通川縣)의 당산(堂山)에 올라가서 바라보면 북쪽에 있고, 길주(吉州)의 무시곶[無時串]에서와 홍원현(洪原縣)의 포청사(蒲靑社)에서 바라보면 남쪽에 있으니, 자상하고 부지런하며 진실한 사람으로 하여금 바라보고 보고하게 하라.”하였는데, 이 때에 함길도 감사가 보고하기를,“전직(殿直) 전벽(田闢) 등 네 사람을 시켜서 무시곶에 가서 올라가 바다 가운데를 바라보니, 동쪽과 서쪽의 두 봉우리가 섬처럼 생겼는데, 하나는 약간 높고 하나는 약간 작으며, 중간에는 큰 봉우리 하나가 있는데, 표를 세워서 측량하여 본즉 바로 남쪽에 해당합니다.” 하니, 곧 전벽(田闢)을 서울로 보냈다.

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The following instructions came after previous intructions to the governors of Gangwon and Hamgil Provinces: "If you go to the top of Cheongdae in the Yangyang district or to the top of Dang Mountain in Tongcheon and look out, the Yodo you are investigating will be to the north. If you look out from Cape Muji in Gilju or from Pocheongsa in Hongwon-hyeon, the island will be to the south. Have a diligent, attentive, and trustworthy people go look and report." The Hamgil governor reported, "I sent four people, including Jeon-jik and Jeon-byeok, to Cape Muji and had them climb up and look out into the middle of the sea. There were two peaks, one to the east and one to the west that looked like an island. One peak was a little smaller than the other. In the middle, there was one large peak. When a marker was set and a measurement taken, the island was reported to be due south." Jeon-byeok was immediately sent to Seoul.
The above record implies that King Sejong had heard that Yodo was located somewhere south of Cape Muji in Hamgil Province and north of Dang Mountain, which was near Tongcheon in Gangwon Province. Cape Muji was probably just north of present-day Kimcheak City in North Hamgyeong Province, and since Dang Mountain was reported to be near Tongcheon, it would be in the North Korean part of Gangwon Province.

If Yodo was north of Tongcheon, as King Sejong presumed, that would mean that neither Ulleungdo nor Dokdo/Takeshima could not have been Yodo, since they are southeast of Tongcheon. Also, it is unlikely that the island spotted by the people at Cape Muji was Ulleungdo or Dokdo/Takeshima since Cape Muji was in what today is North Hamgyeong Provice, which is almost certainly too far away to see even Ulleungdo.

I suspect that the people at Cape Muji were just reporting what they thought King Sejong wanted hear because there are no islands due south of where they were. Or maybe they spotted peaks on the mainland in Gangwon Province and presumed them to be part of an island? Whatever they spotted, it was not an island since there are no islands due south of Kimchaek City.

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 18)

Sin In-son Sent to Hamgil Province to search for Yodo

Just three days after the governor of Hamgil Province was ordered to search for Yodo and just two days after General Hong Sa-seok was sent to Kangwon Province to do the same thing, an official from the Office of Royal Grain Supply was sent to Hamgil Province to search for Yodo, as well. Here is the record announcing his dispatch:
Source: 世宗 48卷 12年 4月 7日 (丙子)

April 7, 1430

遣典農尹辛引孫于咸吉道, 尋訪蓼島

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전농 윤(典農尹) 신인손(辛引孫)을 함길도에 보내어 요도(寥島)를 찾아보게 하였다.

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Shin In-son, an official from the Office of Royal Grain Supply, was sent to Hamgil Province to search for Yodo.

Notice that the official sent to Hamgil Province to search for Yodo was from the Office of Royal Grain Supply, which seems like an unlikely person for such a task. A general was sent to Kangwon Province to find Yodo, but a "grain expert" was sent to Hamgil Province to do the same thing? Why did King Sejong send an official from Seoul just three days after instructing the Hamgil governor to search for Yodo? Maybe, the king did not trust the Hamgil governor to do a thorough job?

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 17)

Hong Sa-seok Sent to Kangwon Province to Find Yodo

One day after the governor of Hamgil Province was ordered to search for Yodo, General Hong Sa-seok was sent to Kangwon Province to search for the island, as well. Here is the record describing the dispatch of Hong:
Source: 『世宗實錄』卷 四十八, 世宗 十二年 四月 甲戌條

April 5, 1430

遣上護軍洪師錫于江原道 尋訪蓼島.

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상호군(上護軍) 홍사석(洪師錫)을 강원도에 보내어 요도(蓼島)를 찾아보게 하였다.

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General Hong Sa-seok was sent to Gangwon Province to search for Yodo.
Since the above record was recorded just one day after instructing the governor of Hamgil Province to search for Yodo off his coast, we can assume that King Sejong was not 100 percent sure that Yodo would be found there. Maybe King Sejong had several leads and was just trying to cover all the bases, from Hamgil Province to Gangwon Province? At any rate, the king seemed determined to find the mystery island.

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 16)

King Instructs Hamgil Governor to Search for Yodo

On January 26, 1430, King Sejong instructed the governor of Hamgil Province to send to Seoul Kim Nam-ryeong, a local man who was reported to have traveled to Yodo, a mysterious island in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) that the king was trying to get information on. Apparently, Kim Nam-ryeong was sent to Seoul and gave the king information about the island because the following record, which is dated about 70 days after Kim was sent for, includes information on where to go to see the island. We know that Kim traveled to Seoul because the records said he was on his way back home.
Source:『世宗實錄』 卷 四十八, 世宗 十二年 四月 癸酉條

April 4, 1430

傳旨咸吉道監司 鏡城無地串洪原補靑社 使人登望 則可見蓼島 其今首領官 或詳明守令一人 偕今去金南連 望見蓼島形勢及水路夷險以啓若有偕南連往還蓼島者居海邊望見者 詳問本島形勢遠近 以啓.

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함길도 감사에게 전지하기를, "경성(鏡城) 무지곶(無地串)과 홍원(洪原) 보청사(補靑社)에 사람을 시켜 올라가 바라보게 하면 요도(蓼島)를 볼 수 있을 것이니, 그 수령관(首領官)이나 혹은 자상하고 밝은 수령(守令)으로 하여금 지금 가는 김남련(金南連)과 함께 가서 요도의 지형과 뱃길의 험하고 편함을 살펴보고 아뢰라. 만약 남련과 함께 요도에 갔다가 돌아온 자와 해변에 살면서 바라본 자가 있거든 본도(本島)의 지형과 멀고 가까운 것을 물어서 아뢰라." 하였다.

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The governor of Hamgil Province was instructed as follows: "If you send someone to Mujigut (The Cape of Muji) in Gyeongseong or to Bocheongsa (Bocheong Village) in Hongwon and have them go up and look out (to the sea), they should be able to see Yodo. Have the local magistrate or a bright, attentive official go there with Kim Nam-ryeon, who is now returning, and inspect the topography of Yodo and whether the sea route is difficult or not and then report. If there is someone who has travelled with Nam-ryeon to Yodo or who lives on the coast and has seen the island, ask him about the island's topography and whether it is near or far away and then report."
Notice that the record says that Yodo could be seen from two places: Mijigut and Bocheongsa. Mijigut was in Gyeongseong, which appears to have been in what today is North Hamgyeong Province, and Bocheongsa was in Hongwon, which appears to have been in what today is South Hamgyeong Province. Both areas are on the east coast in the northern section of North Korea, which means that the only islands that could have been seen would have been coastal islands. Yodo could not have been Dokdo/Takeshima or Ulleungdo since not even Ulleungdo can be seen from the coast of either of the two Hamgyeong provinces. The mystery of Yodo continues.

By the way, notice that Koreans seem to have put a great deal of importance on being able to see islands from the mainland.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 15)

Hamgil Governor Ordered to Send Man with Knowledge of Yodo

About a month after King Sejong sent Lee An-gyeong to Kangwon Province to visit Yodo (see here), the king sent a message to the governor of Hamgil Province (in the northeastern part of Korea) to send to him a man named Kim Nam-ryeon, who was reported to have knowledge of Yodo. If the man was too old to travel, the king told the governor that he could interview the man and send a report, instead. The following is the record of the king's instructions to the governor of Hamgil Province:

Source: 『世宗實錄』 卷 四十七, 世宗 十二年 一月 丁卯條

January 26, 1430

奉常寺尹李安敬 訪問蓼島而還 傳旨咸吉道監司 前此往見蓼島之人 及素見聞本島之狀者 悉訪之 咸興府蒲靑社金南連 會往還本島 其給傳以送 若老病 則詳問本島形狀及人居殘盛 衣服言語飮食之類 以啓.

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봉상시윤(奉常寺尹) 이안경(李安敬)이 요도(蓼島)를 방문하고 돌아온 건에 대하여 함길도 감사에게 전지하기를, "과거 요도(蓼島)에 가본 적이 있는 사람이나, 이 섬의 상황을 전부터 보고 들은 사람을 모두 찾게 하니, 함흥부(咸興府) 포청사(蒲靑社)에 사는 김남련(金南連)이란 사람이 일찍이 이 섬에 갔다가 돌아왔다고 하므로, 그 사람을 보내도록 하되, 만약 늙고 병들었거든 이 섬의 생김새와 주민들의 생활은 어려운지 넉넉한지, 의복·언어·음식 등의 사정은 어떠한지 그 사람에게 자세히 물어서 아뢰라." 하였다.

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The following instructions from the king were sent to the governor of Hamgil Province concerning the visit to Yodo of Bongsangsi Official Lee An-gyeong: "Having ordered a search for all the people who have either been to Yodo or who have heard about the island, it is reported that there is a man named Kim Nam-ryeon, who lives in Pocheongsa in Hamheungbu, who has been to the island. You can send the man, or if he is too old and feeble, you can thoroughly interview him about the features of island and about its inhabitants, including whether their lives are difficult or not and about their clothing, language, and food, and send a report, instead."

Notice that King Sejong had ordered a search for all the people who had knowledge of the island, "Yodo," which shows he had a great interest in finding the island. It is not mentioned how many people the king was able to find, but the above record shows that he found, at least, one person who was reported to have been to the island. Since the above record was made one month after Lee An-gyeong was ordered to "visit Yodo," it appears that Lee was unable to find the island, which prompted King Sejong to start looking for people with knowledge of it.

There is no record of how King Sejong came to hear of Yodo, but, judging from the above record, he assumed that people were were living on the island. The record shows King Sejong was quite interested in finding the island, but even with all of his interest and efforts, he never found Yodo or any other island in the East Sea (Sea of Japan).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 14)

Lee An-gyeong Ordered to Visit Yodo

On December 27, 1429, an official from the "Office of Posthumous Titles" was sent to Kangwon Province to find a place known as "Yodo" (蓼島), a mysterious island believed to be somewhere in the East Sea (Sea of Japan). Though the official did not find the island, the search would continue unsuccessfully off and on for more than thirty years. The following is the first reference to the ghost island known as "Yodo."
Source:『世宗實錄』世宗 46卷, 世宗 11年 12月 27日 (己亥)

December 27, 1429

遣奉常寺尹李安敬于江原道, 訪問蓼島。

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봉상시 윤(奉常寺尹) 이안경(李安敬)을 강원도에 보내어 요도(寥島)를 방문하게 하였다.

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Bongsangsi Official Lee An-gyeong was sent to Kangwon Province to visit Yodo.
Notice that the official sent to find the island was from Bongsangsi "The Office of Posthumous Titles," which was an office charged with deciding on posthumous titles for Chosun officials. That seems strange to me since such an official seems unqualified to search for a mysterious island. Maybe Lee An-gyeong was sent to confirm claims made by a dead Chosun official that would help in deciding that official's posthumous title? At any rate, subsequent records will show that King Sejong became somewhat obsessed with finding Yodo.

I have included this record in "The History of Ulleungdo" because it is possible that Yodo was another name for Ulleungdo. It is also possible that Yodo could have been a reference to Dokdo/Takeshima, but the records suggest that the island was bigger and much farther north, somewhere in the sea east of Hamgyeong Province.

The significance of "the search for Yodo" is that it shows that King Sejong, especially, was interested in finding new territory in the East Sea (Sea of Japan). Considering such interest, it seems unlikely that the discovery of any island in the East Sea would go unmentioned in Chosun records. The fact that there was never any mention of Yodo or any other island, besides Ulleungdo, being discovered in the East Sea seems to support the claim that the Chosun government did not know about Dokdo/Takeshima.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 13)

Surviving Korean Sailors Return from Japan

On August 8, 1425, Inspector Kim In-u was sent to "Muleungdo" to bring back people who had illegally moved there. He commanded two ships of troops, but one ship (the one not carrying Kim In-u) was blown off course on the way to the island and presumed lost at sea. However, ten of the forty-six crewmen on the ship managed to survive and drifted to a place in Japan near the present-day port city of Hamada in Shimane Prefecture, where they were given food and clothing. The following is a relatively detailed account of the Korean seamen's ordeal at sea and in Japan and their ultimate return to Korea, as reported in the Annals of King Sejong.

Source: :『世宗實錄』 卷 三十, 世宗 七年 十二月 癸巳條

December 28, 1425

茂陵島入歸時飄風船軍平海人張乙夫等 回自日本國言 初船軍四十六人 乘坐一船 隨安撫使金麟雨向本島 忽颶作船敗 同船三十六人皆溺死 我等十人 移坐小舠飄至日本國石見洲長濱 登岸 飢困不得行 匍匐至五里餘 得泉飮水 困倒江邊 有一倭 因漁來見 率歸一僧寺 與餠茶粥醬以食之 領赴順都老 順都老見我等衣曰 朝鮮人也 嗟嘆再三 給口粮衣袴 留三十日 日三供頓 臨送設大宴 執盞親勸曰 厚慰爾等 乃爲朝鮮 殿下耳 給行粮百石 差人二十 護送至對馬島 亦留一月 都萬戶左衛門大郞 三設宴勞之曰 非爲爾等 敬 殿下如此耳 又差人護送 回來石見洲長濱 因幡守致書禮曹曰 今年九月 貴國人十名 飄風到此 即時治船護送 回付對馬島 都萬戶轉送兼進環刀二柄 丹木一百斤 朱紅四面 盤二十 胡椒十斤 左衛門大郞致書禮曹曰 今石見洲長濱因蟠〔幡〕守 知小人交通貴國 送還飄風貴國人十名 令小人轉送 即令修船護送 細在船主.

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무릉도(茂陵島)에 들어갔다가 풍랑을 만났던 선군(船軍)인 평해(平海) 사람 장을부(張乙夫) 등이 일본국으로부터 돌아와서 말하기를, "처음에 선군 46인이 한 배에 타고 안무사(安撫使) 김인우(金麟雨)를 수행하여 무릉도를 향해 가다가, 갑자기 태풍이 일어나 배가 부서져 같은 배에 탔던 36인은 다 익사(溺死)하고, 우리들 10인은 작은 배에 옮겨 타고 표류하다 일본국 석견주(石見洲)의 장빈(長濱)에 이르러 언덕에 올라갔으나 주리고 피로하여 걸을 수가 없었으므로, 5리 남짓을 기어가다가 샘을 만나 물을 마시고 강가에 이르러 피곤하여 쓰러져 있었더니, 한 왜인(倭人)이 고기를 잡으러 왔다가 보고는 어느 한 절(寺)로 데리고 가서 떡과 차(茶)와 죽(粥)과 장(醬)을 주어 먹게 한 뒤에 순도로(順都老)에게 데리고 갔습니다. 순도로가 우리들의 옷을 보더니 조선 사람이로구나 하며 두세 번 한탄하고 양식과 웃옷과 바지를 주었습니다. 30일 동안을 머물렀는데 날마다 하루 세 번씩 음식 대접을 해 주었으며, 떠날 때에는 큰 잔치를 베풀고 잔을 들어 친히 권하면서 말하기를, 너희들을 후하게 대접하는 것은 곧 조선의 전하(殿下)를 보아서 그러는 것이라며 여행 중의 양식 1백 석을 주고, 사람 20인을 호송(護送)을 위해 딸려 보내 주었습니다. 대마도(對馬島)에 이르러서 또한 1개월을 머물렀는데, 도만호(都萬戶) 좌위문대랑(左衛門大郞)이 세 번 연회를 열어 위로하면서 말하기를, 너희들을 위하는 것이 아니라 전하를 존경하여 이렇게 할 뿐이라며 또한 호송을 위해 사람을 보내주었습니다." 라고 하였다. 돌아올 때는 석견주(石見洲) 장빈(長濱)의 인번수(因幡守)가 예조(禮曹)에 글을 보내어 말하기를, "금년 9월에 귀국인 10명이 풍랑을 만나 이곳에 이르렀으므로, 즉시 배를 수리하게 하고 대마도로 보내어 도만호(都萬戶)로 하여금 돌려보내 주도록 했습니다. 겸하여 환도(環刀) 2자루, 단목(丹木) 1백근, 주홍색(朱紅色) 네모반(四面盤) 20개, 호초(胡椒) 10근을 바칩니다." 라고 하였다. 좌위문대랑도 예조에 글을 보내어 말하기를,"지금 석견주(石見洲) 장빈(長濱)의 인번수(因幡守)가 소인(小人)이 귀국과 교통(交通)하고 있는 것을 알고 풍랑을 만나 표류해 온 귀국인 10명을 보내면서 소인이 귀국으로 돌려보내주라고 하였으므로, 즉시 배를 수리하게 하여 돌려보내 드립니다. 자세한 사연은 선주(船主)에게 전하였습니다." 하였다.

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After encountering heavy seas on their way to Muleungdo, Pyeonghae resident Jang Ueul-bu and other sailors returned from Japan and said the following:

Forty-six sailors boarded our ship and began our trip to Muleungdo with Inspector Kim In-u, but a storm suddenly rose up and destroyed our ship. Thirty-six people drown and ten of us transferred to a small boat and drifted to Japan. We arrived at Nagahama (now Port Hamada) in Iwami Province (now Shimane Prefecture). We climbed a hill, but were too tired and hungry to walk. We practically crawled about five ri and then found a spring where we drank and then collapsed from exhaustion by the riverside. A Japanese found us on his way to go fishing and took us to a temple, where we were fed rice cake, green tea, rice gruel, and bean paste. We were then taken to an official who saw our clothes and lamented two or three times that we were people of Chosun (Korea). We were given provisions and clothes. We stayed there for thirty days and were given three meals a day. We were given a big feast on the day we left, and, with raised cups, were earnestly requested to be sure to tell the king (King Sejong) that we were treated warmly. We were then given 100 bags of provisions for our trip, and twenty men were assigned to escort us.

We arrived at Daemado (Tsushima), where we stayed another month. Commander (Soda) Saemontaro (of Tsushima) held three feasts for us and consoled us while saying, "I am not doing this for you; I am doing this because I respect your king. Also, I have sent people to escort you."
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After we returned, the Lord of Nagahama (Kanenaka Sufu) in Iwami Province sent a letter to the Korean Ministry of Protocol(禮曹) that said, "In September this year, ten of your countrymen arrived here after encountering heavy seas. I immediately had their ship repaired and then sent them to Tsushima, where I asked the commander there to send them home. As gifts, I have sent two swords, 100 evergreen (丹木) saplings, twenty square scarlet trays, and ten gun of black pepper.

Saemontaro (of Tsushima) also sent a letter to the Korean Ministry of Protocol that said, "Knowing that I communicate with your country, the Lord of Nagahama in Iwami Province sent me ten of your countrymen who had drifted to Japan and asked that I immediately repair their ship and send them home. I have conveyed the details to the (Korean) ship captain."


Notice that there was no mention of the sailors seeing an island (Dokdo/Takeshima nor Oki Island) as they drifted on their way to Shimane Prefecture. Though the above record does not really say anything about Ulleungdo or its neighboring islands, it is a good example of how dangerous it was for Koreans to travel to Ulleungdo, even on a ship that was large enough to carry forty-six men.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 12)

Memorial Service for Dead Sailors

On August 8, 1425, Kim In-u was sent to "Muleungdo" to bring back people who had moved there illegally. After his return, on October 20, it was reported that one ship carrying 46 men was lost during the voyage. One month after that report was made, the following record mentions that the king ordered memorial services for the dead sailors.

Source: 『世宗實錄』 卷 三十, 世宗 七年 十一月 乙卯條

November 20, 1425

傳旨禮曹戶曹 茂陵入歸時敗船物故江原道船軍招魂致祭致賻 金麟雨云漂向日本 上以謂敗船 故有是命

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예조와 호조에 전지(傳旨)하여, 무릉도(茂陵島)에 들어갈 때 배가 파손하여 사망한 강원도 선군(船軍)의 초혼제(招魂祭)를 지내어 치제(致祭)하고 치부(致賻)하게 하였다. 김인우(金麟雨)가 일본으로 표류(漂流)하였다고 말하였는데, 임금이 난파한 것이라 생각하였기 때문에 이러한 명령이 있은 것이다.

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The king ordered the Ministry of Protocol and the Ministry of Finance to hold memorial services and pay condolences to honor the Kangwon Province sailors who died when their ship was destroyed while trying to land on Muleungdo. Kim In-u said that they had drifted to Japan, but the King gave the order because he thought they had been shipwrecked.


Muleungdo is the only island mentioned in the above record, but the record refers to Kim In-u, who was known as the Inspector for the Usan-Muleung Area, which suggests it was referring to his recent trip to the island.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that, so far, nothing has been mentioned in the records to suggest that either Usando or Muleungdo was a reference to present-day Dokdo/Takeshima. In fact, some records have said that both names referred to Ulleungdo, and other records have said that they are neighboring islands.

The fact that Kim In-u is referred to as the inspector for the Usan-Muleung "Area" instead of the Usan-Muleung "Island" suggests that the two are neighboring islands and not two names for one island. The fact that Usan is mentioned first implies that it is the larger island, but Muleungdo seems to be used more often when referring to the area, which makes things confusing. However, that confusion only reenforces the idea that the islands are near enough to each other to cause it.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 11)

Kim Brings Back 20 People from Muleungdo

On August 8, 1425, Kim In-u was given fifty men, military equipment, and a ship and sent to Muleungdo to bring back people reported to be living there. Almost two and a half months after Kim In-u's departure, the following record reports on his return and the results of his mission.

Source: :『世宗實錄』 卷 三十, 世宗七年 十月 乙酉條

October 20, 1425

于山茂陵等處安撫使金麟雨 搜捕本島避役男婦二十人來復命 初麟雨領兵船二艘 入茂陵島 船軍四十六名所坐一艘 飄風不知去向 上謂諸卿曰麟雨捕還二十餘人 而失四十餘人 何益哉 此島別無異産 所以逃入者 專以窺免賦役 禮曹叅判金自知啓曰 今此捕還逃民 請論如律 上曰 此人非潛從他國 且赦前所犯 不可加罪 仍命兵曹 置于忠淸道深遠山郡 使勿復逃 限三年復戶

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우산(于山) 무릉(茂陵) 등처(等處) 안무사(安撫使) 김인우(金麟雨)가 본도(本島)에 피역(避役)한 남녀 20인을 수색하여 잡아와 복명(復命)하였다. 처음 인우가 병선(兵船) 두 척을 거느리고 무릉도에 들어갔는데 선군(船軍) 46명이 탄 배 한 척은 바람을 만나 간 곳을 알지 못하게 되었다. 임금이 여러 대신들에게 이르기를, 인우가 20여 인을 잡아왔으나 40여 인을 잃었으니 무엇이 유익하냐, 이 섬에는 별로 다른 산물도 없으니, 도망해 들어간 이유는 단순히 부역(賦役)을 모면하려 한 것이로구나, 라고 하였다. 예조 참판 김자지(金自知)가 계하기를, 지금 잡아온 도망한 백성을 법대로 논죄하기를 청합니다, 라고 하니, 임금이 말하기를, 이 사람들은 몰래 타국을 따른 것이 아니요, 또 전에 범한 바를 사면(赦免)해 준 일도 있으니 새로 죄주는 것은 불가하다 하고, 곧 병조에 명하여 충청도의 깊고 먼 산중 고을로 보내어 다시 도망하지 못하게 하고 3년 동안 복호(復戶)하게 하였다.

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Usan-Muleung Area Inspector Kim In-u reported that he searched out and captured twenty men and women who went to "the island" (either "the island" or "main island") to escape government service. In the beginning, In-u commanded two military transport ships, but one ship, with forty-six sailors on board, disappeared after encountering winds on the way to Muleungdo.

The king said to his ministers, "What do we gain by capturing twenty people when we lose more than forty? There are no special products on the island, so the reason people go there is simply to avoid government service."

When Kim Ja-ji, the Minister of Rites, Protocol, Culture, and Education, requested that those captured on the island be judged according to the law, the king said, "These people did not secretly follow someone to a foreign country. Moreover, such transgressions were pardoned in the past, so giving out new punishment would be wrong."

The king ordered the Ministry of Military Affairs to send the people to a village far away and deep in the mountains of Chungcheong Province so that they cannot run away again. He also ordered that they be exempt from government service and taxes for three years.


The above record describes Kim In-u as being the Inspector for the Usan-Muleung Area, and then says that he brought back people who had be living on "the island," which grammatically is a little strange since no island had previously been mentioned. I assume "the island" is referring to the "Usan-Muleung" reference in Kim In-u's title, which would imply that Usan and Muleung are one island. However, besides meaning "the island," the Chinese characters, 本島, can also mean "main island," so it is possible that the phrase could be translated as "people who had been living on the main island," though I do not think this is what was meant. Later in the passage, Muleungdo is specifically referred to, so we can assume that the people had been living on Muleungdo. However, Muleungdo sometimes seems to refer to the island group as a whole, which might have been the intended meaning.

I do not think the above passage is clear enough to proclaim that the people were living on the main island of Ulleungdo or a neighboring island, but two and a half months earlier in this report, seven people had reported that they had left their wives and children on Muleungdo, which means the twenty people mentioned above were probably captured on Muleungdo. So the question is, "Was Muleungdo referring to the main island of Ulleungdo or a neighboring island?"

By the way, the seven people mentioned above said that twenty-eight of them had gone to Muleungdo in 1423. If you add the seven people caught on the main to the twenty people brought back from Muleungdo, it totals only twenty-seven, but twenty-eight were reported to have gone to the island in 1423. That means that one person is missing from the original group. Maybe the person died or was able to hide from the soldiers searching the island.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 10)

Evicted Residents Return to the Muleungdo

In 1416, Kim In-u was appointed "Inspector of the Muleung Region" and sent to "Muleungdo" to bring back to the mainland people living there. However, when he returned in 1417, it was reported that he returned from "Usando," not Muleungdo, suggesting that the people he met on the island referred to their island as Usando instead of Muleungdo. After receiving Kim In-u's report, ministers started referring to the island group as "Usan-Muleung," suggesting that Usan and Muleung were neighboring islands and that Usan was the larger of the two.

In the following 1425 report, Kim In-u is sent back to the region, but instead of being referred to as "Inspector for the Muleung Region," he is referred to as "Inspector of the Usan-Muleung Region."

Source: 『世宗實錄』 卷 二十九, 世宗 七年 八月 甲戌條

August 8, 1425

甲戌以前判長鬐縣事金麟雨 爲于山武陵等處按撫 初江原道平海人金乙之李萬金亐乙金等 曾逃居武陵島 歲丙申 國家遣麟雨 盡行刷還 癸卯 乙之等男婦共二十八名 復逃入本島 今年五月 乙之等七人 留其妻子於本島 乘小船潛到平海郡仇彌浦 發覺 監司囚之 本郡馳報於是復爲刷還 麟雨率軍人五十名 備軍器齎三月粮 浮海而去 島在東海中 麟雨三陟人也

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전 판장기현사(判長鬐縣事) 김인우(金麟雨)를 우산도(于山島)·무릉도(武陵島) 등지의 안무사(安撫使)로 삼았다. 당초에 강원도 평해(平海) 고을 사람 김을지(金乙之)·이만(李萬)·김울금[金亐乙金] 등이 무릉도에 도망가 살던 것을, 병신년에 국가에서 인우를 보내어 다 데리고 나왔는데, 계묘년에 을지 등 남녀 28명이 다시 본디 섬에 도망가서 살면서, 금년 5월에 을지 등 7인이 아내와 자식은 섬에 두고 작은 배를 타고 몰래 평해군 구미포(仇彌浦)에 왔다가 발각되었다. 감사가 잡아 가두고 본군(本郡)에서 급보(急報)하여 곧 도로 데려 내오기로 하고서, 인우가 군인 50명을 거느리고 군기와 3개월 양식을 갖춘 다음 배를 타고 나섰다. 섬은 동해 가운데 있고, 인우는 삼척(三陟) 사람이었다.

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Kim In-u, a former panjanggihyeonsa, was made inspector for the Usan/Muleung region. In 1416, the government sent In-u to Muleungdo to bring back former Pyonghae residents Kim Ul-ji, Lee Man, Kim Ul-geum, and others who had run away to live on Muleungdo. In 1423, twenty-three men and women, including Ul-ji, ran away back to the island. In May this year, seven people, including Ul-ji, left their wives and children on the island and came secretly in a small boat to Kumi-po in Pyeonghae County, where they were discovered. The governor arrested them, and sent an urgent message from his village to bring back immediately the people still on the island. With fifty men, military equipment, and 3-months of rations, In-u got on a ship and left. The island is in the middle of the East Sea. In-u was from Samcheok.

The report says that people were living on Muleungdo, but was Muleungdo referring to Ulleungdo or to one of its neighboring islands? We cannot be sure, but Kim In-u was referred to as the "Inspector of the Usan-Muleung Region," suggesting that Usan and Muleung are neighboring islands and that Usan is the larger. Also, in 1417, it was reported that Kim In-u returned from Usando with three residents and tribute that included bamboo and other plant and wood products, however, he had been sent to Muleungdo, not Usando. Again, this suggests that Usando and Muleungdo are neighboring islands that are close enough together to cause name confusion.

So far, records have told us that there are two islands: Usan and Muleung. Records have also suggested that people have lived on both islands at one time or another, and that Usan was the larger of the two. However, if Usan was Ulleungdo and Muleung was a neighboring island, then one might wonder why the people mentioned in the above record chose to live on the smaller of the two islands? Was Muleung a specific reference to the smaller island or a general reference to the area? Or did the people prefer to live on the smaller island for security reasons or some other reason? It is unclear, but what is clear is that Muleungdo and Usando were either right next to each other or two names for the same island. Another thing that seems clear is that neither Muleungdo nor Usando was referring to Dokdo/Takeshima, which was too insignificant and too far away to cause the kind of name confusion that existed between Muleungdo and Usando.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 9)

Evicted Muleungdo Residents Go Hungry on the Mainland

On April 1, 1419, records mention that seventeen people from Muleungdo were starving in Gyeonggi Province. It is impossible to know for sure, but these people may have been part of those evicted from the Usan-Muleung area in 1417. Here is the passage.

Source: 『世宗實錄』 卷三, 世宗 元年 四月 乙亥朔條

April 1, 1419

上以武陵出來男婦共十七名, 到京畿^平丘驛里絶糧, 遣人救之, 乃下王旨曰: “側聞, 武陵島出來人等, 今到平丘驛絶糧, 而無人救恤。 以京畿路邊而如此, 況遐方乎? 因念各官人民, 必有飢饉, 其令戶曹移文各道, 嚴加檢察, 俾民免於飢困, 以副予至懷

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임금이 무릉도(武陵島)에서 나온 남녀 도합 17명이 경기도 평구역리(平丘驛里)에 당도하여 양식이 떨어졌다 하므로 사람을 보내어 구원케 하고 이내 왕지(王旨)하기를, 듣건대 “무릉도에서 나오는 사람들이 지금 평구역에 당도하여 양식이 떨어졌는데 구원해 주는 사람이 없다고 한다, 경기도 한길가가 이와 같은데 하물며 먼 지방이야 어떻겠느냐, 이로 미루어 각군 백성들을 생각하면, 반드시 굶주리는 자가 있을 것이니 호조로 하여금 각도에 공문을 내어 세밀히 검찰하여, 백성으로 하여금 굶주리고 곤궁한 일이 없게 하여 나의 지극한 향념에 부응케 하라"고 하였다.

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The king ordered that someone go to Pyeongguyeok-ri in Gyeonggi Province to help a total of seventeen former Muleungdo residents who he heard were now there without provisions.

The king said, "I've heard that the people from Muleungdo who are now in Pyeongguyeok are without provisions and anyone to help them. Not only do they seem to be on a roadside in Gyeonggi Province, they are far from home, so what are they supposed to do? Judging from this, there are sure to be other people in other counties who are also starving, so to improve the situation, send official instructions to each province to investigate and ensure there is no one is starving or in need. See that my utmost concerns are satisfied.


Notice that the above passage mentions people from Muleungdo, which suggests that they were relocated to Gyeonggi Province after being evicted from the island. Though the passage specifically mentions Muleungdo, it is difficult to know if it was referring to a specific island or to the Usan-Muleungdo area in general. The passage does, however, seem to confirm that people were being evicted from the islands.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 8)

Japanese Pirates Visit Usan-Muleung

On February 8, 1417, King Taejong gave the order to evict residents of the "Usan-Muleung" area. Though there is no record of the actual eviction or when it was carried out, there is a short, August 6, 1417 record of Japanese pirates visiting "Usan-Muleung," which suggests that residents of the islands or the Chosun officials sent to evict them saw the pirates. Here is the short record of the incident:

Source: 「太宗實錄」卷 三十四, 太宗 十七年 八月 己丑條

August 6, 1417

倭寇于山武陵

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왜적이 우산도(于山島)·무릉도(武陵島)에서 도둑질하였다.

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Japanese pirates loot Usan and Muleung islands.


The Chinese character record does not actually say that the Japanese stole anything, but I guess that might be implied in the the words "Japanese pirates."

Notice that the above record says that the Japanese looted "Usan-Muleung," which again suggests that the two islands are right next to each other and not 92 kilometers away from each other. Afterall, if one of the two islands had been Dokdo/Takeshima and the other Ulleungdo, then how could witnesses on Ulleungdo have known that the Japanese also looted Dokdo/Takeshima and vice versa? They certainly would not have been able to see it happen. Anyway, what would there have been to loot on Dokdo/Takeshima since it is essentially just a couple of rocks sticking out of the sea? On the other hand, if Usan-Muleung were referring to Ulleungdo and its neighboring island, Jukdo, then residents on both islands would have most likely known that the other had been looted. They could have seen the pirate ships, they could have heard any gunfire, and they could have exchanged information.

Again, the above record seems to disprove the Korean claim that Usan is a reference to Dokdo/Takeshima. Also, notice that Usan once again precedes Muleung, which suggests that Usan is the larger island of Ulleungdo.

Monday, May 22, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 7)

Ulleungdo Is Referred to as the "Usan-Muleung Area"

On February 5, 1417, Inspector Kim In-u returned from his inspection trip to Mu-leungdo (Ulleungdo), but instead of reporting that he returned from Mu-leungdo, the record said he returned from "Usando." He brought back with him products from the island and three "Usando" residents. Then three days later, on February 8, Chosun government officials gathered to discuss what to do about the remaining residents on "Usan-Muleung," as the following passage describes:

Source: 「太宗實錄」 卷 三十三, 太宗 十七年 二月 乙丑條

February 8, 1417

乙丑/命右議政韓尙敬、六曹、臺諫, 議刷出于山、武陵居人便否, 僉曰: “武陵居人, 勿令刷出, 給五穀與農器, 以安其業, 仍遣主帥撫之, 且定土貢可也。” 工曹判書黃喜獨不可曰: “勿令安置, 依速刷出。” 上曰: “刷出之計是矣。 彼人等曾避役安居, 若定土貢,有主帥, 則彼必惡之, 不可使之久留也。 宜以金麟雨仍爲安撫使, 還入于山、武陵等處, 率其居人出陸。” 仍賜衣笠及靴, 且賜于山人三名各衣一襲。 命江原道都觀察使, 給兵船二隻, 選揀道內水軍萬戶千戶中有能者, 與麟雨同往

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우의정 한상경(韓尙敬), 육조(六曹)·대간(臺諫)에 명하여, 우산(于山)·무릉도(武陵島)의 주민[居民]을 쇄출(刷出)하는 것의 편의 여부를 의논케 하니, 모두가 말하기를,

“무릉(武陵)의 주민은 쇄출하지 말고, 오곡(五穀)과 농기(農器)를 주어 그 생업을 안정케 하소서. 인하여 주수(主帥)를 보내어 그들을 위무(慰撫)하고 또 토공(土貢)을 정함이 좋을 것입니다.” 하였으나,

공조 판서 황희(黃喜)만이 유독 불가하다 하며,

“안치(安置)시키지 말고 빨리 쇄출하게 하소서.” 하니, 임금이,

“쇄출하는 계책이 옳다. 저 사람들은 일찍이 요역(搖役)을 피하여 편안히 살아왔다. 만약 토공(土貢)을 정하고 주수(主帥)를 둔다면 저들은 반드시 싫어할 것이니, 그들을 오래 머물러 있게 할 수 없다. 김인우(金麟雨)를 그대로 안무사(按撫使)로 삼아 도로 우산(于山)·무릉(武陵) 등지에 들어가 그곳 주민을 거느리고 육지로 나오게 함이 마땅하다.” 하고,

인하여 옷[衣]·갓[笠]과 목화(木靴)를 내려 주고, 또 우산 사람 3명에게도 각기 옷 1습(襲)씩 내려 주었다. 강원도 도관찰사(江原道都觀察使)에게 명하여 병선(兵船) 2척(隻)을 주게 하고, 도내의 수군 만호(水軍萬戶)와 천호(千戶) 중 유능한 자를 선간(選揀)하여 김인우와 같이 가도록 하였다.

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Minister Han Sang-gyeong told the six government authorities and the Daegan to discuss the best ways to evict the Usan-Muleung residents. They all said the following:

"Let's not evict the Muleung residents. Wouldn't it be better to give them grain and farming implements so that they will have a stable occupation? Then we can send a military commander to keep them pacified and determine the tribute."

However, Kongjo Minister Hwang Hui, who was the sole dissenter, said, "Do not banish them, but quickly evict them."

Then the king said,

"Evicting them is the right strategy. Those people have avoided their national duty and have been living comfortably. If we decide on a tribute and install a commander, they will definitely not like it, so we cannot allow them to stay there for long. The appropriate thing to do is to keep Kim In-u as the area inspector, and send him back to the Usan-Muleung area to bring its residents to the mainland."

Then, the king gave clothes, hats, and shoes [to Kim In-u]. He also gave a set of clothes to each of the three people from Usan. After that, he ordered the Kangwon provincial governor to supply two military ships and to choose a capable naval commander from his province to accompany Kim In-u.


One interesting thing about the above passage is that the Chinese character for "island" is not mentioned even once, even though the Korean translates referrences to Usan and Ulleung as "islands." Instead, the passage refers to the two islands as the "Usan-Muleung area," which may be suggesting that the islands are very close together. Notice also that "Usan" was written first and then "Ulleung," suggesting that Usan is the larger of the two islands. The people on the islands were also referred to as "Usan-Muleung residents," suggesting that people were living on both islands.

Since Inspector Kim In-u returned from Ulleungdo with only three "Usan" residents, we can assume that the other residents refused to return. Their refusal to return may be the reason that the Chosun officials gathered to discuss what to do about the situation. All but one of the officials thought that the people should be allowed to stay on the islands and be given farm implements, so that they could grow crops that could be taxed. One minister, however, disagreed and said that they should be brought quickly to the mainland. The king agreed with the one minister.

The king reasoned that since the people had gone to the islands to be free of their responsibilities as Chosun subjects, then they probably would not want to be subjects on Ulleungdo, either, so he ordered that they be brought back to the mainland. Besides, he did not like the idea that they might be living comfortably on the islands. The king decided to keep Kim In-u as inspector and send him back to "Usan-Muleung" to bring back the residents there. In payment, the king gave Kim In-u clothes, a hat, and shoes. The king also gave each of the three people brought back from Usan a set of clothes.

Before Kim In-u returned from his trip, Chosun officials during King Taejong's reign had been referring to Ulleungdo as "Mu-leungdo," but after Kim's return, they started referring to it as the "Usan-Muleung area," suggesting that Kim In-u had updated their information on the islands. As was reported here, Kim In-u was sent to "Mu-leungdo," but was reported as returning from "Usando" with three Usando residents.

I think that Kim In-u went to Ulleungdo and discovered that it was being called "Usando," and that its smaller neighboring island was being called "Mu-leungdo," which is why Chosun officials started referring to the islands as the "Usan-Muleung area." I also think that people were living on both islands of Usan and Muleung, which is why the people on the islands were referred to in the above passage as "Usan-Muleung residents." Afterall, as was reported here, "Yusanguk-do" residents said they had grown up on "Mu-leungdo" and then moved to "the main island."

Still, nothing has been said to indicate that either Usan or Muleung might be Dokdo/Takeshima, a couple of barren rocks ninety-two kilometers southeast of Ulleungdo. Instead, Usan and Muleung are being described in a way that suggests that "Usan" is Ulleungdo, and "Mu-leung" is an island right next to it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 6)

Kim In-u Returns from "Usando," not Mu-leungdo

In 1416, Kim In-u was appointed Inspector of the Mu-leungdo region and sent to Mu-leungdo (Ulleungdo) to bring back the people living there. Koreans feared that settlers on the island would invite raiding Japanese pirates. In 1417, Kim In-u returned from his inspection trip, but the record says that he returned from Usando, not Mu-leungdo, suggesting that "Usando" was the name then being used for Ulleungdo.

Here is the 1417 passage from the Records of King Taejong:

Source: 「太宗實錄」卷 三十三, 太宗 十七年 二月 壬戌條

February 5, 1417

按撫使金麟雨還自于山島, 獻土産大竹、水牛皮、生苧、綿子、檢樸木等物, 且率居人三名以來。 其島戶凡十五口, 男女幷八十六。 麟雨之往還也, 再逢颶風, 僅得其生

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안무사(按撫使) 김인우(金麟雨)가 우산도(于山島)에서 돌아와 토산물(土産物)인 대죽(大竹)·수우피(水牛皮)·생저(生苧)·면자(綿子)·검박목(檢樸木) 등을 바쳤다. 또 그곳의 거주민 3명을 거느리고 왔는데, 그 섬의 호수[戶]는 15구(口)요, 남녀를 합치면 86명이었다. 김인우가 갔다가 돌아올 때에, 두 번이나 태풍(颱風)을 만나서 겨우 살아날 수 있었다고 했다.

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Inspector Kim In-u returned from Usando and brought local products as tribute, including large bamboo, seal skins, raw ramie cloth, silk wool, and 검박목. He also brought back three residents of the place. There were fifteen families living on the island for a total of 86 men and women. On his way back from the island, Kim In-u ran into two typhoons and barely made it back alive.

Notice that the passage says that Kim In-u returned from Usando, not Mu-leungdo, where he was ordered to go by King Taejong. This suggests that the residents of Ulleungdo were calling the island "Usando," not "Mu-leungdo." This would explain why twelve people who came by boat to the mainland in 1412 said they were from Yusanguk-do, which was most likely a misspelling of Usanguk-do. They also said they had grown up on a neighboring island called "Mu-leungdo." You can see a post on that incident here.

In previous records, Ulleungdo had been referred to by various names, including Usan-guk, which means the "Country of Usan," but the above passage was the first time that Ulleungdo had been referred to as Usando, which means the "Island of Usan." This is significant because it is saying Usan is an island, not a country that could possibly included some rocky islets ninety-two kilometers away. Actually, in 1412, there was already a suggestion that "Usan" was an island, not a country, when residents of Ulleungdo referred to their island as "Yusanguk-do," which means the "Island of Yusanguk."

Koreans claim that Usando is Dokdo/Takeshima, but Dokdo/Takeshima is just a group of rocks with no soil to grow any of the products that the record says that Kim In-u brought back from the island. Koreans have tried to explain away the discrepancy by saying that Usan refers to a country, not an island, but the above record clearly says that Usan was an island, not a country. Even the Samguksagi said that Usan-guk was just another name for Ulleungdo. You can see another post on the subject here.

By 1417, records show that Ulleungdo was made up of two islands, one main island and a smaller neighboring island. Though there seems to be some confusion about the names of the islands, records in 1412 and 1417 suggest that the name of the main island was Usando, that its neighboring island was Mu-leungdo, and that both islands had settlers on them at one time or another. In future records, these names will be used together to refer to the Ulleungdo island group, and Usando will often be listed first, suggesting that it is the larger of the two islands. So far, there has been nothing in the records to suggest that either Usando or Mu-leungdo is a referrence to Dokdo/Takeshima.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 5)

Ulleungdo's Neighboring Island Is Mentioned, Again

In 1412 A.D., a ship carrying twelve people, reported to be residents of an island named "Yusanguk," landed at Koseong, and said that they had grown up on an island named "Mu-leung," where eleven families of sixty people lived. They then said they moved to "the main island," where they were now living. They gave the circumference of the main island and its north-south and east-west dimensions. (You can see the actual passage by viewing a previous post here.)

Since the people were described as coming from an island named Yusanguk, it seems logical to assume that "the main island" on which they said they were now living was named "Yusanguk," which is an obvious misspelling of the island "Usan-guk." Usan-guk was previously mentioned in documents of the Silla and Koryo kingdoms as being in the sea due east of Uljin. Also, since the people said they grew up on the island of Mu-leung and then moved to "the main island," we can surmise that Mu-leung was the smaller of the two islands. Moveover, based on the description they gave of the main island, we can surmise that they were referring to present-day Ulleungdo, and that Mu-leung was a smaller, neighboring island. This seems to have been the first mention of Ulleungdo having a neighboring island. The second mention was four years later in a passage from the Records of King Taejong, dated September 2, 1416.

Source: 「太宗實錄」卷 三十二, 太宗 十六年 九月 庚寅條

September 2, 1416

庚寅/以金麟雨爲武陵等處安撫使。 戶曹參判朴習啓: “臣嘗爲江原道都觀察使, 聞武陵島周回七息, 傍有小島, 其田可五十餘結。 所入之路, 纔通一人, 不可竝行。 昔有方之用者率十五家入居, 時或假倭爲寇。 知其島者, 在三陟, 請使之往見。” 上可之, 乃召三陟人前萬戶金麟雨, 問武陵島事, 麟雨言: “三陟人李萬嘗往武陵而還, 詳知其島之事。” 卽召李萬。 麟雨又啓: “武陵島遙在海中, 人不相通, 故避軍役者, 或逃入焉。 若此島多接人, 則倭終必入寇, 因此而侵於江原道矣。” 上然之, 以麟雨爲武陵等處安撫使, 以萬爲伴人, 給兵船二隻、抄工二名、引海二名、火㷁火藥及糧, 往其島, 諭其頭目人以來。 賜麟雨及萬衣笠靴

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김인우(金麟雨)를 무릉(武陵) 등지 안무사(安撫使)로 삼았다. 호조 참판(戶曹參判) 박습(朴習)이 아뢰기를,

“신이 일찍이 강원도 도관찰사(江原道都觀察使)로 있을 때에 들었는데, 무릉도(武陵島)의 주회(周回)가 7식(息)이고, 곁에 소도(小島)가 있고, 전지가 50여 결(結)이 되는데, 들어가는 길이 겨우 한 사람이 통행하고 나란히 가지는 못한다고 합니다. 옛날에 방지용(方之用)이란 자가 있어 15가(家)를 거느리고 입거(入居)하여 혹은 때로는 가왜(假倭)로서 도둑질을 하였다고 합니다. 그 섬을 아는 자가 삼척(三陟)에 있으니, 청컨대, 그 사람을 시켜서 가서 보게 하소서.” 하니, 임금이 옳다고 여기어 삼척 사람 전 만호(萬戶) 김인우(金麟雨)를 불러 무릉도의 일을 물었다. 김인우가 말하기를,

“삼척 사람 이만(李萬)이 일찍이 무릉(武陵)에 갔다가 돌아와서 그 섬의 일을 자세히 압니다.” 하니, 곧 이만을 불렀다. 김인우가 또 아뢰기를,

“무릉도가 멀리 바다 가운데에 있어 사람이 서로 통하지 못하기 때문에 군역(軍役)을 피하는 자가 혹 도망하여 들어갑니다. 만일 이 섬에 주접(住接)하는 사람이 많으면 왜적이 끝내는 반드시 들어와 도둑질하여, 이로 인하여 강원도를 침노할 것입니다.”하였다.

임금이 옳게 여기어 김인우를 무릉 등지 안무사로 삼고 이만(李萬)을 반인(伴人)으로 삼아, 병선(兵船) 2척, 초공(抄工) 2명, 인해(引海) 2명, 화통(火通)·화약(火藥)과 양식을 주어 그 섬에 가서 그 두목(頭目)에게 일러서 오게 하고, 김인우와 이만에게
옷[衣]·입(笠)·화(靴)를 주었다.

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Kim In-n was made Inspector of the Ulleungdo area.

Official (호조참판) Bak Seup said, "When I was governor of Kangwon Province, I heard that Mu-leungdo had a circumference of seven sik and had a small island next to it. It had fifty kyeol of farmland and a narrow entryway that only allowed people to travel single file; they could not walk two abreast. A long time ago a man named Bak Ji-yong lead fifteen families to the island and lived there. I also heard that they would sometimes conspire with Japanese pirates and steal. There is a man in Samcheok who knows that island. Please ask him to go there and check."

The king considered that good advice and called Samcheok resident and former military commander Kim In-u and asked him about Mu-leungdo.

Kim In-u said, "Samcheok resident Lee Man has been to Mu-leungdo and knows the details of the island." Lee Man was immediately sent for. Kim In-u added, "Mu-leungdo is far away in the middle of the sea, so there is not much contact with people there, which is probably why people flee to the island to escape military service. If there are many people living on the island, Japanese pirates will end up raiding it, and then use it to raid Kangwon Province.

The king agreed and made Kim In-u Inspector of the Ulleungdo area. He also made Lee Man his assistant and give them two troop ships, two ship's captains, two 引海 (인해), guns, gunpowder, and provisions. He told them to go to Ulleungdo, inform the leader there, and have them return. The king gave Kim In-u and Lee Man clothes, hats, and shoes.

In the above passage, Bak Seup gives a description of Mu-leungdo (Ulleungdo) based on information he heard while he was governor of Kangwon Province. Bak Seup's term as governor started in 1411, which means that the information he heard was probably pre-1411. Anyway, he said he heard that Mu-leungdo had a circumference of seven sik and a small, neighboring island. The small, neighboring island was most likely present-day Jukdo, which is Ulleungdo's largest neighboring island and less than four kilometers off its eastern shore. The information Bak Seup gives after that, however, is somewhat confusing. Is the information on the farmland and the path leading onto the island referring to Mu-leungdo (Ulleungdo) or to the small island? I think it is referring to the small island.

The passage said that the island had fifty kyeol of farmland, and only one narrow path leading onto it. I am not sure how much fifty kyeol of farmland is, but there are several paths leading onto Ulleungdo while there is only one path leading onto present-day Jukdo. If the information about the farmland and the path were referring to the small island, then that means that the small island could not have possibly been Dokdo/Takeshima since Dokdo/Takeshima has no farmland or even soil to grow plants. It would also mean the fifteen families mentioned in the passage had been living on the small island. Nevertheless, Korean historians say that the "small island" mentioned in the passage was Dokdo/Takeshima, ignoring the fact that Jukdo is just offshore of Ulleungdo, and that Dokdo/Takeshima is ninety-two kilometers away and has no farmland.

The Mu-leungdo in the above passage is obviously referring to Ulleungdo, while the "small, neighboring island" seems to be referring to present-day Jukdo. This is different from the 1412 A.D. passage, which implied that Mu-leungdo was the smaller neighboring island. Since the 1412 description was direct testimony by former residents of the island and the 1416 information was hearsay, I would tend to believe the 1412 information, at least in regard to the name of the smaller island. Regardless of the name confusion, the 1416 passage does confirm that Chosun officials at the time knew that Ulleungdo had a neighboring island. Moreover, it seems to confirm the 1412 passage by suggesting that the neighboring island had farmland and inhabitants, which means the small, neighboring island could not have been Dokdo/Takeshima.

Monday, May 15, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 4)

Ulleungdo Splits into Two Islands

In "The History of Koyro"(918 - 1392 A.D.), Ulleungdo was recognized as one island, even though it was referred to by various names, including Usan-guk, U-leungdo, and Mu-leungdo. In other words, there was never any mention of Ulleungdo having any neighboring islands, except for one passage that mentioned that Ulleungdo had once been two islands, called Usan and Mu-leung. That story, however, was reported as hearsay. It was not until 1412, during the Chosun Dynasty (1392 - 1910 A.D.), that Ulleungdo seemed to split into a main island and a neighboring island, as the following passage in Volume 23 of the Records of King Taejong suggests.

Source: 「太宗實錄」 卷 二十三, 太宗 十二年 四月 己巳條

April 15, 1412

命議政府議處流山國島人 江原道觀察使報云 流山國島人 白加勿等十二名 求泊高城 於羅津言曰 予等生長武陵 其島內人戶十一 男女共六十餘 今移居本島 是島自東至西自南至北 皆二息 周 回八息 無牛馬水田 唯種豆一斗出二十石 或三十石 麥一石出五十餘石 竹如大椽 海錯果木皆在焉 竊慮此人等逃還 姑分置于通州高城扞[杆]城

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의정부(議政府)에 명하여 유산국도(流山國島) 사람을 처리하는 방법을 의논하였다. 강원도 관찰사가 보고하였다. “유산국도(流山國島) 사람 백가물(百加勿) 등 12명이 고성(高城) 어라진(於羅津)에 와서 정박하여 말하기를, ‘우리들은 무릉도(武陵島)에서 생장하였는데, 그 섬 안의 인호(人戶)가 11호이고, 남녀가 모두 60여 명인데, 지금은 본도(本島)로 옮겨 와 살고 있습니다. 이 섬이 동에서 서까지 남에서 북까지가 모두 2식(息) 거리이고, 둘레가 8식(息) 거리입니다. 우마(牛馬)와 논이 없으나, 오직 콩 한 말만 심으면 20석 혹은 30석이 나고, 보리 1석을 심으면 50여 석이 납니다. 대[竹]가 큰 서까래 같고, 해착(海錯)과 과목(果木)이 모두 있습니다.’고 하였습니다. 이 사람들이 도망하여 갈까 염려하여, 아직 통주(通州)·고성(高城)·간성(扞城)에 나누어 두었습니다.”

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In accordance with Uijongbu orders, methods for dealing with the people of Yusanguk-do were discussed. The governor of Kangwon Province reported, "Twelve people from Yusanguk-do, including Baek Ga-mul, came and anchored at Eorajin in Koseong and said the following:

"We grew up on Mu-leungdo, where 11 families lived with a total of more than sixty men and women. Now we have moved to the main island and are living there. The island's distances from east to west and north to south are each two shik (60 ri), and its circumference is eight shik (240 ri). There are no cows or horses or rice paddies on the island, but if we plant just one mal of beans, we harvest twenty to thirty seok. If we plant one seok of barley, we harvest more than fifty seok. The bamboo are as big as rafters, and there are all kinds of sea products and fruit trees."

Fearing that they may try to run away, they were divided up and put at Tongju, Koseong, and Ganseong, where they are still.

The above passage is a quite interesting because it is saying that there are two islands, Mu-leungdo and a "main island," which implies that Mu-leungdo is the smaller of the two. Since the passage is discussing people from Yusanguk-do, it is safe to assume that the "main island" is Yusanguk-do, which seems to be a misspelling of Usan-guk. The description of the main island seems to fit the description of present-day Ulleungdo, which would mean that Yusanguk-do would have been present-day Ulluengdo, and Mu-leungdo would have been a smaller, neighboring island.

So the question now is which neighboring island of Ulleungdo could have supported eleven families with a total of 60 people, which was the number of people reported to have been living on Mu-leungdo?

Ulleungdo has two neighboring islands, Jukdo and Kwaneumdo. Jukdo is the larger of the two with a total area of about 210,803 square meters (approximately 52 acres), which makes it the more likely candidate for being the Mu-leungdo referred to in the above passage. To see some good pictures of Jukdo, click here.

Some Koreans may try to claim that one of the two islands mentioned above was Dokdo (Takeshima), but that would be nearly impossible since Dokdo (Takeshima) does not have the water or the soil to grow the crops needed to support sixty people. Besides, Dokdo (Takeshima) is ninety-two kilometers southeast of Ulleungdo, which would hardly make it a neighboring island. To see a Korean video documentary detailing Korea's claims on Dokdo (Takeshima), click here. The video documentary is obviously extremely biased and distorts and omits many of the facts related to Ulleungdo and Dokdo, which I will address in future posts.

Anyway, if, as the above passage in the Records of King Taejong suggests, Yusanguk-do was present-day Ulleungdo, and Mu-leungdo was present-day Jukdo, then that would mean that Yusanguk-do was west of Mu-leungdo since present-day Ulleungdo is west of present-day Jukdo, which would explain why this 1530 map shows Usando (于山島 - 우산도) west of Ulleungdo (鬱陵島 - 울릉도). At any rate, it seems obvious to me that neither of the islands mentioned above could have been Dokdo (Takeshima).

By the way, for some reason, the Web site "Cyber Dokdo" forgot to translate the above passage in its chronological "History of Dokdo." You can check out the site here.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 3)

Chosun's New "Empty Island" Policy Affects Ulleungdo

During the time of King Taejong (1400 -1418), the third king of the Chosun Dynasty, Chosun was having trouble with pirates raiding villages on the east coast, including villages on Ulleungdo. To deal with the problem, King Taejong began an "empty island" policy, which involved moving villagers living on outlying islands to the mainland. Villagers from Ulleungdo were also to be moved, as the following passage in the Records of King Taejong shows:

Source:「太宗實錄」卷 六, 太宗 三年 八月 丙辰條

August 11, 1403:

命出江陵道武陵島居民于陸地從監司之啓也

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강원도(江原道)의 무릉도(武陵島) 거민(居民)을 육지로 나오도록 명령하였으니, 감사(監司)의 말에 따른 것이었다.

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Since there was an order to move to the mainland residents of Mu-leungdo in Kangwon Province, the governor's instructions were followed.

Notice that Ulleungdo is referred to as Mu-leungdo.

News of the new "Empty Island" policy may have reached Tsushima (Daemado) and may have been the reason for the following exchange.

Source: 「太宗實錄」 卷 十三, 太宗 七年 三月 庚午條

March 16, 1407

庚午 對馬島守護宗貞茂 遣平道全 來獻土物 發還俘虜 貞茂請茂陵島 欲率其衆落徙居 上曰 若許之 則日本國 王謂我爲招納叛人 無乃生隙歟 南在 對曰 倭俗叛則必從他人 習以爲常 莫之能禁 誰敢出此計乎 上曰 在其境內 常事也 若越境而來 則彼必有辭矣

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대마도 수호(對馬島守護) 종정무(宗貞茂)가 평도전(平道全)을 보내와 토물(土物)을 바치고, 잡혀 갔던 사람들을 돌려보냈다. 정무(貞茂)가 무릉도(武陵島)885)를 청(請)하여 여러 부락(部落)을 거느리고 가서 옮겨 살고자 하므로, 임금이 말하기를,

“만일 이를 허락한다면, 일본 국왕(日本國王)이 나더러 반인(叛人)을 불러들였다 하여 틈이 생기지 않을까?”하니, 남재(南在)가 대답하기를,

“왜인의 풍속은 반(叛)하면 반드시 다른 사람을 따릅니다. 이것이 습관이 되어 상사(常事)로 여기므로 금(禁)할 수가 없습니다. 누가 감히 그런 계책을 내겠습니까?” 하였다. 임금이 말하였다.

“그 경내(境內)에서는 상사(常事)로 여기지만, 만일 월경(越境)해 오게 되면 저쪽에서 반드시 말이 있을 것이다.”

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Jong Jeong-mu, the lord (수호) of Daemado (Tsushima), sent Pyeong Do-jeon with local products as tribute, and returned people who were taken captive. Jeong-mu requested Mu-leungdo with the intent of moving several villages there to rule.

The (Korean) king answered, "If I agree to this, the king of Japan may call me a traitor, and discord may develop between us."

Nam Jae answered, "The Japanese customarily believe that to betray someone means you must follow a different person. This cannot be forbidded because it is considered a curtomary part of their everyday life. Who would dare attempt such a scheme?"

The king said, "That may be considered an everyday occurence within their borders, but when they cross over into another country, something may be said about it."


The lord of Tsushima (Daemado) seems to have wanted to move villagers to Ulleungdo and asked the Korean king (Taejong) for permission to do so. Taejong, however, was worried that the Japanese king might consider such a move treasonous since the Japanese would be moving into Korean territory.

Maybe, the lord of Tsushima felt that King Taejong might agree to the plan because he had heard the Korean king was moving Korean villagers off Ulleungdo?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 2)

News of Ulleungdo during Koryo (918 - 1392 A.D.)

After Silla forces defeat the people of Usan-guk (Ulleungdo) in 512 A.D, 418 years pass without any news from Ulleungdo. Finally, in 930 A.D., according to "The History of Koryo" (published in 1451 A.D.), emissaries from Ulleungdo arrive with tributes. Here is the relevant passage:

August 930 A.D ("고려사" 1권 세가 태조13년 8월 병오일)

丙午芋陵島遣白吉土豆貢方物拜白吉爲正位土豆爲正朝.

우릉도에서 백길과 토두를 보내 방물을 바쳤다. 백길에게
정위, 토두에게 정조 품계를 각각 주었다.

Baek Gil and To Du were sent from U-leungdo with tribute. Baek Gil was given the court ranking of "Jeong-ui," and To Du the rank of "Jeong-jo."
Comment: Since court rankings were given to the two Ulleungdo emissaries, I am guessing that this may have been their first visit after the new state of Koryo was formed. By the way, notice that Ulleungdo is written as 芋陵島 (우릉도). The 芋(우) in 우릉도 (芋陵島), and the 于(우) in 우산국 (于山國) are pronounced the same and can both mean "big." (I will distinguishing between 울릉도 and 우릉도 by writing the first as "Ulleungdo" and the second as "U-leungdo"; nevertheless, both names will be referring to the same place.)

Here is more news from Ulleungdo, as told in "The History of Koryo."

November 1018 A.D. ("고려사" 4권 세가 현종 9년 11월 병인일)

以于山國被東北女眞所寇廢農業遣李元龜賜農器.

우산국이 동북 여진의 침략을 받아 농사를 짓지 못하였으므로 이원구를 그 곳에 파견하여 농기구를 주었다.

After being attacked by the northeastern Jurchen, Usan-guk was unable to plant crops, so Lee Won-gu was dispatched to supply farming implements.


July 1019 A.D. ("고려사" 4권 세가 현종 10년 7월 기묘일)

己卯于山國民戶曾被女眞虜掠來奔者悉令歸之.

우산국 백성들로서 일찍이 여진의 침략을 받고 망명하여 왔던 자들을 모두 고향으로 돌아가게 하였다.

Having been attacked by the Jurchen, the people of Usan-guk came seeking asylum, but all were sent back to their homeland.


July 1022 A.D. ("고려사" 4권 세가 현종 13년 7월 병자일)

秋七月丙子都兵馬使奏: "于山國民被女眞虜掠逃來者處之禮州官給資糧永爲編戶." 從之

도병마사가 여진에게서 약탈을 당하고 도망하여 온 우산국 백성들을 예주에 배치하고 관가에서 그들에게 식량을 주어 영구히 그 지방에 편호로 할 것을 청하니 왕이 이 제의를 좇았다.

The Dobyeongmasa housed, at Yeju, the Usan-guk people fleeing the pillaging of the Jurchen and gave them food from government supply. It also proposed that the refugees be allowed to permanently settle in the area. The king accepted the proposal.
Comment: Notice that Ulleungdo is referred to as Usan-guk in the three passages above.


November 1032 A.D. ("고려사" 5권 세가 덕종 1년 11월)

十一月丙子羽陵城主遣子夫於仍多郞來獻土物.

우릉성주가 자기의 아들 부어잉다랑을 파견하여 토산물을 바쳤다.

The Lord of U-leung dispatched his son, Bueoingdalang, and paid tribute with local products.
Comment: Notice that U-leung in "The Lord of U-leung" is written as 羽陵 (우릉).

July 1141 A.D. ("고려사" 17권 세가 인종 19년 7월 기해일)

秋七月己亥溟州道監倉使李陽實遣人入蔚陵島取菓核木葉異常者以獻.

명주도 감창사 이양실이 울릉도에 사람을 보내 이상한 과실 종자와 나뭇잎을 가져다가 왕에게 바쳤다.

The Myeongju-do (Myeongju = Kangneung) inspector, Lee Yang-sil, sent someone to Ulleungdo, and this person brought back strange fruit seeds and leaves, which were given to the king.


May 1157 A.D. ("고려사" 18권 세가 의종 11년 5월 병자일)

王聞: 東海中有羽陵島地廣土肥舊有州縣可以居民. 遣溟州道監倉殿中內給事金柔立往視. 柔立回奏: "土多巖石民不可居." 遂寢其議.

왕이 동해 가운데 있는 우릉도는 지역이 넓고 땅이 비옥하며 예날에는 주, 현을 두었던 적이 있어서 백성들이 살 만하다는 말을 듣고 명주도 감창 전중내급사 김유립을 시켜 가 보게 하였다. 유립이 돌아와서 그곳에는 암석들이 많아서 백성들이 살 수 없다고 하였으므로 그 의논이 그만 잠잠하여졌다.

The king heard that the land of Ulleungdo, in the middle of the East Sea, was broad and fertile, and that in the past there were villages there (주 and 현), so he ordered Kim Yu-rip, the Jeonjungnaegeupsa inspector from Myeongju-do, to go and see. Yu-rip returned and said that the place was too rocky for people to live. The discussion died down.


1243 A.D. ("고려사" 128권 42열전 반역 최충헌전 부 최우 고종 30년)

東海中有島名蔚陵地膏沃多珍木海錯以水程遠絶往來者久怡遣人視之有屋基破礎宛然於是移東郡民實之後以風濤險惡人多溺死罷其居民.

또 동해 중에 울릉도라는 섬이 있는데 땅이 비옥하고 진귀한 나무들과 해산물이 많이 산출되나 수로가 원격하여 왕래하는 사람이 끊어진 지 오래이다. 최이가 사람을 보내서 시찰한즉 과연 집터와 주춧돌이 완연히 있었으므로 동부지방의 군 주민들을 이주시켰다. 그 후 풍랑과 파도가 험악해서 익사자가 많다는 이유로 이민을 중지하였다.

Also, in the East Sea there is an island named Ulleungdo, where the land is fertile and where there are rare and precious trees and many marine products. However, since the sea route is remote, it has been a long time since people have traveled there. When Choi-I sent people to inspect the island, they found, as expected, building sites and foundation stones, which caused Choi-I to sent villagers from the eastern region to settle there. Later, because of the heavy seas and dangerous waves, many people drowned, so emigration was stopped.


May 1246 A.D. ("고려사" 23권 세가 고종 33년 5월 깁신일)

甲申以國學學諭權衡允及第史挺純爲蔚陵島安撫使.

국학학유 권형윤과 급제 사정순을 울릉도 안무사로 임명하였다.

"Gukhakhakyu" Kwon Hyeong-yun and "Geupje" Sa Jeong-sun were appointed as Ulleungdo overseers.


July 1259 A.D. ("고려사" 25권 25세가 원종 1년 7월 경오일)

北界別抄都領郞將李陽著率兵將移于椒島麾下 曰: "請下陸而 ." 遂殺陽著及京兵浮海而逃. 蔚珍縣令朴淳船載妻 臧獲幷家財將適蔚陵城中人知之會淳入城被拘留舟人以其所載遁去.

울진 현령 박순이 처자와 노비 및 가산을 배에 싣고 울릉도에 가려고 하였다. 성안 사람들이 이것을 알고 마침 성안에 들어 온 박순을 붙잡아 두었는데 뱃사람들은 배에 실은 가산을 가지고 도망하여 갔다.

The Uljin village leader, Bak Sun, loaded his wife, his servants, and his household possessions on a boat and was preparing to go to Ulleungdo. People in the fortress heard about this and captured Bak Sun when he finally came into the fortress. The sailors ran away with the possessions loaded on the boat.


February 1273 A.D. ("고려사" 27권 원종 14년 2월 계축일)

以簽書樞密院事許珙爲蔚陵島斫木使伴李樞以行王奏請罷蔚陵斫木 洪茶丘麾下五百人衣服平三別抄後濟州人物勿令出陸依舊安業帝皆從之.

첨서 추밀원사 허공을 울릉도 작목사로 임명하여 이추와 함께 가게 하였다 왕이 황제에게 보고하여 울릉도에서 나무를 찍는 일과 홍다구의 부하 5백 명의 의복을 마련하는 것을 축감해 달라는 것과 삼별초를 평정한 후 제주의 주민들은 육지에 나오지 말고 예전대로 자기 생업에 안착하게 하여 줄 것을 요청하였더니 황제가 그 제의를 좇았다.

In addition, the "Chumiwonsa" appointed Heo Kong as the "woodcutting supervisor" of Ulleungdo and sent him with Lee Chu. The king reported to the emperor and asked that the cutting of the wood on Ulleungdo and that the clothing for the 500 subordinates of Hong Da-gu be reduced and that after the "Sambyeolcho" troops were suppressed, that the residents of Jeju not come to the mainland, but be allowed to safely return to their former occupations. The emperor accepted the request.


("고려사" 130권 43열전 반역 조이 부 이추)

未幾元遣樞又索材木樞欲入蔚陵島斫木王以大將軍姜渭輔爲伴行樞以三品秩卑言曰:
"三品如狗耳吾不可與同行!" 乃以簽書樞密事許珙代之王請于元遂罷之.

얼마 안 지나서 원나라에서 또 이추를 보내서 재목을 요구했으며 이추는 울릉도로 건너가서 재목을 베고자 했으므로 왕은 대장군 강위보를 동행시켰더니 이추는 3품 관질은 낮다 하여 "3품이란 개 같은 것인데 어찌 데리고 다니겠느냐?"라고 하였으므로 청서 추밀사 허공을 대신 보냈다. 왕이 원나라에 청하여 드디어 이추를 파면시켰다.

Shortly afterwards, the Yuan sent Lee Chu again and demanded wood. Since Lee Chu was intending to cross over to Ulleungdo to cut wood, the king ordered General Kang Wui-bo to accompany him, but Lee Chu complained that a third-level official was too low saying, "I am the same level as a third-level official, so how can he escort me?" Therefore, the king sent "Cheongseo" councilor Heo Kong, instead. The king sent a request to the Yuan, and Lee Chu was finally dismissed.


March 1346 A.D. ("고려사" 37권 37세가 충목왕 2년 3월 을사일)

戊申東界芋陵島人來朝.

동계의 우릉도 사람이 내조하였다.

People of U-leungdo, of the Eastern Frontier, visited Korea.


July 1379 A.D. ("고려사" 134권 47열전 우왕 2년 7월 신우일 )

七月倭寇樂安郡. 遣永寧君王彬如北元賀郊祀改元. 前判三司事孫洪亮卒贈謚靖平. 李子庸還自日本九州節度使源了俊歸被虜人二百三十餘口獻槍劒及馬. 倭入武陵島留半月而去.

왜(倭)가 무릉도(武陵島)에 들어와 보름이나 머물다가 돌아갔다.
Japanese came to Mu-leungdo, stayed for 15 days, and then returned (to Japan).


("고려사" 58권 12지 3지리 동계 울진현)

蔚珍縣, 本高勾麗于珍也縣, 【一云古亏伊郡】 新羅景德王, 改今名, 爲郡, 高麗, 降爲縣置令, 有鬱陵島, 【在縣正東海中, 新羅時, 稱于山國, 一云武陵, 一云羽陵, 地方百里, 智證王十二年, 來降, 太祖十三年, 其島人, 使白吉士豆, 献方物, 毅宗十一年, 王, 聞鬱陵地廣土肥, 舊有州縣, 可以居民, 遣溟州道監倉金柔立, 往視, 柔立, 回奏云, 島中, 有大山, 從山頂, 向東行至海一萬余步, 向西行一萬三千余步, 向南行一萬五千余步, 向北行八千余步, 有村落基址七所, 有石佛·鐵鍾·石塔, 多生柴胡·蒿本·石南草, 然多岩石, 民不可居, 遂寢其議, 一云, 于山·武陵, 本二島, 相距不遠, 風日淸明, 則可望見】

울진현은 본래 고구려의 우진야현(于珍也縣) 【우이군(亏伊郡)이라고도 하였다】 신라 경덕왕(景德王)이 지금 이름으로 고쳐 군(郡)으로 삼았고 고려에서 내려 현(縣)을 삼아 영(令)을 두었다. 울릉도(鬱陵島)가 있다. 【현(縣)의 정동쪽 바다 가운데에 있다. 신라 때 우산국(于山國)이라 칭하고 무릉(武陵) 또는 우릉(羽陵)이라고도 하였다. 넓이가 100리(里)이며 지증왕(智證王) 12년에 항복하여 왔다. 태조(太祖) 13년에 그 섬 사람 백길사두(白吉士豆)로 하여금 방물(方物)을 바치게 하였다. 의종(毅宗) 11년에 왕이 울릉도(鬱陵島)는 땅이 넓고 토지가 비옥하여 옛적에 주현(州縣)을 두었으며 사람이 살 수 있다는 말을 듣고 명주도 감창(溟州道監倉) 김유립(金柔立)을 보내어 가서 보게 하니 김유립(金柔立)이 돌아와 아뢰기를, “섬 가운데 큰 산(山)이 있어 산정(山頂)으로부터 동쪽으로 향해 가면 바다에까지 10,000여 보(步)가 되고 서쪽으로 향해 가면 13,000여 보(步)가 되고 남쪽으로 향해 가면 15,000여 보(步)가 되며 북쪽으로 향해 가면 8,000여 보(步)가 되며 촌락(村落)의 기지(基址)가 7개소 있으며 석불(石佛)·철종(鐵鐘)·석탑(石塔)이 있으며 시호(柴胡)·호본(蒿本)·석남초(石南草)가 많이 나서 있으나 그러나 바위가 많아 사람이 살 수 없다.”고 하니 드디어 그 의론을 중지하였다. 혹은 말하기를, “우산도(于山島)와 무릉도(武陵島)는 본래 두 섬으로 서로 거리가 멀지 않아 바람이 불지 않고 날씨가 맑으면 바라볼 수 있다”고 한다.】

Uljin-hyeon was originally Ujinya-hyeon in Goguryeo. It was also called Ui-gun. Silla King Gyeong Deok changed it to its present name and considered it a "gun." In Koryo, it was treated as a "hyeon" and set up a village leader position.

There is an island called Ulleungdo. It is due east of the hyeon (Uljin) in the middle of the ocean. During the time of Silla, it was called Usan-guk, Mu-leung, and U-leung. It has an area of 100 "ri." In the twelfth year of King Ji-jeung, it came and surrendered. In the thirteenth year of Taejo, Ulleungdo residents Baek Gil and Sa Du brought tribute. In the eleventh year of Ui-jeong, the king heard that the land of Ulleungdo was fertile and wide, that there had once been villages there, and that people could live there, so he sent Myeongju-do inspector Kim Yu-rip to see. Kim Yu-rip returned and said, "There is a big mountain in the middle of the island, and if you walk from its summit east to the sea, it is more than 10,000 paces. If you head west, it is more than 13,000 paces. If you head south, it is more than 15,000 paces. And if you head north, it is more than 8,000 paces. There are seven places with remains of villages. There is a stone Buddha, an iron bell, and a stone pagoda. There is much dropwort (柴胡 - 시호), mugwort (蒿本 - 호본), and moorwort (石南草 - 석남초), but there are too many rocks for people to live there. The discussion was finally stopped. Also, it is said that Usan and Muleung were originally two islands that were close enough to each other that they could be seen on a clear, windy day.

Comment: The passage begins by explaining the history of Uljin and that it was considered a "hyeon" during Koryo, which meant that it had administrative authority. It says that the island of Ulleung was also called Usan-guk, Mu-leung, and U-leung, which means that Usan-guk was just another name for Ulleungdo and not a country that stretched ninety-two kilometers east to include Dokdo/Takeshima.

The passage also mentions Kim Yu-rip's inspection trip to Ulleungdo, which was described as having a big mountain in the middle of the island. Kim gave the distances from the summit of the mountain to each of the four shores. The east shore was 10,000 paces (보) away and west was 13,000, which add up to 23,000 paces. The south shore was 15,000 paces away and the north was 8,000, which also add up to 23,000 paces. Therefore, the east-west span of the island was 23,000 paces, and the north-south span was also 23,000 paces. Supposedly, one "ri" equals 350 "보," which equals 420 meters.

Using the above figures, the east-west span of Ulleungdo would be about 66 "ri" (23,000 "bo" divided by 350 "bo"), which would be about 28 kilometers (66 "ri" times 0.42 km). Since the north-south span is also 23,000 paces, it would also be 28 kilometers. However, today we know that the east-west span of Ulleungdo is only 10 kilometers, and the north-south span is only 9.5 kilometers, which is almost one-third the distance reported by Kim Yu-rip.
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There seem to be two possible reasons for the discrepancy. One is that it takes more paces to walk down a mountain than it takes to walk on a straight plane. And the second explanation is that there was a shorter measurement for a "bo" than the 1.2 meter stride we know about. While I think that walking down a mountain would require more paces than walking on level ground, I also think that a 1.2 meter stride is way too big, especially when walking down a mountain. I can reach a 1.2 meter stride (from heel to toe) on flat ground if I really stretch, but I would not be able to do that while walking down a mountain.

The passage also says that there were remnants of seven villages, which suggests that people no longer lived on the island. Everyone was probably chased away or killed during the Jurchen invasions.

Finally, the passage says, "It is said that Usan and Muleung were originally two islands that were close enough to each other that they could be seen on a clear, windy day."I am not sure if Kim Yu-rip actually made the comment, or if the writer of the history added the comment, but either way, it is phrased as "it is said...," which implies that Kim Yu-rip did not see the two islands.
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If Kim Yu-rip actually made the comment, then he would have been quoting from some text published previous to his visit, which would exclude any records from the Chosun Dynasty since Kim Yu-rip's time was before the Chosun Dynasty. If it were the writer of the history that added the comment, then he could have been quoting from the Records of King Sejong since "The History of Kogyo" was completed in 1451, one year after the end of King Sejong's reign. Anyway, the quote about the two islands being visible on a clear day in "The History of Koryo" and the quote in "The Records of King Sejong" are slightly different. Let's compare them:

"History of Koryo"

一云, 于山·武陵, 本二島, 相距不遠, 風日淸明, 則可望見

일운, 우산무릉 본이도 상거불원 풍일청명 칙가망견

It is said that Usan and Muleung were originally two islands that were close enough to each other that they could be seen on a clear, windy day.


"Records of King Sejong"

于山武陵二島 在縣正東海中 二島相去不遠 風日淸明 則可望見 新羅時 稱于山國 一云鬱陵島

우산무릉이도 재현정동해중 이도상거불원 풍일청명 칙가망견 실라시 칭우산국 일은 울릉도

The two islands of Usan and Mu-leung are due east of the present "hyeon" (Uljin), and the distance between them is close enough that they are visible on a clear, windy day. In the time of Silla, they were called Unsan-guk or Ulleungdo.

The first difference I notice between the two passages is that the quote from "The Records of King Sejong" has the phrase "在縣正東海中," which means "due east of the present hyeong (Uljin) in the middle of the ocean," but the "The History of Koryo" leaves that out, at least when referring to the two islands that are supposedly visible to each other. That is an important omission because it makes it more difficult to claim that the passage was referring to the distance between Uljin and the two islands, rather than between the two islands, themselves. However, since Ulleungdo, not Usan and Mu-leung, was mentioned as being due east of Uljin in the first part of the passage from "The History of Koryo," the reference to two separate islands at the end of the passage seems to be referring to a situation that no longer exists. In fact, "The History of Koryo" passage seems to be saying, "It is said that [Ulleungdo used to be two islands,] Usan and Mu-leung, ...." In other words, the passage is referring to the two islands as hearsay or mythology, not fact.
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The second difference I notice in the two passages is that the passage in "The History of Koryo" uses the phrase "本二島" (본이도) while the passage in "The Records of King Sejong" uses just "二島" (이도). The Korean translation I have translates 本二島 as "본래 두 섬으로," which means "was originally two islands which...." If that translation is correct, then it is implying that the two islands merged sometime in the past, which is impossible, and would make the story a kind of mythology. However, 本二島 can also be translated as "these two islands," which would better satisfy the Korean argument, but still would not explain why the passage started out by talking about only one island, Ulleungdo, not two separate islands.
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Koreans claim that the references to Usan and Mu-leungdo being "visible on a clear, windy day" mean that Usan is referring to Dokdo/Takeshima since that is the only island far enough away that would be visible on especially clear days. They say that it would not be talking about one of Ulleungdo's neighboring islands, such as Jukdo, since those islands are close enough to be seen even on cloudy days. However, that reasoning ignores the fact that both passages are talking about only one island, Ulleungdo, or maybe Ulleungdo and an immediate neighboring island.
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The passage in "The History of Koryo," starts out by referring to only Ulleungdo and gives Usan-guk, U-leung, and Mu-leung as alternative names for Ulleungdo, not as separate islands. Likewise, the passage in "The Records of King Sejong" ends by saying that in the time of Silla "the two islands" were called Usan-guk or Ulleungdo, which implies only one island and maybe an immediate neighboring island, not an island 92 kilometers away.
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I think the two references to the islands being "visible on a clear, windy day" are confusing and inconclusive. In future posts, I hope to clear up that confusion.

Monday, May 01, 2006

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Ch. 1)

1145 A.D.: First Mention of Ulleungdo

Ulleungdo is first mentioned in historical documents in 1145 A.D., when it is mentioned by Kim Bu-sik (김부식) in Samguksagi (삼국사기), a Goryeo text describing the histories of the countries of Silla (신라), Goguryeo (고구려), and Baekjae (백제). Here is the relevant passage from the text:

十三年 夏六月 于山國歸服 歲以土宜爲貢 于山國在溟州正東海島 或名鬱陵島 地方一百里

13년(512) 여름 6월에 우산국(于山國)이 항복하여 해마다 토산물을 바쳤다. 우산국은 명주(溟州)의 정동쪽 바다에 있는 섬으로 혹은 울릉도(鬱陵島)라고도 한다. 땅은 사방 100리인데....

In the summer month of June in the 13th year (512 A.D.), Usan-guk surrendered and began paying tributes in local products. Usan-guk is a island in the sea due east of Myeongju, and is also called Ulleungdo. It had an area of 100 "ri."
Ulleungdo is also mentioned in the Samgukyusa (삼국유사), another Goryeo text written around 1277 A.D. Here is the relevant passage:

又阿瑟羅州(今溟州) 東海中便風二日程 有于陵島(今作羽陵) 周廻二萬六千七百三十步

하슬라주(지금의 명주)는 동쪽 바다 가운데 바람이좋으면 2일 거리에 우릉도(지금의 우릉)이 있다. 주위는 2만6천7백3십보이다.

Ulleungdo (now U-leung) is in the middle of the sea, two days due east of Haseullaju (now Myeongju) if the wind is favorable. It has a circumference of 26,730 "보."

Notice that the passage says that Ulleungdo is two days sailing from Myeongju (now Kangneung) and that it has a circumference of 26,730 bo, which is only about 32 kilometers.

Koreans usually say that the Usan-guk mentioned in the Samguksagi was the first referrence to Dokdo/Takeshima, but as the text clearly says, Usan-guk was just another name for Ulleungdo. In fact, the Chinese characters used for the names "Usan" and "Ulleung" seem to have essentially the same meaning.

The Chinese characters used for Usan-guk (于山國) literally mean "Big Mountain Country." 于 (우) means "big," 山 (산) means "mountain," and 國 (국) means "country." The Chinese characters used for Ulleungdo (鬱陵島) literally mean "Luxuriant, Big-hill Island." 鬱 (울) means "luxuriant," 陵 (릉) means "big hill," and 島 (도) means island. Notice that Usan refers to a "mountain" and Ulleung refers to a "big hill." Moreover, notice that in the Samgukyusa, the 鬱 (울) in Ulleungdo was replaced with 于 (우), the same character used in Usan-guk. Therefore, not only does the Samguksagi specifically say that Usan-guk and Ulleungdo are the same island, the name "Ulleung" seems to be just a linguistic variant of "Usan."

So why do Koreans say that Usan-guk is a reference to Dokdo/Takeshima? Well, they say that since the "guk" in Usan-guk means "country," then that means it would have included neighboring islands, including a small group of rocky islets ninety-two kilometers away, but there is no evidence in either of the documents mentioned above that would support that claim. In fact, Ulleungdo was the only island mentioned. Moreover, the 100-"ri" measurement of the land mentioned in the Samguksagi and the circumference given in the Samgukyusa are further evidence that the documents were referring to only Ulleungdo. Besides, why would a people name their country after a small group of barren rocks 92 kilometers away instead of after the island they actually live on?

To look at only the documents above and say that Usan-guk is referring to Dokdo requires a leap with a triple back flip and a double twist in logic.