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


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.


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



왜적이 우산도(于山島)·무릉도(武陵島)에서 도둑질하였다.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.”


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:



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


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


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.”


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)


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 distinguish 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)
"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)

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

What is the history of Ulleungdo? (Introduction)


Ulleungdo (鬱陵島: 울릉도) is a Korean island about 134 kilometers off the South Korean coast in the Sea of Japan. It has a north latitude between 37 degrees 27 minutes and 37 degrees 33 minutes, and an east logitude between 130 degree 47 minutes and 130 degrees 55 minutes. Its dimensions are approximately 9.5 kilometers north to south and 10 kilometers east to west. It has a total area of approximately 73 square kilometers (km) and a circumference of about 56.5 km. There are a dozen or so peaks on the island, but the highest is Seonginbong (聖人峰: 성인봉), which is 984 meters high.

Here is a satellite picture of Ulleungdo.

There are several rocky islets just offshore of Ulleungdo, but there are only two islands of any significant size. The islands, which are located off the east coast, are called Kwaneumdo (觀音島: 관음도) and Jukdo (竹島: 죽도). Kwaneumdo is only about a 100 meters offshore, and Jukdo is about 2.5 kilometers offshore.

Ulleungdo, Kwaneumdo, and Jukdo make up what is called Ulleung County, which is under the jurisdiction of Gyeongbuk Province. Korea also claims that a small group of rocky islets ninety-two kilometers southeast of Ulleungdo are also part of Ulleung County, but Japan disputes this by claiming that the islets are Japanese. The Koreans call the islets "Dokdo," the Japanese call them "Takeshima," and the West calls them "Liancourt Rocks." The rocky islets have a total area of only about 0.17 square km, and have been occupied by a small detachment of Korean maritime police since 1954.

I believe that Liancourt Rocks are Japanese territory and that Korea is illegally occupying them. Over the next several weeks, I plan to examine the history of Ulleungdo and Dokdo/Takeshima and support my beliefs with maps and quotes from historical documents. Posters are welcome to comment on my claims in the comments section, and refute them with their own evidence if they would like. I only ask that you keep your comments civil.

I do not have all the answers. I am searching for the truth, and plan to make my search a learning experience. I am hoping that a good dialog with people who visit this site will help us all learn something. You already know where I stand on the issue, so feel free to let me know where you stand and to disagree with me where you will.