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.