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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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。


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


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.


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.


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."
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.