It is my opinion that this change of rationale from Japan is evidence that its positions are obviously unreasonable. In particular, the assertion that the Japanese recognized Dokdo in the 17th century is very different from the Known facts and is just a lie.
Coincidentally, the Japanese Foreign Ministry's insistence on this issue is based on its interpretation of records such as that which proclaims "Onshu is in the middle of the Japanese North Sea, so it has been called Oki-sima. Going further from there for two days and one night in the direction of northwest, one reaches Matshshima. Also there is Takeshima at another day's travel distance. These two islands are uninhabited and getting a sight of Koryo from there is like viewing Oki from Onshu. Thus the shu marks the northwestern boundary of Japan" in Onshu Shicho Goki, (Records on Observation in Oki Province) edited by Saito Hosen in 1667.
Japan interprets Ulleungdo on the basis of "the shu" in a sentence as meaning "and thus the shu marks the northwestern boundary of Japan." They furthermore contend that Matsushima, which the Japanese called Dokdo must be islets belonging to the Oki-sima. On the contrary, Korean scholars interpret "the shu" as being within the Oki-sima, and I guess that this view is more appropriate. Because the "shu"(州) means only a provincial administrative unit where people live and Because in Ulleungdo nobody was living, such a title as the "shu" could not be used. Therefore the Japanese Foreign Ministry's persistence is obviously only telling another lie revealing its own inconsistency.
In fact, Korea has already recognized Dokdo as a territory of its own since the 17th century. This assertion is grounded on the fact that Ulleungdo and Dokdo are drawn as islands belonging to Kangwon-do on a map that An Yong-bok carried with him to Japan in 1696. The material presented below is An Yong-bok's statement found in Oki-sima, Simane-ken in 2005. Records of the statement reminds us of the fact that An Yong-bok was carrying the map in which Ulleungdo and Dokdo the Japanese called Takeshima and Matshshima were included within one of the Korean provinces - Kangwon-do.
More importantly at this point, he gave such a name to Dokdo as "Jasando"(子山島). The name "Jasando", literally meaning a son island, implies there was the mother island Ulleungdo which had its mother-child relationship with Dokdo. Therefore, the map states definitely that An Yong-bok recognized Ulleungdo and Dokdo as two islands with the mother-child relationship with each other.
Furthermore, after An's travel to Japan with his naming "Jasando" for Dokdo, he told the Japanese that it was Joseon Dynasty's territory, and that the map in which Dokdo was designated "Jasando" was made afterward. This historical episode tells us that the fact that Dokdo was Joseon's dominion was widely acknowledged by people at that time.
According to Sukjong Sillok (the Annals of King Sukjong), the fact that even common people acknowledged Dokdo as Joseon's territory can be also proved. A record on July 22nd in the 40th year of the reign of King Sukjong says, "According to what the people say in the estuary, Peunghae(平海) and Uljin(蔚珍) are closest to Ulleungdo and there is no difficulty in the sea routes ships take. And to the east of Ulleungdo, there is a set of islands which are closely bordered by Japan."
A series of islands to the east of Ulleungdo mentioned here must be Dokdo. We can affirm, therefore, that according to this record, people living on the east coast at that time knew that their location was bordered by Japan. Additionally, we can understand correctly that when the government of Joseon recorded this fact mentioned in Sukjong Sillok, it meant that the government recognized such a situation.
Besides this question, it is natural that Korea possesses Dokdo which has been so clearly its own territory. Still, even in the view of the historical facts illustrated above, it is not reasonable that the Japanese Foreign Ministry insist that Dokdo is the territory of Japanese. If the Japan claim Dokdo as their territory and insists on their sovereignty, it cannot help being considered as a modern display of international aggression. In this sense, with reason calmly regained, Japan must approve the fact that Dokdo is Korean territory and develop good-neighbor relationahips and friendly policies, and I guess this will be the proper and correct way of Japan, which has the world's second most powerful economy.
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