Dokdo 1910

This is a story about what happened in Korea 100 years ago
In 1900, the international situation was changing rapidly because of Western powers.
In this time of confusion, the neighboring country Japan began its move toward colonization.
Japan launched a long-term project to manipulate the world’s perception of Japan. 

The Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895)
Two foreign powers fought over control of Korea.
This conflict led to the Sino-Japanese War.

At the end of this war, the two countries signed a treaty in Shimonoseki, Japan.
Article 1: “China recognizes definitively the full and complete independence and autonomy of Korea”
China was the biggest obstacle to Japan’s plan for colonizing Korea.
The Treaty of Shimonoseki freed Japan from China’s interference in Korean politics.

The Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902)
An alliance between Britain and Japan to halt Russia’s advance to East Asia and support mutual interests Britain was then the world’s superpower. Through its deliberate efforts, Japan reached an agreement on the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. After this alliance, the international community began recognizing Japan’s rights to control Korea.

The Treaty of Portsmouth (1905)
A peace treaty between Russia and Japan that was signed in 1905 through the mediation of U.S. President Roosevelt to end the Russo-Japanese War
Article II.
“The Imperial Russian Government acknowledges that Japan possesses in Korea paramount political, military and economical interests.”

Through this treaty, world powers approved Japan’s rights to occupy Korea.

The Hague Peace Conference (1907)
From 45 countries, 239 representatives attended the Hague Peace Conference.
However, imperialism was hidden behind the cause for world peace. The Korean Empire was not invited.  
The Korean Emperor dispatched envoys to disclose the coercive nature of the Korea-Japan Protectorate Treaty. The Emperor Gojong wished to annul the protectorate treaty through the support of the international community.

The envoys were denied entry to the conference. They appealed to international journalists about Joseon’s deep concern about the situation.  

However, public sentiment in the 1900s was with imperialism.  Korean envoys’ desperate appeal disappeared into the dustbin of history. With the support of Western powers, Japan dominated the public opinions of the world. Japan finally succeeded in manipulating the world’s view of its control of Korea.  In 1910, Japan colonized Korea.

There is another thing to be stressed: Dokdo 
Japan first took over Dokdo in 1905 prior to its colonization of Korea. In the 21st century, Japan is coming back. Just like they did 100 years ago, Japan has started persuading the international community. In 2010, 10 out of 23 Japanese school textbooks introduced Dokdo as Takeshima.  Japan claims that it has sovereignty over Dokdo.

In March of 2011, the Japanese government approved several textbooks that claim Dokdo is a Japanese territory. Japan’s historical distortion has significantly worsened over the past year.

“Dokdo was a Japanese territory since the Edo period.”
“Dokdo was incorporated into Japan in 1905, but Korea is claiming it as its territory since 1952.”

Distorted History in Japanese Textbooks

Japanese textbooks deny its imperial history regarding its invasion of Korea and crimes in other Asian countries that Japan committed in the 1900s.  The Japanese government triggers hostility among its people, claiming the need to retrieve Japanese territories. This claim drives young Japanese to a new imperialism. Japan is moving back into its imperial history, instead of regretting and apologizing to its victims in Asia.

Debate on Conquering Korea in 1870 by Yoshida Shoin
“To overcome our challenges, we must honor our emperor by conquering Korea and making it a tributary state.”

“Japan must advance to the continent by using Korea as a bridgehead.”

Japan sought resources on the Asian continent to expand its military power. To pursue their ambition, Japan waged aggressive war in Asia. The Sino-Japanese War and the Russo-Japanese War both broke out on the Korean peninsula. Japan ended up becoming a war criminal state of World War II.

Imperialism broke the peace in Asia. It left the irreversible damage of colonization and war.

New Debate on Conquering Korea
Japan is now trying to cover up the tragedies they caused in Asia.

Japan indicates its ambition to incorporate Dokdo into Japan by calling it Takeshima. We must remember. Dokdo was the island of tragedy in the East Sea. It was the first Korean territory that was invaded by Japan. Behind Dokdo, there is the long sad history of Korea.   Just like 100 years ago, Japan is trying to influence the international community. Japan is promoting Dokdo as a Japanese territory named Takeshima.  

This is not just an issue between Korea and Japan. It is an issue for all of us to protect the peace in Asia. The international community is already being influenced by Japan’s imperialistic logic.

U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)
In 2008, the BGN revised their conventional classification of Dokdo as a Korean territory to “undesignated sovereignty”.

United Nations (UN)
In 2004, the U.N. distributed a document that acknowledged Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo.
In 2006, the U.N. revised the document to reverse its stance on Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo.

The CIA, major international websites and world map publishers began using “Dokdo/Takeshima”.
In July of 2011, the Wall Street Journal began using “Dokdo/Takeshima”. 

Japan is making an attempt to change Dokdo to Takeshima in the general perception of the world. Japanese imperialism of 1910 is coming back. Now is the time for all of us to stand up for Dokdo and peace.

Ten Strategies for Promoting Dokdo by Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, VANK

1. Don’t introduce Dokdo as a contested region between Korea and Japan!
Instead, introduce it as a beautiful island.

International travel guidebook, Lonely Planet Magazine (2010)

Ulleungdo Island in Korea:
The Lonely Planet selected Ulleungdo as one of the world’s 10 best secret islands.

The magazine described Ulleungdo as an unpolluted pristine island with the most fertile fishing grounds in the East Sea along with Dokdo. Let it be known that near Ulleungdo, there is Koreans’ favorite island, Dokdo
Ulleungdo and Dokdo, the Islands of Mother and Son
Ulleungdo and Dokdo are known as the islands of mother and son.
Historically, the two islands have been in a close relationship.

The world will view Dokdo as a beautiful island of Korea.
Japan’s intention to make it a contested region will fail.

2. Promote Dokdo as a Korean territory for a geographical reason.

87.4 km away from Ulleungdo
157.5 km away from the Oki Islands of Japan

Dokdo is clearly seen from Ulleungdo, but unseen from the Oki Islands.

“Due to their close distance, Dokdo is visible from Ulleungdo on clear days.”
- Geographical Appendix to the Veritable Records of King Sejong (1454)

Dokdo was not visible from Japan since ancient times. Let it be known that Dokdo cannot be a Japanese territory for this geographical reason.

3. Promote Dokdo with old documentary evidence.

A reference to Dokdo is found in the documentary records of the Silla Kingdom 1500 years ago. Korea’s historical documents, such as the Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms and the Geographical Appendix to the Veritable Records of King Sejong, specified Dokdo as a Korean territory. On the other hand, it is only after the 17th century that Japan started recognizing Dokdo. There are many Japanese historical documents to prove that Dokdo is not a Japanese territory.

4. Promote Dokdo as a Korean territory under international laws.

Imperial Edict No. 41 of the Korean Empire (issued in 1900) Dokdo was indicated as being under the jurisdiction of Ulleungdo. However, Imperial Japan had superior power to Joseon. In 1905, Japan deprived the Korean Empire of its diplomatic rights. Let it be known that Japan illegitimately incorporated Dokdo into Japan through the Shimane Prefecture Notification No. 40.

5. Promote the fact that the Japanese Prime Minister’s office declared Dokdo a Korean territory in 1877.

In 1696, the Tokugawa shogunate issued an edict banning the Japanese from crossing over to Ulleungdo. 
In 1870, a Japanese official report titled “A Confidential Inquiry into the Particulars of Foreign Relations of Korea” stated that Ulleungdo and Dokdo were under Joseon’s possession.
In 1877, the Dajokan Directive, equivalent to today’s prime minister’s office, declared Joseon’s sovereignty over Dokdo.

“Ulleungdo and its sister island (Dokdo) are of no relation to Japan.”

6. Promote the fact that Dokdo is an important source of Korea’s national pride. 

In 1905, Japan defeated Russia’s Baltic Fleet and won a victory in the Russo-Japanese War by strategically taking advantage of the geographical locations of Ulleungdo and Dokdo. In 1910, Japan colonized Joseon.  For 35 years, Japan made lasting scars and irreversible physical damage to the life of Koreans.  In 1945, Japan’s defeat in World War II brought independence to Korea. All Korean territories, including Dokdo, were returned to Korea. Over 50 years have passed since Korea’s independence.  However, Japan has yet to give up its imperialistic ambition. Let it be known that Japan claims its sovereignty over Dokdo on the basis of its colonial territorial rights.

7. Promote Dokdo as a symbol of peace in Asia, beyond all geographical and historical evidence.

Japan’s stance on its sovereignty over Dokdo is getting increasingly more aggressive. This attitude reminds Koreans of their historical suffering. For Koreans, the protection of Dokdo is a struggle to overcome its colonial history and eliminate imperialism from the Asian continent. Let it be known that Dokdo represents Koreans’ will to protect peace in Asia.
8. Persuade international publishers that naming Dokdo as Takeshima is a tacit consent to Japanese militarism.

In 1902, Britain approved Japan’s right to control Korea through the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. In 1905, U.S. President Roosevelt mediated the Treaty of Portsmouth to grant Japan’s priority to control Korea. Around 100 years ago, the international community turned a blind eye to Japanese imperialism.
This negligence caused deep scars and pain on the Asian continent. Accepting the name of Takeshima for Dokdo is a sign of approval for the revival of Japanese militarism.  Let it be known that an approval of Takeshima will shake the peace in Asia.  To prevent the revival of Japanese imperialism in Asia, all of us have a historical obligation to remove Takeshima and only use the name Dokdo. 

9. Inform about the fact that a reference to Dokdo as the Liancourt Rocks is misleading.

Liancourt Rocks
The name of the Liancourt Rocks originated from the name of a French whaling ship that found Dokdo in 1849.

Despite its official name Dokdo, a French ship’s arbitrary reference to it as the Liancourt Rocks has been widely spread by international publishers. It is highly problematic that an arbitrary name overrides its official name. The inaccurate labeling of Dokdo as the Liancourt Rocks will create great confusion among many foreigners and foreign ships that come to Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Let it be known that the confusion from inaccurate naming will cause significant mental and physical damage to Koreans.

10. Persuade them that omission of Dokdo in world maps will cause unnecessary confusion.

There are maps that omit Dokdo due to the issue of scale.  However, Dokdo still exists as the easternmost island of Korea. Its official name is “Dokdo”. Dokdo and Ulleungdo are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Korea. If these popular attractions are omitted, it will cause unnecessary confusion among international tourists.
Dokdo, a small rock island in the East Sea
This small island is entangled in Japans’ historical distortion and imperialism.

All of us have a historic obligation to promote the truth about Dokdo. Voluntary Agency Network of Korea VANK is asking you to help us end imperialism and establish peace in Asia.

Settling on the name of Dokdo is the first step. Dokdo carries the sadness of the Korean people.However, Dokdo is an island of peace that boasts the beauty of pristine nature. Let the world hear the story of Dokdo, the beautiful island of peace.

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