Facts and Fallacies – Geography
1. The False Claim that China Invented Metal Printing Type
Examples of Distortions
Japan: The Yi Dynasty became a tributary state of Ming. (High School, Detailed World History, Yamakawa Publishers, 1994.)
China: In 1948, the Republic of Korea was established in the southern part of the Joseon Peninsula. (Junior High School, World Geography (1), 1993.)
The correct name of a country should always be used as the name symbolizes the country, and this holds true for both names used in the past as well as a name used in the present. The correct use of past names recognizes the countrys history and legitimacy. In this light, the use of the term Yi Dynasty to refer to the dynasty during the Joseon Kingdom should be corrected.
The term Yi Dynasty was used by Japanese colonial scholars to deny the legitimacy of Joseon and rationalize their colonial rule. It is true that there are also some Koreans who use the incorrect term Yi Dynasty without an understanding of the motive behind the creation of the term. It is necessary, therefore, to correct the misuse of the term among Koreans as well as by foreigners in their scholarship on Korea.
2. Sea of Japan instead of East Sea
Examples of Distortions
US: Secondary School Social Studies, Two Centuries of Progress, Glencoe, 1992. Secondary School Social Studies, The Heritage of World Civilization, McMillan, 1994.
In most world maps and atlases used internationally today, Koreas East Sea is indicated as the Sea of Japan, and therefore an immediate correction is warranted.
Historically, Korea has been used the term East Sea in writings since 59 B.C. Examples can be found in numerous records including the Monument of King Gwanggaeto(411), the Samguksagi (History of the Three Kingdoms, 1145) and the Samgungnyusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms, 1284). Moreover, the still extant Atlas of Eight Provinces in the Sinjeung dongguk yeoji seungnam (A revised edition of the Augmented Survey of the Geography of Korea, 1530) uses the term East Sea.
A map of Korea which was officially created in the mid-18th century also used the name, East Sea. Hence, there is much evidence that East Sea has been used for centuries.
China used the term, East Sea, during the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), the Sung Dynasty (960-1279), the Chin Dynasty (1122-1234), the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and the Qing (Cheong) Dynasty (1644-1912).
As for Russian maps, in 1687, Nic Witzens Noord en Oost Tartarye refers to the East Sea as Oceanus Orientals. N. Gomans 1725 map uses the term Eastern Ocean, and in a 1734 map, I. Kirilov refers to the East Sea as a Vostochnoe, meaning East Sea. The Map of Asia printed by the renown Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1745 also refers to the East Sea as Koreiskoe Mope, or Sea of Korea. Other famous maps printed in Russia from 1745 or 1791 use the term Sea of Korea. The Russians called the East Sea the Sea of Korea in their last officially published map of 1844.
Until 1870, even Japanese maps referred to the East Sea as the Sea of Joseon. All of the following maps refer to the East Sea as the Sea of Joseon. The 1810 Sintei bankokuzenzu, the 1838 Bankoku zenzu, the 1850 Chigaku seisozu, the 1855 Chikyu bankokuzenzu, and the 1870 Meizikaitei bankokuyochibunzu. However, all maps published in Japan thereafter refer to the East Sea as the Sea of Japan. From this, it can be inferred that the Japanese government directed, as a matter of policy, that the name Sea of Japan be used.
There are many European maps which identified the East Sea as the Sea of Korea. These include a 1615 Portuguese map, a 1647 English map, a map published in the 1744 and 1752 editions of a world atlas and a 1750 French map. Furthermore, Sea of Korea appears in the first edition of the 1771 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Historically speaking, the East Sea has been used for a long time not only in Korea but also in neighboring countries such as China, Russia, and Japan, as well as in Europe.
In documents written since the early 1970s, many citizens and scholars have pointed out the unreasonableness of naming the East Sea the Sea of Japan. The Korean Government continues to contact renowned map publishers, broadcasting companies, newspaper companies and magazine publishers throughout the world and to request that they use the name East Sea in lieu of Sea of Japan.
To change the Sea of Japan to the East Sea will not be easy. The term Sea of Japan has been in use for a long time and such habits are hard to break.
Nevertheless, the name East Sea was in use for a much longer time and Sea of Japan is a legacy of Koreas colonial period and perpetuates the injustice of the past and, therefore, is not acceptable to Koreans. Hence, concerted efforts must be made at both the government and private level to publicize the appropriateness of the use of the name East Sea which is a neutral name.
3. The Designation of Dokdo as Japanese Territory or without Any Nationality
Examples of Distortions
US: Encyclopedia of the UN and International Relations, Taylor and Francis, 1992. Japan: Middle School Social Studies, Geography, Gakko-tosho Publishers, 1994, map on page 112.
Dokdo is a small rocky island in the middle of the East Sea at north latitude 37 14 18 and east longitude 131 59 22. It is located about 49 nautical miles from Ulleungdo which is Korean territory and 86 nautical miles from Japanese island of Okishima.
From the 15th century, during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), the island was called Usando, and the name was changed to Dokdo in 1883.
Until the early sixth century, Dokdo and Ulleungdo were called Usan-guk (The country of Usan). Usan-guk was incorporated into the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C-A.D. 935) in 512, the 13th year of the monarch, Jijeungwang (r. 500-514). Since this time it has been Korean territory. This is confirmed by an entry in the Samguksagi (History of the three Kingdoms) published in 1145.
In addition, many other ancient records and documents, such as the Sejong Sillok Jiriji (Geographical Appendix to the Veritable Records of King Sejong) published in 1432, the Goryeosa Jiriji (Geographical Appendix to the History of Goryeo), published in the mid-15th century and the Sukjong Sillok (Veritable Record of King Sukjong), among others, state that Usando (Dokdo) became part of the territory of the Silla Kingdom. Thus, from 512 until the present, Dokdo has been an integral part of Korean territory.
The first ancient Japanese record which mentions Dokdo is the Onshu shicho goki (What Was Seen or Heard About Onshu) published in 1667. What is significant about this document is that it states that Dokdo and Ulleungdo are part of the territory of the Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392) and that the island of Okishima is japans farthest northwestern border. Thus, even the very first Japanese record which mentions Dokdo acknowledges that it is Korean territory.
The Sankoku setsujo chizu (A Territorial Map of Three Nations), made by the famous Japanese scholar Kohei Hayashi in 1785, indicated the territory of Korea and Japan in different colors so as to clearly show the borders between the two countries. On this map, Joseon was depicted in yellow and Japan in green. Ulleungdo and Dokdo which were accurately located were colored yellow, indicating that they were part of Joseon territory. Moreover, there was writing next to the two islands stating that they are Joseon territory. All the Japanese Army and Navy maps during the Meiji Government period repeated confirmed that the two islands were a part of Joseon territory.
During the Japanese occupation of Korea, Dokdo became Japanese territory, as did all of Korea. With Japans unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945, Korea was liberated from Japan. In SCAPIN-677, Governmental and Administrative Separation of Certain Outlying Areas from Japan which was Annex I to Directive (No. 677) of the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers to the Japanese Government to Implement the Instrument of Surrender and which was dated January 29, 1946, Dokdo was acknowledged as being excluded from Japanese territory and thus as Korean territory. In addition, on June 22, 1946, in order No. 1033, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers prohibited the entry of Japanese fishing ships and other ships within 12 nautical miles of Dokdo. As a result, Dokdo was completely reclaimed as Korean territory.
In a diplomatic document dated January 28, 1952 and sent to the Republic of Korea in protest against the proclamation of the Peace Line, Japan began claiming ownership of Dokdo. This was the beginning of the dispute with Japan over the ownership of Dokdo.
All documents and records unequivocally prove that Dokdo has been Korean territory since 512. For this reason, the Korean Government does not recognize that Dokdo is an area in dispute. Japan lacks any evidence for its claim because it is completely unfounded. Therefore from a historical perspective and in international law, there is no valid dispute over the ownership of Dokdo; it is clearly Korean territory.
Published by the Korean Educational Development Institute
- Editors: Yong Taik Sohn, Ph.D. (KEDI), Mr. Kwang Jae Kim (KEDI Research Assistant)
- Editorial Consultant: Suzanna Samstag (Editor of Newsweek Korea),Robert Abraham (LG EDS Systems)
- Writers: Yong-ha Shin, Ph.D. (Seoul National University), Ki Suk Lee, Ph.D. (Seoul National University),Yong Kyu Choi, Ph.D. (Korea National University of Education)ang Joon Nam, Ph.D. (Chungju University of Education) Bum Jik Lee, Ph.D. (Konkuk University), Jae Taik Yoo, Ph.D. (KEDI)- Reviewer: Won Soon Lee, Ph.D. (The National History Compilation Committee of the Republic of Korea),John Hee Lee, Ph.D. (The University of Seoul),Mr. Byong Yong Yoo (The Academy of Korean Studies),Wan Bom Lee, Ph.D. (The Academy of Korean Studies),Chan Hee Lee, Ph.D. (KEDI)