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Artistic License in Regard to “Dokdo”?

March 9th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

The following is a sculpture of Kim Dae-geon drawing his 1846 map of Korea, “Carte de la Coree.” The sculpture was made my Choi Chan-jeong, a famous religious icons sculptor who passed away in 2006. (The man showing the sculpture is not the artist.)

The following is a close-up shot of the sculpture:

Now compare the close-up shot of the map in the sculpture with a close-up of the real map:

Notice that the location of Ulleungdo’s neighboring island has changed, along with its name. On the 1846 map, Ulleungdo was labeled as “Oulangto,” and its neighboring island of Usan was labeled as “Ousan.” The sculptor moved Usando farther southeast of Ulleungdo on the map in the sculpture than where it was on the real map and labeled it as “Dogdo” (Dokdo) instead of “Ousan.” The sculptor also added “Ulleung gun” (Ulleung County) to the map.

The Joongang Ilbo article that talks about the scupture says that it is titled “Proof of Dokdo Possession.” The article says that Kim Dae-geon was a priest who used modern mapmaking techniques to make his 1846 map for foreign missionaries, which was why he used French to label the placenames on the map. The article adds that the 1846 map showed “precisely” that “Ulleungdo” and “Dokdo” were Korean territory.

My question is this:

“If the 1846 map showed ‘precisely’ that ‘Ulleungdo’ and ‘Dokdo’ were Korean territory, then why did the 20th century sculptor move “Ousan” farther to the southeast of Ulleungdo and rename it “Dogdo”?

POSTSCRIPT: The mapmaker, Kim Dae-geon, was Korea’s first Catholic priest, and the above map was probably one of the last things he ever made. He was executed in 1846, at the age of twenty-five, for his efforts in trying to bring Christianity to Korea. Kim Dae-geon’s father had been executed seven years earlier, in 1839, with more than seventy other Christians, including French priests.

It seems ironic that a map which may have been one of the reasons Kim Dae-gon was executed is the same map that Korean nationalists are using today to try to support Korea’s claim on “Dokdo.”

The small island labeled as “Ousan” on the 1846 map was not “Dokdo.” It was almost certainly Ulleungdo’s neighboring island of Jukdo, which is about 2.2 kilometers off of Ulleungdo’s east shore. “Usando” (Usan Island) was an old name for the island. You can see Ulleungdo and its neighboring island of Usan on the following 1899 Korean map.

1899 Korean map showing Usando as a neighboring island of Ulleungdo


25 Responses to “Artistic License in Regard to “Dokdo”?”

  1. comment number 1 by: pacifist

    Gerry,

    Thanks for the interesting topic.
    .
    So the sculptor knew that he was deceiving people…or was it done unconsciuosly? If the latter was the case, it should be due to the Korean gene?

  2. comment number 2 by: Gerry-Bevers

    Pacifist,

    I am sure it was done consciously, but I do not believe in a “Korean gene.” However, Koreans do tend to get a little silly when it comes to “Dokdo.”

  3. comment number 3 by: opp

    lol, this is very amusing.

  4. comment number 4 by: Katz

    The maps made at that time must have been negligence due to lack of interest and technology, and the time they were under. Although I don’t agree with the distortions of moving islands on the maps all the time, have you imagined why they would neglect, under what cirmcumstances? Mutt, you never lived as a Korean, it must be very easy for you to judge because you are no more than a irritating japanophile, the most pathetic and ridiculous race in the world.

  5. comment number 5 by: Katz

    Ah, and Gerry Bevers, a parasite who live in Korea and talk against it while enjoying his life there. BTW, do you have a Korean wife too? It must be very funny a hypocrite like you teaching English to whom you try to harm.

  6. comment number 6 by: opp

    I must add this map to my sight.

  7. comment number 7 by: Hyalucent

    Is it just me or does that sculpture look like a self-portrait?

  8. comment number 8 by: wiesunja

    the most pathetic and ridiculous race in the world.

    You are talking about Koreans, right? LOL. Hey, don’t be too hard on them. I know they lack alot of mental faculties, but come on…their antics are quite funny…kind of like watching a rabid monkey chasing after a banana kept out of its reach at the circus.

  9. comment number 9 by: Gerry-Bevers

    Katz,

    How is pointing out deception harming Korea? I am hoping that it will help Koreans to be more careful and responsible in the future. I think that ignoring such deception is what harms Korea.

  10. comment number 10 by: tomato

    Mutt, you never lived as a Korean, it must be very easy for you to judge because you are no more than a irritating japanophile, the most pathetic and ridiculous race in the world.

    You look pretty pathetic yourself when you make comments like this, Katz. You’re arguing that Koreans are entitled to lie because of what?-history of foreign domination?- and then you go on to bash “japanophile”s. Now how’s bashing Japan have to do with making Korea look better?

  11. comment number 11 by: crypticlife

    Katz, stop trolling. Your “points” do not deserve any mention at all.

    pacifist, same for you and your “Korean gene” theory.

    As for the sculpture itself, it seems slightly odd that “Dokdo” is mixed-case while “UIREUG” is all upper-case, and the “Dokdo” looks slightly darker, as though carved more deeply or at a different time. Might it have been altered and retitled for the purpose of “proving” possession?

    At least they’re all English characters. Clearly that’s not historical (right??), so this could more properly be taken as a political statement. I find it hard to believe something like this would be taken as proof of anything.

  12. comment number 12 by: CaptPorridge

    A little off topic here Matt, but there’s a Sydney Morning Herald JMS cult articlein today’s edition….. enjoy!

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/claims-sect-using-social-groups-to-recruit-members/2007/03/09/1173166991757.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

    http://www.jmscult.com

  13. comment number 13 by: kojibomb

    … lol
    I gotta say this
    the person in the picture kinda look like a crook.

  14. comment number 14 by: ponta

    http://homepage2.nifty.com/oppekepe/takeshima/eng/index.html

    Opp revealed another distortion of interpretation of internationals law about Dokdo by a Korean professor, Don’t miss it.

  15. comment number 15 by: Matt

    The maps made at that time must have been negligence due to lack of interest and technology, and the time they were under. Although I don’t agree with the distortions of moving islands on the maps all the time, have you imagined why they would neglect, under what cirmcumstances? Mutt, you never lived as a Korean, it must be very easy for you to judge because you are no more than a irritating japanophile, the most pathetic and ridiculous race in the world.

    Katz, you never lived in Korea, either. Furthermore, you don’t even understand the Korean language, but I can. On what basis do you hope to attack me?

  16. comment number 16 by: MarkA

    Is that soapstone, or wax sculpture?

  17. comment number 17 by: Avery

    Katz is an interesting kind of fellow, who can blindly support all of a foreign country’s policies without ever having been there or spoken the language. And to think he calls Gerry-Bevers a “Japanophile” for daring to question Korea’s stand!

  18. comment number 18 by: GarlicBreath

    I think if you look carefully you will see “there be dragons” near the corner of the map. Its amazing that Koreans would celebrate Kim Dae-geon as a “map maker” becaue of how bad a map he made.

  19. comment number 19 by: nighthawk

    tomato said:
    You’re arguing that Koreans are entitled to lie because of what?-history of foreign domination?

    That indeed seems to be the mentality of many Koreans regarding issues other than takeshima, too. Perhaps Katz IS speaking for many Koreans.

  20. comment number 20 by: Katz

    tomato said:

    You look pretty pathetic yourself when you make comments like this, Katz. You’re arguing that Koreans are entitled to lie because of what?-history of foreign domination?- and then you go on to bash “japanophile”s. Now how’s bashing Japan have to do with making Korea look better?

    Did I bash Japan? Why all the fuzz about it?

    crypticlife said:

    Katz, stop trolling. Your “points” do not deserve any mention at all.

    Did I troll?

  21. comment number 21 by: Gerry-Bevers

    MarkA wrote,

    Is that soapstone, or wax sculpture?

    Actually, the article said that it was a plaster molding and that the the original clay piece had disappeared.

  22. comment number 22 by: MarkA

    How convenient.

  23. comment number 23 by: crypticlife

    Katz,

    Yes.

  24. comment number 24 by: Katz

    Prove.

  25. comment number 25 by: Its Beyond Me

    […] One of the silly things that Japan and Korea always tussle over is a bird shitted pile of rocks in the middle of the Sea of Japan. Its a point of pride in Korea where as in Japan the Japanese could care less. Either way the Koreans are always coming up with fabricated maps and letters to prove that it is Korean territory, even though there are maps dating from the 18th century (maybe even earlier) that proves them wrong. Gerry Bevers has a long running series of posts over at Occidentalism on the issue. Today I ran across the latest post, and I got to say it made me chuckle. See for yourself. Artistic License in Regard to “Dokdo”? [Link]   […]