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Can you see “Dokdo” from Ulleungdo?

November 13th, 2007 . by Gerry-Bevers

Below is a link to a good video of Ulleungdo. Also, at 9 minutes and 22 seconds (9:22) into the video, you can see a view of “Dokdo” (Liancourt Rocks) far off in the distance from Ulleungdo. However, what is interesting about this view of “Dokdo” is that “Dokdo” disappears from view as the camera pulls back from its magnified view to a normal one. Another interesting thing is that Dokdo appears right above the point of a peak, which may be a landmark to help tourists with binoculars and telephoto lens find the island.

I think this video is evidence of just how difficult it is to see “Dokdo”  (Liancourt Rocks) from Ulleungdo. I doubt that fishermen and farmers travelling to Ulleungdo during Korea’s Joseon period had binoculars or an observation point on top of a mountain with a sign and arrow pointing you in the direction of “Dokdo.” This video is also evidence that most, if not all, of the photos on the Web taken of “Dokdo” from Ulleungdo are magnified.

The people who post these magnified photos on the Web are often trying to deceive people into believing that “Dokdo” is closer to Ulleungdo than it really is, in an attempt to convince people that it was considered a neighboring island of Ulleungdo during Korea’s Joseon period. However, it is obvious from this video that “Dokdo” (Liancourt Rocks) would not have been considered a neighboring island of Ulleungdo by any reasonable standard, which is almost certainly why Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo) never appeared on any old Korean map.

Link to Video


24 Responses to “Can you see “Dokdo” from Ulleungdo?”

  1. comment number 1 by: Ken

    Mr. Gerry Bevers,

    Following site is for your reference though you may know already.

    http://toron.pepper.jp/jp/take/hennyu/ishijima41.html

  2. comment number 2 by: ponta.

    Where is beef—I mean Dokdo?
    I am wondering if you can see Ulleungdo from the peninsula in a clear day.

  3. comment number 3 by: nigelboy

    I doubt that fishermen and farmers travelling to Ulleungdo during Korea’s Joseon period had binoculars

    You know how this is going to end up.

    “Gerry. You have to prove that fishermen and farmers travelling to Ulleungdo during Korea’s Joseon Period didn’t have binoculars.” -K-logic.

    ala Prove that 石島 isn’t Dokdo. Prove that Usando isn’t Dokdo, etc.

  4. comment number 4 by: toadface

    Nigleboy, Dokdo is visible on a clear day from Ulleungdo. This was proven by the 1903 Black Dragon Manual found here.

    Dokdo is visible from Ulleungdo

    Ponta, in some Western publications it was recorded Ulleungdo was visible from Korea on a clear day.

    Ulleungdo from Korea

    So historical records show Dokdo was visible from Ulleungdo on a clear day with the naked eye.

  5. comment number 5 by: toadface

    Try these links.

    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/dokdo-visual.html

    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/griffis-hermit1.jpg

  6. comment number 6 by: ponta.

    toadface
    Japanese report says you can see Dokdo from the peak of Ulleungdo in a clear day.
    As Gerry convincingly argued,

    the ones who did live there were probably too busy just trying to survive to have time to climb up those steep mountains and wait for the right atmospheric conditions to see an island they did not even know existed.

    And I suspect BlackDragon used the binoculars.
    Just look, Toadface, Look at Dokdo on the vide–Where is Dokdo? Even the magnified Dokdo must be pointed at an arrow.

    As for the western report, Koreans are said to report Daglet as Fujiyama—–interesting.

  7. comment number 7 by: kjeff

    Gerry,

    This video is also evidence that most, if not all, of the photos on the Web taken of “Dokdo” from Ulleungdo are magnified.

    I couldn’t see the video, but for an academic, your standard of what is “evidence” must be pretty low. It is but one video. I think one of the photos in toadface’s link has a frame of reference, someone’s head. And I think the visibility chart presented in the same link makes a lot of sense.

    …the ones who did live there were probably too busy just trying to survive to have time to climb up those steep mountains and wait for the right atmospheric conditions to see an island they did not even know existed.

    True, but you don’t think that decades(if not centuries) of people living there, and no one…I mean no one…actually climbed those peaks, and wondered, “What the hell is that?”
    .
    I don’t usually comment on Dokdo(cause I’m lazy), but you build a dam on this “evidence.”

  8. comment number 8 by: Gerry-Bevers

    Kjeff,

    Yes, you are lazy if you cannot take the time to watch ten seconds of the video. Watch the video and then comment.

    Also, there is a frame of reference in this video, too, but when the video pulls back from the magnified view to a normal view, you will see that frame of reference did not mean very much.

    And, Toadface (Steve Barber), Dokdo is not visible on any clear day. The atmospherics have to be just right. Your best chance of seeing it is just before sunset in the autumn months, and even then there is no guarantee you can see it with the naked eye. Steve, your Web site is intentionally deceptive.

  9. comment number 9 by: General Tiger

    I’ll just say this: If people on the Korean Peninsula could find Ulleungdo (and people on Honshu finding the Oki Islands), being closer to Dokdo has its advantages.

  10. comment number 10 by: kjeff

    Gerry,

    Yes, you are lazy if you cannot take the time to watch ten seconds of the video. Watch the video and then comment.

    This is what I wrote,

    I couldn’t see the video…

    As an ESL speaker, I guess I wasn’t being very clear. To paraphrase, I wasn’t able to open link.

    Dokdo is not visible on any clear day.

    Is it just me, or are you missing a ‘just’ somewhere there? The point is you can. And, what do you think about the visibility chart?

  11. comment number 11 by: Gerry-Bevers

    Kjeff,

    Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima) cannot be seen from sea level on Ulleungdo because of the curvature of the earth, which means you have to travel at least 33 kilometers beyond Ulleungdo for even the possibility of seeing the rocks under the best conditions.

    To see Liancourt Rocks from Ulleungdo, you have to climb up above a certain elevation before you could even get a peek, under the best conditions, at the tip of the highest peak on Liancourt Rocks, which you would be unable to discern from more than 92 kilometers away. And as I have already post, it is possible to see Liancourt Rocks from the top of Ulleungdo’s peaks if the atmospheric conditions are right, which is not very often.

    The point is not that you can see Liancourt Rocks from one of Ulleungdo’s peaks; the point is that there are no Korean maps or documents saying that Koreans did see them, except for one inspection report in 1694, and that report said that the island looked to be one-third the size of Ulleungdo and there was no name mentioned for the island.

    In 1882, Ulleungdo Inspector Lee Gyu-won reported that he climbed to the top of Ulleungdo’s highest peak and could see endless sky and sea in all four directions, but he could not see even one speck of an island, which is what he was looking for. That is evidence that Koreans did not know about Liancourt Rocks or, at least, did not consider them a part of Ulleungdo even in 1882. So, you see, Liancourt Rocks is not as visible as Toadface (Steve Barber) would want people to believe. If you go to Steve’s site HERE, you will notice that he does not not mention anything about Lee Gyu-won’s 1882 report, and now you know why.

  12. comment number 12 by: alec931

    geri Bevey: “Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima) cannot be seen from sea level on Ulleungdo because of the curvature of the earth, which means you have to travel at least 33 kilometers beyond Ulleungdo for even the possibility of seeing the rocks under the best conditions.”
    .
    And we all know you know this because of personal ‘experience’, right Bevey? 😉

  13. comment number 13 by: ponta.

    And we all know you know this because of personal ‘experience’, right Bevey?

    Well, it seems it is not just his personal experience after watching the video.That is the point of the post.

  14. comment number 14 by: toadface

    Gerry, the conditions to view Dokdo from Ulleungdo have to be ideal. Even today you can see people posting photographs of Dokdo. As Kjeff pointed out the picture you see shows someone’s head in the photo for reference that picture is not magnified. This can be verified by the wide angle and depth of field of the photo as well.

    This photo seems to be right.

    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/dokdo-from-ulleungdo3.jpg

    The video is interesting on a few points. First it is magnified that’s for sure. But how much we don’t really know. I don’t think it is a hugely magnified because the camera appears to be hand held and there is minimal shake. From my personal experience with optical equipment when you get into high magnification hand holding a camera becomes very difficult, especially when you have been exerting yourself like these guys have been.

    Another point you are wrong on is this Gerry. You say when the videographer pans back to “normal view” Dokdo disappears. What is normal view?

    Photographers say the human eye is about a 50mm focal length. However when this video camera pans back it is on a much wider focal length for landscape mode. This becomes apparent during the video when you see the horizon line have a “bowed” or “arched” effect. This happens usually below 28mms on wide angle setting. The wide angle mode on this camera is much weaker than our eyes.

    On another note, the person filming the video is standing well away from the mountain peaks in front of him. If he were standing on the range our further Dokdo would be even larger.

    These days as someone had said on another thread you can see Dokdo on around 20~30 times a year under ideal conditions. This is under today’s atmospheric conditions which in Northeast Asia’s (Korea, China’s) industrial emissions have made much less clear. Long ago there would have been more possible days to view Dokdo. As the link above shows around the year 1900 you could even see Ulleungdo from Korea. I have yet to see a picture of that. That’s pretty impressive at a distance of 130kms.

    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/griffis-hermit1.jpg

    Ancient Koreans lived on Ulleungdo for a least one thousand years before the first Japanese accidentally stumbled upon the island by accident in 1618 in a storm. A millenium of daily life on Ulleungdo under all conditions with far more suitable viewing conditions than today.

    Leekyuwon climbed Ulleungdo and didn’t see Dokdo. What’s your point? Nobody is saying you can see Dokdo 24/7 Gerry. What I’m saying is exactly what Kjeff logically pointed out. To think Koreans lived on Ulleungdo for a millenium within visual proximity of Dokdo and were not cognizant of it is ridiculous. Remember Gerry, earliest records put Koreans on Ulleungdo at least by the year 512 A.D.

    Alec931, Gerry is right, at sea level Dokdo can’t be viewed from Ulleungdo. However, at only 33kms the island becomes visible. This would only be a few hours sailing in the direction of the prevailing winds that consistently blow toward Dokdo.

    This is also under your assumption that Koreans sat on the shore of Ulleungdo and drank cocktails all day and never boated around Ulleungdo. Again you are wrong. Koreans who lived on Ulleungdo came on boats from the Cholla region. They travelled annually 550 kms to Ulleungdo. They gathered abolone, hunted seals, and built boats on Ulleungdo. Ulleungdo’s residents were both fishermen and agriculturalists not landlocked idiots like you imply. You are a very deceptive man Gerry Bevers.

    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/dokdo-european-dagelet.html

    Now Ponta says “I suspect the Japanese were using binoculars” I had to laugh when I read that….

    Dokdo is visible from Ulleungdo, accept it.

  15. comment number 15 by: Gerry-Bevers

    Toadface,

    What do you think my point is?

    On a clear day in 1882, Lee Gyu-won went up to the top of the highest mountain on Ulleungdo and looked in all four directions for islands on the horizon, but did not see a single one. That kills your pollution-excuse theory.

    The reality is that even on a clear day, you cannot see Liancourt Rocks from a mountain on Ulleungdo, unless the atmosphere is just right. That usually means just before sunset when weather conditions are just right in the fall, which was a time of the year that Ulleungdo inspectors avoiding travelling to the island. I do not think it is a conincidence that the only sighting of what was probably Liancourt Rocks in Korean records happened during an inspection of the island in late September 1694. One of the probable reasons that Lee Gyu-won did not see Lincourt Rocks in 1882 was that he went there in May.

    Liancourt Rocks is essentially a ghost island that pops up once in a blue moon and can only be seen from Ulleungdo’s mountain tops, places that Koreans on Ulleungdo during the Joseon dynasty had little or no reason to climb to. Also, if Koreans did not know about Liancourt Rocks, then they would have had little or no reason to sail thirty-three or more kilometers southwest beyond Ulleungdo into the open sea. Koreans were not deep-sea fishermen. They gathered seaweed and abalone around the shores of Ulleungdo or built ships on the shoreline. Those are just a few of the probable reasons that Korea has only one record that talks about an unnamed island southeast Ulleungdo, and in that record, we know the inspector did not travel to the island because he estimated the island to be about one-third the size of Ulleungdo. However, Liancourt Rocks is actually about 390 times smaller than Ulleungdo.

  16. comment number 16 by: toadface

    Gerry, my pollution-excuse? That’s funny. Making a determination on Dokdo’s visibility based on one survey is a typical lame-duck Gerry Bevers classic.

    The season is moot Gerry, it is the atmospheric conditions that determine visibility Any time of year with low humidity and wind direction would be ideal. In fact the weather in the video you cite is hardly what I’d call clear.

    Dokdo is visible once in a blue moon but how many blue moons in a millenium Gerry? Koreans were on Ulleungdo for at least a eight hundred years before the vacant island policy and some stayed there even then.

    Koreans have the far stronger historical land claim in the region by far Gerry. It’s funny how Japanese all try to separate Ulleungdo from Dokdo by citing records about Ulluengdo. Prior to the military annexation of the island no Japanese records separate the issue of Dokdo from Ulleungdo Gerry. Why bother now?

  17. comment number 17 by: ponta.

    Now the point is not that since it is possible to see Dokdo in a very peculiar situation(on the peak in a very clear day of the very  special season) it is possible to interpret the Usan as Dokdo but the point is what the most reasonable interpretation is.
    Now, it is difficult to climb the mountain on the Ulleungdo and people do not bother to climb for nothing. Supposing a person accidentally climb the mountain, it is unlikely to see the Dokdo from the Ulleungdo because it can be seen only a very very special days. Furthermore it is impossible to see the sandy beach from Ulleungdo. These explain why there is no map of dokdo by Korean:you don’t see it, you cannot make a map.
    Hence it is not reasonable to suppose the view they were talking about was Dokdo.

    Another possible and convincing interpretation is that people were talking about the view of Ulleungdo from the mainland.
    http://toron.pepper.jp/jp/take/tizu/simulate.html
    You don’t have to climb the mountain to see Ulleungdo from the peninsula;it is much easier to see Ulleungdo from the mainland than to see dokdo from Ulleungdo. You can barely see the Ulleungdo from the mainland in a clear day. That matches the description. And that is how then Koreans confirmed the territory of Korea.(if I remember correctly)

  18. comment number 18 by: kjeff

    ponta,

    Supposing a person accidentally climb the mountain, it is unlikely to see the Dokdo from the Ulleungdo because it can be seen only a very very special days.

    True…but across centuries, there’s only this one “accident?” Yes, you need specific circumstances to be able to see Dokdo, but even if you can only see it 30 days out of a year from Ulleungdo, that’s still a pretty big probability if repeated for by hundreds of people.

    Now, it is difficult to climb the mountain on the Ulleungdo and people do not bother to climb for nothing.

    Yes…actually nobody does anything for nothing…lol…but, I’m sure more than a few have done it out of curiosity. I don’t know much about Ulleungdo’s mountain(or mountain in general), but I thought Koreans used to climb mountains to look for herbal medicine. Isn’t that scenario possible? Anyhow, looking at that sunset(or is it sunrise?), I’m pretty sure some bored teenagers climbed the peaks just watch it.

  19. comment number 19 by: ponta.

    Kjeff
    As I stated, the point is not if your assumption is possible but how reasonable your assumption is. And your assumption does not look reasonable.

  20. comment number 20 by: toadface

    Kjeff you have a very good point. Koreans who came to Ulleungdo were often herbalists from the mainland. When Leegyuwon surveyed Ulleungdo in 1882 he found some people who were involved in gathering medicinal herbs on Ulleungdo.

    I don’t think you had to climb to the highest peaks of Ulleungdo to see Dokdo. For example the Japanese Warship Niitaka’s logbooks records the view of Dokdo from the Japanese military watchtower on Ulleungdo’s southeast side.

    Here is the picture.
    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/niitakadoc4.jpg

    This watchtower was located on the East side of Ulleungdo. I think it was near Sadong. The three Xs on this map show Japanese military watchtowers on Ulleungdo around 1905. The watchtower from which the above picture was drawn is the southernmost X on Ulleungdo’s east shore. This region is not at a very high elevation.

    You can see the characters 南望樓 meaning South watchtower
    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/Ulleungdo-detail.jpg

    On Lee Hankey’s article he uses a mathematical formula to prove that you only needed to be at an altitude of 115 meters on Ulleungdo to be able to see Dokdo.

    Check page 4.
    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/leehankey-legal.pdf

    So pretty much any small coastal hills on the East side of Ulleungdo that offered a clear view would suffice. In other words you didn’t need to scale the highest peaks of Ulleungdo to see Dokdo. Some of the farming regions themselves would be at a high enough elevation to view Dokdo.

    Ponta the chance of seeing Dokdo is determined by weather conditions, elevation, and most importantly duration of time. As we’ve pointed out, the fact that Koreans lived on Ulleungdo since 512 A.D. makes it hard to believe they weren’t cognizant of Dokdo. However, these were primitive people and finding historical records from them would be like trying to find aboriginal records of Ayers Rock.

  21. comment number 21 by: ponta.

    When Leegyuwon surveyed Ulleungdo in 1882 he found some people who were involved in gathering medicinal herbs on Ulleungdo

    And unfortunately they were not tourists for the sightseeing of the dokdo with telescope son they didn’t see Dokdo, so there is no map of Dokdo.

    On Lee Hankey’s article he uses a mathematical formula to prove that you only needed to be at an altitude of 115 meters on Ulleungdo to be able to see Dokdo.

    And when the video like this shows it is next to impossible to see Dokdo with naked eyes standing on the peak, that goes to show his mathematical formula is wrong. That is how science goes outside of Korea.

  22. comment number 22 by: toadface

    Ponta, historical records said in 1903 Dokdo was visible from the peaks of Ulleungdo.

    Read the Black Dragon article please. Thank you.

    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/dokdo-visual.html

    Unmagnified photos show Dokdo from Ulleungdo.

    http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/dokdo-from-ulleungdo3.jpg

  23. comment number 23 by: ponta.

    historical records said in 1903 Dokdo was visible from the peaks of Ulleungdo.

    Read the Black Dragon article please.

    Historical document does not say with what device he saw Yanko. In 1903 I am sure they used some device to see on the sea.
    And looking at the video Gerry posted, and taking other things into considerations, it is likely he saw with some device.

    Unmagnified photos show Dokdo from Ulleungdo.

    Some doubt the photo
    But notice even this dokdo must be circled to see where it is.
    And as I stated, nobody is saying it is entirely impossible to assume that you can see Dokdo from the peak in a clear day with naked eyes.
    The point is that it is unreasonable to assume what is mentioned in Korean document as seen is Dokdo.
    There is no map. Nobody at the time bother to climb the peak to look at the scenery Supposing somebody happened to climb the mountain, it would have been very rare he witnessed Dokdo;Nobody was there to mark Dokdo with a circle or a arrow in order to make us aware of where Dokdo is.
    And your second western document is enlightening.
    Koreans called Dagelet Fujiyama, the symbolic mountain of Japan. They considered it Japanese island and/or they had no knowledge about the geography out there. Thank you, Toadface, for your cooperation.

  24. comment number 24 by: empraptor

    Wasn’t there a thread on Occidentalism on how a photo of Dokdo from Ulleungdo HAD to be a fake?