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Pheasant massacre

July 18th, 2008 . by Matt

This is messed up.


This is the reason why Gerry’s educational efforts on the Takeshima/Dokdo issue is so important. The Dokdo issue is warping Korean minds and contributing to the bizarre protests that happen frequently in Korea.

By the way, I have made another study of the Takeshima/Dokdo issue. I did so a couple of years ago, but had not really updated my knowledge or heard the new arguments since then (except for what Gerry posted on Occidentalism). More so than before the proof on the Japanese side is overwhelming, and Korean arguments on the issue have been consistently debunked. Really, what Gerry and the Japanese posters that met on Occidentalism (kaneganese and pacifist) are doing is amazing. There is probably no better place on the web to learn about the Takeshima/Dokdo issue in any language.

36 Responses to “Pheasant massacre”

  1. comment number 1 by: Kaneganese

    Thank you, Matt.

    My friend told me that VANK were urged Korean to rush into our blog a few days ago. And actually, we were “VANKED”. The votes number’s for Korea jumped up fro 53,000 to 383,000 in the last few days. And the numbers of the visitors from 278,000 to 902,500. It’s going to hit 1,000,000 soon, I guess. And it’s full of Korean kids screaming “Japs””rapists””muderers””fake”in comments section. What Korean want from these brainwashed kids, seriously?

    By the way, the funniest thing is, it looks like the pheasants, which Korean are slaughtering in the photo, are not Japanese domestic species “キジ(雉子、雉、学名:Phasianus versicolor).” It’s their own. “高麗雉=コウライキジ(Phasianus colchicus karpowi Buturlin)” See the photos.

  2. comment number 2 by: Kaneganese

    correction : were urged→urged

  3. comment number 3 by: fh

    Reported elsewhere, the South Korean ambassador Kwon Chul-hyun has suggested a different line of protest, that South Korea “could withdraw support for Japan in negotiations with North Korea” regarding “nuclear, missile, and abduction issues”.

    As if killing birds in symbolic protest isn’t enough, South Korea could be willing to jeopardize nuclear safety as a way to protest Japan. And this is coming from government officials, not just embittered veterans (though the statements in the article suggest the public could greatly influence the gov). Mob rule?

    My question: is it possible to criticize this line of irrational protesting without being labeled “anti-Korean racist”?

  4. comment number 4 by: toadface


    Here is a map that shows the current 12 nautical mile boundary Korea has around Dokdo. Take a look at the distances from Korean/Japanese islands and nearest landfalls


    With the current boundary Korea gets 235 kms from her mainland, Japan gets 195 kms.
    With the current boundary Korea’s Ulleungdo gets 110 kms and Japan’s Oki gets 140 kms.
    Any normal person would agree this boundary is fair……except for land hungry Japan.

    Now take a look at what the greedy Japanese have been trying to ram down Korea’s throat for the last 50 years. Does this look like a fair Japan/Korea boundary to you?


    Do you really think what Japan wants is reasonable? Look at the maps I’ve made to point out the greed of Japan’s government.

    Some of these demonstrators are the wacky lunatic fringe. However any rational person can see, there is no reason Japan should have Takeshima in the context of modern international law.

  5. comment number 5 by: bad_moon_rising

    Japan has every right to assert its claim according to modern international law seeing as the evidence overwhelmingly supports its claim. What Korea did was no different from what Argentina did when it invaded the Falklands or Islas Malvinas according to the Argentines. And we all know how that other island nation defended its claim to a group of islands so wrongly seized. Don’t sweat it toadface. The evidence supporting Japan’s claim grows by the day. Let’s just hope Japan won’t have to go down the same path Britain did.

  6. comment number 6 by: ecthelion

    Hey folks,

    I suppose I should give you advance warning that yes, I am Korean (well, Korean-American, if that means anything), but, unlike some of my more infamous fellow Koreans, I prefer not to subscribe to the oxymoron that is “emotional logic.” Actually, let me correct that. “Emotional logic” is, in my opinion, a cop-out, i.e. a way to cover up what everyone knows is difficult-to-justify behavior. Fortunately, this sort of behavior, while very public and well-advertised, from what I understand, is relegated to a rather small minority of the general population.

    That being said, the entire Dokdo/Takeshima dispute, in my opinion, is really up in the air. Neither Japan nor South Korea have really strong cases favoring their custodianship of the rocks. The fact that they’re well-positioned in that body of water surrounded by plenty of natural resources only makes the entire issue worse, and, as some hot-blooded Koreans are wont to do, causes some embarrassing displays of idiocy that make the rest of us look bad.

    I’d rather not discuss all of the pros/cons of either side (since there’s a lot to discuss), but let me be one of the first to apologize to you folks for what appears to be irrational and dangerous rhetoric (which sometimes bleeds into public displays of stupidity) on the part of many Koreans. I would ask that many of you try to avoid generalizing what you see of the nutjobs in Korean streets to all Koreans, but I do understand how you can do so, especially when you see it so often in Korea.

  7. comment number 7 by: ecthelion

    Hey fh,

    It is possible to criticize that sort of irrational (and I daresay dangerous) line of protesting without being labeled “anti-Korean racist.” But it would probably require a lengthier post/comment than it’s actually worth. Even then, with everything nicely and logically worked out, there will be some idiots out there (who make the rest of us reasonable and sane Koreans look bad; believe me, it’s embarrassing, and sometimes I do wonder whether I’m getting off on the wrong foot by openly identifying myself as what I am, Korean, simply because our particular brand of village idiot seems not only to get preposterous airtime unfit for human consumption, but displays his/her – well, usually it’s a guy or guys – idiocy in particularly distressing ways) who will still brand you as such anyway, without having read the entirety of your remarks.

    I’ve run into a few myself on the Internet, and it definitely takes a great deal of patience not to lose it with some of these folks.

  8. comment number 8 by: toadface

    Bad-moon. That’s true Japan has every right to assert her claim. The trouble is after seeing how unreasonable their demands are, who cares?

    Japan’s claim to Dokdo is not based on “modern” international law. It’s based on 19th Century Colonial law.

    Aside from the historical debate going on, Japan’s demands are simply outrageous and unfair.

    Many historical things are disputed in the Dokdo Takeshima issue and many different historical records are interpreted differently. There isn’t a single adjudicator alive capable of a 100% accurate decision on many of the records disputed. Why should Korea leave the integrity of her territorial boundary to be determined by anyone knowing the historical records are open to possible erroneous interpretations.

    However, throughout history some facts remain constant. Ulleungdo island, Dokdo’s most proximal island was indisputably Chosun land and Japan’s Oki Islands were Japan’s westernmost limit.

    Knowing the above, Japan’s attempt to hem in Korea’s Ulleungdo Island to the tune of 45 clicks is ridiculous and unacceptable. The residents of Ulleungdo should not be punished for being Dokdo Takeshima’s nearest territory. They should be treated as equitably as Japan’s Oki Islands.

    Bad moon, the problem stems from Japan’s flawed 1905 incorporation. When the Japanese Navy’s Hydrographic Director Admiral Kimotsuki decided Japan should annex Liancourt Rocks he simply used a linear measurement from both Japan and Korea to determine the islets should be Japan’s. That is, he thought because Liancourt Rocks was a few clicks closer to Japan’s mainland, there is no reason Japan shouldn’t take the islets. No consideration was given to Korea’s Ulleungdo at all.

    The reason Adimiral Kimotsuki didn’t consider Ulleungdo was by 1905 Ulleungdo was for all purposes a Japanese Island and Korea was well on her way to being a protectorate of Japan. Ulleungdo island was militarily occupied, Japanese police were stationed there, hundreds of Japanese squatters were living there and Japan was only months away from securing unlimited access to Korea’s inland and coastal waters.

    Please read:

    In 1905 when Japan annexed Dokdo Takeshima there was no definitive border between Japan and Korea. Knowing this how can we possibly use the historical circumstances of 1905 to redraw the boundary in 2008? Remember Dokdo Takeshima is more than some rocks, these islands will determine the boundary of Japan and Korea.

  9. comment number 9 by: toadface

    Again here is the current boundary.

    And here are Japan’s unfair territorial demands.


  10. comment number 10 by: toadface

    Bad moon.

    Japanese evidence does grow everyday. Unfortunately for Japan, this evidence damages her claim more than helps it. However, as long as you lurk on anti-Korea websites don’t expect to see it.



    Dokdo~Falklands is a piss poor analogy.

  11. comment number 11 by: Matt

    ecthelion, you don’t have to apologise for anything just based on a genetic connection to people that you don’t know, doing things you don’t approve of.

    As for the nutjobs and their animal sacrifices, it is strange the acts that Dokdo is inspiring. Imagine if the same type of behaviors happened in the US – it is just unimaginable on so many levels. I think that Dokdo is a public mental health issue, and many people with mental health issues latch on to Dokdo just like some nutjobs latch on to the bible.

  12. comment number 12 by: ecthelion

    Thanks Matt – I just felt really badly about it, especially given the propensity for this sort of public behavior to smear egg on the collective face of Koreans at large.

    But, from my conversations with other Koreans that I know (in Korea and abroad), I wonder if Korea gives these folks publicity because, like everyone else, most sane Koreans are also amused by these peoples’ antics. It definitely raises eyebrows on my part. And I would like to agree with you that Dokdo is indeed a public mental health issue (and let’s not lie here; a people whose suicide rate is absurdly high does have public mental health issues) – the problem with Dokdo is that it also has real-life political relevance and so it would appear that many people have trouble differentiating between the crazies and those who have a legitimate argument.

    Because it’s not really the rocks themselves that people want, but the water and the space around them that matters, my solution would be to grant South Korea custodianship of the rocks (in the interests of political boundary resolution) but require the area to be a free-trade zone, i.e. South Korea cannot arrest Japanese fishermen/resource gatherers in that area; in addition, the resources collected by either side in the area (since it is a wildlife reserve of sorts) would be subject to some mutually-negotiated quotas.

    The name-calling and insulting of Japanese interests in the area, in my opinion (even “selfish” is low – by that standard, are we Koreans not selfish as well?), is unwarranted and one-sided. Of course Japan has interests in the area. They share that body of water with us, don’t they? They have interests in the area, just as Koreans do. So why in the hell can’t we come up with some sort of mutually acceptable agreement? Since South Korea seems to be more interested in territorial boundaries, the ROK can have its territorial boundaries by being recognized as custodians of Dokdo (just because you occupy a territory does not give you the right to abuse “foreigners” who are in your occupation zone, by the way). Since Japan seems more interested in the resources of the area, I don’t see a problem with giving the Japanese a free-trade zone (I’ll admit that I’m not sure if this term is being used correctly) – and I don’t think the Japanese would complain if they were allowed to collect fish and natural gas in the area, as long as they were left alone in peace to adhere to some mutually-agreed quotas.

    Indeed, a peaceful and mutually acceptable agreement on this issue could be the start of really normalizing relations between the two peoples themselves, especially in terms of resolving ages-old (and therefore more or less irrelevant) cultural prejudices and “bad blood,” for lack of a better term, between the two people (which more or less dates back to about the 15th and 16th centuries, and, until the late 19th/early 20th century, are the result of isolated incidents, not a continuous policy of harassment). That’s my two cents anyway. I’ve been skewered before by some Koreans who are so deeply entrenched in their ultranationalist ideology, and I expect it will probably happen again. But hey, like them, I don’t back down, especially when it comes to looking at things they way they are (i.e. truthfully).

  13. comment number 13 by: ecthelion

    And remember, I can support this (in my opinion) neutral position because I don’t think either side has a strong case at all when it comes to custodianship. I might post my reasons for being suspicious of both Korean and Japanese claims some other time, but that’s where I’m coming from when I say “give Korea the boundary, but let Japan collect resources there in peace.”

  14. comment number 14 by: toadface

    Ecthelion, the reason we can’t up with a solution for this problem is because both nations have different policies terrtitorial boundaries.

    Japan is overly aggressive in her policy of declaring boundaries or EEZ. This can be seen in the case of the Okinotorishima Islands and Marcus Island. The Okinoshimas are about the size of a bedroom, yet Japan asserts these rocks are capable of generating a an EEZ 400,000 sq kms in size. Korea maintains a 12 nautical mile limit around Dokdo Takeshima which is fair.


    Japan is legally bound to follow her EEZ policy in the case of Takeshima or risk weakening her claims on the Okinotorishimas or Marcus Island. With this in mind, Japan asserts the boundary between Japan and Korea should be between Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Knowing Ulleungdo is highly visible from Dokdo Takeshima, placing the boundary a mere 45 kms from an island known as Korean territory since the 6th is unacceptable. Maritime boundary law requires nations do get encroached upon and that both nations are entitled to some ocean.

    Korea and Japan need a definitive, clear, linear, black and white boundary. I’ve heard this joint-ownership idea discussed about and there is no way it be accepted by the right wingers in Japan or the hard-nosed Koreans. Having Korean and Japanese fishermen sharing the same waters around Dokdo would be catastrophic. It would be like dumping a shovelful of red ants on a black ant hill.

    The maps I’ve posted above show the current boundary is more than fair. They also show Japan’s current demands are unreasonable. On top of that, the maps show how wrong Japan’s Admiral Kimotsuki was to use baseline measurements from Korea/Japan’s mainland to justify ownership of Liancourt Rocks in 1905.

  15. comment number 15 by: Genie


    You keep going on and on bashing Japan while ignoring the fact that Korea signed the new Japan-Korea Fisheries Agreement in 1999. In the agreement, the two countries agreed to the establishment of “provisional common waters” around Takeshima/Dokto. However, Japanese fishing boats are still shut out of the fishing grounds by the Korean naval patrol in the area. Such situation made the local fishermen in Shimane Prefecture become increasingly frustrated and led to the reannouncement of Shimane Prefecture that Takeshima belongs to Japan. So it is Korea that is being greedy and breaking agreement.

    Also, do you know that Korea claims that Japan’s Tsushima Islands as their territory? They designated June 19 as “Daemado Day,” So tell me if you think Korea has title to Tsushima and tell me if you think Korean local government declaration is reasonable or not.

  16. comment number 16 by: fh

    If there is to be any progress towards tearing down walls in order to build a stronger relationship between Japan and Korea, it will not come from fighting over who should have Liancourt Rocks. In this regard, NEITHER country has the “right” answer.

    This debate only contributes to defining a line that separate the two countries (“building a wall”), and as long as the line exists, each country will continue to argue about whether or not the decision is fair (economically or legally).

    What is most appalling is the continued persistence on the issue. Korea continues to argue that Japan’s imperialist past invalidates her claim to Liancourt Rocks, with extreme conviction. However, if Japan were to cede the rocks to Korea tomorrow, would the debate finally end? Or would Koreans continue to hold animosity against Japanese history and simply wait until there was a new issue on which to pin their emotional anger?

  17. comment number 17 by: toadface

    FH you’ve got it backwards.

    The appalling part is that Japan asserts she has a valid title over Liancourt Rocks because she annexed the island at the height of the largest war to the day, in Japan’s bid to assert dominance over the Korean peninsula.

    This is not a theory but a historic fact when we source JACARs historical archives from the Russo Japanese War. You won’t hear even a brief whisper of these records from Japan’s MOFA or Shimane Prefecture. And I think my website below is probably the first website English or otherwise to support this fact with the primary documents to verify Japan’s Imperial Navy was the driving force behind their claim.


    True, some Koreans’ assertions that Japan’s military annexation of Liancourt Rocks are an attempt to vilify Japan. However, these objections carry some validity. International law requires territorial land claims be part of a natural peaceful process. (Max Huber ICJ) Japan’s own records from the Russo-Japanese War reveal this was not the case. In other words, Japan’s military involvement carry legal consequences for Japan’s title, they are not just an emotional issue.

    All neighbouring countries have land or maritime borders, this doesn’t make them enemies. They are drawn to prevent confusion and conflict. The problem is Japan demands a border be drawn from a time when the relationship between Korea and Japan was that of colonizer and colony. In 1905 Japan had already begun to militarily occupy Korea, Korean’s civilians were swarming Ulleungdo, and Japan had assumed Korea’s foreign affairs. How can this historical backdrop be as grounds for establishing ownership of Liancourt Rocks and thus maritime limits in this day and age? So you see it’s Japan’s foreign policy regarding Takeshima that is the real stumbling block between friendly Japan Korea relations.

    Good fences make good neighbours. However, putting the fence between Ulleungdo and Dokdo is a bad fence. The fence shouldn’t be on either nation’s doorstep but rather in an fair location as not to encroach on anyone’s land. The East Sea (Sea of Japan) is big enough for everyone, there is no reason why Japan and Korea should have to fight over this area.

    Again when we look at maps of the region, if Dokdo Takeshima is to be a consideration to defining the territorial boundary of Japan-Korea, the current 12 nautical mile limit now enforced by Korea is the most equitable solution.

    The boundary now.

    Japan’s unreasonable demands.

  18. comment number 18 by: Matt

    ecthelion, in fact your idea is already in effect, at least concerning the fisheries side of it. A few years ago a fisheries agreement between Japan and Korea was signed, but Korea violated it and does not allow Japanese ships to fish there.

    The Takeshima/Dokdo area is a traditional fishing area for the people of Shimane prefecture (one of the poorest places in Japan), and access to those waters is absolutely vital to the livelihoods of the many fisherman there. If Korea would stop violating it’s agreement with Japan, then a lot of heat could be taken out of the issue. At this point the fisherman in Shimane, who have literally had the food stolen out of their mouths, have no choice but to continue to protest.

    I find that most Koreans do not know these kinds of facts (there are others) and just think that the people of Japan and especially Shimane prefecture are just trying to make trouble.

  19. comment number 19 by: Matt

    toadface, you could make the same argument about Tsuushima, and say that it is unreasonable that Tsuushima is Japanese territory. Given the case of Tsuushima, I don’t think distance or closeness of borders is a legitimate argument.

  20. comment number 20 by: Genie


    Did you know the fact that Korea has been ignoring the fisheries agreement they signed?
    Don’t you think Korea should keep the agreement before emotionally protesting against Japan?

  21. comment number 21 by: toadface

    Matt nice sob story. Japan’s poorest prefecture. boo hoo!!

    Poor is a relative term. How exactly is the poorest prefecture in one of the richest countries in the world with one of the world’s largest high-seas fishing fleets to boot. If the fishermen of Shimane can’t make a living out of the 140 kms they currently fish they should quit their day jobs. They’ve got plenty of water

    The Korean’s have stated their position numerous times on the 1999 Fishing Agreement

    “In the Korea-Japan Fisheries Agreement, the EEZ is only limited to fishing, and the negotiations to ‘decide on the frontiers of the EEZ’ is an ongoing agenda.” This means that Dokdo’s status or dominium – which includes territorial waters 12 nautical miles off Dokdo – are not affected, even though Dokdo is not included in the Korean EEZ in the agreement…”

    Korea keeps the Japanese out to avoid a clash making this a conflict zone and thus a dispute.

    Genie, the Koreans insist that Dokdo’s 12 mile limit remains in effect because they do not want this agreement to be construed that Korea sovereignty over Dokdo has degraded or been compromised. This treaty was only set out to be a preliminary agreement to be ratified continually.

    Matt, Tsushima area’s boundary has long since been established and I disagree with some Koreans who assert Tsushima was Japanese. However historically what was the boundary between Japan and Korea to the North near Ulleungdo? There has never been a precise border, even after Japan annexed Takeshima. That’s the problem here. Why should Japan’s historical territorial limit be drawn from the 40 year period she colonized Korea?

    Matt distances from nearest islands and landfalls are everything for establishing territorial limits and EEZs on the high seas. Both Korea’s Ulleungdo and Oki Islands are large habitable islands and thus capable of generating EEZ. One theory accepted by international maritime law is that an equidistant line be drawn between Oki and Ulleungdo. This easily puts Dokdo in Korean territory.

    Matt you harp on about the poor fishermen of Shimane Prefecture not having enough water even though they currently have at least 140kms!! At the same time, you support Japan’s attempt to box in the 10,000 residents of Ulleungdo to a measly 45kms ?? At what point did you stop seeing this dispute objectively?

  22. comment number 22 by: Matt

    toadface, the fishermen of Ulleungdo ARE fishing around Dokdo, while the fishermen of Shimane are not. I hope for a civilized agreement on the status of the islands, along with some rights for the fishermen that traditionally used the area. Perhaps native fishing rights along the Canadian lines is a solution.

    As for Shimane being poor, remember that they are paying Japanese prices for goods and services with much less than the average Japanese pay packet (when they are actually employed, that is). There are a number of reasons that Shimane is currently poor, and Takeshima/Dokdo is one of the reasons exacerbating it.

    Koreans are always saying that they have plenty of proof that Takeshima/Dokdo is historical Korean territory, and some say the same about Tsuushima as well (it seems you agree with that – I have to admit I was surprised). Well, package them and take them both to the ICJ – the Japanese judge on the ICJ can recuse himself (since that is one Korean argument for not taking it to the ICJ). The Korean stance that there is no dispute over Takeshima/Dokdo flies in the face of reality given the reactions in Korea over it, in schools, government, and by regular people. Do you also think there is no dispute?

  23. comment number 23 by: toadface

    Matt, Ulleungdo’s residents should fish around Dokdo. It’s in their backyard and it’s almost double the distance to Japan’s Oki Islands and at least 200kms from Japan’s nearest landfall.

    Shimane’s fishermen did not traditionally fish the waters surrounding Dokdo Matt. They took a piss on Dokdo en route to illegally trespass, log and poach on Korea’s Ulleungdo Island. There are no historical records of Japanese voyaging to Dokdo as a sole destination throughout the ages. Japanese had no reason to voyage five days return to a couple of barren rocks with no fresh water, no shelter and poor fishing.

    You have to understand the historical nature of Japanese involvement in the Dokdo region throughout history Matt. The Japanese families who voyaged to this region explicitly violated the Shogunate’s order to stay away from Ulleungdo. They weren’t voyaging to Dokdo. Today, Japan is using the knowingly illegal voyages by the Murakawas and Oyas as proof of sovereignty but we know this is not true.

    If Shimane is poor they should follow the lead of other developed rich countries by offering social programs, unemployment and job skills training to help them. What do you think other countries have done when their fishing stocks have declined. I think the collapse of Canada’s Grand Banks cod stocks are a prime example. This region is heavily subsidized with unemployment insurance programs. Shimane Prefecture hasn’t fished the Dokdo region for over 50 years, if the Japanese federal government hasn’t helped them by now what the Hell are they doing?

    Right now Korea only “deprives” the Japanese of 12 nautical miles around Dokdo. I hardly believe this paltry amount of ocean is make or break for the fishermen of Shimane who have 140 kms of ocean from Oki and 200kms from their mainland at their disposal.

    On the other hand if Japan acquires Dokdo, the resident fishermen of Ulleungdo would stand to lose 65kms of ocean and only have 45kms left for fishing. That’s not reasonable at all.

    The Korean stance there is no dispute is obviously to keep this from the ICJ and I agree with this position. This is a matter between Korea and Japan to solve.

    BTW, I’ve heard Korea is planning to move people to the islands because Japan really pissed them off this time. If Korea makes Dokdo Takeshima inhabitable they could declare the rocks as an EEZ and extend their border even further. Because Japan is so greedy and follows also follows the posture rocks=EEZ if Korea declares an EEZ there is little Japan can do at all. This may get worse and it will all be Japan’s (most notably the Govt of Shimane Prefecture’s) fault for being unreasonable. I remember warning people on other boards this might happen. I hope it doesn’t though….

  24. comment number 24 by: Matt

    I think we have been over the shogunate thing before. Japanese were not allowed to go to Ulleungdo, not the Liancourt Rocks.

    You can make arguments but it is pretty clear that the Japanese were cognizant of the islands, and the Koreans were not (especially the central government). You can speculate that people on Ulleungdo might have been aware of it, but there is no documentary proof of it, while the Japanese have lots. The Japanese came up to speed with international law while the Koreans were still trying to work out how to undertake foreign relations as a customary vassal state of China. When the Japanese realised that the status of the uninhabited island was unclear under international law, they claimed it as their own. So not only were the Koreans unaware of the existence of the island, but they were too late in understanding international law. Koreans do not have a historically affinity with the Liancourt Rocks.

    Korea could possibly declare the islands habitable but it would not make it so. It would be no more habitable than Mars or the moon because of it’s basic nature. I really don’t see Korea doing it because it would step on more toes than just Japan’s and would set a precedent for EEZs in all kinds of crazy locations.

  25. comment number 25 by: fh

    I apologize, it seems I’ve stirred up some trouble here.

    What I would simply like to know, and perhaps toadface would be an appropriate person to ask, is this:

    If Japan ceded Liancourt Rocks to Korea tomorrow, would you be satisfied? Would it be enough for you to stop harboring continued emotional anger against Japanese? Or will you simply accept it at face-value, but bottle it up and wait until Japan does something else that you disagree with, and use the new issue as a scapegoat for an apparent incapacity to reconcile your differences?

    Is Liancourt really worth the emotional investment for the sake of Korean sovereignty? Or do you in reality desire a vendetta, to see Japan victimized in return for its imperialist past, vis-a-vis retribution?

  26. comment number 26 by: fh

    Matt, I apologize if my comment is out of line — please feel free to moderate if necessary.

  27. comment number 27 by: toadface

    Matt, there are documents that indicate not only did the Shogunate forbid travel to Ulleungdo, he also banned travel to Matsushima (Dokdo)

    In 1837, when investigating a Japanese accused of voyaging to Ulleungdo a Japanese man named Hatcheimon presented the following map of Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Here we can see during the trail of Hacheimon his map showed the islands as Korean. Remember this was a trial regarding the violation of Chosun’s territory. We can see the islands were colored the same as Korea.


    We also know that in 1695 right before the second Anyongbok incident Japan already had declared Takeshima (Ulleungdo) and Matsushima (Dokdo) were not part of Japan most notably the prefectures from which all Japanese voyages originated from.


    Even in 1714 Chosun documents recorded the island East of Ulleungdo that was adjacent to Japan’s boundary. This record shows the Chosun people from coastal areas such as Pyeonhae and Uljin knew of Liancourt Rocks and considered near but outside of Japan’s territory.

    We also know the Koreans were well aware of Liancourt Rocks by the year 1900. This was recorded in the Black Dragon Fishing Manual of 1901. Not only did this document say Koreans knew of Liancourt Rocks it also listed the islands in the Chosun Fishing guide under Korea’s Kangwando Province. So to say the Koreans were not cognizant of the islands before the Japanese annexed them is a fallacy.


  28. comment number 28 by: toadface

    Matt, if Korea declared Dokdo an EEZ Japan would have no choice but to abide by it or drop her claims to other inhabitable islands she currently has EEZs around. Speaking of “declaring EEZs in all kinds of crazy places…” Did you read the link I provided above?

    Japan is the world champion of declaring EEZs in “crazy locations” Read this and you’ll see what I mean.


    FH why would you automatically assume because I strongly favour Korea’s claim to Dokdo I harbour bad feelings toward Japan? One of my main objectives in supporting my views was to provide the readers of my website a chance to see the primary documents and maps to prove first Japan has no historical title to Liancourt Rocks and second their 1905 annexation was illegal. Thus, it not an emotional issue at all and if there are any inaccuracies in my data I’d like anyone to point them out.

  29. comment number 29 by: Genie


    >their 1905 annexation was illegal.

    Do you also claim that Korea’s independence from China in 1895 was illegal?

  30. […] Genie @ Pheasant massacre …ponta. @ Ponta’s memorandum …toadface @ Pheasant massacre … […]

  31. comment number 31 by: wiesunja

    Koreans don’t want to take the Dokdo/Takeshima issue to the ICJ in The Hague because Korean culture and society does not recognize the court system of justice and law. Koreans have no concept of “laws” and “rules”. In Korea, whoever screams the loudest or waves the largest amount of money in his hand is the person who rules over others. Such a lawless and corrupt society in which there is no concept or respect for ethical principles would be a joke if it tried to actually adopt a civilized legal system such as those employed by first world countries. Koreans also are incapable of understanding the concept of having to provide evidence to prove an argument. In Korea, whoever screams the loudest is the one who wins an argument, not the person who provides the best evidence.

  32. comment number 32 by: ecthelion

    A lot has been said since I last replied, and not all of it on the level.

    First of all, regarding the idea of Tsushima being Korean territory. Anyone with a modicum of sense that hasn’t been clouded by ultranationalistic emotion will realize that if that were actually true (i.e. if a unified Korean state controlled Tsushima at some time in history), then the Korean history books (e.g. the Samguk Sagi and Samguk Yusa, among other texts) would have raised a stink about it at some point in time, as Japanese control of Tsushima would, in that context (if any Korean state had formerly controlled Tsushima), have implied a takeover or conquest of territory from Korea. Yet such mention is lacking in any texts, and any mention of what would be a critically known piece of historic information is lacking, which tells me that Tsushima, despite its proximity to Korea, has always been recognized by both Korean and Japanese states as Japanese territory.

    I suspect that, while many of the ultranationalist Koreans may not realize it, their arguing for Tsushima is absurd as Japan’s arguing for complete sovereignty over Dokdo, even if documentation for historic occupation is lacking in the case of Dokdo (it certainly didn’t belong to Japan before 1905, though whether it belonged to Korea before then is also up to debate).

    Legalities aside, Imperial Japan’s terra nullius incorporation of Dokdo apparently met with confusion even from Japanese resident officials in Korea.

    People claim that it was Korea who violated the free-trade agreement, but I highly doubt that the “higher-ups” who ordered the police forces posted on the islets would be so stupid as to provoke prolonged international tension via said violation without some rationale. The more suspicious of you will think that these “higher-ups” are somehow trying to manipulate local political tensions and public opinion, but even they know that sort of manipulation can only go so far, and thus it’s not worth the ramifications to cause such an international row over politics. This is why I think Korea might have had reason to restrict Japanese fishers from accessing the waters near Dokdo (though I do question the merits of continuing to allow Korean fishers to do so – unless of course some of the Japanese fishers were the only ones giving probable cause; I doubt it was just the Japanese though).

    As for “Korea’s independence from China in 1895” via the Treaty of Shimonoseki, the phrase itself is biased (at the very least poorly-worded); there is no question that Korea was a vassal state of China at least since the start of the Choson dynasty in 1392 (and probably for quite some time, though to a lesser extent, before then), but the phrasing seems to imply that Korea was merely another administrative territory (i.e. possession) of China’s before the treaty, which is not at all true. A more accurate phrase would be “dissolution of Korea’s obligations towards China” or something along those lines, not “independence from.” While the treaty itself is among the many recognized unequal treaties, no one debates its legality (though such treaties are always accompanied by qualifiers and, for the most part, have since been overturned or rendered irrelevant by subsequent pacts and treaties); I find it akin to baiting (and therefore reprehensible) if one were to question someone’s view of the legality of the treaty.

    wiesunja, I find your over-generalizing statements highly offensive, incorrect, and that they generally lower the quality of discussion that takes place here (and probably wherever else you post). Statements like “Korean culture and society does not recognize the court system of justice and law” and “Koreans are also incapable of understanding the concept of having to provide evidence to prove an argument” only show 1) how ignorant you might be, or 2) how hasty you are in your remarks, so much so that you fail to proofread your remarks (this is the Internet, after all; you can always read over your remarks before you submit your comments for all the world to see) to be as accurate and unassailable as possible. Somehow, I doubt that you’re crafty enough to be intentionally generalizing to bait some troll, but even if you were, the comments remain questionable at best.

    Koreans do not want to take the Dokdo/Takeshima issue to the ICJ probably for a few reasons (I can’t say for sure, since it’s the government, not the people’s, decision), and not because they don’t recognize the rule of law. 1) In the Korean (both the people and the state) view, Dokdo is Korean, and as it stands, South Korea currently occupies Dokdo and owns it in practice. In the event that the ICJ rules in favor of Japan (therefore against Korea), Korea would lose Dokdo, thus removing any incentive Korea would have to going to the ICJ. 2) The ICJ has a precedent of disregarding historic documents (therefore rendering the bulk of the evidence favoring the Korean, and incidentally Japanese, sides irrelevant) – and on paper, the Japanese argument appears (note I used “appears,” which does not equate to “is”) stronger post-WWII. 3) You may be familiar with the phrase “possession is four-fifths of the law.” As such, Korea already possesses Dokdo, and Japanese claims to the territory, at least for the Korean state, are mere annoyances not requiring an ICJ ruling (though some Korean civilians seem to disagree, and vehemently at that – with regards to the Japanese claims being “mere annoyances”). 4) In the end, the ICJ has no enforcement powers, and thus even an ICJ ruling in either direction may not be likely to change the situation “on the ground,” again providing the South Korean government no incentive to divert from its current course of action. If nothing else, the ire that Japanese claims seem to invoke in the vocal minority seems to currently work in the government’s (well, at least for certain political parties) favor, though this could change as more and more people start getting increasingly inconvenienced and annoyed by the unrelenting dispute and demand real resolution. Admittedly, this last part could be a while, as nationalism-fueled vehemence takes an incredibly long time to fizzle out into demands for change.

    Personally, if Japan ceded Dokdo (i.e. stopped claiming it) today or tomorrow, I would be happy. I would hope that the most vocal of my people would also quiet down as well, but as noted earlier, I cannot and will not speak for other people or their behavior, nor will I generalize them, and it would be noble of you not to do the same.

    As for Koreans not having a historical affinity with Dokdo, I beg to differ. It is well-known that Koreans inhabited Ulleung-do in the first millennium AD, and it is also well-known that on a clear day, Dokdo can be seen from Ulleung-do but not from anywhere in Japan (and that includes Oki Island). I (and I think many anthropologists) would conclude that visible land means that exploration of said land was possible (which would favor Korean awareness and affinity of Dokdo, but not Japanese). As the people living on either side of that body of water were for the most part fishermen, this would then mean that Korean fishermen were far more likely to have at least traveled out as far as Dokdo, since they could see it, than Japanese fishermen, who could not. This would then be extended to invalidate the 1905 Japanese terra nullius incorporation of Dokdo, since the island was indeed occupied (though given its geography/topography, probably only on a temporary basis throughout history) by Korean, not Japanese, fishermen.

  33. comment number 33 by: ecthelion

    toadface, I would refrain from saying things like “Japan is overly aggressive in her policy…” because it makes you seem one-sided (i.e. hostile towards Japan). As I’ve noted earlier, both sides have interests in the area, though the nature of these interests seem to differ somewhat. Therefore, couching the argument in terms that make Japan seem to be the aggressor and Korea only attempting to “rectify” the situation perpetuates the victimization syndrome that so irks many people.

    This isn’t to condone what Japanese governments have done in the past, but it doesn’t do our argument any good to continue crying “wolf” when that wolf was already killed. The error that many Korean (and Japanese) proponents are making involves the politicization of the issue and dragging egotistical nationalism into it. In doing so, ultranationalists, Japanese and Korean alike, continue to cloud the issue and make their respective people look bad (though I will readily admit that we’ve got more zest in our protests).

    It would seem, however, that the respective governments involved are doing something entirely different and maintaining the status quo. Korea seems happy controlling the islets, and Japan seems happy claiming them. Regardless of what certain sectors of either population think, it would appear that very little about the situation will actually change. Granted, some of the Japanese fishermen are losing out, but in political battles (or in this case stalemates), it’s no surprise that it’s the little guy that always gets screwed in the absence of a resolution. At least the Shimane fishermen aren’t being completely screwed; though they are losing a very profitable resource, it’s not as if the areas around Dokdo are the only places they can go.

  34. comment number 34 by: ecthelion

    I know, I know – the issue arises from when Japan was an imperial entity and thus the “wolf’s” spectre is relevant to the argument, but I say that, at least for this particular situation, it can be “teased out” of the entire discussion.

    We’ve got documentation (maps and treaties, as well as other documents) and physical evidence (i.e. visibility and therefore grounds for historic occupation), and that’s about all we need to really settle the issue either way. All we need to do is to assign importance and interpret all of the accountable evidence. But it’s the politicization that clouds how the relevant information is used and interpreted, and that makes all the difference.

    It’s not (or at least it shouldn’t be) a competition where nationalism could play a motivating role to win a contest. The Dokdo/Takeshima issue is a territorial dispute that is mostly academic in nature (i.e. based on interpretation of documents and evidence), not a war. Losing sight of this (which, it would seem, many here and elsewhere have already done) makes resolution difficult, if not impossible (due to the unacceptability of a solution favoring one or the other arguments).

    Japan’s historical evidence is about as strong as Korea’s, i.e. it isn’t at all (but like I said, neither is Korea’s). The one thing Korea has going for it in this aspect is the visibility being (anthropologically) extended into likely (temporary) occupation over history. Following WWII, the one thing Korea has going for its side is the current occupation (and therefore active demonstration of custodianship); Japan’s argument has documents that do not include Dokdo as an explicitly recognized Korean territory to be relinquished by Japan. While the Japanese argument would say that the current Korean occupation prevents an active Japanese demonstration of custodianship, this can be countered in two ways: 1) as Korea was under the undue influence of Japan when the 1905 terra nullius incorporation took place, it too was unable to actively demonstrate custodianship (and yet Japan got to incorporate it until after WWII); and 2) there are ways to demonstrate custodianship other than direct occupation of said territory (for instance vocal protests at the time of occupation and continuous extensive, not passive, actions aimed at attempting to rectify the situation – on this count, the Japanese government has failed; simply making a claim to a territory and not continuously following up is not enough – I think the Japanese government may have made a minor protest when South Korea first occupied Dokdo, but that protest quieted down and thus shows that Japan did not actively demonstrate custodianship continuously).

    These are the sorts of things we should be looking at, not whose protests are more retarded and what insults some idiots on both sides of the sea are hurling at each other.

  35. comment number 35 by: fh


    “… it is also well-known that on a clear day, Dokdo can be seen from Ulleung-do …”

    What is little-known is that the photos that prove this are taken from rather inaccessible positions on Ulleung-do’s peaks using 200mm (or greater) lenses, and some number of the images (especially online) have been edited to enhance to silhouette of the rocks. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’s actually quite difficult, and you have to be careful when weighing “common knowledge” against actual ability when trying to provide substantial evidence.

    As for the “little guy” fishermen of Shimane: a territorial claim like this affects a large economic (ie: fishing) area far greater than just the area around the rocks, so we’re not talking about “just” the Dokdo waters. Pragmatically, if Korea’s sovereignty is symbolic (as most proponents claim), then a shared economic zone could be set up while Japan cedes its claim, which would appease both sides. It’s too bad this didn’t work in the past (with many Japanese fishermen kidnapped/killed); Korea’s claim is as politically fueled as it is symbolically driven.

    Japan’s loss would be very tangible for the livelihoods of Shimane fishermen, while Korea’s loss would in many ways be immeasurable. To put it in your own terms, as a third party, you cannot simply compare the two and decide that the fishermen’s needs don’t measure up and can therefore be disregarded (because by a “symbolic” standard, nothing can ever measure up). Otherwise you’re engaging in the exact same political battle that screws the little guy.

    All in all it might certainly be “easier” if Japan just gave up its claim on the rocks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “right”. Not that I’m saying you’re wrong — I might disagree on some points, but more important is your level-headed approach (unlike other vitriol-infused comments), which we need more of in order to find the “best” answer.

  36. comment number 36 by: ecthelion


    Fair enough (regarding your point about visibility) – but the possibility of visibility remains (while it does not exist at all for anyone residing in Japan, past or present); over the years before the Japanese became aware of the rocks, the chance that Korean fishermen were aware of (and used) Dokdo before the Japanese does become significant (in my opinion). Let’s also realize that if, however difficult, Dokdo can be seen from Ulleung-do, then, all else being equal, the Korean fishermen were more likely to have seen Dokdo from their boats at sea than were Japanese fishermen. The possibility, however slim, is still there, and I’m not so sure that can be ignored if we’re talking about historic precedent and who was aware of what first.

    As for your points regarding the Japanese fishermens’ livelihoods, you raise good points. Korea, now as a member of the international community, does need to take into account the effects its actions may have on people beyond its jurisdiction (this is part of the reasoning behind the global environmentalism movement, and a major reason why global opinion of the United States has dropped significantly in most parts of the world) and therefore, while entitled to restrict access to Dokdo, should probably be fair about it (which means restricting access for everyone, Korean and Japanese) if doing so; if not, all access should be permitted per some agreement.

    And I did suggest that Korea get the territory but the rights to harvest resources be shared between the concerned parties (which are pretty much Korea and Japan), but that was in a much earlier reply – and yes, your idea and mine are more or less identical. In any event, such an agreement will likely need some minor amount of international intervention but that is unlikely to occur in the near future as there is still too much ultranationalism and emotion (oh, and let’s not forget hijinks/shenanigans) infused into the dispute to safely defuse and reach an amicable compromise like the one you and I seem to have come up with.