|▲Survey results of one survey question. (The survey was only conducted with international students and should not be generalized.)
How much do international students at CWNU know about Dokdo? In recent months, diplomatic and historical conflict between Japan and South Korea has increased. So the English Campus Journal at CWNU conducted a survey on the topic of ‘Dokdo’s Sovereignty’. (*Only international students at CWNU were surveyed. These results should not be generalized.) We also received comments on political issues and opinions on the relationship between Korea and Japan.
⬤ Have you ever felt anxiety about the war on the Korean Peninsula? The answers were often (0%) / sometimes (58%) / not at all (25%) / I don't know (17%).
⬤ Do you know about the conflict between Korea and Japan over Dokdo? The answers were: I know it well (17%) / a little(67%) / I don't know (8%) /don't know at all (8%).
⬤ Which claim do you think is valid for Dokdo? This result revealed that international students did not know much about Dokdo. A respondent who chose Japan said, “I haven’t ever thought of Dokdo(Takeshima) as not Japanese. Maybe most Japanese people can’t understand Korea’s behavior. I think Japan is not 100% correct, but Korea can be unreliable too. I hope the two countries can resolve these kinds of problems as soon as possible”. On the other hand, one respondent who chose Korea said, “Dokdo is originally Korean territory because it is a part of Korea's land and it was recorded in the authentic record of Sejong, which tells the history of Korea. I am Vietnamese and have seen frequent conflicts with China, so I sympathize with this situation. Fight for Dokdo until the end. I support Korea”, and the other respondent said, “Koreans are still living on Dokdo, and Dokdo is closer to Korea compared to Japan.” The students who chose ’I do not know’ said, "I do not know because the opinion of each country is different."
In 1905, to monitor the Russian fleet, Dokdo was illegally called an unclaimed island. Japan then gave Dokdo a new name, ‘Takeshima’. Japan designated the island as under the jurisdiction of Okidosa, a position of the prefecture. But this designation was carried out secretly by Japan’s local government, not the central government. But was the Japanese assertion of Dokdo as an ‘unclaimed island’ correct?
History knows the truth.
Thousands of documents in Korean literature, including the The Chronicles of the Three States (1770) and Dongkuk Map (18c), have recorded Dokdo as Korean territory. Sejong Sillok Geography, which was compiled in 1454, specifically identifies the location of Ulleungdo and Dokdo saying, “Two islands, Usan (Dokdo) and Mureung (Ulleungdo), are in the middle of the sea of Hyeonjin (Uljin). The two islands are not far apart from each other and can be seen if the weather is clear.” Also, in 1900, the Korean Empire reclarified that Dokdo was Korean territory. By Imperial order, the Korean Empire renamed Ulleungdo to Uldo and declared its jurisdiction as Ulleungdo, Jukdo, and Seokdo (Dokdo).
What about Japanese records?
Japan had never claimed Dokdo as Japanese territory before 1905. Rather, many Japanese texts clearly say that Dokdo is not Japanese territory. At the end of the 17th century, Japan acknowledged Dokdo as not Japanese through an official Japanese document, Tottori-ban (1695), stating, “Takeshima (Ulleungdo), Matsushima (Dokdo), as well as other islands are not included in the Tottori-ban islands.” In addition, in 1877, Tae Jung-gwan, the chief administrative body of the Japanese government, concluded that Dokdo had nothing to do with Japan while compiling an inventory of Japanese land. The Taejeonggwan Instructions (1877) state "Japan has no affiliation with Takeshima (Ulleungdo) and Dokdo." This literature was hidden for 110 years and reappeared in 1987. This is evidence, confirmed by the Japanese government, that Dokdo is not Japanese territory.
But now, Japan has reversed its position. In the Japanese Cabinet Decision (1905), Dokdo was claimed to originally be a Japanese territory. They stated, “There is no sign that we can observe that shows Dokdo is occupied by other countries […] It is an island without a master.” The Japanese Diplomatic Document (1953) states unreasonably, “the island presently known as Takeshima was known to Japan in olden times by the name of Matsushima, and is considered an integral part of Japanese territory”.
The world knows the truth.
Dokdo was the first victim of the Japanese invasion of the Korean peninsula. After the end of World War II in 1945 during the post-war process, including the Cairo Conference (1943) and the Potsdam Conference (1945), the defeated nations in the Cairo Declaration (1943) said, “Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed”. In 1946, The Allied Powers of Memorandum (SCAPIN) No. 677 clearly declared Dokdo as under Korean administrative jurisdiction. “Japan excludes Utsuryo (Ullung) Island, Liancourt Rocks (Tako/Dokdo Island) and Saishu or Sheju(jeju) Island.”
For peace and friendship between the two countries, it is important not only to have a common historical awareness between the two countries, but also with other countries. Dokdo is a symbol of Korea's recovery of sovereignty. No country except Japan denies that Dokdo was taken from Korea. Japan's indefensible claim that Dokdo is Japanese land is no different from resuming the historical colonization of Korea. Koreans hope that Japan will be humbled before the truth of history, and will someday be open to a future where the two countries can work together. Dokdo will remain forever our peaceful island in the East Sea.
By Lee Yeon-ju, reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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