Sunday, March 1, 2015

Japan’s 1905 Incorporation of Dokdo/Takeshima: A Historical Perspective


Yŏng-ho Ch’oe
Introduction
On January 28, 1905, the Japanese Cabinet formally adopted a resolution incorporating the island of Dokdo/Takeshima as Japanese territory. Justifying the incorporation based on the claim that Dokdo/Takeshima was "an uninhabited island with no evidence that can be recognizable as having been occupied by another country (無人島ハ他國ニ於テ之ヲ占領シタリト認ムヘキ形迹ナク. . . .", the Japanese government then renamed the island Takeshima (竹島) and placed its jurisdiction under Shimane Prefecture, which in turn put it under the magistracy of Oki Island.1 This action by the Japanese government was strongly disputed by the Republic of Korea, igniting a bitter controversy between the two Asian neighbors. Following Japan’s defeat in the Pacific War in 1945, Korea, claiming historical rights, regained its control over the island. Japan regards this as an illegal occupation based on its 1905 incorporation. This article offers a historical perspective on the Dokdo/Takeshima controversy by examining the historical claims made by both Japan and South Korea.

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