Some Koreans claim that this guidebook is evidence that the Japanese recognized Liancourt Rocks as Korean territory since the Rocks was listed under the section describing the waters near Gangwon Province, but the passage on Liancourt Rocks, which were called "Yanko Island" in the article, does not describe them as belonging to Gangwon Province. Also, while Ulleungdo and other islands and ports in the Gangwon Province section are preceded with circle symbols, "Yanko Island" is preceded with a triangle, suggesting that it was somehow different than them. The triangle may have indicated a simple footnote, added to inform Japanese fishermen of the Rocks' presence since they would have had to pass the rocks on their way to Korea's Ulleung Island. In fact, a map of Korea at the back of the book shows the island of Ulleung, but not Liancourt Rocks.
Also, in a 1901 Black Dragon Society publication, the author of this 1903 guided specifically wrote that Yanko Island was not part of Korean territory. See HERE.
This translation was done by "Pacifist."
Since ancient times it had been under the direct control of the Chuncheon Office (春川府), but since the 8th lunar month of 1901 [sic], when they newly dispatched a magistrate of the county and had him govern the island. It is located between lat. 130°45’ N ~ 53’ 50” N and long 37°34’ 40” E ~ 31’ 50” E. And it is an isolated island about 40 ri south of Port Weolsong in Pyeonghae County (平海郡越松浦) on the sea. Koreans also call it "Mu-leung" (武陵) or "U-leung (羽陵), which was (Usan-guk) in the ancient times. The Chinese call it "Matsushima" (松島).
Incidentally, people say that this island consists of 6 islands of big and small, or some say that it is a generic term of two islands Takeshima and Matsushima. The most extreme examples are maps which depicted the two islands side by side, which is really one of the biggest errors,is island is originally a part of the mountain 金剛山脈 which ran through east sea and raised its head upon the sea. It covers an area of about 5-ri by 5-ri (400 square km). There is one mountain towering high at the center of the island and it is high as about 4000-shaku (1212m). Craggy rocks surround it and it looks like a blue spiral shellfish at a distance. Harbours are scarce in the island, so they find a difficulty in anchoring of merchant ships and fishing boats. We’ve heard that they pull up the ships to the level ground whenever it’s going to be rough.
Although it is poor in the level ground, the nature of the soil is a kind of so-called black soil, made from piled and decayed fallen leaves and dry grass. So they don’t need to fertilize the soil from agricultural viewpoint, however they seldom use ash to cultivate. The main farm products are soybean, barley and wheat. In particular, as soybeans are in large size and of fine quality, they are directly exported to our country and its amount is increasing year by year and they say that it reached to 400-500 koku now.
The forestry products include timber of zelkova, paulownia, pine and sandalwood. Above all, zelkova is famous and its timber with a diameter of about 6-shaku (181.8cm) is available. Paulownia is loved as “Matsushima Giri” (Matsushima’s paulownia) and is used as high-quality craftwork. Sandalwood is valued highly as a perfume. These kind of trees grew thick all over the island in the past and it looked as unlimited, but in recent years they are on the decrease because Japanese people vigorously exported them and reckless deforestation occurred. There are many wild grapevines too.
As to the sea products, there are lots of fish, abalone, and sea cucumber but fishery has not yet flourished here except Japan’s “shark net ships” (鱶網船) which visit in spring time, because sea is deep as 100 to 150~160 hiro (181.6m – 290.56m). However, agar-agar (tengusa) can be cropped at the shallows along the shore and it is of good quality and plenty.
In autumn, there are many kinds of woodcocks. The islanders beat them to death, dried and stored flesh is used as side dish all through the year and fat is dissolved and used as lantern oil. They say that there are lots of albatross here but we suppose that it was misinformed about this bird – woodcock.
We should say that fertility of natural products of this island is incomparable to any other places of Korea. There is one fountain in the island. Plenty of clear water is gushing out of it, it tastes slightly sour. The islanders call it as a drug spring and drink it as a substitute drug when they are sick and they say it’s effective. We wonder whether it is not a kind of a spring of carbonated water, just like Hirano-water or Kanayama-water in Japan.
This island was one of ports of call as well as Oki island in the old times while our Imperial Court communicated with 新羅. When Wako (倭寇 Japanese pirates) was full of power in the past, this place was once a base of them. So, it has a close relationship to our country in history, Kaibara Ekiken insisted that this island definitely belonged to our country. After many years had passed untouched, Japanese sent workers to the island to make them engage in cutting down trees in 1882 or 1883 (15th or 16th year of Meiji), but Korean government claimed for it and our government gave in to them, so it was defined for the first time to what country it belonged.
In 1883 (the 16th year of Meiji) Korean government appointed Kim Ok-kyun (金玉均) to the chief of both reclamation office of south-east islands and whaling office, and made 白春培 to engage in reclamation business of the islands as a working officer. However, the incident of Seoul happened next year and the purpose was not accomplished. Later, an islander 徐敬秀 was ordered to be a 越松萬戸, he tried to breed the residents and tried to prohibit foreigners to cut down trees. But Japanese continued the same business, only paying 2% to the government on selling cargo and on paying 100 両, that is 20 yen in Japan, to the government for selling timbers loaded on one ship, that was an open smuggling.
In around 1898, as soon as the stumpage once went to the Russians, the Russians referred the matter to the Korean government and forced them to forbid foreigners, who were Japanese, to cut down trees without permission and to reside in the island. The matter was referred to the minister of Japan and he once ordered Japanese residents to withdraw from the island but later, they found that it was impossible to leave the island all of a sudden and the reasons were transmitted to the Korean government.
There were not so many people in this island in the past, but in recent years many people who were businessmen, fishermen and farmers came here and Japanese people lived together with them. The number of Korean houses reached 400 or 500. Japanese population was almost 300 a few years before but it decreased to only 140-150 after the order of withdrawal. These Japanese came here directly from Tottori prefecture, they engage in exporting timbers, soybeans and agar-agar, forming a Japanese village. In the village, there is a general store who sells alcohol beverages (sake), tobacco, paper and oil, and they say that there are a few restaurants with serving ladies.
About 30-ri south-east of Ulleungdo, and almost the same distance north-west from Japan’s Oki county, there is an uninhibited island. One can see it from the highest point of 山峯 (mountain) in Ulleungdo when the weather is fine.
Korean and Japanese fishermen call it “Yanko”, its length is about 10-cho. Its coast is full of bends and twists, so it’s useful for fishing boats to be in anchor and to avoid winds and waves. However, it is very difficult to get firewood and drinking water, one can dig the ground for several shaku (1.0 – 1.5 meters) from the surface but hard to get water.
There are lots of sea lions living in the island and the area around the island is rich in abalone, sea cucumber and agar-agar. Several years ago. a ship with diving apparatus from Yamaguchi prefecture went fishing but they were impossible to engage in business and went home because they were obstructed by numerous sea lions while they were diving and because of lack in drinking water. We assume that the obstruction may have been due to their period of giving birth, as it was just May or June.
There are good points for wickerwork shark trap around there, longline fishing boats from Oita prefecture went there fishing sharks in May or June since several years before. We asked a fisherman who returned from the points last spring and he said that although he couldn’t say they got enough catch because he had been there for only two or three times but he also added that they got a certain catch every year. He then said that from his professional point of view after viewing the state of the wickerwork fish trap and how sharks and fish were living, it was no doubt that the area would be a good fishing ground in the future. This island is worth investigating for the business.Here is the Japanese.
ヤンコ島。鬱陵島より東南の方三十里、我が隠岐国を西北に距ること殆ど同里数の海中に於て、無人の一島あり。晴天の際 鬱陵島山峯の高所より之れを望むを得べし。韓人及び本邦漁人は之れをヤンコと呼び、長さ殆んど十余町、沿岸の屈曲極めて多く、漁船を泊し風浪を避くるに宜し。然れども薪材及び飲料水を得るは頗る困難にして、地上数尺の間は之を牽けども容易に水を得ずと云う。 此島には海馬非常に棲息し、近海には鮑・海鼠・石花菜等に富み、数年以前山口県潜水器船の望を属して出漁したるものありしが、潜水の際、無数の海馬群に妨げられたると。飲料水欠乏との為に、満足に営業すること能わざるして還りたると。察するに当時の季節は恰も五六月にして、海馬の産卵に当りしが故に、特にその妨害をうけたるものならんか。 また、付近に鱶漁の好網代あり。数年以来五六月の候に至れば大分県鱶縄船の引き続き之に出漁するものあり。昨年春、同処より帰航したる漁夫に就いて之を聞くに、出漁した二三回に過ぎざるが故に、未だ充分の好果を得たりと云うべからざれ共、毎季相応の漁獲あり。従来の経験上、その網代の状態、及び鱶類棲息の規模等より観察するに、将来頗る有望の漁場たるを疑わずと。 同島は、盖し営業者の為には尚充分探検の価値あるべし。This is the map of Korea in the back of the book. Notice that Ulleungdo is shown, but not Liancourt Rocks.