"Shimane Prefecture Journal (June 1923)"
Chapter 5: Takeshima
It is located at about eight-five nautical miles (155.1 km) northwest of Oki and 150 nautical miles (277.8km) from Hamada of Iwami county. It is fifty nautical miles (92.6 km) southeast of Joseon's Ulleungdo. In Joseon, they write the name of this island as "Dokdo." It is a small island and, together with Joseon's Ulleungdo, is on the same underwater ridge, which crosses the Sea of Japan from east to west. The sea surrounding the island is quite deep.
The island consists of two main islands, one east and one west, with several small islets. The circumference of one island is fifteen cho (1635 m), and its height is 380 shaku (115.14 m). The circumference of the other island is ten cho (1090 m), and its height is 226 shaku (68.478 m). The circumference of both islands is about 1 ri (4 km). The Two islands face each other over a narrow channel, which has a length of 180 ken (354.6m), a width of fifty to sixty ken (98.5 –118.2 m), and a depth five hiro (7.6 m).
The perimeter of the main islands is rich in marvellous caves, where seals and sea lions live. The whole island is barren, bare rocks with no trees, due to the sea wind, and only a few weeds are on the south. The sides of the island are cliffs and are hard to climb. On the two main islands, there are a few small flat places on the shore facing the channel, but these places are easily washed over by waves, so there is no place to harbor. The islands are a good landmark, but there is no drinking water on either of the islands. The islets around the main islands are generally flat and only slightly above the surface of the sea.
Takeshima is located on a main route in the Sea of Japan. In 1849, the 2nd year of Kaei, a French ship, "Liancourt," discovered the rocks. Since then they have been called Liancourt Rocks. In our prefecture, they was popularly known as Ryanko Gan (Ryanko Rocks). In Japan, in the era of Tokugawa, they referred to Ulleungdo as Takeshima and Liancourt Rocks as Matsushima. However, in the era of Meiji, the Japanese Navy's Waterway Department mistakenly wrote that Ulleungdo was Matsushima in the waterway journal. That means the ex-Matsushima--that is, Liancourt rocks--had to be called Takeshima. However, in the coastal area of our prefecture, they still referred to Ulleungdo as Takeshima, so the name was used for two different islands, which often caused confusion.
In 1903 (the 36th year of Meiji), Yozaburo Nakai, from Houki County, planned to hunt at this Ryanko Gan and hoisted the national flag of Japan there. In 1904 there was competitive and indiscriminate hunting by various hunters, and Nakai feared that it would bring about many evils. At that time, Nakai misunderstood that this island belonged to Korea, so he went to Tokyo and tried to ask the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce to ask the Korean government to lease the island. The Waterway Department of the Japanese Navy just happened to be trying to measure the distances from Japan and Korea to Ryanko Gan in order to determine the sovereignty of the rocks. They found that they were nearer to Japan by about ten ri, and that a Japanese were engaged in the management of the island. Therefore, they thought it should be incorporated into Japan’s territory. Accordingly, Nakai submitted a petition to the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce asking that they incorporate the island and lease it to him. The three ministries received the reports from the Shimane Prefectural Office and decided to incorporate it at a cabinet meeting. They named it Takeshima and put it under the jurisdiction of the Chief of Oki island (隠岐島司).Shimane Prefectural Notice #40 (February 22, 1905)
The island is located eight-five nautical ri northwest of Oki island at 37° 9' 30”north and 131°55’ east is, hencefore, to be called Takeshima and is put under the jurisdiction of the chief of Oki island, which belongs to our prefecture.
In May of the same year (1905), during the Battle of the Sea of Japan, our fleet, under Togo, gave chase, surrounded, and finally caught the Russian Second Fleet, including the Russian ship "Ariyohru" (Oslyabya?) about eighteen nautical ri south of this island (Takeshima). In the battle reports in those days, the name "Liancourt Rocks" could sometimes be seen, so the name became widely known among the Japanese.
Sea lions enjoy swimming there from April or May until July, and they give birth in June. Hunters went there from a base in Ulleungdo while it was managed by Nakai's company, Takeshima Sea Lion Hunting Co. Ltd., in Saigo on Oki island. It was founded in June 1905 (the 38th year of Meiji).
(Translated by Pacifist)
1923 Shimane Prefecture Journal
To following description of Takeshima (Liancourt Rocks) is from the June 1923 "Shimane Prefecture Journal," which includes a brief modern of the island's history. The text is interesting and historically important before it alsom mentions the circumstances surrounding Yozaburo Nakai's petition to the Japanese government to incorporate Liancourt Rocks into Japanese territory. Korean historians have started claiming that Liancourt Rocks was incorporated into Japanese territory as part of a Japanese military plot to annex Korea, but the following document is evidence that there was no sinister design behind the incorporation. Liancourt Rocks was incorporated into Japanese territory they were unclaimed and uninhabited and because a Japanese businessman had found a use for the rocks and wanted to safely invest in them.
Here is a translation for the June 1923 text: