竹島問題の歴史

10.6.07

1905 Aug 22 - "Sea Pigs" Near Takeshima


The following August 22, 1905 San-in Shimbun article says that three baby "sea pigs" (海豚) were captured at Liancourt Rocks. Though the word "sea pig" is normally translated as "dolphin," I think it is very likely that the word was referring to sea lions in the following article, based on context. Nevertheless, it will be translated here as "dolphins."

Dolphins to Be Kept at Prefectural Office

There are pods of dolphins around Takeshima, our prefecture's new territory. Many fishermen from Oki county used to go there to catch them. An inspection team, which included Governor Matsunaga, inspected the island and brought back to Matsue three dolphins, caught by fishermen, that were born this year. They were released yesterday in the garden pond of the Third Department of the Prefectural Office, where they will remain for the time being.

(Translated by Pacifist)



5 comments:

  1. Gerry,

    Here is the translation:

    Dolphines to be kept in Prefectural office.

    There are herds of dolphines around our new territory of our prefecture, Takeshima, and many fishermen from Oki county used to go there and catch them. The inspection team with the governor Matsunaga who inspected the island obtained three dolphines that were born this year and caught by the fishermen, and then came back to Matsue. The dolphines were released yesterday in the pond in the garden of the 3rd department of the prefectural office. They decided to keep them there for the time being.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pacifist,

    Even though 海豚 (Sea Pig) is normally translated as dolphin, I think here it is most likely being used to mean "sea lion." First, how would Japanese fishermen catch three young dolphins alive? Second, how would they transpost three dolphins back to the prefecture? Third, Liancourt Rocks was known for sea lions, not dophins. Forth, would the "pond" back at the prefecture office really be big enough to house three dophins? And, fifth, wouldn't it make more sense to keep three baby sea lions rather than three baby dophins?

    I think it will change dolphins to sea lions with with a note explaining the reason.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gerry,

    I think these were dolphins, not sea lions. As you know, Japanese used to do whaling from the Edo period and they also hunted dolphins.

    20 years ago the news Japanese fishermen hunting and killing those lovely animals shocked the world. The sea shore was stained with their blood. And it occured at Iki island, the island between Fukuoka and Tsushima.
    It was a traditional hunting, not a game but the world claimed that Japan was barbarious and it helped the anti-whaling activity in the world.

    So dolphins were more popular than sea lions, as pig can be eaten but lions can't.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pacifist,

    I have changed it back to dolphins since that is how it was written. Nevertheless, it seems strange that officials would bring back three dolphins or that fishermen captured them alive in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gerry,

    1) how did they catch dolphins alive?

    There were many ways to catch dolphins in those days. To catch a dolphin alive would be possible if you use a net.

    To catch a group of dolphins, they used to drive them into a small bay. This way was taken at Iki island. Fishermen needed to beat them to death at the shore, so you can catch some dolphins alive in this way too.

    2) how did they transport them?

    It is easy, you can transport them keeping them wet with sea water. (Put wet blanket and keep watering them.)

    3) Liancourt rocks are known for sea lions, not sea pigs.

    But one of the papers (I don't remember where it was written) said that there are kinds of whales around Liancourt rocks. And dolphins are still popular in the area, I have seen myself a group of dolphins running after my ship when I went to Tsushima years ago. Sea lions went scarce but dolphins are still living there in the Sea of Japan.

    4) Was pond big enough?

    I don't know.

    5) wouldn't it make more sense to keep three baby sea lions rather than three baby dophins?

    But a paper in the blog was saying about the future deep-sea fishing (遠洋漁業), which means they wanted to catch big fish like bonito and tuna (including whales and dolphins), not sea lions. So they may have needed to investigate about these big sea animals - dolphins.

    And the word 海豚 is very popular word, while 海馬 is not so popular. So I can't think that the newspaper writer did mistake to write 海豚 to indicate sea lions.

    ReplyDelete