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  • 작성자 사진Yang Ha-yoon

[History] Celebrate Dokdo Day, Not Takeshima Day

No.160 / Oct 17, 2022

October 25 is Dokdo Day. The Dokdo Guard established Dokdo Day to commemorate the anniversary of October 25, 1900, the day King Gojong enacted a decree naming Dokdo an island belonging to Ulleungdo. Last year, Gyeongbuk Provincial Government employees staged a Dokdo Love flash mob to celebrate Dokdo Day.

The clear reason people in Korea occupy Dokdo is that it is apparently owned by Korea. Moreover, Korea exercises firm territorial sovereignty over Dokdo, and the South Korean police and military defend the territory and the seas near it. Japan still claims ownership of Dokdo, calling it Takeshima, but this is just their assertion. To the contrary, Korea has historical evidence to prove its sovereignty in Dokdo. In the 17th century, the Joseon and Japanese governments wrote an official negotiation document that includes a statement indicating that Japanese fishermen must seek permission from Joseon to fish on Dokdo. If Dokdo really belonged to Japan, as they claim, then there is no reason Japanese should have had to ask Koreans to allow them to catch fish on their land. Additionally, there is suitable geographical evidence to prove that Dokdo belongs to Korea. Dokdo can be seen without a telescope on clear days from Ulleungdo in Korea but not from Oki Island in Japan. This means that Dokdo is located close enough to be included within the Ulleungdo residential area. More surprisingly, materials preserved in Japan prove that Dokdo belongs to Korea. During the Meiji era, the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, while compiling land records, had to check whether Ulleungdo and Dokdo were Japanese land. In March 1877, Taejeonggwan, Japan’s top administrative agency, confirmed that Ulleungdo and Dokdo are not islands belonging to Japan, after negotiations between the Joseon and Japanese governments. They instructed the Ministry of Home Affairs to keep in mind that Japan has no relationship with the Japanese land register.

In February 2021, there was an unsavory incident in Japan’s Shimane Prefectural Assembly that established “Takeshima Day” through an ordinance and repeated the claim that Dokdo belongs to Japan by holding an event to commemorate it. To inform the Japanese government and the rest of the Japanese that Dokdo belongs to Korea, the Dokdo Guard has been steadily conducting signature campaigns and petitioning the National Assembly to establish Dokdo Day as a national holiday. In 2008, two bills to establish Dokdo Day as a national holiday were introduced to the National Assembly, but they were not passed. The South Korean government has not responded positively to the idea of designating Dokdo Day as a national official holiday. Since it was Shimane Prefecture that first designated Takeshima Day as an official anniversary, there were concerns that if Korea established Dokdo Day as a national holiday, the problem would grow due to international disputes between Japan and Korea. Despite these concerns, however, to avoid repeating the miserable history of the loss of Korean territory to other countries, Koreans should pay considerable attention to establishing Dokdo Day as a national holiday.


By Yang Ha-yoon, AG Reporter

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