[KS] Library of Congress Korean Controversy - The Stone Marker

gkl1 at columbia.edu gkl1 at columbia.edu
Thu Jul 24 00:39:17 EDT 2008

   The stone Paul refers to is interesting but not all that  
significant, it seems to me. It simply has the name of the island in  
three languages, Korean, Chinese, and International (not English).  
Liancourt was the result of a French whaling ship's sighting in 1849.  
The name was French, but France never claimed the island on that  
account, so the Korean inscribing of it has no particular  
significance. The Chinese characters are not "the hanja for Liancourt  
Rocks," but for "Tokto" (or "Dokto" if one thinks the initial of that  
syllable is a voiced consonant).

   In looking over the various links that have been cited in postings  
over the last week or so, one certainly gets a sense of the  
intractability of the whole Tokto dispute. Both the Korean and  
Japanese arguments freely use a variety of historical names for  
Ullungdo and Tokto, and in the Japanese case the old name Takashima  
for Ullungdo moves to Tokto and becomes Takeshima, replacing the old  
Japanese name Matsushima. I suspect that the alteration of "Takashima"  
(High Island) to "Takeshima" (Bamboo Island) is a bit of Japanese  
legerdemain to take advantage of the fact that one of the old Korean  
names for Ullungdo was Chukto
(Jukto), which means Bamboo Island, with the Chinese characters being read
"Takeshima" in Japanese. Very clever, just to make things even  
fuzzier! It is understandable that fishermen from different parts  
ofthe long eastern Korean coastline would have had different names for  
Ullungdo, and likely Japanese fishermen also. In the case of the names  
Ullungdo and Usando (or Udo) on old Korean maps, my own suspicion is  
that these are just different names for the same island, now formally  
Ullungdo, which was brought under Silla control in 512. (This  
construction is also cited as an alternative in the <Tongguk Yoji  
Sungnam> of 1531, but it leaves the choice open, as do I.) But Koreans  
very much
need two names because there are two islands (or island groups), just  
as the Japanese very much needed to separate "Takashima/Takeshima"  
from Ullungdo (which they have generally always recognized as Korean)  
and find a distinctive name for the rocks now called Tokto, whence  
their slick transfer.

   Beyond the matter of names, almost every other issue in the Korean and
Japanese arguments is likewise fraught with ambiguities, puzzles, and vague
source materials. I generally agree with Gene that the Korean case is  
better than the Japanese one, but I certainly now understand why  
neither side is particularly anxious to adjudicate the issue in  
international courts, although the Koreans also have good legal  
reasons for passing up this option--something I didn't understand two  
weeks ago but now do thanks to one of the posted links. As a lifelong  
Korea specialist, my instinct is to support Korea in Korean-Japanese  
disputes; I just regret that Korea speaks more loudly than it needs  
to. Its better course is simply to continue sitting tightly on Tokto,  
and speak softly. It does need broader international approbation than  
it has.

   I was sorry to see that the little issue of spam and lobbying  
between Scott and Gene--a few days ago calmed and settled--has stirred  
again. On this list the discussion has been a good one and civil too,  
and we don't need to be questioning anybody's motives or intentions.  
As far as I can see, Hana Kim was simply acting as head of an  
association of Korean librarians on a cataloguing issue and  
citizenship and ethnicity should have nothing to do with it. I presume  
she consulted with her colleagues on an important practical issue for  
them and acted as their leader. I haven't seen any postings from other  
librarians questioning her actions. If she lobbied anybody it was not  
the United States government but the Korean government, to which she  
says she reported the cataloguing decision. Had I been in her position  
I would not have done that, but hey, whether it's Korea (ROK), Canada,  
or these United States, we're free countries and people can say and do  
what they want.

   Ironically, however, given the intractable opposition of Korea and  
Japan over Tokto, on which the United States government has never  
spoken publicly (much less its official national library the LOC),  
there is certainly sense and rationality in attempting to be neutral  
by cataloguing the literature under the most well established  
international name apart from Tokto or Takeshima. During the last week  
I have found myself learning a lot by reading both Korean and Japanese  
arguments, and I found the the Japanese ones a little weaker than I  
had thought, and the Korean ones a little stronger. On the other hand,  
"Liancourt Rocks" might be the most impartial heading, it's not a very  
practical one. The fact is that people are much more likely to know  
the names Tokto and/or Takeshima, so the cataloguers might better  
duplicate the entries and file them all under both names. There is  
probably a rule against such, but why wouldn't it work?

Gari Ledyard
> Quoting Paul Shepherd <paulmshepherd at hotmail.com>:
>> Dear Members,
>> If you look at the ninth image on this website, it has an image of   
>> a  Korean man (it would be interesting if someone could identify   
>> him)  placing a stone market marked "µ¶µµ [Hanja for µ¶µµ]   
>> Liancourt  Rocks". The photo appears to have been taken in the   
>> 1950s. In other  words, the name "Liancourt Rocks" was recognized   
>> as the English name  of the island by the Korean government when it  
>>  came into possession.
>> Here is the website:
>> http://www.geocities.com/mlovmo/page4.html
>> I imagine that the same stone marker still exists there.
>> In that case, I think we can at the very least excuse the Library   
>> of  Congress for at least considering using the name "Liancourt   
>> Rocks"  since that name itself appears to have been recognized by   
>> the  Republic of Korea in the 1950s - based on the photographic   
>> evidence  on the above website.
>> Of course, I am assuming that the stone marker was placed there    
>> under the auspices of the Korean government. I think that is a    
>> fairly safe assumption.
>> Does anyone have any more information about this stone marker, and   
>>  the man placing it.
>> Perhaps a librarian or achivist might know? Given the immense    
>> interest shown by Koreanists in this issue, how can we access this   
>>  photo?
>> Warm regards,
>> Paul Shepherd
>> "All truths are not meant for all ears; not all lies can be    
>> recognized as such by pious    
>> spirits."===============================================Paul    
>> ShepherdPh.D CandidateGraduate School of The College of Law, Seoul   
>>  National University**NEW** Mobile: (ROK)    
>> 010-7668-7675===============================================> Date:  
>>   Wed, 23 Jul 2008 12:05:36 +0100> From:  
>> D.Scofield at sheffield.ac.uk>   To: jsburgeson at yahoo.com;  
>> koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws> Subject: Re:   [KS] Library of Congress  
>> Korean Controversy> > Scott has made some   excellent points here  
>> (I think nationalistic spam sums the>  original  post quite well),  
>> and his queries (posted below) cut to  the heart  of> the dispute.  
>> > > I'm surprised there are no  responses to his  core questions...  
>> > > "> 1. It is frequently  claimed that Japan  "stole" the  
>> Dokto-Takeshima islets in> 1905,  but from my  understanding they  
>> were unoccupied at the time and  thus Japan>  invoked the principle  
>> of "terra nullius" in justifying  its claim to  them. Is it>!
>>  too much of stretch, then, to claim that their occupation was    
>> quite separate> from Japan's subsequent colonization of Korea?> >   
>> 2.  The islets were not covered in the Treaty of San Francisco, so   
>> from  a> strictly legal standpoint wouldn't the islands legally   
>> still  belong to Japan if> sovereignty over them was not legally   
>> and  formally handed back to the ROK in> 1952? Historical arguments  
>>   aside, is not this lack of legal clarity sufficient> proof for  
>> the   existence of a "dispute" which many on the Korean side claim  
>> does>   not exist?> "> >
>>> David> > > Quoting "J.Scott Burgeson"  <jsburgeson at yahoo.com>:> > >
>> Gene, all I will say is that I  retracted the term "spam" (even   
>> though a> > certain someone has  clearly avoided my request for   
>> dialogue on this issue),> > and I  wonder if I really seem to think  
>>  that Dokdo-Takeshima is a  "non-issue"?> > "Neutral" is a loaded   
>> term now? What's next, being  "fair" and "objective"? As> > for   
>> "lobbying" for a foreign  government, Hana Kim is not a US c!
>> itizen so what> > is a better term for me to have used in her case? >
>>>> > Around and around and around in circles we go!> > > > --Scott
>>> Bug> > > > > > > > --- On Tue, 7/22/08, Eugene Y. Park    
>>> <eugene.y.park at uci.edu> wrote:> > > > > From: Eugene Y. Park    
>>> <eugene.y.park at uci.edu>> > > Subject: Re: [KS] Library of Congress  
>>>   Korean Controversy> > > To: "Korean Studies Discussion List"    
>>> <koreanstudies at koreaweb.ws>> > > Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2008,   
>>> 4:58  PM> > > Dear Scott,> > > > > > I appreciate the spirit of   
>>> your  suggestions, but some of> > > the "incidental> > >   
>>> rhetorical  terms" that have been> > > used--"lobbying" and   
>>> "neutral," for> > >  example--seem pretty loaded to me. And didn't  
>>>  this> > > whole  discussion get> > > started on the questions   
>>> about "nationalistic>  >
>>>> spamming" over "non-issues"> > > and "lobbying?" Again I do not
>>> know Hana Kim, but> > > to suggest, for example,> > > that the    
>>> hapless librarian was lobbying for a foreign> > > government seems>
>>>> > like a serious charge to me. What do you think?> > > > > > Of
>>> course, there's the is!
>> let question itself, on which> > > I think we've> > > already had    
>> plenty of discussions here in the past, if> > > I'm not mistaken. >  
>>   >
>>> In this light, each of the two statements that you make> > >
>> (below) seem to> > > oversimplify the frustratingly complex    
>> situation.> > >> > > > > > > > > > > > > >
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