[KS] Library of Congress Korean Controversy

dmccann at fas.harvard.edu dmccann at fas.harvard.edu
Thu Jul 24 09:08:02 EDT 2008

There's also a possible linguistic basis for some discussion on this challenging
and interesting question.

Takeshima is the Japanese reading of the Korean name for the islands which is in
turn the two Chinese characters meaning Lone Island.

I'd be curious about an answer to the question, Who would have used the
Chinese-character-based name initially, Japan or Korea?

It might be the case that a linguistic wave-theory explanation won't help. But
it's interesting.

Anyone reading the Samguk Yusa knows it describes, among other things, a process
of renaming the Korean landscape with Chinese-character-based names such as Mang
Hae Sa, View the Sea Temple, or Kae Un P'o, Port of Opening Clouds. wWhat was
out there, off the coast, when theclouyds cleared away?  Dokdo?

David McCann

Quoting Young-Key Kim-Renaud <kimrenau at gwu.edu>:

> Dear David,
> Your message only supports and reinforces my suspicion and puzzle how
> unsympathetic the international opinion may be to Korea. That some of similar
> voices should come from those who are in Korean studies and should at least
> try to understand the Korean position puzzles me, though.
> It is fine that you or anyone else considers a particular message spam mail,
> “nationalistic” or not. I usually just delete, and never answer, any spam
> mail I get, however irritating or preposterous it may be, and you should,
> too. And many LIST members, who may agree with you and Scott in this case do,
> wisely. It is probably why no one is responding to Scott’s two questions.
> I will say why I have not responded, against my own pledge not to get
> involved in this type of “conversation,” because you seem to suggest that no
> response possibly means nodding approval to his provocative (to Koreans and I
> am sure, to many others) suggestions. Clearly what Scott says has the feel of
> a “legal” argument. I am not a lawyer and am incapable of providing a good
> “legal” response. However, I can still give my reaction to them as a lay
> person with hopefully good common sense:
> (1) The expression “terra nullius” does not apply to Tokto. The islets’
> existence was long known and the place even had a name, however it was
> referred to. Just because Japanese declared it had been “a land belonging to
> no one,” does not make it so. It is like someone coming to an unoccupied
> home, and claiming that it is theirs because it was left empty. Finally, it
> is noteworthy that because of various obvious self-contradictions, the
> Japanese Foreign Ministry’s website
> (http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/takeshima/position.html) no longer
> claims that Japanese incorporated Tokto as a “terra nullius.” How would you
> contest the comments in the website
> (http://www.geocities.com/mlovmo/page4.html) that
> “The Cairo Conference of 1943 stipulated that ‘Japan will be expelled from
> all territories which she has taken by violence and greed [since the time of
> the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95].’ Considering Japan´s methods, there can be
> little doubt that Japan´s annexation of Dokdo in 1905 (along with all other
> Korean territories by 1910) falls within the definition of territories taken
> by greed, as defined by the Cairo Declaration.”?
> How do you prove that Tokto incorporation had nothing to do with colonization
> of Korea and the general expansion effort by Japan?
> (2) It is true that the islets were left out in the Treaty of San Francisco,
> most probably inadvertently because they were considered so insignificant at
> that time, but in the absence of the reason why they were, I do not see why
> it makes them “legally” still belong to Japan. I understand that common sense
> and usual understanding always mean something legally even when things are
> not clearly written down, especially when it seems to have been the general
> understanding even by the Japanese that Tokto belonged to Korea.
> In my last posting I referred to a very specific and what I considered
> important website with a 1936 Map by the Japanese Army General Staff Office
> (http://www.geocities.com/mlovmo/page27.html), which
> “places Dokdo and Ullungdo in the region of Korea. It is highly likely that
> SCAP GHQ used maps like these when they decided to exclude Dokdo from the
> Japanese territorial sphere.   These maps are a reminder of the commonly
> accepted view of Dokdo´s sovereignty (in both Korea and Japan) prior to the
> late 1940s and early 1950s.”
> (3) One more comment about the claimed “non-interference” and “neutrality.” I
> also pointed out the opinion expressed in the geocities site on “The United
> States' Involvement with Dokdo Island (Liancourt Rocks): A Timeline of the
> Occupation and Korean War Era (http://www.geocities.com/mlovmo/page9.html),”
> which includes the following comments:
> “Looking back at the Occupation and Korean War period (1945-1954), the
> available evidence suggests that many of the key decisions related to Dokdo
> were made by the United States, and not Korea or Japan.   As a result of the
> decisions made by the United States in 1951, a basic framework for
> Korea-Japan relations, including the Dokdo issue, was established.   The
> Japanese government worked very hard in getting the U.S. government to
> recognize Dokdo as Japanese territory during the process leading up to the
> signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.   On the basis of this effort
> Japan began to publicly lay claim to Dokdo.   American diplomats supported
> the Japanese position on Dokdo until the mid-1950s. However, upon realizing
> that the Dokdo issue was a potential tinderbox that was capable of disrupting
> Korea-Japan, Korea-U.S., and Japan-U.S. relations, Washington began to feign
> a neutral position on this issue.”
> So, how does this make the US so "neutral" and "fair"?
> Now, David, why don’t you also ask why these various specific points
> presented in the site (http://www.geocities.com/mlovmo/) that I threw to the
> LIST for discussion are not commented on by the LIST members?
> Cordially,
> Young-Key
> =========
> >From 	David Scofield <D.Scofield at sheffield.ac.uk>
> Sent 	Wednesday, July 23, 2008 7:05 am
> To 	jsburgeson at yahoo.com , Korean Studies Discussion List
> <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 citizen 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 islet 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.

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list