Daijokan order (太政官指令) of 1877 regarding Dokdo

The Japanese government confirmed that Dokdo belongs to Korea in 1877.



A Daijokan order (太政官指令) issued by the Japanese government in 1877 states that Ulleungdo and Dokdo have nothing to do with Japan. In other words, Dokdo is a Korean island.

This knol provides the text and the map of the 1877 Daijokan order (太政官指令).
Please refer to Dokdo Island for the full story on Dokdo (Takeshima in Japanese).

Photo above: View of Dokdo from space (source: Korea Aerospace Research institute)
Daijokan order (太政官指令) of 1877 regarding Dokdo: 
“The islands in question … are known to have nothing to do with out country.”
A conclusive evidence of Korean ownership of Dokdo comes from an 1877 Daijokan order (太政官指令), i.e., an order issued by Daijokan (太政官), the supreme governmental authority of Japan at that time. This document states that Ulleungdo and Dokdo have nothing to do with Japan, i.e., Dokdo is a Korean territory. This document is also referred to as a 1877 Kobunruko (公文録) document (which means an “official document.”).

Photo to the left: the 1877 Daijokan document. Two islands including Ulleungdo and Dokdo are referenced in this document. The original text and the translation are provided below.

The first part of the text of this document shown in the photo above states:


大臣 ○ 本局 ○ ○

參議 ○

卿輔 ○

右ハ元祿五年朝鮮人入嶋以來舊政府該國ト往復之末遂ニ本邦關係無之相聞候段申立候上ハ伺之趣御聞置左之通御指令相成可然哉 此段相伺候也



March 20, the 10th year of Meiji (1877)
Minister (Seal affixed), Bureau (Seal affixed),
Assistant (Seal Affixed),
Kyousuki (an official position)
Attachment: the case of the compiled cadaster about Takeshima and another island in the Sea of Japan from the Ministry of the interior
After the Koreans came to the island (Oki island) on the 5th year (1693) of Genroku (元禄; referring to the Japanese emperor at that time), we have exchanged envoys between the old government (of Japan) and the concerned government (of Chosun, i.e., Korea). As a consequence, we have heard the opinion that these (two islands) do not have anything to do with our country. We are asking whether it is proper to issue the following order:
Proposed order:
Concerning the inquiry about Takeshima and another island, Make sure that you fully understand (心得) that they have nothing to do with our country.

The proposed order was approved by Daijokan (太政官) and the order was issued as proposed. See the photo below that shows the request as submitted on March 17 by Vice Minister of Home Affairs, Meijima Hisoka, and as approved on March 29, by Udaijin (右大臣), Iwakura Tomomi.  (Note: Udaijin is the third highest official of Daijokan, the highest being Daijō daijin (太政大臣), and the second highest being Sadaijin (左大臣).)

Photo above: The 1877 Daijokan document. 
“About the inquiry regarding the compilation of the cadastre for Takeshima and another island in the Sea of Japan:

Shimane Prefecture sent us an inquiry for a judgment on the jurisdiction of Takeshima as per attachments and this ministry has examined the matter. Regarding the islands in question, they are known to have nothing to do with our country as per documents, prepared in the first month of the 9th year of Genroku (note:1696) after the entry of the Koreans into the island.  The examined documents include:
1. the purport of the deliberation by the former government; 
2. notification of the official interpreter translator; 
3. the official letter from the country involved; and 
4. our country’s reply and report. 
In other words by the 12th year of Genroku, the exchange of instruments had been completed. However, the acquisition or derelection of a territory being of great importance, we request your instruction on this question with the papers attached hereto. 
March 17th, 10th year of Meiji. 
Acting for the Minister of Home Affairs, Okubo Toshimichi
Vice Minister of Home Affairs, Meijima Hisoka:
Udaijin Iwakura Tomomi:
Concerning the inquiry about Takeshima and another island, Make sure that you fully understand (心得) that they have nothing to do with our country. 
March 29th, 10th year of Meiji.”

This Daijokan (太政官) order was provided as a response to a question from the Japanese Ministry of the Interior. The Japanese Ministry of the Interior had already concluded that Ulleungdo and Dokdo belong to Korea. Recognizing the international dimension of such conclusion, the Japanese Ministry of the Interior wanted to have the answer certified by Daijokan. Hence, the documents from the Japanese Ministry of the Interior were forwarded to Daijokan, which provided the answer discussed above. The original documents and a map sent from the Japanese Ministry of the Interior were attached to the back of the Daijokan order. The images for these documents may be seen at http://plaza.snu.ac.kr/~bigbear1/m3-3.htm.

Additional text (not shown in the photo above) in one of the attached documents of the 1877 Dajoukan order includes:

磯竹島一ニ竹島ト稱ス. 隱岐國ノ乾位一百二拾里許ニ在ス. 周回凡九十里許山峻嶮ニシテ平地少シ. 川三條アリ. 又瀑布アリ. 然レトモ深谷幽邃樹竹稠密其源ヲ知ル能ハス. 唯眼ニ觸レ其多キ者植物ニバ 五鬣松 紫木再檀 黃蘖 椿 樫 柊 桐 雁皮 栂 竹 マノ竹 胡蘿 蔔 蒜 款冬 蘘荷 獨活 百合 午房 茱萸 覆盆子 虎杖 アヲキハ, 動物ニハ 海鹿 貓 巤 山雀 鳩鵯 弱 鳧 鵜 燕 鷲 鵰 鴈 ナヂコ アナ鳥四十雀ノ類 其他辰砂岩綠靑アルヲ見ル. 魚貝ハ枚拳ニ暇アラス. 就中海鹿鮑ヲ物産ノ最トス. 鮑ヲ獲ルニタニ竹ヲ海ニ投シ朝ニコレヲ上レハ鮑枝葉ニ著クモノ夥シ其味絶倫ナリト. 又海鹿一頭能ク數斗ノ油ヲ得ヘシ. 次ニ一島アリ松島ト呼フ. 周回三十町許竹島ト同一線路ニ在リ. 隱岐ヲ距ル八拾里許 樹竹稀ナリ. 亦魚獸ヲ産ス.

“Isotakeshima” (磯竹島; referring to Ulleungdo) has another name, Takeshima (竹島). It is northwest of Oki province (隱岐國) and the distance from Oki is 120 Ri (里). The circumference is 10 Ri (里). The mountains are steep and there are few plains. There are three streams and waterfalls. In the valley, there are trees and bamboos so thick that one cannot tell their full extent. Based on what can be seen, the plants species there include: goryoumatsu (五鬣松), murasaki kisaidan (紫木再檀), … (note: many more plant species are listed in the text.). There are so many kinds of fishes and shells that it is hard to list them all. Especially, sea lions (海鹿) and abalones (鮑) abound among these (fishes and abalones). To catch abalones, bamboo sticks are inserted into the sea in the evening and lifted up in the next morning. The abalones are known to taste great. Many pounds of oil (note: used for lighting oil) may be obtained from a sea lion. Next, there is “another island” called 松島 (Matsushima). The circumference is 30 Jung( 町). It is located on the same path (同一線路) as the path to Takeshima (竹島, i.e., Ulleungdo). The distance from Oki is 80 Ri(里). Trees and bamboos are rare (in Matsushima). (This island) also yields sea animals (魚獸).”

This “another island” means Matsushima, the Japanese name for Dokdo that had been consistently used until 1905. The map attached to the 1877 Daijokan documents firmly established the identification of 松島 (Matsushima) with Dokdo. The two islands and rocks of Dokdo are drawn in detail in this map. Ulleungdo is marked with “磯竹島” and Dokdo is marked “松島.”
For compilation of the images of the 1877 Daijokan order, please see http://blog.daum.net/sabul358/13386560.  Additional portions of the text of the attachments to the 1877 Daijokan order include the following (English translation not provided):
Attachment 1: 政府評議の主旨

丙子 元禄九年正月二十八日
天龍院公 御登城御暇御拝領被遊候上 於御白書院御老中御四人御列座ニテ戸田 山城守様 竹島ノ儀ニ付御覺書一通御渡被成 先年以来 伯州米子ノ町人両人竹 島ヘ罷越致漁候處 朝鮮人モ彼島ヘ参致漁 日本人入交リ無益ノ事ニ候間 向後 米子ノ町人渡海ノ儀 被差留トノ御儀被仰渡候也 同是ヨリ前正月九日 三澤吉左衛門方ヨリ直右衛門御用ニ付罷出候様ニトノ 儀ニ付参上仕候處 豊後守様御逢被成 御直ニ被仰聞候ハ竹島ノ儀 中間衆出羽   

守殿右京太夫殿ヘモ遂内談候 竹島元シカト不相知事ニ候 伯耆ヨリ渡リ漁イタシ来リ候由ニ付 松平伯耆守 殿ヘ相尋候處因幡伯耆ヘ附属ト申ニテモ無之候 米子町人両人先年ノ通リ船相 渡度ノ由 願出候故 其時ノ領主松平新太郎殿ヨリ按内有之如以前渡海仕候様ニ 新太郎殿ヘ以奉書申遣候 酒井雅楽頭殿 土井大炊頭殿 井上主計頭殿 永井信濃 守殿連判ニ候故 考見候ヘハ大形台徳院様御代ニテモ可有之哉ト存候 先年ト有 之候ヘトモ年數ハ不相知候  右ノ首尾ニテ罷渡リ 漁仕来候マテニテ朝鮮ノ島ヲ日本ヘ取候ト申ニテモ無 之 日本人居住不仕候 道程ノ儀相尋候ヘハ伯耆ヨリハ百六十里程有之 朝鮮ヘ ハ四十里程有之由ニ候 然ハ朝鮮國ノ蔚陵島ニテモ可有之候哉  夫トモニ日本人居住仕候カ此方ヘ取候島ニ候ハハ今更遣シカタキ事ニ候ヘト モ左様ノ証據等モ無之候間此方ヨリ構不申候様ニ被成如何可有之哉  又ハ對島守殿ヨリ蔚陵島ト書入候儀 差除返簡仕候様被仰遣 返事無之内對島 守殿死去ニ候故右ノ返簡彼國ヘ差置タル由ニ候左候ヘハ刑部殿ヨリ蔚陵島ノ儀 被仰越候ニ及ヒ申間敷カ 又ハ 

兎角竹島ノ儀ニ付 一通リ刑部殿ヨリ書翰ニテモ 可被差越ト思召候哉  右三様ノ御了簡被成思召寄委可被仰聞候 蚫取ニ参リ候迄ニテ無益島ニ候處 此儀ムスホホレ年来ノ通交絶申候モ如何ニ候 御威光或ハ武威ヲ以テ申勝ニイ タシ候テモ筋モナキ事申募リ候儀ハ不入事ニ候  竹島ノ儀元シカト不仕事ニ候 例年不参候 異国人罷渡候故 重テ不罷越候様 ニ被申渡候様ニト相模守殿ヨリ被申渡候元バットイタシタル事ニ候 無益ノ儀 ニ事オモクレ候テモ如何ニ存候 刑部殿ニハ御律儀ニ候間 始如此申置候處 今 更ケ様ニハ被申間敷トノ御遠慮モ可有之カト存候 其段ハ少モ不苦候 我等宜敷 様ニ了簡可仕候間 思召ノ通リ無遠慮可被仰聞候 其方達モ存寄リ無遠慮可被申 候 同シ事ヲ幾度モ申進候段クドキ様に存候エトモ異国ヘ申遣候事ニ候故 度々 存寄申遣候間思召寄幾度被仰聞候様ニト存候 御事繁内ニ候故今少シ筋道ヲモ 付候上ニテ達上聞可申ト存候 

右申渡候口上ノ趣 其方覺ノ為ニ書付遣候トノ御事ニテ御覺書御直ニ御渡被 成候故 受取拝見仕候ト只今ノ御意ノ趣 有増落着申候様ニ奉存候 左候ハハ以 来日本人ハ彼島ヘ御渡被遊間敷トノ思召ニ候哉ト伺申候ヘハ 如何ニモ其通ニ 候 重テ日本人不罷渡候様ニト思召候由御意被成候故 竹島ノ儀返被遣候ト申手 ニ葉ニテモ無御坐候哉ト申上候ヘハ其段モ其通リニ候島ニテモ無之候上ハ返シ 候ト申筋ニテモ無之候此方ヨリ構不申以前ニ候 此方ヨリ誤リニテ候共不被申 事ニ候 

奉存候 左候ハハ以来日本人ハ彼島ヘ御渡被遊間敷トノ思召ニ候哉ト伺申候ヘハ 如何ニモ其通ニ候 重テ日本人不罷渡候様ニト思召候由御意被成候故 竹島ノ儀返被遣候ト申手 ニ葉ニテモ無御坐候哉ト申上候ヘハ其段モ其通リニ候島ニテモ無之候上ハ返シ 候ト申筋ニテモ無之候此方ヨリ構不申以前ニ候 此方ヨリ誤リニテ候共不被申 事ニ候 右被仰遣候趣トハ少シクイ違ヒ候ヘトモ事オモクレ可申ヨリ少ハクヒ違候ト モ軽ク相濟申候方宜敷候間此段御了簡被成候様ニトノ御事故トクト落着申候罷 歸リ刑部大輔ヘ可申聞ヨシ申上候テ退坐仕ル

Attachment 2:

先太守 因竹島事 遣使於貴國者 兩度 事未了 不幸早世 由是召還使人. 不日上船 入覲之時 問及竹島地狀方向 據實具對 因以其去. 本邦太遠 而去 貴國却近. 恐兩地人殽雜 必有潛通私市等弊 隨卽下令 永不許 入往漁採. 夫釁隙生於細徵 禍患興於下賤 古今通病 慮寧勿預. 是以百年之好 偏欲彌篤 而一島之微 據付不較 豈非 兩邦之美事乎. 慈念. 南宮應慇懃修書 使本州代傳 盛謝爾. 譯使回掉之日. 口伸母遺.

Attachment 3:

朝鮮國禮曹參議 李善溥 奉書日本國對馬州 刑部大輔拾遺 平公 閣下春日暄和 緬惟動靜 珎毖嚮慰無已 頃因譯使 回自貴國 細傳左右面托之言 備悉委折矣. 鬱陵島之爲我地 輿圖所載 文跡照然 無論彼遠此近 疆界自別. 貴州旣知 鬱陵島與竹島 爲一島而二名 則其名雖異 其爲我地則一也. 貴國下令 永不許 入往漁採 辭意丁寧 可保久遠 無他良幸良幸. 我國亦當 分付官吏 以時檢察 俾絶兩地人往來殽雜之弊矣. 昨年漂氓人 濱海之事 率以舟楫爲業 颿風焱忽 易及飄盪 以至冒越重良轉入貴國 豈可以此 有所致疑 於違定約 而由他路乎. 若其呈書 誠有妄作之罪 故已施幽極之典 以爲爲懲戢之地 另勅沿海 申明禁令矣. 胃益務誠信 以全大體 更勿生事 於邊彊庸非 彼此之所大願者耶. 左右旣有 面言於譯使 而然且無 一人行李 奉書契以末者. 似是 左右深念舊約 不欲規外送差之意 故先此修牘 展布多少 送于萊館 使之轉致 統希諒炤. 不宣. 戊寅 三月 日禮曹參議 李善溥

Attachment 4:

日本國對馬州 刑部大輔拾遺 平義眞 奉復朝鮮國禮曹大人 閣下

向領華椷 憑審貴國 穆淸嘔喩 倍恒承諭. 前年 象官超溟之舊 面陳竹島之一件 繇是 左右克諒情由 示以 兩國 永通交誼 益懋誠信矣 至幸至幸. 示意 卽已啓達 東武了. 故今修牘略布 餘蘊附在館司舌頭. 時維春寒 更希加愛 總惟鑒察. 不宣.

元祿十二年 己卯 正月 日 對馬州刑部大輔拾遺 平義眞

A map is also attached to the Daijokan order.  See below:

Photo above: the map attached to the 1877 Daijokan Order. Ulleungdo (“磯竹島“) and Dokdo (“松島“) are shown with Oki island to the bottom right. The name and the features of Dokdo establish the identity. Three comments are visible on the map:



隠岐島後福浦ヨリ松島ヲ距ル 乾位八十里許。

“If one looks(遠望*) westward (酉戌) toward the Chosun country (mainland of Korea) from Isotakeshima, the distance (between Isotakeshima and the mainland of Korea) is about 50 ri** (里) in the sea.
Isotakeshima is located to the northwest of Matsushima (Dokdo) at a distance of about 40 ri** (里).
Matsushima is located to the northwest of Fukuura of Oki island at a distance of about 80 ri** (里).”

(Note*: “遠望” means looking, not observing. Ulleungdo and the mainland of Korea cannot be observed from each other without the aid of modern telescopic lenses due to the large distance.
Note**: ri** refers to a nautical mile (1.852 km). Using this unit of distance, the actual distances are 70.4 ri instead of 50 ri, 47.2 ri instead of 40 ri, and 85.0 ri instead of 80 ri, respectively.)

This document including the attached map effectively puts an end to the second argument advanced by Japan by identifying Dokdo as Korean territory. See the contents in these link for details: http://dokdo.naezip.net/Dokdo/Dokdo14a.htm (in Korean) and http://www.dokdo-takeshima.com/dokdo-1877-doc.html (in English).

The collection of the text for the 1877 Daijokan order (太政官指令) in this knol is not quite complete.  The text for a few attachments are missing.  Contribution of the remaining portions of the text (so that this knol may serve as a definitive source of the entire text) would be greatly appreciated.