A map showing that Japan did not regard Dokdo as Japanese territory before it annexed Korea in 1905 adds to mounting evidence that Tokyo's claim to the Korean islets is bogus. The map was uncovered in a collection of detailed maps of Japanese regions compiled by six Japanese civilians in the eighth year (1837) of the Tenpo era (1830-1844) in the last years of the Edo or Tokugawa period (1603-1868).
It was found by Yuji Hosaka (55), the director of Sejong University's Dokdo research center. He said while there are several Edo-period maps of Japan, this is the first time a book of detailed maps of the regions has been disclosed to the public.
The preface of the two-volume work says that the maps cover 66 feudal states under the Tokugawa Shogunate and two islands -- Ikishima and Tsushima.
Six cartographers compiled the maps. At the time, the shogunate based complete maps of Japan on such detailed civilian maps, experts say.
The maps in this book are elaborately drawn, with the seas painted blue, the lands green, and major cities yellow. Even tiny islands and submerged rocks in the seas are described.
But there is no mention nor drawing of Dokdo anywhere. It is not indicated even in a separate map of Okishima, the prefecture the Japanese government claims Dokdo belongs to.
Hosaka, a Japanese-born academic, says he bought the book from a dealer who specializes in old Japanese maps. He has also found other complete maps of Japan that do not include Dokdo.
"This is another example consistently proving that Japan did not consider Dokdo part of its territory until 1905," Hosaka said. "This book alone shows the Japanese government's claim that Dokdo was Japanese territory is historically unfounded."
He said the reason Japan insists on a historical claim dating before 1905 is that it wishes to "gloss over the Japanese colonialists' forceful incorporation of Dokdo in the process of invading Korea and to rebut Korea's argument in case the islets turn into a disputed region under international law."