Several old Japanese textbooks show that Tokyo did not consider the Dokdo islets Japanese territory before it annexed them during the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. The Independence Hall of Korea on Tuesday unveiled five geography textbooks and two world atlases showing Japan did not claim to the Korean islets before 1905.
One textbook was produced by Japan's education ministry in March 1905. It illustrates all Japanese territory including an archipelago in the northern part of the country, but Dokdo is not included. There is also no mention of Dokdo in the geographical table of the book.
The Northeast Asian History Foundation and other groups have discovered stacks of school textbooks dating back to before 1905 that show Dokdo as part of Korea, but they were independently produced materials only approved by the Japanese education ministry, while this is the first time a textbook produced by the ministry itself has turned up.
Another book also includes a map of Japan describing Ulleung and Dokdo as Korea's territory. It was published by an individual in 1887 but approved by the ministry.