Japanese Military Land Appropriation in Korea and Dokdo – Part III

Japan’s Imperial Army and Navy Seize Strategic Areas of Korea and China
As with the first two pages, this article will start with an overall reference map of Japan and Korea. The map to the right is a Japanese military map showing telegraph systems and the areas Japan appropriated, however, this map also included Liandong Peninsula, China. It has been labeled with red English text for reference. The date of this chart was the 38th Year of Meiji (1905) and is dated in January. During this time Japan had just captured Port Arthur (now Lushun~Dalian). It is clear the Japanese were very ambitious in their installation of submarine telegraph cable as they had already incorporated Port Arthur only one month after its conquest.

This map predates Dokdo’s annexation and we can see Japan’s more ambitious plan to utilize the islets hadn’t been realized yet. However, the logbooks of the Japanese warship Tsushima recorded Dokdo was surveyed for watchtowers about two months before this map was drawn. The survey maps of Dokdo are at the bottom of this page. Below the map of Korea and Japan is a schematic diagram of the whole telegraph wire system in place as of January 1st 1905.

Japanese Military Maps of China’s Liandong Peninsula (Port Arthur)
Korea wasn’t the only country in Northeast Asia to have her territory appropriated for military use by the Japanese as we will see on this page. The maps below show the locations of Japanese Naval facilities on the Liandong Peninsula, West of Korea. The top map is a highly detailed survey of the Liandong Peninsula’s coastline in preparation for the installation of watchtowers and telegraph radio transmitters / receivers. Contour lines dot the coastline indicating the regions of high elevation. These areas were of course suitable for transmitting/receiving radio signals and obviously more desirable for watchtowers. The area boxed in red on the lower left is a profile drawn by the surveyor to indicate the position and elevation of the radio facilities on the neighbouring mountain.

The second map shows the position of watchtowers along Liandong’s coastal areas. The circular line around the watchtower was highlighted in green and indicates the range of visibility for each observation point.

The original Japanese military maps above are from the Russo~Japanese War. They illustrate the watchtowers illegally installed on China’s Liandong Peninsula after the Japanese routed the Russians from Port Arthur.
Japanese Military Maps of Watchtower Locations on Korean and Japanese Soil
The maps on this page were again from the Japanese Historical Archives and they detailed the positions of watchtowers the Japanese Navy during the Russo~Japanese War. Red text was added to label the areas for geographic reference. When the watchtowers were drawn, a circle indicating the range of visibility was included to show the area that could be seen as well as blindspots or zones that were not visible. The circles were highlighted in green.

Of course, the Japanese incorporated Dokdo into this system to guard the East Sea between Ulleungdo and Oki Islands. This was not a spontaneous decision as the Japanese Navy surveyed Dokdo for this purpose back in November of 1904. The map below is an overall chart of all watchtowers located around Korea and part of Japan.

The above maps show the location of Japanese military watchtowers on Korean territory. They also show Japanese watchtowers on Japanese coastal areas. Note how Dokdo – Takeshima (then called 竹島) was immediately integrated into this defense plan.
Japanese Military Utilizes Dokdo For Military Control Over Korea and the East Sea (Sea of Japan)
Below this text (left) is also a map from the Japan Center of Asian Historical Records. It is dated between October and November of 1905. The red text was added to give geographic location to the original map. The map was also slightly cropped to reduce the image file size. The map to the above right gives perspective as to where these telegraph lines extended. It is clear these lines were for the purpose of monitoring Korean border and coastal areas as well as the naval activities of Vladivostok Harbour about 200kms to the Northwest.
Here we again see proof of the militarization of Dokdo Island. The underwater telegraph lines extend from Matsue, Japan~Dokdo~Ulleungdo and to Wonsan and Northward. These lines were used to link the Japanese Army stationed in the northern provinces of what is now North Korea. (click for highly detailed images)

Above left: This Japanese military map shows exactly how Japan’s Imperial Navy installed telegraph line to control the Korean peninsula. Note how telegraph lines were installed on Dokdo Island. Above right is a map for comparison and geographical reference.
A Summary of Japanese Military Land Appropriation in Korea and Dokdo Island
The maps from the last two pages were found the Japanese Naval Archives for the 37th and 38th years of the Meiji Government (1904~1905) Most of them were found in a large file detailing the correct procedure for locating, constructing and using radio systems for warfare against other nations in particular the Russians.

Again, these documents were not civilian or public at the time, so it is clear these territories were surveyed and mapped explicitly for military purposes. A quick glance at the overall map of Japan’s telegraph map above illustrates the ambitions of Japan’s military during this era. The telegraph systems went far beyond what Japan would ever need to protect the sovereignty of the Japanese mainland. This infrastructure extended not only through Korea for whom they were supposedly installed to “protect” but into China’s Liandong Peninsula and newly captured Port Arthur.

As shown the annexation of Dokdo was obviously an inseparable part of Japan’s overall plan to colonize Korea and assert control over northeast Asia. Statements by Japan’s Foreign Ministry that Shimane Prefecture incorporated Dokdo for the purpose of seal hunting are quite outrageous when the historical circumstances of 1904~1905 are brought to light. This can also be proven through Japanese Naval maps of their watchtower positions around Korea and Japanese coastal areas.