Japan’s Navy ‘Incorporates’ Dokdo Takeshima into War Strategy

Dokdo and The Wartime Diary of Japan’s Second Fleet – November 1904
What was Confidential Directive #698? (機密第六九八號)
It becomes apparent when reading this Dokdo related database that much content is related to Imperial Japan’s Navy. We’ve focused on the months preceding Japan’s annexation of Dokdo in February of 1905. The content is a deep read and somewhat disorganized because historical these records were not discovered in any particular order.

I came across these records by working backwards from the Logbooks of the Warship Tsushima. On November 13th the Tsushima was issued Confidential Directives #689 and #275. Later on I would find the origin of these commands in the Diary of Japan’s Second Fleet. This makes sense because the Second Fleet commanded by Vice Admirals Kamimura and Uryu were responsible from patrolling the Sea of Japan (East Sea) which of course included Ulleungdo and Dokdo (Liancourt Rocks)

The translation was quite difficult and I’m sure there are some mistakes. However, I’ve gleaned a lot of great data from these records. Of interest are the details of Confidential Directive #698 involving the Warship Tsushima’s inspection of Liancourt Rocks.

Excepts From November 1904 Wartime Diary of Japan’s Second Fleet

Document Number (Cover) # 1972, Japan’s National Archives 2nd Fleet Diary
File Number – – – – 4900
明治三十七年 自 十月一日 至 十二月廿一日
戰時日誌付録 第二艦隊司令部

October 1-December 21, Meiji 37
List of wartime dates
2nd Fleet Headquarters

Document Number # 2003, Japan’s National Archives 2nd Fleet Diary
File Number – – – – 4900
乙隊機密第六九八號
瓜生第二艦隊司令官ニ訓令 丗七年十一月十三日午前八時 於尾崎湾旗艦出雲
一.貴官ハ左記ノ任務ニ服セシムル為麾下ノ軍艦ヲ派遣スベシ
一.高崎山無線通信秘通信試験施行及右係官ヲ同地ニ送致ノ件
二.リヤンゴルド島視察ノ件
三.松島及竹濱望樓台ノ送致ノ件
右派遣期日ハ別ニ之ヲ命ス
ニ.哨艦監視法ヲ左ノ如ク改メ明後十五日ヨリ施行セシム貴官ハ之ニ関スル細則ヲ規宣シ寛施ノ 任ニ當ルベシ
AB哨艦ハ毎日天明ノ位置ヲ、Aハ四四四、Bハ四一
地点附近トシソレヨリ約十節ノ速力ニテ Aハ東、Bハ西水道ヲ通過シテ南下シ日没頃ヨリ引返シ連続同運動ヲ繰返シ浦汐艦隊及密航船舶 監視ニ任ス

Second Fleet Confidential No. 698
Instruction to Commander Uryu, 2nd Fleet, 8:00 a.m., November 13, 1904, at Nagasaki Bay, Flagship Izumo
I. You are to dispatch the warships under your command to perform the following duties:
1. To conduct a secret communication test for radio communication at Mt. Takasaki (Oki Island) and to send the right officer to the same location.
2. Inspection of Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo)
3. To dispatch officials to Matsushima (Ulleungdo) and Takehama (Jukbyeon, Korea) Watchtower
The date of dispatch is to be specified separately.
D. Revision of the Patrol Vessel Surveillance Law The Patrol Vessel Surveillance Law shall be revised as follows and shall come into effect on the fifteenth day of the following month.
The AB patrol vessels shall be stationed daily in the vicinity of the following points: A: 444, B: 41.
A will pass through the East Channel and B through the West Channel at a speed of about 10 knots, and then head south, turning back around sunset and continuously repeating the same movement to monitor the Urasio Fleet and stowaway vessels.

Japan’s National Archives 2nd Fleet Diary – File # ——4400

Document Number # 1752

ル事に決シ朝日高砂ハ呉軍港ニテ秋津州ハ佐世保軍港ニテ着手スルコトニセリ就イテハ貴方面各艦隊ヨリモ一隻宛修理ニ着手セシメ差支ナシ
 ニ。(九日午前一時廿分ダルニー発九日午前五時着)

朝鮮海峡両岸各地ニ無線電信所ハ従来ノ監督ニ不便ナルカ故に敵艦隊出没等ノ際発信侗ニ亘リ混信ヲ来ス等通信ノ遲迎ヲ来センコトアリンシ様様知セリ波羅的艦隊来航ノ事実ニ近キ今日仝海峡ニ在ル陸海電信線望楼無線電信所ノ通信系統ヲ一層明シ重要ナル通信取ニ将校ヲ配スル等通信連絡ノ敏速ヲ計ルハ最モ必要ナコトト

We have decided to start repair work on the Asahi Takasago at Kure Military Port and the Akitsushu at Sasebo Military Port, and for this purpose, one ship from each fleet in your area will be sent for repair, and there is no problem.

(1:30 a.m. on the 9th). (Departing Dalny at 1:20 a.m. on the 9th and arriving at 5:00 a.m. on the 9th)

The wireless telegraph stations on both sides of the Korean Straits are inconvenient to supervise, and as a result, when the enemy fleet appears, there is confusion over the transmission lines, and it appears that communication is slow, etc. As the arrival of the Japanese fleet in the Straits is now known, the communication system at the watchtower wireless telegraph stations on land and sea telegraph lines in the Straits should be further clarified and officers should be assigned to important communication contacts, in order to speed up communication and communication. It is most necessary to speed up communication and communication.

Document Number # 1753
思考ス貴官ハ仝海峡方面ニ於ケル従来ノ経験ニ鑑テ最モ適当ト思惟スル考案ヲ立テ直接大本営ヘ具申セラルベシ巨文島O馿島白瀬鴻島岩宮島蔚山港ニ用ニ燈台若ハ燈竿ヲ準備シ必要ニ鑑テ点燈スル件ハ本職ヨリ上申セリ

右第一電ニ對シ第二戦隊諸艦(当地在留)ハ応急修理ノ必要ト認ムルモノナク目下戦局上尚在当地ノ一艦ヲ殺キ之ヲ黄海方面ニ廻ハシ仝方面ノ応急修理ヲ要スルモノノ数ヲ増加スル方時宣ニ適レタルモノトシ
聯合艦隊司令長官ニ左ノ意見ヲ具申ス
「各艦隊一隻宛修理ニ着手スベキ貴電拝…

In view of your previous experience in the area of the Straits, you are requested to come up with a plan which you consider most appropriate and submit it directly to the Headquarters.

In response to the first report to the right, the ships of the 2nd Squadron (in the area) do not recognize the need for emergency repairs, and in view of the current war situation, it would be appropriate to kill one ship in the area and send it to the Yellow Sea to increase the number of ships requiring emergency repairs in that area.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet is hereby informed of the following opinion
“Please send a message to the Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet that repairs should be started on one ship in each fleet…

Document Number # 1756
朝鮮海峡及日本海西部ニ於ケル通信機関ニ就キ意見

一。松島竹辺湾其他朝鮮海峡諸地点ニ通信機関新設相成候以来當方面ノ通信ハ弥ニ確実ト相成目下ノ情況ニ対シテハ充分ナリト信ジ居リ候モ后来作戦ノ進行上一層當方面ノ警戒ニ重キヲ置カルノ必要モ可有之思考惟ニ就テハ此際尚左ノ各項脚実施相成候様希望致候
一・當方面ニアル艦隊トノ通信ヲ更ニ迅速確実ナラシメンガタメ電信線ノ集合点ニ通信専務ノ将校一名ヲ置キ艦隊ノ所発受信ノ速.

Opinion on communications in the Straits of Korea and the western Sea of Japan.

1.We have established communications agencies at Matsushima (Ulleung Island -Korea ), Jukbin Bay, (Jukbyeon – Korea) and other points in the Korean Strait. We believe that all communications in this direction are reliable and will be sufficient to keep us informed of the situation. However, in view of future operations, we believe that it will be necessary to tighten our vigilance in this direction. Therefore, we would like to make the following suggestions…

1-1. In order to make communication with the fleet in this direction more prompt and certain, one liaison officer shall be posted at the junction of the telegraph lines to receive and transmit the various communications of the fleet quickly.

Document Number # 1757
…達ニ任セシムルコト
  現在ニ在テハ之ヲ竹敷ニ置キ根拠地ヲ鎮海湾ニ變シリルキハ鎮海湾ニ置リ等常ニ艦隊ト共に其ノ所在ヲ変セシム
  ニ・無線電信ヲ有スル各仮設望楼及松島望楼(東西ノ間ニ一名)ニハ将校一名ヲ配シ第一項ノ将校ニ隷セシムルコト
 三・リアンゴルド島ニ望楼ヲ新設シ松島ヨリ水底電信連絡ヲ取るコト
   在松島漁民ノ所話ニ依レバ東西両島ノ間ニハ適良ナル可船水道アリ錨泊ニ適シ且島内諸処ニ清水湧出シ其ノ地積モ充分ニ望楼ヲ建設スルニ堪ユルカ如シ

From this point forward, that position should always move with the fleet, just as the base at Takeshi was moved to Jinhae Harbor.

2. One officer is to be stationed at each of the temporary lookouts and the Matsushima (Ulleungdo-Korea) lookout (one east and one west) that have wireless communication capability, to serve as liaison officer for paragraph 1.
3. Establish a new watchtower on Liancourt Island (Dokdo) to communicate with Matsushima (Ulleungdo-Korea) via submarine telegraph.

According to the stories of the fishermen in Matsushima, (Ulleungdo – Korea) the water between the two islands (on Dokdo) divided into east and west is deep enough for ships to pass, suitable for anchoring, and there is a clear spring within the island, and the island is large enough to support a watchtower.

Document Number # 1758

 四・韓国南部諸島ニ於ケル豫宣通信機関ヲ速成スルコト
 五・大瀬崎及濟州島(若クハ巨文島)ニ無線電信所ヲ新設スルコト
   但シ巨濟島無線通信所ハ左程必要ナラサルカ故ニ他ニ移動セシメラルモ差支ナカルベシ
 六・油谷湾玉ノ浦ニ仮泊スル船舩ニ通信ノ速達ヲ期スルタメ陸上電信線ヲ海岸造延長スルコト
 七・鎮海湾ノ艦隊確泊場ハ濟州島方面ニ機関ノ繋雷浮標ヲ設ケ電話線ヲ通スルコト
 八・沖ノ島北方ヲ監視スル哨艦トノ通信を迅…

4. quickly create a meteorological communication organization that covers each island in southern Korea
5. Establish new radio stations on Ousezaki and Jeju Island (or Geomun Island).
However, the Geojedo radio station is currently not needed, so it can be moved to another location.
6. Extend the coastal telegraph line to quickly send communications to ships temporarily anchored in Yuya Bay and Tamanoura.
7. Install an institutional wire buoy in the direction of Jeju Island, where the fleet in Jinhae Bay is anchored, to secure communication lines.
8. communicate with the sentry ships to watch north of Okinoshima…

Document Number # 1759
速確実ナラシムルタメ見島ニ無線電信所ヲ設置スルコト
右各項ハ必要ノ程度ニ従ヒ順序ニ配列シタルモノニ有ノ候(了)
軍令部次長ヨリノ電報

「九日上海小田切領事ヨリノ電報ニ依レバ汽舩「ロドセン」本日正午出港セリ
 香港ヨリ三井物産會社ニ左ノ報ニ依レバWilhelminaハアストリヤニ向けSalgordiaハ香港ニ向ケ十月十三日出港セリ」
 右ニヨリ在竹敷瓜生司令官ニ便宣哨艦ヲ増加シ監視ヲ厳ニスベキヲ電令セリ

To establish a radio telegraph office on Mishima to ensure speed and reliability.
The items to the right are arranged in order of necessity.
Telegram from the Deputy Chief of the Military Command

Telegram from Consul Odagiri of Shanghai dated the 9th, stating that the steamer “Rodosen” is leaving port at noon today.
In accordance with the report to the left from Mitsui & Co. in Hong Kong, the steamer Wilhelmina is leaving for Astoria and the steamer Salgordia is leaving for Hong Kong on October 13th.
In accordance with the above, I have ordered Commander Uryu Takeshiki to increase the number of patrol vessels and to keep a close watch on them. 

Document Number # 1760
又DE哨區ニアル艦隊ニ全力警戒ヲ命ス
瓜生司令官ハE哨艦(天明位置四六六)一隻ヲ増シ笠置ヲシテ十日十一日両日之ニ當ラシメAB哨艦天明ノ位置ヲ四九七及四一〇地点トセリ
午后一時十五分 松島西望楼ヨリノ報告
「六時四十分赤燈ヲ点セル汽船一隻西北約十海里ノ沖ニテ発見シ西南ニ當リ見失ヘリ」
 
右ニヨリ瓜生司令官及哨艦浪速高千穂ニ左ノ電信ヲ発ス
「九日午后七時松島西望楼ノ報告ニヨレバ一汽船同島ノ西方十海里ヲ南下セリト哨艦ハ明朝之カ発見ヲ力ムルヲ要ス」
聯合艦隊司令長官ヨリノ電報(午后八時廿分ダルテ発 午后十時着)

Also, the fleet in the DE patrol area is ordered to be on full alert.
Commander Uryu adds one more E patrol ship (Tenmei at 466) to the fleet and orders Kasagi to be in position for both the 10th and 11th, and the AB patrol ships Tenmei and Tenmei to be at 497 and 410.
Report from Matsushima (Ulleung Island Korea) West Watchtower at 1:15 p.m.
“At 6:40 a.m. a steamer with a red light was found about 10 nautical miles offshore to the northwest and was lost to the southwest.”

A telegram was sent to Commander Uryu and the patrol vessel Naniwa Takachiho.
“At 7:00 P.M. on the 9th, a report from the west watchtower of Matsushima (Ulleung Island – Korea) indicates that a steamer is heading south 10 nautical miles west of the island, and that the patrol ships must find it tomorrow morning.”
Telegram from the Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet (departing at 8:20 in the afternoon and arriving at 10:00 in the afternoon).

Document Number # 1778
午后三時 對馬哨區ヨリ入港
香港丸艦長ヨリ電報
「操舵機損所分解検査ノ結果日数九日間ヲ要ス
 来ル廿二日竣工ノ豫定ナリ云々」
乙隊機密第六九八号ヲ以テ瓜生司令官ニ左ノ件訓令ス
要領一。麾下ノ一艦ヲ以テ高崎山無線電信試験及右係官ノ送致、リアンゴルド島視察

松島竹濱望楼台ノ位置変更ノ件
ニ。AB哨艦ノ位置変更ノ件
又他CFG哨艦ノ位置及以上三哨艦ハ命ニヨリ臨時出スベキ件
三。交互麾下ノ一艦ヲ佐世保若ハ長崎派遣

Arrival at 3:00 p.m. from Tsushima watch station
Telegram from the Captain of the Hong Kong Maru
“After analyzing the damaged part of the steering wheel, we need 9 days.
Expected to be completed on the 20th, etc.”
Pursuant to Second Fleet Confidential Directive # No. 698, Commander Uryu is instructed as follows.
Order 1. Send the above officer to the first ship of the line to test the radio transmissions at Mt. Takazaki. Inspection of Liancourt Island (Dokdo)

To change the position of the watchtowers on Matsushima (Ulleung Island – Korea) and Jukbin (Jukbyeon – Korea).
2. Change the position of the AB sentry ship.
3. Dispatch your Majesty’s 1st ship to Sasebo and Nagasaki alternately…

File # ——4500 Japan’s National Archives 2nd Fleet Diary

Document Number # 1786

十一月十八日 尾嵜 晴 南西風力一ーニ 六十四度~四十七度
午后一時廿分 春日丸哨区ニ向ヒ出港仝四時廿五分千早哨区ヨリ入港ス
午后二時三十分笠置臨時c哨区ニ向ヒ出港(注意舩「トリス」号膠州湾出港舟)

午后五時三十五分對馬出港
・右は去十三日乙隊機密第六九八号瓜生司令官ニ興ヘタ以訓令ニ基ク
仝艦隊定行動左ノ如シ
・十九日朝竹濱着仝夕松島着廿日朝リアンゴルド着廿一日朝隠岐着

本月西水道ノ査間哨区舩便七十号ヲ以テ通信宇文代ノ為メ蔚嵜望樓ニ置ル

Nov. 18 Ozaki Sunny Southwest winds 1-2 64° to 47°F
Departed Kasugamaru watch station at 1:20 p.m. Arrived at 4:25 a.m. from Chihaya watch area.
2:30 p.m. departed Kasaoki temporary C watch area (vessel to watch: Dolce *sailed from Kyoju (Qingdao, China) Bay)
Departed Tsushima at 5:35 p.m.
The above is Confidential Directive No. 698 of the 13th. Based on instructions to Commander Uryu.
The behavior of the fleet was as follows.
On the morning of the 19th, Jukbyeon (Korea) arrived at Matsushima (Ulleung Island Korea) the same evening; arrived at Liancourt (Dokdo) on the morning of the 20th. Arrival in Oki on the morning of the 21st.

Communicated with *Seosu-do (the sea west of Daemado in the Korea Strait) this month by putting it in watch boat No. 70 during reconnaissance. Left it at Uljaki Lighthouse (Ulsan) due to communication costs.

Document Number # 1808

午后四時三十分 六十九号艇鎮海湾ヨリ入港七十号艇ハ発射水雷沈没捜索ノ為メ尚峡地ニ残シリ【六十九号鎮海湾ヨリ入港】

乙隊機密七一五号ノニ以テ春日丸艦長ト仝館指揮下デアル偽装砲艦二隻宛シ便宣佐世保ヲ廻航ノ上修理及海防水雷発射管ノ装備ヲ施行セレムベキヲ訓令ス
右ニ依リ神祐丸および海城丸ハ午后五時佐世保ヲ廻航
総合艦隊司令長官ヨリノ電報(午后八時五十五分ダルニー発)
 「修理ノ為メ夕霧ヲ佐世保ニ廻航センムベキ旨訓電セリ」
十一月廿四日 尾嵜 午前 晴 午后 雲 北風九一 五十八度~四十九度
午前十時對馬入港 仝艦長ヨリ リアンゴルド島視察報告
リアンゴルド島視察ノ為メ副長山田少佐ヲシテ軍醫長舩匠師等ヲ率ヒ実地踏査セシメタルニ別紙

At 4:30 a.m., the 69th ship arrived from the Jinhae coast. The No. 70 remains at the scene to search for the sinking of the fired mines.【No. 69 arrives from the Jinhae coast】.
Assigned Kasugamaru and the two camouflage vessels under her command for the operation of Classified Directive 715 No. 2, and ordered them to carry out repairs and torpedo launcher equipment while sailing back to Sasebo for their convenience.
Shin Umaru and Kaijo Maru to return to Sasebo at 5 p.m. in accordance with the above.
Telegram from Commander-in-Chief, Allied Fleet (8:55 p.m. from Darni)
“Please advise me why Yuuri should be returned to Sasebo for repairs.”
Nov. 24 Ozaki Morning clear, afternoon cloudy North Wind 1 58 degrees to 49 degrees.
10:00 a.m. Arrived in port at Tsushima. Captain Dong reports on his inspection of Liancourt Island.
“In order to inspect Liancourt Island, I was accompanied by Lieutenant Yamada, the commander, the ship’s engineer, and others. Attached here to follow.

Document Number # 1809

…報告ニ記載サレルノ如、十分ナル土木工事及設備ヲナスニ拒レバ到底電信設備ニ適セザルニ以テコノ要衛ナル地点ハ下遺憾放棄スルノ巳ヲ得ザルモノト認定セラレ候余別紙報告書ニ通相添此文及報告候也(十一月 廿四日)
報告書二通ハ略ス伹ン其要点左ノ如シ
 第一・望婁象定位置トシテ西島ノ東面山崩ノ電及東島頂西南端ニアル平地ヲ像迸シ且ハ堤防ヲ其目的ニ充テンニハ充分ナル工事ヲ要スルコト及仝島ハ展望ニ適セザルコト
 第二・飲用水ナキコト
右ニ基キ軍令部長ニ左ノ報告ヲス

Acknowledging that, as stated in the report, without sufficient civil works and foundations being laid, the site is utterly unsuitable for telecommunications, and that this important point is very regrettable but cannot be neglected. I have attached two separate reports, which I hereby report in full and in writing.

The contents of the two reports, briefly summarized, are as follows
1. the proposed location of the watchtower would be suitable for its intended purpose if the mountain face east of the west island, or the flat land southwest of the summit of the east island, were levelled and embanked, but such work would be necessary. Also, the island is not suitable for viewing.
2. there is no potable water.

Reported to the commander-in-chief in accordance with the above as follows.

Document Number # 1810

「乙隊機密第六九一号ヲ以テ朝鮮海峡付近ニ於ケル通信機関ニ付キ意見具申候更其第三項リアンゴルド島ニ関スル件ハ今般対馬ヲ派遣シ実地調査セレメ候更仝艦長報告ノ如クシテ大工事ヲ施サイレバ到底望婁ヲ設置ン得ル見込ナキモノト認メ候徐別紙視察報告相添此文及報告候也」

午后一時五十五分笠置哨区ニ向ヒ出港仝二時千早哨區ヨリ入港
午后一時香港丸第一艦隊現在地ニ向ヒ佐世保出港
(昨日ハ艦校故障ノ為メ出港見合セリ)
在呉常盤艦長ヨリ修理十二月十日竣工ノ電報アリ
本日ヨリ春日丸艦長ヲ委員長トシテ連撃沈置水雷ノ試験研究ヲナサレム

The “Opinion of the Second Squadron regarding the communication facilities in the vicinity of the Chosun Straits was reported with Confidential Report No. 691, and the third item regarding Liancourt rocks (Dokdo) was also reported with a report from the captain, who stated that it is not expected to be able to install the watchtower if major work is not carried out.

At 1:55 p.m. the vessel departed for Kasagi Sentinel and at 2:00 p.m. arrived at Chihaya Sentinel.
At one time in the afternoon, the Koukoumaru left Sasebo for the current location of the First Fleet
(Yesterday, the ship was not able to depart due to a malfunction of the ship’s school.)
Captain Tokiwa Kure received a telegram stating that repairs would be completed on December 10.
Today, with the captain of the Kasuga Maru as the chairman, a test study of a series of sinking submerged mines will be conducted.

Confidential File #9
Hidden away in JACAR’s Historical Archives, I happened upon two files simply titled ‘Confidential Files’ Number 9 and 10. Other than that there was no other description of what these records contained. Reading closely it became clear it was similar to Japan’s Navy Second Fleet plan for the control over the Chosun Strait (Sea of Japan). Contained in the latter records was the survey results of Liancourt by the Warship Tsushima. This report was also sent to the Director of the Hydrographic Department who was instrumental in guiding Japanese citizen Nakai Yozuburo’s application to ‘incorporate’ Dokdo.

Confidential File #10