The Dokdo Takeshima Dispute – Why Asia Distrusts Japan.

Japan’s Handling of The Dokdo Takeshima Island Problem
“Japanese lobby tactics destroy friendly Korea-Japan relations…”
Some of us researchers tirelessly gather data related to the Dokdo Takeshima Island dispute for countless hours and even years. Inevitably these searches lead us into Japanese cyberspace. This article exposes the ugly side of Japan’s Takeshima lobby movement. It also helps explain why Koreans are suspicious and resentful not of Japanese people but rather the Japanese government who encourages right-wing actvity.

What message is the Japanese government sending with her approach toward the Dokdo Island problem? Why does Korea still perceive Japan as a hostile country, even decades after the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations?

Warning: Some images may be considered offensive. They are for historical context only and not intended to slur Japanese people!

For decades after WWII, westerners viewed Japan with distrust. This may have been attributed to Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent wartime atrocities. During World War II, Western media depicted Japanese as cunning backstabbers or insatiable land grabbers. Japan’s past policy of stating something but doing the opposite made it very difficult for the nation to regain global trust.

Western Perceptions of Japanese as Seen Through Offensive WWII Propaganda Posters
Public Perceptions Japan Cannot Seem to Shake. The above images are Western WWII Anti-Japanese propaganda posters. These offensive posters depict Japan as a backstabbing enemy with an insatiable appetite for territory. While Japan has long since shed these stereotypes in the West, they remain alive and well in Northeast Asia.
Generations later, Japan’s international image is worlds apart from the wartime era most notably among western nations. It seems Japan has entered a new era of global relations… or has it? Although Japanese-Western relations are now amicable, Japanese-Korean relations may be getting worse. Who or what is sabotaging relations between two of Asia’s most prosperous countries?
Japanese Netizens Slyly Lobby for Takeshima Island With Cute Characters.
Hello Kitty softly purrs“..Tennouheika Banzai! (Long Live the Emperor)..!”
Doing a Google Japan image search under “Takeshima Day” (竹島の日) numerous promotional pictures appear. Many of these are cute, big-eyed cartoon anime or manga characters promoting Takeshima Day. However, considering the historical circumstances of the original Takeshima Day, February 22nd 1905, Koreans, Russians and even Japanese have little cause for celebration.

This advertisement below left uses a cute (blue eyed?) anime girl dressed in traditional Japanese clothes. Her eyes well with tears as she worries over Japan’s future. Oddly enough three of the highlighted territories, Dokdo (竹島), the Kurils and Diaoya (Senkaku) were not inherent parts of ancient Japan.

While Japan’s right wing lunatic fringe candy-coats Takeshima Day, Koreans watch in disbelief. We must ask ourselves, do Japanese citizens really know the true history of her involvlement on Dokdo Island? Do they realize Japan’s whole case for Dokdo Takeshima is based on her military annexation of the islands while Japan colonized Korea? Perhaps, if Japanese were taught the historical reality of Takeshima Day, they might understand why Koreans are so distrustful.

The Takeshima Day Girl…?
“I’m sorry sir, I can’t hear you. I have bamboo in my ears….”
Of course, no holiday would be complete without a cute mascot or character. So some Japanese netizens have even drawn a cute Takeshima girl. Because Takeshima means “bamboo” she has lush shoots of bamboo growing out of her ears. To complete her outfit, she wears a lovely necklace with a pendant of Dokdo (Takeshima) Island. “Very stylish, Takeshima Island Day Girl.!!”
Takeshima Day Mascots, The Dokdo Head Brothers.
Japanese Marketing versus Historically Accurate Characters
All of the clever gimmicks used by Japanese lobbyists will never hide the historical truth of this painful chapter in Asian history. To further illustrate this point, some photographic images of from the 1904~1905 Russo Japanese War are below. Now that we have some historical context, has edited some of the cute Takeshima Day characters. Our historically correct mascots wear standard uniforms of the Japanese Imperial Army circa 1905 and stand in the bloody trenches of Asia. Again we ask “..Happy Takeshima Day..?
Above left: Japanese soldiers smile on as they behead an enemy fighter. Right: Corpses lay strewn across an Asian battlefield. Both images are from the Russo Japanese War of 1904~1905 the time during which Japan’s Imperial Army occupied Korea and annexed Dokdo Island.
Fiction and then fact. Takeshima Day characters celebrate Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula and consequent expansion of the Japanese empire. Wearing military uniforms of the era, these edited characters more accurately depict the reality of Takeshima Day.
Takeshima Lobbyists Villify Other Asian nations.
“You Koreans, Chinese, and Russians are ugly theives and trespassers, now let’s be friends.”
The video below was created by an international organization called JCI or Junior Chamber International. This group strives to improve relations between countries through “understanding and empathy” so their website states. However, this video does nothing of the sort. This clear case of propaganda first misleads the Japanese public by claiming Dokdo (Takeshima) is historically Japanese. Numerous data on this website shows this to be false.

From there JCI claims the Takeshima is a part of “Japan’s house” to infuriate Japanese citizens. The ugly characatures of Chinese, Russians and Koreans is an obvious attempt to demonize other Asians. At the same time, Japanese citizens are represented by a cute, innocent animae girl or passive pussy-cats. Most appalling are the accusations that Chinese, Koreans, Russians and Taiwanese are thieves and trespassers. Japanese citizens are then instructed to defend “their home” without any real background as to why these territories are really “Japanese”.

February 11, 2010 – Japan’s MOFA Apologizes for annexing Korea
“But in reality, it’s business as usual. Japanese doubletalk frustrates Koreans…”
In Februrary of 2010 ahead of the 100th anniversary of Japan’s colonial rule over Korea, Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada apologized to South Korea for the more than three decades when Japan ruled over Korea, calling the time a “tragic incident.”

Katsuya Okada added “I can fully understand the feelings of (Koreans) who were deprived of their identity and nation. I believe we must never forget the victims,” For a brief while it seemed perhaps Korea and Japan may improve ties with each other, but it was not to be. Only weeks later, the Japanese Ministry of Education announced it had approved schoolbooks clarifying Dokdo (Takeshima) as Japanese territory.

March 10th, 2010 – Japan Approves Schoolbooks With False Japan Korea Boundary
“We are sorry for annexing Korea, but give us the lands our military seized during the colonial era”
Immediately, South Korea took a more aggressive stance against Japan’s claim over Dokdo as President Lee Myung-bak expressed an intention to bolster Seoul’s “effective control” of the islets and the legislature adopted a resolution to denounce Tokyo’s latest move.

Left: This image is from a recent Japanese schoolbook. It shows how Japan’s Education Ministry unilaterally declared a false Japan – Korea boundary and wrongly marked Dokdo (Takeshima) as part of Shimane Prefecture. (島根県) in red.

As long as the Japanese government continues to say one thing but do another, Korea and Japan will never build a lasting friendship. Relationships, personal or political are based on simple principles such as honesty, sincerity and trust. Japan cannot support the selfish territorial ambitions of Shimane Prefecture and right wing expansionists while feigning regret for the colonization of Korea.

The maps above are from Japanese schoolbooks that show a false boundary between Korea’s Dokdo and Ulleungdo Island. Some other maps wrongly label the islets as part of Shimane Prefecture.
The Dark Past and Present of Japan’s Claim to Dokdo Island, the Yakuza Connection
Black Dragon, Black Ocean and Black Vans – Territorial Issues and Japan’s Legacy of Organized Crime
The Dark/Black Ocean Society (玄洋社, Gen’yōsha?) was an influential ultranationalist group and secret society active in Meiji, Taishō and early Shōwa period Japan Gen’yōsha (玄洋社 “Occult Ocean Society”) – originated from a secret society of ex-samurai with an aim to restore feudal rule, Genyosha was an ultranationalist secret society which engaged in terrorist activities, such as the attempted assassination of Okuma Shigenobu in 1889. It formed an extensive espionage and organized crime network throughout east Asia and agitated for Japan’s military aggression. These organizations were utilized during Japan’s expansionist era to increase the Japanese empire in all directions.

On the left is an image of the 1901~1903 Edition of Japanese, Ultra-Right-Wing Black Dragon’s Chosun Fishing Manual, showing how Japan was encroaching into Korean waters, this record gave details into the fishing conditions in Korean East coast, Ulleungdo and Dokdo Island. ( link )

Originally ignored by the Japanese military, during the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo – Japanese War, both the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy found the Gen’yōsha’s extensive intelligence gathering network throughout East Asia to be invaluable. The Gen’yōsha network was also useful for the military in conducting sabotage activities behind enemy lines.

Who was Yamaza Enjiro ?
Yamaza Enjiro was a Member of the GenyoshaOne prominent political figure who was involved with Japan’s 1905 annexation of Dokdo Takeshima was Yamaza Enjiro. It was during the diary of Nakai Yozaburo a Japanese citizen who wanted to lease Dokdo that Yamaza Enjiro, the director of the Political Affairs Bureau, stated it was necessary to annex the islets for military purposes during the Russo Japanese War.

A native of Fukuoka, Yamaza was close to the Genyosha and shared many of its ideals. In 1904 he had been an adamant advocate of war with Russia, a position that had put him at odds with the political powerbroker and former prime minister Ito Hirofumi. Yamazo Enjiro worked in tandem with the Japanese Imperial Navy to annex Dokdo Island for the installation of naval watchtowers and telegraph facilities.

Japan’s Current Territorial Issues and Organized Crime
“..Who are Japan’s Uyoku dantai..?” – 右翼団体 (from Wikipedia)
The Uyoku dantai (右翼団体; literally “right wing groups”) are Japanese nationalist right-wing groups. In 1996, the National Police Agency estimated that there are over 1000 right wing groups in Japan with about 100,000 members in total. Uyoku dantai are well known for their highly visible propaganda vehicles, known as gaisensha (街宣車)–converted vans, trucks and buses fitted with loudspeakers and prominently marked with the name of the group and propaganda slogans.

To the left a typical Japanese, Takeshima propaganda van. The crudely scrawled Korean written on the van orders Koreans to “Get out of Takeshima!!” Korean.

The vehicles are usually black, khaki or olive drab, and are decorated with the Imperial Seal, the flag of Japan and the Japanese military flag. They are primarily used to stage protests outside organizations such as the Chinese, Korean or Russian embassies, Chongryon facilities and media organizations, where propaganda (both taped and live) is broadcast through their loudspeakers.

They can sometimes be seen driving around cities or parked in busy shopping areas, broadcasting propaganda, military music or Kimigayo, the national anthem. Moreover, it is difficult to arrest Uyoku dantai members because freedom of ideology is protected by the Constitution of Japan. This is one of the reasons why Yakuza groups use Uyoku dantai as camouflage. Of the 900-odd uyoku dantai with a total of 10,000 members monitored by Japan’s National Police Agency, more than half are fronts for criminal groups.
A Video of a Japanese Right-Wing Demonstration Vehicles
Japan’s Government Intentionally Creates and Distributes False Charts
“Japanese Erroneous Maps Deliberately Mislead the Public…”
More recently the Japanese government and right wing lobbyists have been misleading their own public and international community by intentionally producing and circulating maps that show Dokdo Takeshima as Japanese territory. In December of 2007, the Japanese government released maps showing Liancourt Rocks as part of Shimane Prefecture. Shockingly,’s East Sea (Sea of Japan) map currently shows a distinct red border between Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Of course Dokdo Takeshima Island is internationally recognized as part of South Korea.
There is nothing scandalous about Japanese showing the sovereignty of Dokdo Takeshima is disputed. However, the maps below are quite inexcusable and show Japan’s MOFA is not sincere in her diplomatic efforts but rather is trying to provoke the Korean government and mislead the international community. These maps also illustrate the Japanese government is systematically backing these political lobbying efforts from the private business sector.
A Chart From the Japanese Government’s National Geographical Survey Institute
The map above is from the Japanese Government’s National Geographical Survey Institute. The introduction to their website states:

“…The Geographical Survey Institute (GSI) is the only national organization that conducts basic survey and mapping and instructs related organizations to clarify the conditions of land in Japan and that provides the results of surveys to help improve this land….”

This map by Japan’s National Geographical Survey Institute shows Dokdo island as appended to Shimane Prefecture Oki Islands which is of course not true. Japan’s MOFA is employing other government agencies to deliberately mislead their own public as well as the international community. Please click the map twice for a very large image.

False Internet Maps Showing Dokdo Takeshima as Japanese Territory
Above left: This map of Dokdo was released by the Japanese government in December of 2007. The map labelled Dokdo (Takeshima 竹島) as part of Japan’s Oki Islands. Above right is a map recently found on This chart shows a line indicating the boundary of Japan and Korea between Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Both maps are most likely a result of intense Japanese lobbying. (click images)
These days more and more Japanese map search engines are showing Korea’s Dokdo Island as part of Japan. Above left shows a distict line between Dokdo and Ulleungdo. Above right shows Dokdo as part of Japan’s Oki Islands. (click images)
The charts above shows Dokdo as part of Japan’s Shimane Prefecture. Recently even Japanese weather maps began to include Dokdo Island on weather websites’ daily forecasts as a cunning false display of sovereignty over the islets. (click images)
Japan Conceals Records Concerning Dokdo (Takeshima) Island
Japan’s High Court Withholds Historical Records Regarding Dokdo (Takeshima).
Searching for the historical truth of Dokdo Takeshima has been hampered by the Japanese government. Korean and Japanese researchers who tried to access post WWII records detailing Japan’s relationship with the islets have met strong opposition.

Despite these obstacles, Korean researcher, Ms Yu Mi-Rim discovered two Japanese government documents that explicitly disproved Tokyo’s persistent claims to Dokdo Takeshima. The documents in question are “Ordinance No. 24 of the Prime Minister’s Office,” dated June 6, 1951, and “Ordinance No. 4 of the Ministry of Finance,” dated February 13 of the same year.

Both decrees explicitly provided that, among islands adjacent to Japan proper, Jejudo, Ulleungdo and Dokdo Takeshima were excluded from Japanese governmental and administrative authority, thus clearly affirming that those islands are not parts of Japan’s inherent territory. The fact that the Japanese government in 1951 promulgated the two ordinances in conformity with the SCAPIN-677 confirmed undisputedly that Japan did not have territorial rights over Dokdo.

Upon finding the papers contained numerous blacked-out lines Choi Bong-tae, a Korean lawyer, helped the Korea Maritime Institute uncover the concealed portions to reveal the ordinances. Choi Bong-tae, then filed a freedom of information lawsuit against the Japanese government for the disclosure of diplomatic documents regarding the Treaty on Basic Relations concluded between Seoul and Tokyo in 1965. He managed to obtain some 60,000 pages of documents.

However, the Japanese government still refuses to disclose other government historical records about Dokdo Takeshima Island realizing that there is further evidence Japan did not consider the islets Japanese territory post WWII. As recently as June 25th 2010, Japan’s High Court refused to release historical records regarding Dokdo Takeshima fearing they could affect Japan’s claim to the disputed islands. Below we can see some original Japanese government documents that were deliberately blacked-out to conceal related historical data.

The above documents illustrate how the Japanese government blacked-out historical data they felt damaged thier claim to Dokdo Takeshima Island. To this day, the Japanese Government refuses to release critical information regarding the island.
Why Aren’t Korean – Japanese Relations Improving?
“Is the Dokdo Takeshima dispute really a big problem..?”
So really does the Dokdo Takeshima problem have an impact on Japanese Korean ties? Well, a recent poll revealed that not only is the Dokdo Island dispute a huge barrier against Japanese Korean relations it is the number one historical issue facing Koreans today. Almost half of all Koreans surveyed said the Dokdo Takeshima dispute is the nation’s biggest historical problem.

Respondents ranked the issue even higher than the Comfort Women issue and the controversial Yasukuni Shrine. It’s also important how Koreans consider the Dokdo Takeshima Issue a historical problem rather than just a territorial dispute. This differs from Japanese who tend to think the Dokdo Takeshima problem is mostly a territorial problem over natural resources.

The Actions of a Few Japanese Lobbyists Sabotage Peace in Asia.
As shown, the Dokdo Takeshima problem is a huge issue barrier dividing Korea and Japan. Thus, those Japanese who continue to provoke Korea through propaganda and historical whitewashing are to blame for this foreign relations blunder. For example, one such supporter of Japan’s claim to Dokdo – Takeshima named Professor Shimojo Masao, works in conjunction with Japan’s MOFA and Shimane Prefecture. He refers to Korean historians as “ignorant” while at the same time denies the historical circumstances of Japan’s 1905 wartime annexation of the islets. Japan’s obligatory rhetoric and bluster hasn’t been productive for the past 50 plus years and is doomed to fail in the future.

Modern Japan has reached a crossroads. With eroding influence in Asia and unresolved issues from her wartime and colonial eras still smoldering, Japan’s MOFA must alter her methods to suit the times or risk being frozen out of Northeast Asia. The Japanese government bears the responsibility of creating and implementing foreign policy that fosters peace and regional prosperity. However, Japan’s Minsitry of Foreign Affairs continues to appease her right wing and supports Shimane Prefecture’s lust for territory.

Today’s Japan should face up to the historical, economic, political realities of Northeast Asia and drop her claim to Dokdo Island. That would, no doubt, be a huge step in the right direction toward peaceful Korean – Japanese relations.