Dokdo, is a Korean island in the East Sea with a contentious history. The Japanese government insists that there is no proof that Dokdo has historically been a Korean island. Contrary to the Japanese allegation, there is overwhelming evidence that Dokdo has been a Korean island since prehistoric times. This collection of tiny, isolated and extremely desolate rocky islets have been a part of Korean territory since 512 A.D. Dokdo was seized by Japan in February 1905 for military purposes. The islands were returned to the newly born Republic of Korea on August 15, 1945 by the Allied Powers. By the act of transferring Dokdo to the Korean government, the Allied Powers determined that Japanese sovereignty would not extend to Dokdo. The acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration by Japan on August 15, 1945 makes the transfer of Dokdo from the Allied Powers to Korea valid and effective. Despite Korea’s legitimate claim to the islets, Japan continues to call Dokdo by the Japanese name of “Takeshima” and has even declared a Takeshima Day.
Did you know that the sea, located between the Korean peninsula and the Japanese Archipelago, has caused a fierce standoff between Korea and Japan. In most world maps and atlases used internationally today, Korea’s “East Sea” is indicated as the “Sea of Japan”. Historically, however, Korea has used the term, “East Sea” in writings since 59 B.C. and reference to the “East Sea” was also constant in numerous maps created after the 18th century. Many geography textbooks published and used before the annexation of Korea by Japan in the early 20th century made reference to the “East Sea,” “Sea of Choson” or “Sea of Korea.” However, already by the early 20th century, there were some textbooks, which made reference to the “Sea of Japan.” Every textbook published after 1910 refers to the East Sea as the “Sea of Japan.”