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Dokdo, Beautiful Island of Korea

Witness Accounts and Photographs

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Witness Account by Hong Jae-hyeon

Witness Account by Hong Jae-hyeon (1947), Introduction to the Dokdo Issue (1955)



I hereby make the following statement as you have come to my humble house and inquired about my understanding of the annexed island of Ulleungdo:
1. My name is Hong Jae-hyeon. I came to Ulleungdo from Gangneung, Gangwon-do Province 60 years ago and have lived here since. I am 85 years old.
1. The residents of the island have known that Dokdo belongs to Ulleungdo all along since the human settlement on the latter island.
1. I myself have made four or five visits to Dokdo over the past 45 years together with other villagers, Kim Yang-gon and Bae Su-geom, to collect sea mustard and catch sea lions. 1. For my last visit to Dokdo, I borrowed a Japanese vessel and hired its owner Murakami and crewman Oogami.
I hunted together with them. 1. Dokdo can be clearly seen from Ulleungdo on fine days, and some of Ulleungdo’s ships sailing the East Sea have drifted ashore on Dokdo. It is only natural for Ulleungdo residents to take a keen interest in Dokdo.
1. I am aware that a group led by the Oki Islands magistrate from Japan visited Ulleungdo in the tenth year of Gwangmu, or 1906, and made the absurd claim that Dokdo was Japanese territory.
1. I then heard that then County Magistrate Sim Heung-taek protested the unreasonable claim by the Oki Islands magistrate's party and reported this to the higher authorities after discussion with village head Jeon Jae-hang and other many community leaders in order to prevent any unjustified threat by the Japanese.
1. I was fully aware that this was an important issue for Ulleungdo as I had social contact with Jeon and often visited the administration office.
1. Then, when they heard about the claim of ownership over Dokdo by the Japanese party, the residents, fishermen in particular, became outraged.
1. It was deplorable that, despite the report by the magistrate, as the overpowering of Korea by the Japanese forces was then in full swing, we did not hear any good news and Korea became annexed by Japan.

August 20, 1947

170, Sa-dong, Nam-myeon, Ulleungdo
Hong Jae-hyeon (seal)

〔Original Text〕

Original Text