Tsushima Island dispute

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tsushima Island
Tsushima Island circled in red on map the Korean peninsula and the island of Kyushu.
Japanese name
Kanji 対馬
Hiragana つしま
Korean name
Hangul 대마도
Hanja 對馬島

The Tsushima Island dispute concerns a territorial issue about Tsushima Island, a large island in the Sea of Japan between the Korean peninsula and the island of Kyushu. The island is known as the Daemado in Korean.[1] South Korea does not claim the island though some Koreans have said that Korea has a historical claim on the island and have taken steps to attempt to assert Korean ownership.


Sanguozhi, the official historical records of the Three Kingdoms period of China (220–280 A.D.) written in the third century, recorded that the island was an ancient country of Wa (Japan).[citation needed]

When the ancient law system Ritsuryō of Japan was established (somewhere between 645 and 701 A.D.), Tsushima Province formally became a province of Japan.[citation needed] Since then, Tsushima Province has been a part of Japan, except for the temporary occupation by Mongol Empire in the Mongol invasions of Japan (1274 and 1281).[citation needed]

The island was described by Hayashi Shihei in Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu, which was published in 1785. It was identified as part of Japan.[2]

20th century[edit]

In 1946, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) defined Japan to include the four main islands and approximately 1000 nearby islands, including Tsushima.[3]

In 1948, the Republic of Korea (ROK) asserted its sovereignty over the island based on "historical claims".[4] In 1949, the SCAP rejected South Koreas claim.

In 1951, United States-Korea negotiations about the Treaty of San Francisco made no mention of Tsushima Island.[5] After this, the status of Tsushima as an island of Japan was re-confirmed by the US.[6]

In 1974, Korea and Japan reaffirmed that Tsushima is part of Japan.[7]

21st century[edit]

In 2008, a small minority of members of the National Assembly of South Korea proposed claiming Tsushima as part of Korea.[8] There were 50 in this group. numbered[9]

In 2010, some members of the National Assembly proposed a study of Korea's territorial claims to Tsushima.[10] There were 37 in this group.[9]

In 2013, a South Korean court decided the preliminary injunction that provisionally prevents a Buddist statue stolen from a temple in Tsushima to South Korea from returning to the temple. A document found in the Buddist statue shows that the statue was made in a Korean temple Buseoksa in 1330. Based on this record, some Koreans assume that the statue was moved illegally from Korea to Japan by Wokou in the late 14th century. Besides, Buseoksa declares its ownership over the statue. [11] This news provoked another wave of anger in the islanders and throughout Japan, as it was assumed in Japan that this could be another plot of Korean territorial ambition to the island.[12]


  • 1946: SCAP lists Tushima as part of Japan[3]
  • 1950: Korea claims the island[4]
  • 1951: South Korea sets aside claim to Tsushima[5]
  • 1974: South Korea-Japan treaty reconfirms Tsushima is Japanese island[7]
  • 2005: South Korean city claims the island as South Korean territory.[13]
  • 2008: 50 members of ROK National Assembly propose re-claiming Tsushima[8]
  • 2010: 37 members of ROK National assembly propose study about re-claiming the island[10]


  1. ^ "S. Korea hits Japan in escalating territorial dispute," USA Today, March 18, 2008; retrieved 2013-4-3.
  2. ^ Klaproth, Julius. (1832). San kokf tsou ran to sets, ou Aperçu général des trois royaumes, p. 96; excerpt, "... et vis-à-vis de l'île de Toui ma tao (Tsou sima) qui fait partie du Japon ...."
  3. ^ a b Schoenbaum, Thomas J. (2007). Peace in Northeast Asia: Resolving Japan's Territorial and Maritime Disputes with China, Korea and the Russian Federation, p. 108.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. State Department, Report from the Office of Intelligence Research: Korea´s Recent Claim to the Island of Tsushima (prepared on March 30, 1950)"; retrieved 2013-4-2.
  5. ^ a b "Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Korean Affairs in the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs (Emmons)," Foreign Relations 1951, Vol. VI, pp. 1202-1203; excerpt, "Mr. Dulles noted that paragraph 1 of the Korean Ambassador's communication made no reference to the island of Tsushima and the Korean Ambassador agreed that this had been omitted."
  6. ^ US Bureau of the Census. (1965). Foreign Commerce and Navigation of the United States, p. lv.
  7. ^ a b Charney, Jonathan I. and Lewis M. Alexander. (1998). International Maritime Boundaries, p. 141 n75.
  8. ^ a b "Japanese island haunted by turbulent ties with Korea," Agence France-Presse (AGF). 21 August 2008; retrieved 2012-4-3.
  9. ^ a b Note: There are 300 members of the Korean National Assembly -- see Kim, Tae-jong. "A Look at Election Through Numbers," Korea Times, 9 April 2008; retrieved 2013-4-2.
  10. ^ a b 대마도는 우리땅" 여야 의원 37인, 국회 정식포럼 창립, Chosun Ilbo (ROK). 28 September 2010; retrieved 2013-4-3.
  11. ^ An illegally returned Buddist statue (절도범이 반입한 불상), "Hankuk Ilbo" (ROK). 9 October 2013; retrieved 2013 11-03.
  12. ^ "Tsushima Journal: An Icon and a Symbol of Two Nations’ Anger". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 Aug 2013. 
  13. ^ "S Korea not calmed by Japan's statement in territorial dispute," Taipei Times. 19 March 2005; retrieved 2013-4-2.

External links[edit]