MATSUE, SHIMANE PREF. – Shimane Prefecture called upon the public Thursday to provide historical documents pertaining to two islets held by South Korea but claimed by Japan, to gather objective data and evidence to back up assertions that the territory belongs to Japan.
Shimane seeks to gather ancient writings, maps, paintings, photographs and other historical documents concerning the islets, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea. The rocky outcroppings in the Sea of Japan lie almost equidistant from the two countries.
Japan claims the islets are part of Shimane Prefecture, and they were under Japanese control during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.
A research group under the Shimane government, comprising university professors and historians, will study and evaluate any materials offered by the public, the prefecture said.
“Such documents could be found in (communities) along the coast of the Sea of Japan,” said Sho Yamasaki, a prefectural official in charge of Takeshima matters, as there are records of Japanese “kitamaebune” freighters sailing off Takeshima from the Edo Period (1603-1868) to the Meiji Era (1868-1912).
The route of the vessels, literally meaning northbound ships, went from Osaka through the Seto Inland Sea and the Kanmon Straits to ports in Hokuriku on the Sea of Japan and later to Hokkaido.
Some documents will be displayed at the prefectural library dedicated to materials on Takeshima. South Korea’s control of the islets has been a continuous source of bilateral friction.