MATSUE, SHIMANE PREF. – The Shimane Prefectural Government said Thursday that it has confirmed a historic first: the existence of two rough drafts of maps of Japan from the 18th century that serve as the basis of Japan’s claim to the South Korea-held Takeshima islets in the Sea of Japan.
The two maps, both made in the 1760s, reinforce Japan’s claim that the South Korean-administered islands are historically Japanese, the prefectural government said. South Korea seized the islets after the war, and calls the territory Dokdo.
According to the prefecture, the discoveries include a map draft titled “Kaisei Nihon Fuso Bunrizu” made in 1768 and a rougher draft titled “Nihonzu.”
The maps show islands called Matsushima, the name of Takeshima at the time, northwest of the Oki island chain in what is now part of Shimane Prefecture.
The maps were made by Nagakubo Sekisui, a geographer from Mito in today’s Ibaraki Prefecture. The maps preceded another map called “Kaisei Nihon Yochirotei Zenzu” that was made by Sekisui upon permission from the feudal government of the time that is cited by the current government as the grounds for Japan’s claim to Takeshima.
Nagakubo’s descendants gave the rough drafts to the Takahagi board of education in Ibaraki Prefecture.