Sorry about any confusion my extract from Lautensach may have caused. It occurred to me as I sent off the email that the implication of earlier visitors might be confusing without the previous sentences, but there you are. Then I went out of town for
a while, which left it up to the kind offices of others on the list to correct.
Regarding the possible meaning of the name "Quelpaert ": I've been thinking that the way I've been assuming it was pronounced (a la French, as was suggested earlier by the [tongue-in-cheek?] translation of the name
as "that part") "kel-part" is unwarranted. Perhaps we should be thinking of the first syllable as "kwel", in which case it's a perfectly good modern Dutch word meaning 1) seepage (related to the German Quelle, no doubt)
or 2) trouble, pain, agony (related to the German word Qual). Either meaning would make some sense with reference to a type of ship, it seems to me, and the second meaning would suggest itself particularly with reference to Hamel's experience in
As for the "paert" part, I'm afraid that my Dutch is not up to the task. It sounds to me like a verb inflection, such as a past participle, but I have no way of reliably constructing a root verb from that speculation.
So, just speculating here, but I thought I'd toss it out there.
--Richard Miller --UW School of Music
Dear List, I was particularly interested in the possibility of a word meaning horse becasue Cheju has many Mongolian ponies which have been their since the 13th century. The "Cheju Pony" could have been
something noticed by visitors early.. Jim Shon
<Quelpart> is an old French word, attested since the XIth century, still used in Hamel's time but no longer today. It did not mean <that part>, as Richard C. Miller wrongly said, but
<somewhere>, equivalent of the modern <quelque part>. On the map of an explorer, it could have some meaning, something like a place (in this case an island) not precisely located (somewhere around there).
Apart from this possible meaning and of the letter <e>, the name <Quelpaert> does have a French look. The <e> might be there to signal the length of the vowel or the stress of the French
word. As for the spelling <qu>, it is more Latin than Germanic. In Romance languages, it renders either the <k> (French, Spanish) or the <kw> sound (Italian). But B. Walraven pointed to me that it was found also in old Dutch,
interchangeable with <kw>. So well, it's only one more hypothesis, among many.
Ciao. Daniel BOUCHEZ <
Very interesting, I didn't expect this, Jan and I have thought about French but dismissed it as too farfetched, and now you come up with this explanation I didn't know this, since I was really thinking of quelque part as we. This could be a
possibility as well, since quite a few Huguenots were in Holland in those days. The French were not in those areas but it might be a French bookkeeper or navigator in service of the VOC who wrote something like this. I must admit, that I think it's
unlikely, since most Huguenots changed their last name into a Dutch (sounding) translation, but it might be a possibility. You're right about the <kw> <qu> change, e.g. qualiteit (quality) and kwaliteit were interchangeable for a while.
Thank you for the information and let's see with all the other information which will turn up in due time where this leads too.
Actually, the explanation that the name was French was the first one I heard, many years ago. (It struck me funny, because thinking of it as French made me construe it as meaning "What a place!") Nevertheless, the fact that it is
pronounced /kwelpart/ in English, with primary stress on the first syllable and tertiary on the second gives me some doubts. It seems that if it came into English from French at such a late date (well after the Middle English period), it should have
retained a hint of the French pronunciation, e.g., /kelpar/ or the like.
Jim et al,
These thoughts have occurred to me too, but I don't think they are applicable. since that would have meant that people would have been there before. Especially Dutch people, what we should not overlook is that the Heeren XIIV had to agree with a name
given to anything by the Dutch sailors. Again, only if a local or earlier given name would exist, they would agree. Otherwise it would have been something like Nieuw Holland, Nieuw Amsterdam or a name of a (then) famous person. I've never heard of
any not known names given to a "discovered" place before. So either Quelpaert would have been a famous person, or the name of an existing city or village in Holland. Since I have never heard of either one (but that
doesn't mean necessarily something) I assume this hypothesis is not a valid one either.
I have been following the correspondence about Hamel, the shipwreck, and the origin of the name Quelpaert with interest. Richard Rutt and I are just completing a historical and cultural dictionary of Korea, due to be published late this year or early
next. Where appropriate, the factual entries under each headword will be accompanied by brief bibliographical references for further reading. However, in this modern age, it occurs to us that we should now supplement the traditional
bibliographies with information about relevant websites (especially of course major locations like Frank's). I greatly admire your site on Hamel, and would like to ask your permission to refer to it under the entry on him. Do I have your permission?
Keith Pratt Dept of East Asian Studies, University of Durham, UK
I saw in the office somebody has posted a mail about the names in the Indonesian archipelago, but when I came home it was mysteriously gone, anyhow, I don't remember your name, but I want to react anyhow. I do understand that it was not always
done, but in the high days of the VOC it was customary. When the influence of the VOC was waning and the whole company corrupted more and more, strange things indeed happened.
Do you have any examples of 17th century traceable names of major places or islands where it happened otherwise? Australia for instance had originally quite a few Dutch place names as well which met the criteria. America, Brazil, and so on.
Henny (Lee Hae Kang)
Feel free to visit http://www.henny-savenije.pe.kr/index2.htm and you can feel the thrill about the adventures of Hamel in Korea (1653-1666)
Please accept my apologies for the belated answer: I have just come back from Japan where I had no access to my e-mail.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell you much at this point. Quelpart does not look to me like a possible Japanese name: Japanese does not have closed syllables, nor did it in the 17th c. Modern Japanese name for Ceycwu[to] island is
Saishuu[too] that uses Sino-Japanese readings of the same characters. It will take me some time to find out what Japanese called the island in the 17th c.
I will forward your message to Prof. Ledyard, Martin, Ramsey, and KIng: may someone of them knows the straightforward answer. Meanwhile I will catch one of my students who is from the Ceycwu island, and ask him what the
natives call it, as my small dictionary of Ceycwu dialect does not give any relevant info.
Alexander Vovin Associate Professor of Japanese Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures 382 Moore Hall 1890 East-West Road University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, HI 96822
Jan and I just finished the word list of Frits Vos's word list of Eibokken . Jan made the html file and might have set a new standard for publishing scientific work on the web, I would like to ask your opinion since we
published it in two ways:
We are waiting for your comments.
Henny (Lee Hae Kang)
Feel free to visit http://www.henny-savenije.pe.kr/index2.htm and you can feel the thrill about the adventures of Hamel in Korea (1653-1666)
thanks for your information, well you might be right, the problem is that I have to rely on others for this kind of information. As far as I know was the Sperwer a yacht, I've been asking a load of people what a Quelpaert
was, and you are the first one who comes with this explanation, where did you get this from. SInce I couldn't find any reference I started looking for another one, and kapado seemed a good one, after a lengthy discussion with Jan, we decided that
would be an impossible option, nevertheless, I didn't change that part of my page yet. I want to delete this when I made another page, containing a discussion I had with a number of Koreanologists. I think I exchanged more than 40 very long emails
with them, about several things discussed in my page as well. Yesterday I added a number of those discussions to my page, look at http://www.hendrick-hamel.henny-savenije.pe.kr/koreanstudies.htm.
I enjoyed these discussions, and obviously they too.
Where did you get your information? I don't know if I can check it myself, I should be going to the maritime museum again. Until now they have been very helpful, but it takes me a lot of time.
Hi Henny. Sorry for the delay. My source for the "quelpaert " story is in a version of Hamel's journal that was edited by Mr. B. Hoetink, It was published in 1920 by the Linschoten Society.
As you may know: "The aim of the Linschoten Society, founded in 1908, is the publication of rareor unpublished Dutch travel accounts of voyages, journeys by land, and descriptions of countries."
It was Hoetink who researched and advanced this hypothesis. If you can't locate this source, you can find an English translation of Hoetink's hypothesis about the origin of the name "quelpaert" in:
Geographical Journal (Royal Geographical Society), vol 57, No. 4 (April), 1921 in the "Monthly Record" section, pages 310-11.
If you wish, I can fax you these two pages. Bye. David.
Thank you very much for this information, I am curious to see with what you come up with. I will visit the Maritime Museum as soon as possible, because now you really made me curious, I am surprised nobody else came up with this information before.
Actually someone did, some time ago, but since the information was embedded in a thread with a number of Koreanologists. I will publish this information as soon as possible, but since my "changmo" is coming for the first time, I am really
preparing our house for her. I will attach a map I purchased recently (I have to get it yet) of Quelpaert . The quality of this picture is not that well, but as soon as I get the map I will publish this too. I am not sure of
the date, but it was made by La Perouse: Le Perouse was the commander of the French expedition to explore the Pacific in 1785.
Hope to hear soon from you
Thanks for coming back to me so soon. I know this publication, and I know where to find it, it's also in the Maritime Museum. Though Hoetink was a well-known scholar, I also know he has made some mistakes in translating the Hamel story. I
presume he had his work done by a clerk and the clerk himself already made some mistakes. Maybe even on purpose because it was not uncommon in those days that the professor took the honor (well sometimes even in these days) and that the work often
was done by somebody else and sometimes those clerks sabotaged the whole thing by deliberately making mistakes. I want to go back to the older resources where I can also find Hoetinks work. I know that the present books I have read about the subject
all quote Hoetink and in the back of my homepage you will find a reference to Hoetink as well. I did not read it all, but from what I have read and compare it with the original manuscript of Hamel, I can see he
was rather sloppy here and there with conclusions and transcriptions. I want to go back to the Witsen books about ships, since Witsen was especially known for his knowledge of ships. He for instance also had contact with Czar
Peter the great when he was in Holland and even in Russia, if you follow the link at Holland20.htm you can read more about Witsen.
Thanks anyhow for the effort and I will certainly mention this in the future on my homepage. Can't you scan these pages and send them by Internet, I don't have a fax, though I have some fax software installed, it doesn't always work in the way it
should. email is much more reliable and it would be great to see the English translation next to the original Dutch text, because even in translations a lot of mistakes have been made. It's one of the toughest jobs to translate a text from (old)
Dutch into English and in the past I have seldomly seen a real proper one.
I don't claim mine is perfect, since I am often in a hurry and make mistakes because of that in writing, but I have been forced to speak English longer than most interpreters and in the 20's English was obligatory in school and a lot of people really
thought and still think they were perfect in English. To mention a few examples. The director of the KLM in the Korean office was married with an English woman, she initially thought I was British and was complaining to me about her husbands English.
She told me:"He thinks he can speak English perfectly but he is making a lot of mistakes". A Dutch professor in business marketing recently did some research on the behavior of Dutch businessmen in international trade. His conclusion was
that most Dutchmen think they master English but unintentionally make a lot of mistakes in nuances and insult there foreign business partners, without even knowing it.
Those and with the comments of my Canadian, American and British friends and colleagues over here (all complaining about the Dutch language skills and behavior) made me suspicious about a lot of translated work. Again, they are complaining to me
since they often think for a long time that I am British. Only after hearing me speak Dutch they realize I am Dutch and excuse themselves profoundly for making this mistake. Well I don't care and I actually think they are right. My Dutch colleagues
all complain about the English skills of the Taiwanese where we are dealing with and I tell them all the time that the problem is twofold. Their (my colleagues) English is not great either and are not used to other foreigners speaking the language.
Though I can speak some Chinese, most of the time I speak with them in English. The Taiwanese have no problem understanding me, and I have no problem with understanding them.
Well this was a lengthy excuse for my suspicion of the translation you have. But again, I am very interested, to make a scientific comparison of the two articles. Makes it all the more interesting.
Thanks a lot for your time, if you can's scan it, I will have to give you the fax number of the office, but since I don't have the telephone number here. I will have to send it tomorrow.
Hi Henny: Thanks for your thoughtful reply about Hoetink's translation and his remarks about origins of the word "quelpaert ". Perhaps his translation is poor, but with your access to the Maritime Museum it
should be possible to quickly verify the historical existence of the "Quel de Brack " or "t' Galiot t' Quelpaert de Brack" in the East China Sea as he has apparently done. My need is to
eventually obtain some kind of an illustration of a quelpaert. Also fascinating is what Hoetink has to say about "quelpart" as a perhaps Portugese word for "quelly " or
"quel" (the name of a species of leopard found in Guinea!).
Here is my personal web page address at the University of Toledo, Department of Geography and Planning, where you can scan the titles of some of my publications relating to Korea and Cheju Island:
You might find some interesting detail about the Cheju Island cultural landscape in this monograph:
The Architecture of Ideology: Neo-Confucian Imprinting on Cheju Island, Korea. University of California Press, 1987.
On page 141 I discuss the name "quelpart" and mention that "The Dutch seem to have named the island after the ship." At that time I had read Lautensach, but not Hoetink.
Subject Tsushima Island
I think it was last June or July that the subject of Tsushima island
came up. For several days there was quite a discussion about
it. List members have probably forgotten about it now, but having
just gone through my e-mail after not being able to look at it for
more than four months, I find that some of the discussion provokes
some comments. It is natural enough that many Koreans believe it was
once Korean. Even apart from supposed historical references to something
that might translate into an erstwhile Korean sovereignty, Tsushima's
mere existence so close to Korea and so relatively far from Japan
in itself almost compels the question, how can
it NOT have been Korean? But, as several list members noted,
no Korean historical source makes any mention of Tsushima as a Korean
island during the period covered by that particular source.
Not only that, but no Korean historical source from the dynastic period
actually CLAIMS that Tsushima IS a Korean island as a matter of national
territory and governance; indeed, mentions of Tsushima in any context
are extremely rare for the periods preceding the Chosôn dynasty.
Some of the most concrete early Korean statements about Tsushima are
those cited in a very informative posting by Jay Lewis. He cited
the notice in the <Samguk sagi>, SilsOng 7 (408 in SS's chronology),
in which the king, (in my translation) "heard that the Japanese
on Taemado (= Tsushima) have set up a base
and are storing weapons, leather (for armor), provisions and grain,
with a plan to invade us. [He said] we should anticipate them, and
before they make their move, train some special troops, then attack
and destroy their military stores." The king is dissuaded
by an official who argues for a purely defensive strategy instead.
This item is interesting in that not only is the Japanese presence
on Tsushima casually stated, but it is clearly implied that the Japanese,
have not invaded YET. That is, they are on Tsushima but not
yet on Korean territory. And this is the only mention of Tsushima
in the entire <Samguk sagi>. And if you believe the <Samguk
sagi>, we're in the year 408. There seem to be thirteen references
to Tsushima in the <KoryOsa>. None of them mention or
imply any earlier Korean possession of Tsushima; quite the contrary.
Let us look at some of these <KoryO sa> notices. (1) In
1049 "officials on Japan's Tsushima" (Ilbon Taemado
kwan) send a commander to repatriate thirteen Koreans who had been
shipwrecked. The Japanese commander is rewarded by the KoryO
court. (2) In 1051, "Ilbon Taemado" extradites three
escaped Korean criminals to KoryO. (3) In 1060, KoryO's southeast
naval command reports Tsushima has returned a shipwreck victim.
King Munjong confers generous gifts on the escorting Japanese officer.
(4) In 1082, "Ilbon'guk Taemado" sends an ambassador with
"local products" (<pangmul>). Although such
terminology evokes tributary connotations (which may or may not have
substance no other such usage with respect to Tsushima is found in
the KoryO sa), that fact in itself acknowledges Tsushima's status
as foreign territory. (5) In 1268, a joint Mongolian/KoryO embassy
returns two Japanese (waein) to Tsushima. (6) In 1274, a huge
Mongol army of Mongols, Chinese, and Koreans
(14,600 of the latter) leaves Korea for its invasion of Japan. The
first stop is Tsushima, where "a tremendous number of people"
are killed. (7) In 1368, the KoryO court sends a "discussion
and inquiry ambassador" (<kanggusa>) to Tsushima.
(8) In 1387, the famous Japanese-pirate fighter ChOng Chi states in
a memorial on the menace of Japanese pirates that the islands of Tsushima
and Iki are "close to our eastern frontier (<tongbi>),"
clearly seeing them as Japanese islands. Beyond these there are five
other KoryO references to Tsushima in connection with the pirate suppression
campaigns of the 1380s and 90s. The clear meaning of twelve of these
thirteen notices (I wish I knew more about the "discussion and
inquiry ambassador of 1368) is that Tsushima isJapanese; no earlier
Korean possession is ever suggested or implied. Note especially
the repeated use of the phrase "Ilbon Taemado.") Jay Lewis
in the same posting already mentioned points out the statement by
King T'aejong (r. 1400-1418) in an edict he issued in 1419, to the
effect that Tsushima was once Korean land. As Retired King (<sangwang>)
and still empowered with military affairs, T'aejong was then preparing
a military campaign against Tsushima. As Jay implies, this statement,
in a context of disparaging rhetoric about the Japanese, does not
indicate when or under what circumstances it was Korean land, nor
does it say anything about using the then impending Korean military
initiative to restore Tsushima as a Korean possession. Nor did the
Korean government, after it had gained military control over the island
that year, take any steps to re-annex it or establish any Korean administration
there. The sole purpose of T'aejong's raid seems to have been
to destroy the island's military and maritime infrastructure and terrorize
the population, with a view to emphasizing a concrete warning not
to ever again allow Tsushima to be used as a base for Japanese pirate
attacks on Korea. In this he was successful, because from that
time on such attacks petered out and soon ceased entirely. At
least, from that time on, Korea's problems with Japan
were not in their essence about piracy. In connection with T'aejong's
statement that Tsushima was once Korean land, it is worth noting its
timing and the audience he was addressing. It was contained
in a special edict (or "instruction," <kyo>) on the
eve of the Tsushima campaign, addressed to the entire Korean population,
and was clearly intended to raise morale, and present the campaign
as a righteous cause. While Korea certainly did not need any
extra justification for a preemptive attack on Tsushima--since 1360
it had suffered continued Japanese pirate raids launched from there,
many of them massive in scale--it made psychological and emotional
sense to suggest that Koreans were fighting for something that ought
to be considered Korean land. Another text cited by Jay was a notice
on Tsushima attached to the section on Tongnae (Pusan
) in the <SinjUng Tongguk yOji sUngnam> (1531). This says Tsushima
was once Korean but at some unknown time in the past became Japanese.
The text then goes on to describe the geography and administration
of the island, using established Japanese terminology for the latter.
It also gives a list of the Japanese daimyo there for seven generations
back (presumably from the 1480s, when the <SUngnam> was first
compiled). Thus the bulk of this passage is devoted to concrete
and accurate detail regarding the Japanese administration of the island.
In contrast to the general weakness or absence of statements that
Tsushima is Korean, there is a very clear view of Tsushima as Japanese
land by Sin Sukchu (1417-1475), who as a young official was prominent
in the diplomatic delegation that went to Japan
to negotiate diplomatic relations through Tsushima and a commercial
agreement (1443). In his later career Sin Sukchu for years held
the post of director of the Board of Rites, which was responsible
for Korea's foreign relations. In 1471 he wrote a famous book
on Japan and the Ryukyus, entitled <Haedong cheguk ki>, "Notices
of the lands east of the sea." Tsushima's identity as Japanese
is clear throughout, and in case there might have been any doubt,
Sin's map of Japan, entitled "General map of the lands in the
eastern sea" puts Tsushima prominently in Japan's territory.
He then attaches a detailed map of Tsushima alone, the title of which
is <Ilbon'guk Taemado chi to>, "Map of the Japanese
state's Tsushima Island." These maps, which are the oldest
printed maps of Japan known from anywhere in the world, including
Japan itself, are discussed in my chapter "Cartography in Korea,"
in J. B. Harley and David Woodward, editors, <History of Cartography>,
Volume Two, Book Two (Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago and London),
pp. 235-345. I visited Tsushima for four or five days in 1974, and
I recommendit highly as a pleasant place to enjoy yourself but also
to get a very interesting and different perspective on Korea.
The people there are certainly Japanese, but in one respect they differ
from ordinary Japanese in Japan. They have few hang-ups or "attitudes"
about Koreans. On the contrary, they speak of Korea in terms
of an important country which is intimately connected with their history.
There is no sense of embarrassment or condescension when Korea is
discussed, as I have noticed many times in my encounters in Japan
proper. While ordinary Japanese might respond to me as a Korea
specialist with puzzlement, not really knowing what to say, the typical
Tsushima Japanese would be more likely to say, "How interesting
that you study Korea! I wish I knew more about it." They
have a keen historical memory, evidently stimulated by a strong local
history emphasis in the schools and "Kyo^dokan, or local history
museums, of the 1419 Korean campaign against them, and mention the
exact Japanese calendar designation, "O^ei 26-nen" (= 1419),
when they talk about it. Few Japanese in Japan would know such a detail.
When I was in the vicinity of Aso^ Bay, which received the brunt of
the Korean attack, people would matter-of-factly point to this village
or that as places that had been involved in some destruction or other.
Their memories also went back to Korea's association with the Mongols
in the invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281, which also left scars
on Tsushima, though without any particular rancor toward Koreans.
One of my adventures on Tsushima involved going out to sea for some
night fishing with some local commercial fishermen, who happened to
be related to the geshuku (hasuk) that I was staying in. The
sea was bright with the lights of the fishing fleet, but one could
also see the lights of the Korean boats on the horizon, and realize
how easy it was to engage in smuggling or other activities, such as
infiltrating north Korean spies into south Korea. There was
a four- or five-story building in downtown Izuhara (the capital) called
"Chosôn munhwa hoegwan" and occupied by pro-north Koreans
(who showed no interest in talking with me, although I tried to engage
them). There are a small number of ordinary Koreans on the island,
almost all of Osaka origin or tied to it in some way. I'll never
forget a conversation I had with a Mr. Pak in an Izuhara bar.
When I told him there were Koreans in New York he was amazed.
"Is the fishing good there?" he asked. When I told
him it was easier to find Korean doctors and lawyers there than commercial
fishermen, he was speechless. On another occasion I was hiking high
up in the mountains (Tsushima is mostly mountains, and they are very
steep), it was a very clear day and as I looked to the northwest I
saw the hills of Korea stretching out seemingly forever into the distance.
Korea looked very, very big, and Tsushima felt awfully small.
It was easy to imagine why Korea was taken seriously by most people
on the island. I once read an article by a Korean writer arguing that
Tsushima was Korean because its NAME was Korean. He etymologized
Tsushima as coming from "tu shima", which he said was obviously
a reflex of Korean "tu sOm" (< syem), meaning "two
islands." It is true that today Tsushima is indeed two
islands. But in traditional times, Korean maps always depicted
it as a single island, and correctly so. Between 1895 and 1904,
the Japanese navy blasted a cut through an isthmus, perhaps one or
two kilometers wide, on the eastern side of island between the great
Aso^ Bay and the Japan Strait, not only dividing
the land mass into two islands but also advancing their purpose, which
was to be able to rapidly move warships from the straits of Korea
(between Korea and Tsushima) into the straits of Japan (between Tsushima
and Japan). This capability proved crucial during the Russo-Japanese
War, when the Russian Baltic fleet, which had spent the better part
of a year sailing around Africa (England would never have let it through
the Suez canal) in order to be re-based in Vladivostok, was smashed
to pieces and sunk by the Japanese in the "Battle of Tsushima."
Tsushima has only been "two islands" for only about a hundred
years, and the "two islands means Korean sovereignty" theory
turns into a bubble. The name Tsushima has a long textual history,
appearing earliest in the Chinese "History of the Three Kingdoms"
(Sanguo zhi, compiled before 297 CE and partly based on the earlier
Weizhi of ca. 250, though the latter is now known only through quotations
from it in other surviving books). It is written there in the
same Chinese characters that are used for the name today, namely "Taema"
in Korean pronunciation. The first syllable, Chinese <dui>,
meaning "opposite," "to face," "oppose,"
etc., was pronounced in Old Chinese (lasting down to the 2nd and 3rd
century) as <tush> or <tuzh> or <tus> or <tuz>,
according to Chinese historical linguists. The second syllable,
<ma>, comes down relatively unchanged. <tushma> (or variants
as above) must have represented <tu shima>, not "two islands"
of course, but rather "crossing island", or maybe "bridging
island," with the tsu (< tu) being the common morpheme
"crossing," as of a body of water. In fact the name
of the island often appears in ancient Japanese texts in that orthography.
The name seems to have been intended to mean a place for crossing
between the Korean peninsula and the main
Japanese islands. (Interestingly enough, the character <dui> also has the value <tush>, <tus>, etc., in a KoguryO title found in the same Chinese book <Sanguo zhi>).
The Sanguo zhi's description of Tsushima around the year 240, when Chinese
ambassadors visited it on their way to Japan, is brief. But
it mentions officials with the same titles that it notes for Wa communities
on the Japanese mainland, and describes an island that lives on trade
between the Japanese main islands and the Korean peninsula.
The same description could apply for just about any other time in
history up to the year 1869, when the Meiji government abolished Tsushima
as an independent feudatory and attached it to Nagasaki Prefecture,
where it has been ever since. Tsushima is mentioned constantly and
regularly in Japanese historical sources from the earliest to those
of the late traditional period (we won't make any appeal to statements
from Meiji times on, although on the question of Tsushima sovereignty
I find no reason to doubt them). These mentions are mostly casual
and unemphasized. They square with everything else we know about
the history of the island, including from reputable Korean sources.
Tsushima is Japanese, and has been Japanese since long before the
year 240. The claim made by some Koreans that it once was Korean cannot
find any validation even in Korean sources. Rather than persist
in fantastic, unprovable claims and vain irridentism, people who have
this view should look at history in terms of plausible and sensible
judgements based on reputable historical source materials. When
they do this, they will find that Tsushima has an interesting and
important place in Korean history, but not in Korea itself. It would
help greatly if it were easier for modern Koreans and Tsushima people
to go back and forth and visit each other. But unfortunately
it is impossible to stop off on Tsushima while going between Korea
and Japan, whether by sea or air. One has to go to Shimonoseki
or Nagasaki and take a ferry to Tsushima, and if you're going on to
Korea you have to go back to those places to make your connection.
But at least from Japan there is passage to Tsushima. From Korea
there is absolutely no direct way to get there, except illegally.
You have to go to transportation originating in Japan. Southeastern
KyOngsang Koreans and Tsushima folks can watch each other's TV programs,
but that's about it. I had the feeling while on Tsushima that
the people really feel the distance between themselves and the main
Japanese islands. There is a half-jocular but also half-serious
reflection of this in Japanese expressions (and ways of thinking)
such as <harubaru Tsushima> meaning something like "far-off
Tsushima" but connoting something closer to "out of sight,
out of mind." Korea is not out of sight or out of mind to people
on the island. If Koreans got to know them better, they would
like them. I'm sure of it.
King Sejong Professor of Korean History
Columbia University in the City of New York
Thanks to Professor Lewis and Professor Ledyard for their detailedand informative
comments about Tsushima. If I may add a footnote, the Chosn
government treated the island as Korean territory, at least during
the first 200 years. On several occasions Korean kings assigned
a domestic post to officials being sent to the island. The first
instance occurred before the retired king T'aejong made his comments
in 1419. Korean elites often repeated this Korean history of
the island. Multiple discourses on Taema-do/Tsushima were current
in Chosôn, and a Japanese history of Tsushima was but one history
of the island.
On a different note, several months ago someone asked for information about a CD-ROM version of the KoryO sa. I don't recall seeing a reply, but I may have overlooked it. Is there any
Thanks for your response to my posting on Tsushima.
It is not news that in Korea there were and are different discourses
on Tsushima. I wonder if you could identify some of the "multiple"
discourses "current in Chosôn" on the subject of Tsushima's
territoriality, and illustrate them with some names and typical texts,
whether oral or written, whether transmitted or only reported.
I'm really interested in checking some of these things out.
I cited some Korean historical texts on Tsushima and identified some
consistency in them on the question of Tsushima Island and national
territoriality. Within my human limits I did not find other
texts of comparable date or interpretability for the Three Kingdoms,
Silla, and KoryO periods. I certainly would welcome any others
that might be pointed out to me. I freely concede that for the
early decades of Chosôn history I would expect to find some asserting
Korean possession of the territory of Tsushima at some time in past.
I concentrated on T'aejong's statement because it had already come
up in the postings and because, of all of Chosôn's early kings (say,
up through SOngjong) he seems to have been more of a nationalist than
Your response asserts that "...the Chosôn government treated
the island as Korean territory, at least during the first 200 years."
You do not cite any evidence for this view, but I cited some against
it which you didn't mention or criticize. Sin Sukchu, as one
of the negotiators of the 1443 trade agreement and structure for diplomatic
relations with Tsushima and Japan, certainly represented the Chosôn
government. As director of the Board of Rites during the Sejo
years, he presided over Japan/Tsushima relations in the name of that
government. That government officially printed and once or twice
reprinted his book <Haedong cheguk ki>, which considers Tsushima
a part of Japan and provides explicit cartographic
representations of that fact. I'm curious how you reconcile
that with your assertion.
You say: "On several occasions Korean kings assigned a domestic
post to officials being sent to the island." Without knowing
which particular domestic post you refer to, I'm not sure what posts
you include and exclude from that category. But sure, people
with a post like the magistrate of Tongnae (Tongnae pusa), along with
his superior the governor of KyOngsang province (surely domestic posts),
are the designated authorities for dealing on the spot with Tsushima.
If these are the domestic officials you speak of, it is just that
they are the closest <tangsang> officials available and have
been given that responsibility. In the same way, under the tributary
system the governor of Liaodong had pro tempore authority for dealing
with Korea and officially and frequently communicated with the Korean
Board of Rites or sent his subordinates on missions in Korea.
Likewise the governor of Guangdong dealt with the British in the 19th
century as China 's official spokesman and executive.
Koreans holding domestic posts frequently went as ambassadors and
in other official capacities to Ming and Qing, but of course that
fact had nothing to do with Chinese territoriality. In the absence
of particulars on what you mean by domestic posts in connection with
Korea/Tsaushima affairs, I'm just not sure how to take your statement.
I'd be happy to see some expansion on this point.
In trying to imagine for myself some serious grounds on which the
Chosôn government might consider Tsushima territory its own, the
only thing I could think of was the tributary system. There
are some ways one could consider Tsushima a tributary, or at least
some kind of a dependency, of Korea. One could cite in support
of that argument that the king of Korea granted a seal to the daimyo^
of Tsushima that in effect licensed his trade with Korea through three
designated ports (Tongnae, Ulsan, Ungch'On), that for protocol purposes
the assistant director of the Board of Rites was equal in status to
the daimyo^ (implying that all Korean officials of higher rank and
of course the king himself were the daimy^o's superiors), and that
Korean military authorities had control over who went into and out
of the Japanese compound in Tongnae.
This model would closely parallel Chinese arrangements with Korea.
My view, though, is that Tsushima was not a Korean tributary, because
its relationship with the island also provided a relationship with
Japan proper, and in fact the latter was a particular
goal of both the KoryO and Chosôn governments. Remember that
the normalization of 1443 was negotiated in Japan with the Ashikaga
shogunate, not on Tsushima with the daimyo^, although he was a party
on the Japan side.
But beyond that, I don't believe that tributary
status has anything to do with territory, at least as that system
was practiced in East Asia in the last thousand years. Tributary
relations between China and Korea provide the
structure of a superior/inferior relationship between the Chinese
and Korean monarchs, certain ritual obligations (New Year's bows in
the superior's capital, mutual notification of deaths and changes
of status within the two ruling families, etc.), acceptance of the
superior's calendar including year designations, tribute from inferior
to superior, superior's providing of diplomatic and living expenses
within China , and access by the inferior (within
specified conditions) to the markets of the superior. In 1592,
Korea claimed that that tributary status required the Chinese emperor
to send troops to help defend Korea against the Japanese, and the
Chinese agreed and sent the troops. (On the other hand, if they
had decided not to, as many Chinese officials at the time urged, Korea
would hhave had no appeal and would have been out of luck.)
But none of this meant, for instance, that Korea lost its <<territorial>>
rights. Koreans could and did refuse entry to Chinese diplomats
in cases where they had not followed specific tributary procedures.
Korean law and Korean law alone applied on Korean territory. Korea
determined its own royal succession without China
's approval in advance. Korea made its own political decisions
independently. Korea administered every square inch of its territory
and China could not meddle. On Korean territory, Korea could
and regularly did restrict the movements of Chinese officials including
I go into this kind of detail simply to emphasize that mere tributary
status, which might be claimed or implied by those who assert some
kind of Korean sovereignty over Tsushima in the first 200 years of
the Chosôn dynasty (and for that matter even after), does not mean
territorial possession. A tributary relationship is one between
separate and distinct countries, each with its own territory.
It specifically excludes jurisdiction of the territory of the tributary
state. Chinese administrators, judges and prosecutors, tax collectors,
etc., do not operate there. Chinese law is not in effect there.
No Chinese can go there but by the agreed joint understanding of the
Even during the Imjin Wars of the 1590s, when Chinese generals often
spurned diplomatic niceties, there were limits on what Chinese military
authorities could do. When the tributary relationship was collapsing
during the years after the Kanghwa treaty and specifically during
the Yuan Shikai interlude from 1885 to 1894, some of these principles
were compromised or violated by the Chinese, but that was the end
of the system anyway.
If you think that the "Chosôn government treated the island
as Korean territory," I would welcome a discussion of the details
of this treatment, specifically, how that treatment concretely operated
on Tsushima, and what is the definition of "territory" for
purposes of this discussion.
Also, I would like to hear from you or anyone on the details of the
"Tsushima is (was) ours" discourse? Who are its heroes
and villains? In what ideology or theoretical construct is it embedded?
What classes or groups constructed these concepts and practiced this
discourse, in order to advance what interests? What texts or
narratives, oral or written, represent this discourse? When
does this discourse make its first historical appearance?
Dear Professor Ledyard,
After reading of about 650 documents about Tsushima in "Sillok", from 1392 to 1494, I recently got some ideas on the relationship betweenChosôn and Tsushima. Topics in which you are also interested are scketched ed as follow
A. on the question of Tsushima Island and national territoriality1. It was King T'aejong who mentioned that Tsushima once belonged to Korea during an expedition to the island, but without any convincing historical document. (1419 Sejong
1(year)/6(month)/9(day) Imo Sillok, 2321)2. King T'aejong insisted again that the island was a part of Silla's teritory. But he failed to cite any historical record. (1419 Sejong1/7/17 KyOngsin Sillok, 2326)
3. The envoy and the ruler of Tsushima rejected the T'aejong's opinion.(1421 Sejong 3/4/6 Musul and 7 Kihae Sillok, 2428)4. Korean authority including King Sejong mentioned without concreteevidence that the island was pastureground of horses
. (1421 Sejong 3/4/7
Kihae sillok, 2428; 1447 Sejong 29/5/26 PyOngjin Sillok, 524)5. Korean high ranking officials such as Yu Uison accepted that the island was Japanese territory. The island was additionally marked in theJapanese map. (1438 Sejong 20/2/19 Kyeyu
6. King Sejong guessed that Tsushima was the same as Tuji Island where a certain Kim Chunggon [KoryO Dynasty] owned slaves. (1441 Sejong 23/11/21Kabin Sillok, 4370)
7. Some Korean officials influenced by the King's opinion said that the island turned into the Japanes hands during the late KoryO Dynasty. They could not, however, prove their theory based on historical documents.(1441 Sejong 23/11/22 Ulmyo
8. Several rulers of Japanese islands, rivals of Tsushima's ruler, mentioned that Tsushima was originally Korean territory. But this cannot be proved, because of lack of historical document. (1444 Sejong 26/4/30 Sillok, 4552)
Based on these facts, I am in the opinion that the theories of Korean authority from 15th century are not convincing. Additionally, I will note that no single sentence which help us in the territorial question of Tsushima was found by me in Samguk
Sagi and Samguk yusa. Because KoryOsa was compiled in the very 15th century, I do not want to examine it for this purpose.
B. on the Tsushima's political position 1. Korean Kings including both of above mentioned King T'aejong and Sejong treated the rulers of Tsushima not as Korean official but as
Chief of a Japanese island. Japanese sovereignty of the island was never questioned by Korean authority. According to Sillok, the envoy of Tsushima was "Envoy from Tsushima Island of Japan". (for instance, 1397 T'aejo 6/5/6 ChOngsa
Sillok, 1106; 1474 SOngjong 5/10/6 Muja Sillok, 9151)
2. None of Korean officials was sent to the island to administrate the inhavitants of the island, even after a couple of successful expeditions to the island. There was no single Japanese ruler or t'aesu of the island was appointed as Korean
Govonor of the island. In addition, the
Japanese ruler of the island did not collect any kind of tax for Korean government. What the rulers gave to the Korean kings were merely tribute.
3. After getting of tribute from Tsushima, the korean kings gave gifts to the Japanese island. The value of the gifts exceeded the tribute. Hence, there were even unauthorized Japanese envoys or merchants from the island. (1439 Sejong 21/4/18 Ulmi
Sillok, 4204) These historical facts make clear, in my view, that Tsushima was only a Korean tributary during the early Chosôn period, together with Jurchen tribes and Japanese rulers of other small islands.
C. On assignment of Korean post to the persons from/of Tsushima
1. Envoys from Tsushima got often Korean ranks and posts, such as Manho (Military officer) and Hogun (a kind of general). It dose not mean that such Japanese became Korean officials, in the narrow sense, because they did not have concrete tasks.
The titles had only a simbolic meaning. (1397 T'aejo 6/5/6 ChOngsa Sillok, 1106)
2. Military posts were also given to relatives of the Tsushima's ruler and members of powerful family on the island. In this case, the posts were honorable ones, too. Among these Japanese elite, there were lots of people who had never met the
Korean King and recieved their salary. (1494 SOngjong 25/9/18 Kymyo Sillok, 12585; 1479 SOngjong 19/8/21 Sillok, 1046)
3. There were, however, some Japanese who gained Korean nationality and served as military officers in the Korean government. Many of them returned to their home after retirement.
Regarding these facts, we can conclude that the assignment of Korean post has nothing to do with direct governing of island by Korean authority. It was, as we already know from other Chinese historical records, old custom in the tributary system
in East asia.
Sincerely, Paik Sungjong
Dr sungjong Paik
Seminar fuer Sinologie und Koreanistik
der Universitaet Tuebingen
Dear Professor Paik,
I appreciated very much your thoughts on the Tsushima/Taemado question in the 15th century, and especially the detailed references and the comments that you added to them. Some of the notices you cited were familiar to me, especially the
interesting developments in 1438 concerning the Korean map of Japan and the emphasis on Iki and Tsushima being on it.
I cited this passage in my "Cartography in Korea" (ref in my earlier posting) but had forgotten about it since. Your observations on the tributary system and how it worked in Korean-Japanese relations also gave much ground for
thought. There is no doubt that on the ceremonial/ritual level, and in economic matters, the form of the relationship came from the tributary model. On the political level, it is interesting that Korea had relations with Tsushima, but
also with other local or regional powers in the Japanese islands, as well as with the Ashikaga shogunate itself. From a tributary perspective, this arrangement had its attractions, as most of the people that Korea actually dealt with were of
secondary status within Japan itself, so that it was no particular problem to enforce degrees of subordination on their various Japanese clients. I think that Korea probably saw it in its practical interest to have relations with as many
regional powers as possible, so that when and if pirate troubles recurred there would be that many more buttons to push in efforts to deal with them. But, with you, I believe that this is a completely separate matter from questions of
Indeed, it is interesting to see how Sejong, in the context of his relations with various Japanese groups, worked to define the territorial status of Tsushima as Japanese. This must have had a stabilizing, if probably also unwelcome, effect on
irridentist Korean opinion itself, since it is clear that King T'aejong's remarks on this subject were only the tip of an iceberg in which feeling about the Korean ownership of the island were very strong. That stabilizing effect was probably
not what these Koreans believed or wanted to accept. But in many areas, Sejong was ahead of his scholars insofar as concrete study and research were concerned. At least he cited names and general dates and had some concern for
documentation (clear from the 1438, 1441, and 1444 sillok passages that you cited), which is apparently more than his father ever did.
Dear Professor Ledyard,
Thanks very much for your instructing, kind message. Surely, King Sejong was very cautious and excellent scholar. At the same time, however, he was a king, the most powerful politician in his time. In the case of disscussion on the Tsushima's
territorial question, he functioned as Korean monarch or political successor of King T'aejong.
The territorial question of Tsushima during the first half of the 15t hcentury might have to be connected, as you pointed out, with other important problem. In this sense, I really agree with you, when you insist that "King T'aejong's remarks on
this subject were only the tip of an iceberg in which feeling about the Korean ownership of the island were very strong." The whole discussion, which stated by King T'aejong during the large scale expedition to the island in 1419, pursued , in
my view, a concrete political goal Korea would annex the problematic island Tsushima, stronghold of the Japanese pirats. We read in Sillok of 1419 that King Sejong degraded the status of the island after the successful expedition. At the same time,
the island was subordinated to KyOngsang province refered to diplomatic contact with Korean government for a while. (Sejong 2/1#/23 Imjin Sillok, 2370) In a word, even if the expedition was successful, Korea could not annex it.
Hence, the Korean king sought a compromise. It is my interpretation. To legitimate it, King T'aejong invented a theory that the island belonged to Korea in the old times but he failed to find the historical documents suppoting his theory. His
successor King Sejong made great endeavor to secure historical records on the topic but had to be satisfied with an private document on slaves of Kim Chunggon. King Sejong's problem was that the island had a different named, that was Tujido not
Taema, in the Kim's document.(Sejong 2311/21 Kabin Sillok (4370) Because the wise king already knew that his and his father's theory could not be proved, he did not punish the scholars such as Yu Uison, when they added the island to the map of Japan,
as you know. (Sejong 20/2/19 Kyeyu Sillok, 4131) If the king had been strongly believed in the theory, he should order to extinguish the island from the Japanese map and, of course, punish the officials. If you want to do it, we can extend our
discussion into other important topics on the relationship among Korea and many Japanese rulers on the small islands and inland, of course.
From Deborah Natsios
Tsushima, An Island of Conflicts With Two-Faced Japanese
[Click Into the Hermit Kingdom (11)]
[The policymakers concerning with the scrapping of the
fisheries agreement by Japan should consider the historical
facts in the wake of the Tsushima conquest by Chosôn in 1419.
Over the following centuries, Tsushima islanders never gave up
the two-faced tactic of shamelessly begging for food and then
downright pillaging whenever possible. ]