2008-03-04

Kim Okgyun's Korean Map published in Japan in the late 19th century

When I was browsing old maps linked from the blog "Dokdo or Takeshima?", I happened to notice that there was a Korean map published in Japan in 1894 that had originally been brought to Japan by Kim Okgyun (金玉均, 김옥균). You can see the high-resolution photos of the map, Chosen Yochizu (朝鮮輿地図, or Map of Chosen), here on the Takeshima Issue Website (Japanese page and Korean page).


The map is accompanied by documents pasted on its folding case.


The following is my translation of the right-side document in the above photograph.

--- Chosen Yochizu (Map of Chosun) ---
This drawing is a large detailed survey map of that country that Kim Okgyun brought here when he left his country the other year. While he was alive, he always kept this map with him. However, when he sailed to Shanghai the other day, he somehow left this map to a noble of our country. Being affected by current events, we traced the map on a smaller scale through the courtesy of the person. In the drawing, positions of the eight provinces, various counties, prefectures, districts, army bases, naval bases, division headquarters, scenic spots, representative villages, mountains, rivers, capes, promontories, bays, ports, and islands are shown as plain as day. This is what he surveyed by using the national power before. In addition, regions around Seoul, Wonsan, Busan, Incheon and Hangang are shown separately in insets for convenience's sake. Also, a table of distances from Seoul to representative places is printed on the periphery of the drawing. Whereas Chosun often become the talk of the town these days, there has not been a map like this. This is indeed a drawing of matchless clearness. Since our company, hoping to contribute to our country, will distribute this map with as cheap price as possible, please buy it in the bookstores and take a look inside.
------ Price: 30 sen, Postage: 4 sen -------

(I will attach the original Japanese text and its translation to contemporary Japanese language at the end of this entry.)

Kim Okgyun who brought this map to Japan was a Korean politician in the late 19th century (1851-1894). He served under the national civil service under King Gojong, and actively participated to advance Western ideas and sciences in Korea. Between the years of 1881 to 1884, he was one of the leaders of the Kaehwadang (Enlightenment Party), a group of nobles and officials who sought assistance from foreign states, particularly Japan, for the reform and strengthening of Korea.

On December 4th 1884, he lead a coup d'etat called Kapsin coup in which he got rid of leaders of conservative force and organized a new government. However, the new government fell in 3 days by Chinese garrison, and he was exiled to Japan.

In 1894, he went to Shanghai to accomplish his uncompleted plan with China, but got assassinated in Shanghai by Hong Jongwu sent by Queen Min on March 28. Chinese authorities protected the assassin while returning Kim's body to Korea. The Korean government dismembered his body, placing his head on display at Yanghwajin. Each pair of his arm and leg was separately placed on display in the Gyeongsang and Hamgyŏng Provinces. A Japanese who respected Kim Okgyun brought his hair and a fragment of his clothes to Japan and held a funeral at the Sensoji Temple, Asakusa. There is a tomb of him in the Aoyama Cemetery, Tokyo.

In this connection, it may be worth mentioning that Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901) who appears on the Japanese 10,000 yen banknote was an ardent supporter of Kim Okgyun while he was staying in Japan. Fukuzawa was so deeply disappointed by the Kim's assassination that he wrote "Datsu-A Ron (Argument for Leaving Asia)" in the next year (1885). Sparkling Korea has an English-language translation of "Datsu-A Ron" here (Part 1) and here (Part 2). The article concerning Fukuzawa in occidentalism is also worth reading.

According to the document attached to the map, Kim Okgyun brought the map with him when he was exiled to Japan in 1884. The map was probably drawn while he was a leader of the Enlightenment Party in 1881-1884, since the document attached to the map says that it was edited by using the national power (国力) of Chosun.

The Kim Okgyun's map is truly a detailed map of Korea. However, it is worth noting that the map printed a non-existent island, Argonaut, on the eastern sea of Korea. The Japanese in the Edo period used to call Ulleungdo and the Liancourt Rocks as Takeshima and Matsushima, respectively. However, because of the mapping confusion of Ulleungdo by Western explorers, a non-existent island, Argonaut, and Ulleungdo tended to be labeled as Takeshima and Matsushima, respectively, in the maps edited in the late 19th century (see this entry for detail). Like those maps, Kim Okgyun's map labeled the non-existant island and Ulleungdo as Takeshima (竹島) and Matsushima (松島), respectively. The follwoing figure shows the comparison of the Kim Okgyun's map and the Navy maps of Britain and Japan edited in the late 19th century.



Notice that, in the Kim Okgyun's map, a river with its name is drawn on the non-existent island Argonaut (Takeshima) whereas Matsushima is drawn in the correct shape and location of Ulleungdo. Also, it seems that a name of a mountain is written on Argonaut (Takeshima) though it is not readable in the photograph. The confused knowledge of Westerners concerning Ulleungdo was apparently incorporated in the Kim Okgyun's map. These confusions suggest that Kim Okgyun's group was not able to obtain correct knowledge on the islands on the eastern sea when they surveyed their country.

Although the Kim Okgyun's Map is a precious map that tells us how the geography of Korea was perceived by the reformists in the Chosun government at the time, it seems that the map has never attracted enough attention. This is probably because the National Diet Library of Japan, the owner of the copy of the map, attributed the map to Shimizu Tsunetaro (清水常太郎) rather than to Kim Okgyun. I don't know exactly why the library attributed the map to Shimizu, but I can notice that Shimizu's name is written on the left side of the document attached to the folding case.


Notice that a name, Shimizu Mitsunori (清水光憲), is witten on the left side of the document. I guess that a librarian attributed the map to Shimizu Tsunetaro seeing this name on the document, since Shimizu Mitsunori was commonly known by the name Shimizu Tsunetaro. However, If you can read Japanese language, you will be able to notice that the left-side document is just advertisements of other publications from the publisher Nakamura-shobi-do (中村鍾美堂). The Shimizu's name is found as the author of the maps of prefectures in Japan (日本管轄分地図). You can also find another name, Matsumoto Kendo (松本謙堂) , to the left of the ad of the Shimizu's map, as the author of two other geography books for Chosun and China (朝鮮地誌要略 and 支那地誌要略). Thus, the document on the left has no information on the author of the map in the folding case. Although the map is apparently edited by Japanese editor(s), the editor's name is not given on the document. I suppose that the map should have been known as a map by Kim Okgyun rather than that by Shimizu Tsunetaro that is perhaps a wrong attribution by a librarian.

Original text.

------- 朝鮮輿地図 -------
此図ハ前年金玉均氏カ本国ヲ去ル時携帯シ来レル彼邦無二ノ明細分間大絵図ニシテ氏生前姑クモ座右ヲ離サザリシガ先般上海に航スルニ及テ何思ケン当地ノ或貴顕ノ方ニ遺シ置ケリシヲ時事ニ感ズル所アリ乞テ之ヲ縮写シ図中八道諸州府県郡兵営水営諸鎮名勝名邑山川岬角港湾島嶼ノ位置一見掌ヲ指スガ如シ彼レ曽テ国力ヲ以テ調査シタルモノ之ニ加フルニ便覧ノ為メ京城元山津釜山浦仁川漢江等付近ノ箇所五区ニ分チ特ニ切図トナシ尚京城ヨリ諸名区ニ至ル里程表ヲ加エ併セテ図ノ縁辺ニ付記セリ坊間往々朝鮮国アルモ未タ如此モノ有ラズ実ニ天下無比ノ明細図也弊堂聊カ報国ノ心ヲ以テ務メテ廉価ヲ旨トシ内国人士ニ頒タント欲ス乞フ各所ノ書店ニ就テ購覧アラン事ヲ
----- 正価金三拾銭 郵税金四銭 -----

Translation to the contemporary Japanese language.

------- 朝鮮輿地図 -------
この図は、以前、金玉均氏が本国(朝鮮)を去る時に携帯して来たかの国(朝鮮)無二の明細な測量図であり、氏は生前片時も座右を離さなかったが、先般、上海に渡航することになった時に、何を思ったのか当地(日本)の貴顕の元に遺し置いた。それを、時事に思うところがあり、頼んで縮写した。図中、八道、諸州、府、県、郡、兵営、水営、諸鎮、名勝、名邑、山、川、岬角、港湾、島嶼の位置を、一目で掌(たなごころ)を指すように知ることができる。これは、彼が、かつて国力をもって調査したものである。さらに、便覧のために、京城、元山津、釜山浦、仁川、漢江などの付近を五つに分け、特に別図とし、さらに、京城から代表的な場所に至る里程表を加え、図の周囲に一緒に付記した。世間ではしばしば朝鮮国が話題になるが、まだこのようなものは無い。まことに天下無比の明細図である。弊堂(中村鍾美堂)は、いささか報国の心をもって、つとめて廉価を心がけ、内国人士に頒布したいと願っている。各所の書店に行って購入され、ご覧になっていただきたい。
----- 正価 金三十銭 送料 金四銭 -----

Update (Mach 6, 2008)

When I was serching on the Web with the keyword "清水光憲" today, I found that the Web Takeshima Research Institute has already pointed out the same thing in this article on Feb. 29. The article has many interesting descriptions. According to the article, Kim Okgyun had actually visited Ulleungdo in 1883 as the government officer for opening up southeastern islands (東南諸島開拓使). The article also says that the name of the mountain and the river written on Takeshima are 中峰 and 猪田川, respectively, and that the latter name is perhaps a typo of 楮田川 since there were 楮田 (fields of paper mulberry) on Ulleungdo.

1 comments:

dokdo-takeshima.com said...

Hello Aki.

The map drawn by Kim Okgyun actually shows Ulleungdo (竹島) and Dokdo (松島) as Korean territory.

Although the shape of Ulleugdo is incorrect because it was obviously copied from a British map, you can see Kim Okgyun labeled two places on Ulleungdo (竹島)

The mountain is called SeongIn Bong and marked with the characters 中峯 which is Seong In Bong on Ulleungdo. The second place is called Jeojeon Stream. This is no doubt a derivative of Jeojeon Dong or Po also located on Ulleungdo Island. Many maps of Ulleungdo show the characters “楮田” meaning mulberry fields on Ulleungdo's northeast side.

Kim Okgyun just copied the form of Matsushima (Dokdo) from other maps as most cartographers of this era did.

There are many maps showing Ulleungdo (竹島) and Dokdo (松島) as Korean territory.

That is because in 1836 the Japanese Shogunate officially confirmed the islets were Korean.

Japan Cedes Dokdo