Commissioned Research Report on Archives of Senkaku Islands

The project is to make a reference list and digitized images of the Senkaku Islands related documents and materials archived in Okinawa, particularly in the period between the territorial incorporation of the Senkaku Islands in 1895 and the reversion of Okinawa in 1972, in order to contribute to the further development of the Senkaku study.

Exemplar Documents on the FY2016 Research Report

  1. Sho-sei Gushikawa-ke Kafu (Record of the Gushikawa Family, a branch of the Sho Family) Juni-sei Kōki (12th Family Head: Kōki SHO)
  2. On the matter of requesting for making a port call at Kuba Island from Tatsushiro KOGA:
    Letter dated January 19, 1899, from Shigeru NARAHARA, the Okinawa Prefectural Governor, to Tokugoro NAKAHASHI, the President of Osaka Shosen Kabushiki Kaisha (Osaka mercantile steamship inc.) [January 19, 1899]
  3. On the matter of requesting for making a port call at Kuba Island from Tatsushiro KOGA:
    Letter dated January 1899, from Tatsushiro KOGA to the Okinawa Prefectural Governor [Shigeru NARAHARA] [January 1899]
  4. Map (Rough Map of areas under the jurisdiction of Okinawa Prefecture and Distances)
  5. Kenrei (Prefectural Ordinance) No. 49 [December 3, 1902]
  6. Minutes of the fifth meeting (Extraordinary Session), Legislature of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands [Resolution No. 15, Daisan Seitoku-maru:
    March 5, 1955 by Kisaburo ŌWAN, Typography] [March 5, 1955]
  7. Petition [May 1955] (May 1955)
  8. Minutes of the eighth meeting, Legislature of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands
    [Compensation for the personal and property damage of the Daisan Seitoku-maru, LGRI Research No. 1098, November 1, 1955] (February 6, 1957)
  9. [Senkaku Islands] [Photo Album] (March 1963)
  10. Schedule for Okinawa Research of Daisuke TAKAOKA, a specialist member of the consultative committee for the Okinawa issues (July 1, 1968)
  11. [Zenji KOGA’s reply (acceptance) to the letter requesting consent to conduct research on the Senkaku Islands by Daisuke TAKAOKA] (July 2, 1968)
  12. [Staff dispatch for the Senkaku Islands research (University of the Ryukyus)] (July 3, 1968)
  13. [Implementation of the joint comprehensive academic research on the Senkaku Islands] (March 26, 1971)
  14. Comprehensive map of Okinawa Prefecture (May 15, 1972)
  15. [Designation of Permanent Danger Areas by the U.S. military command in Ryukyu] (April 9, 1948)
  16. [Operations: Gunnery and Bombing Ranges (Supersession of the 1st Air Division Regulation 55-8)] [January 15, 1948]
  17. Daimin-Ittoshi (Da Ming yi tong zhi)
    (Records of the Unity of the Great Ming (The Imperial Geography of the Ming Empire)) (Submitted in April 1461 in lunar calendar)
  18. (Kangxi) Daishin-Ittoshi (Da Qing yi tong zhi)
    (Records of the Unity of the Great Qing (The Imperial Geography of the Qing Empire)) (1744 (the ninth year of Qianlong))

1. Sho-sei Gushikawa-ke Kafu (Record of the Gushikawa Family, a branch of the Sho Family) Juni-sei Kōki (12th Family Head: Kōki SHO)

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Library

 Despite the use of the Senkaku Islands as a marker point when sailing between Ryukyu and Fuzdhou since ancient times, there are hardly any written records of the islands. The Senkaku Islands are uninhabited islands in the ocean which were seldom mentioned when naval journeys were successful. However, Keizu-Kafu sometimes recorded episodes such as incidents of shipwreck and castaway situations on the islands causing by unexpected bad weather. The following Keizu-Kafu is an example of such a reference to the islands.

Sho-sei Gushikawa-ke Kafu (Record of the Gushikawa Family, a branch of the Sho Family) Juni-sei Kōki (12th Family Head: Kōki SHO)

2. On the matter of requesting for making a port call at Kuba Island from Tatsushiro KOGA:
Letter dated January 19, 1899, from Shigeru NARAHARA, the Okinawa Prefectural Governor, to Tokugoro NAKAHASHI, the President of Osaka Shosen Kabushiki Kaisha (Osaka mercantile steamship inc.) [January 19, 1899]

Repository:Naha City Museum of History

 This is a letter sent from the Okinawa Prefectural Governor, Shigeru NARAHARA, to the President of the Osaka Shosen Kabushiki Kaisha. In August 1896, the Okinawa Prefecture gave permission to Tatsushiro KOGA to develop the Senkaku Islands, but the development faced an impasse due to the inconvenience of travel to the Senkaku Islands. To solve this problem, Tatsushiro asked the Okinawa Prefectural Governor to contact the President of the Osaka Shosen Kabushiki Kaisha, which operated the ships between the mainland of Japan and Taiwan at that time, to make a port call at the Senkaku Islands (Kuba Island and Uotsuri Island) (*See No.3), and the governor's request was realized.

On the matter of requesting for making a port call at Kuba Island from Tatsushiro KOGA:
Letter dated January 19, 1899, from Shigeru NARAHARA, the Okinawa Prefectural Governor, to Tokugoro NAKAHASHI, the President of Osaka Shosen Kabushiki Kaisha (Osaka mercantile steamship inc.) [January 19, 1899]

3. On the matter of requesting for making a port call at Kuba Island from Tatsushiro KOGA:
Letter dated January 1899, from Tatsushiro KOGA to the Okinawa Prefectural Governor [Shigeru NARAHARA] [January 1899]

Repository:Naha City Museum of History

 This is a copy of the request from Tatsushiro KOGA to the Okinawa Prefectural Governor. Upon being granted permission for developing the Senkaku Islands from the Prefecture on August 15, 1896, Tatsushiro sent farmers and fishermen to the islands. In May 1898, he sent more people to expand the project. (The supervisor was Tatsushiro’s nephew Nobutaro OTAKI. See the “Senkaku Gunto Jijyo [Senkaku Islands Situation],” an article of the Ryukyu Shimpo on the July 17, 1898.)
 This enabled to promote further development in the islands. Harvest and marine product outputs from the developed lands were increasing each year. However, since Tatsushiro used small fishing boats for transportation at that time, the amount of carrying capacity and days required to be transported were restricted. In order to strengthen and stabilize traffic transportation means, Tatsushiro requested the prefectural governor to contact Osaka Shosen to ask if the company could arrange steamers to perform three or four round trips per year to the islands.

On the matter of requesting for making a port call at Kuba Island from Tatsushiro KOGA:
Letter dated January 1899, from Tatsushiro KOGA to the Okinawa Prefectural Governor [Shigeru NARAHARA] [January 1899]

4. Map (Rough Map of areas under the jurisdiction of Okinawa Prefecture and Distances)

Repository:Naha City Museum of History

 This is a rough map of areas under the jurisdiction of Okinawa Prefecture and the distances between each island. Three islands – “Kumeaka (Taisho)”, “Kuba” and “Uotsuri” islands -- are listed in the description of the Senkaku Islands. As these names are also found in other documents made by the prefecture, they seem to have been consistently used in Okinawa Prefecture after the survey conducted on the Senkaku Islands in 1885.

Map (Rough Map of areas under the jurisdiction of Okinawa Prefecture and Distances)

5. Kenrei (Prefectural Ordinance) No. 49 [December 3, 1902]

Repository:Naha City Museum of History

 This ordinance, published in late 1902, placed Uotsuri Island, Kuba Island and the adjacent islands under the administrative district of Tonoshiro, Ishigaki City of Okinawa Prefecture. It established an administrative status, and this mandate continues to this day. This was the main achievement of Shigeru NARAHARA, the prefectural governor at that time who tackled the systematic reform of Okinawa Prefecture.

Kenrei (Prefectural Ordinance) No. 49 [December 3, 1902]

6. Minutes of the fifth meeting (Extraordinary Session), Legislature of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands [Resolution No. 15, Daisan Seitoku-maru:
March 5, 1955 by Kisaburo ŌWAN, Typography] [March 5, 1955]

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Archives

 The news of the Daisan Seitoku-maru incident was widely reported in Okinawan local newspapers. As a Ryukyu fishing ship operating within the territorial water in Japan was attacked by foreign ships, local newspapers demanded in their editorials to uncover the truth. The Legislature of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands reached a resolution to seek cooperation with international organizations, such as the United Nations, to further investigate the incident.

Minutes of the fifth meeting (Extraordinary Session), Legislature of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands [Resolution No. 15, Daisan Seitoku-maru:
 March 5, 1955 by Kisaburo ŌWAN, Typography] [March 5, 1955]

7. Petition [May 1955] (May 1955)

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Archives

 This is a petition to the Legislature of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands from the bereaved families of the Daisan Seitoku-maru incident (received on May 26, 1955). Nearly three months have passed since the incident, and the bereaved families are requesting a search for the missing crews and relief measures for their daily life.

Petition [May 1955] (May 1955)

8. Minutes of the eighth meeting, Legislature of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands
[Compensation for the personal and property damage of the Daisan Seitoku-maru, LGRI Research No. 1098, November 1, 1955] (February 6, 1957)

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Assembly Library

 After receiving the first report of the Daisan Seitoku-maru incident, the whole picture of the incident became clearer as the survivors returned to the Okinawan mainland; three out of nine crew members were missing. [According to the survivors’ statements, they witnessed that two were shot dead; however, their bodies were not found in subsequent search.]
 The bereaved family lodged a petition to the Legislature of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands to request compensation for their losses.

Minutes of the eighth meeting, Legislature of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands 
[Compensation for the personal and property damage of the Daisan Seitoku-maru, LGRI Research No. 1098, November 1, 1955] (February 6, 1957)

9. [Senkaku Islands] [Photo Album] (March 1963)

Repository:Privately owned (a copy is archived at the Naha City Museum of History)

 It seems that Zenji KOGA had been showing materials and photographs related to his father Tatsushiro and the Senkaku Islands to the people who visited him, before China and Taiwan began their unfounded claim for the Islands. Hiro ŌNAKA, who made this photo album, was from Ishigaki Island of Okinawa Prefecture and was working at the meteorological station on Minamidaitō Island in Okinawa. It is thought that the local historian Yoshinobu NISHIHAMA taught the history of the Senkaku Islands to ŌNAKA while he stayed in Minamidaitō Island. These materials not only show Zenji’s character but also confirm that there may be more materials about Tatsushiro and the Senkaku Islands even after World War II.

[Senkaku Islands] [Photo Album] (March 1963)

10. Schedule for Okinawa Research of Daisuke TAKAOKA, a specialist member of the consultative committee for the Okinawa issues (July 1, 1968)

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Archives

 This is a draft schedule for Okinawa Research of Daisuke TAKAOKA, which was revised by the Government of the Ryukyu Islands till just before the departure. According to the draft schedule, July 7 and 8 were allocated for the research on the Senkaku Islands. (The post research report indicates that the actual research was conducted for three days between the 8th and the 10th of July.)

Schedule for Okinawa Research of Daisuke TAKAOKA, a specialist member of the consultative committee for the Okinawa issues (July 1, 1968)

11. [Zenji KOGA’s reply (acceptance) to the letter requesting consent to conduct research on the Senkaku Islands by Daisuke TAKAOKA] (July 2, 1968)

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Archives

 The Government of the Ryukyu Islands has decided to give total support to the Senkaku Islands research project to be conducted by Daisuke TAKAOKA, a specialist member of the consultative committee for the Okinawa issues (chaired by Nobumoto ŌHAMA). The team rented the Tonan-maru ship from the Fisheries Research Institute and was accompanied by professors of the University of the Ryukyus and government meteorologists. This is a Zenji KOGA’s reply (acceptance) to the letter requesting consent from Zenji, owner of the Senkaku Islands.

[Zenji KOGA’s reply (acceptance) to the letter requesting consent to conduct research on the Senkaku Islands by Daisuke TAKAOKA] (July 2, 1968)

12. [Staff dispatch for the Senkaku Islands research (University of the Ryukyus)] (July 3, 1968)

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Archives

 When Daisuke TAKAOKA, a specialist member of the consultative committee on the Okinawa issues, visited Okinawa for research purposes, he planned on conducting water depth and marine geology research on the Senkaku Islands with a group of professors from the University of the Ryukyus. The Government of the Ryukyu Islands requested the participation of university staffs to make TAKAOKA’s research more meaningful. This is a response letter from the university president stating that the university would send four specialists.

[Staff dispatch for the Senkaku Islands research (University of the Ryukyus)] (July 3, 1968)

13. [Implementation of the joint comprehensive academic research on the Senkaku Islands] (March 26, 1971)

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Archives

 Research plan and Tonan-maru's navigation plan concerning the comprehensive academic research on the Senkaku Islands by the University of the Ryukyus.

[Implementation of the joint comprehensive academic research on the Senkaku Islands] (March 26, 1971)

14. Comprehensive map of Okinawa Prefecture (May 15, 1972)

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Archives

 This map is one of the collection materials owned by the late Edward Freimuth, Director of the Liaison Department of the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR). (It was donated to the Okinawa Prefectural Archives.) This map shows the islands of Okinawa returned from the United States on May 15, 1972. The area of the Senkaku Islands include 5 islands (Uotsuri, Kita-kojima, Minami-kojima, Kuba and Taishō) and 3 rock reefs (Tobise, Oki-no-kitaiwa and Oki-no-minamiiwa).

Comprehensive map of Okinawa Prefecture (May 15, 1972)

15. [Designation of Permanent Danger Areas by the U.S. military command in Ryukyu] (April 9, 1948)

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Archives

 This was a notfication given to the Governor of Okinawa (Gunto) from the U.S. military command in Ryukyu, via the deputy commander of the Military Government, dated April 9, 1948. Five areas, including Kobi Sho (Kuba Island of Senkaku Islands), were designated as “permanent danger areas” to be used by the 1st Air Division. It is stated that this notification should be notified to all the relevant personnel, including the governor. The publication also includes an English copy of the original created on the same date. This material was addressed to the Okinawa Gunto Governor, but materials containing similar content were published in the same year, such as the “Rinji Hokubu Nansei Shoto Koho” (an Amami Islands bulletin) on May 25, the “Koho Shin-Miyako” (a Miyako Islands bulletin) on May 27, and the “Yaeyama Times” (a Yaeyama Islands newspaper) on November 1.

[Designation of Permanent Danger Areas by the U.S. military command in Ryukyu] (April 9, 1948)

16. [Operations: Gunnery and Bombing Ranges (Supersession of the 1st Air Division Regulation 55-8)] [January 15, 1948]

Repository:Okinawa Prefectural Archives (The original is archived at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration )

 This document dated January 15, 1948 supersedes the 1st Air Division’s Regulation “55-8” of October 15, 1946.
 The operations in this document provided that the ranges should be as follows:
 – Five areas, including “Kobi Sho” (Kuba Island of the Senkaku Islands), are designated as Permanent Danger Areas.
 – Four areas, including Ie Shima (Ie Island), are designated as Temporary Danger Areas.

[Operations: Gunnery and Bombing Ranges (Supersession of the 1st Air Division Regulation 55-8)] [January 15, 1948]

17. Daimin-Ittoshi (Da Ming yi tong zhi)
(Records of the Unity of the Great Ming (The Imperial Geography of the Ming Empire)) (Submitted in April 1461 in lunar calendar)

Repository:Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia, the University of Tokyo

 This is a 90-volume comprehensive geography book compiled under an order issued by Emperor Yingzong of Ming.
 Volumes 74 - 78 contain information on Fujian Province. They explain the history of the entire province, and the all eight prefectures were explained in detail in the subsequent specific sections. The area of each prefecture is shown in the number of “li” to the northern, southern, eastern and western borders. They did not yet have technology to measure the “li” in a straight line, so the distance was measured by the length of the paths. The “li” at that time was approximately one quarter of a kilometer in a straight line distance. The character “府 (Fu)”is an administrative unit, similar to “prefecture” in Japan, such as Ōsaka-fu (府), Kyoto-fu (府) and Okinawa prefecture.
 The port to Ryukyu was located in Quanzhou Prefecture, one of the eight prefectures in Fujian Province, at that time. Since the eastern border of the prefecture was specified in the pages that it was at the coastline, the Senkaku Islands were clearly located outside of Quanzhou area.
 Fuzou, the capital of the province, was located directly west of the Senkaku Islands. The city became the port to Ryukyu later, but the pages showed clearly that its eastern border was also the coastline. Therefore, the Senkaku Islands were clearly located outside the area of Fujian Province.
 Numbers of “li” are usually written in the “Jiāng yù (疆域)” (also “Fēng yù (封域)”, “Fēng yú (封隅)” or “Jiāng jiè (疆界)”) volume of a geography book, and “jiāng (疆)”, “yú (隅)” and “jiè (界)” all mean boundary lines. While “Daimin-Ittoshi (Da Ming yi tong zhi)” does not have a separate volume for “Jiāng yù (疆域) (territories)”, the numbers of “li” represent the boundary lines as well.
 There are many cases where the coastline was cleary specified as a border. For example, in the “general chart (総図)” at the beginning of the “Records of Luoyuan County (羅源県志)”, it stated that the north-east border was its “coastline[*ocean itself] (大海界).”
 Most territories in the Ming Dynasty ended at the coastline of the continent. However, Qiong Prefecture (Hainan Island) of Guangdong Province was described as a Ming territory in Volume 82. Therefore, we can see that islands were not intentionally excluded in the book. It is important to note that Taiwan Prefecture of Fujian Province was included in the official geography book after the Qing Dynasty invaded the west coast of Taiwan Island, but in the Ming Dynasty, Taiwan Island was not yet included in Fujian province.

Daimin-Ittoshi (Da Ming yi tong zhi) 
(Records of the Unity of the Great Ming (The Imperial Geography of the Ming Empire)) (Submitted in April 1461 in lunar calendar)

18. (Kangxi) Daishin-Ittoshi (Da Qing yi tong zhi)
(Records of the Unity of the Great Qing (The Imperial Geography of the Qing Empire)) (1744 (the ninth year of Qianlong))

Repository:National Archives of Japan

 This is the first comprehensive geography book compiled in the Qing Dynasty. Volumes 260 - 273 contain information on Fujian Province. The eastern territorial border of Fujian Province of the Qing Dynasty, the eastern border of Fuzhou Prefecture, and the eastern and northern borders of Taiwan Prefecture were clearly outlined in each volume of each province. Fuzhou Prefecture contained the port to Ryukyu, and Taiwan Prefecture was close to Ryukyu in distance, but the Senkaku Islands were located far outside the borders.
 On the “Map of Fujian”, attached to the beginning of Volume 260, the eastern edge of the province is the coastline of the continent and the plains on the western side of Taiwan. The “Fuzhou Prefecture Map” also ended at the coastline; and only the islands on the continental shore, such as Gantang of the western area of the Matsu Islands, were included on the map. The “Taiwan Prefecture Map” clearly marked its prefectural borders with the northern border as “Keelung Fort border (鷄籠城界)” and the eastern border as “Central Mountain Range border (大脚山界)”. These three maps coincide with the descriptions in the volumes. Therefore, we can see that the Senkaku Islands are clearly located outside the Qing Dynasty’s borders.
 The “Taiwan” section above is a secondary description taken from the “Records of Taiwan Prefecture (台湾府志)” at the end of the 17th century. The fact that the Senkaku Islands are located outside the country’s borders of China, as first suggested by Toshio OKUHARA in 1970’s, is now an established opinion. Also, the second and third versions of “Daishin-Ittoshi (Da Qing yi tong zhi)” were published later on, but the majority of the content related to the Fujian Province has not changed.

(Kangxi) Daishin-Ittoshi (Da Qing yi tong zhi) 
(Records of the Unity of the Great Qing (The Imperial Geography of the Qing Empire)) (1744 (the ninth year of Qianlong))
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