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Commentary on themes by historical period
Classification by historical periods I
Before Okinawa Prefecture
conducted an investigation of the Senkaku Islands in 1885
(1) The Senkaku Islands known to the Ryukyu people
Commentary Video The Seas and Islands of Senkaku in the Premodern Era Part1
Play time / 00:16:13 Youtube
These videos explain how people had used the Senkaku Islands and the seas around them in pre-modern
times (before the middle of the 19th century), thus demonstrating that the Chinese government’s
unilateral claims are unfounded.
Part 1 takes a brief look at the history of exchange between the Ryukyu Kingdom and Chinese Dynasties such as the Ming and Qing and emphasizes that the Ryukyu people had detailed knowledge about the Senkaku Islands in the pre-modern era as the Senkaku Islands functioned as seamarks in the voyages between Naha and Fuzhou. Then, the video examines materials that the Chinese government cites as its basis for its unilateral territorial claims, such as records written by title-conferring envoys and Ming Dynasty nautical charts. In sum, these materials merely record the names of the islands and descriptions of the seas around them, and it is implausible to assert territory sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands based on such ambiguous references. In addition, it presents the fact that the Ryukyu people did in fact travel much more frequently to and from China (Fuzhou) than the Chinese people did and therefore possessed more detailed knowledge about the Senkaku Islands, which lay along in their route, and it is the position of the Government of Japan that the islands had belonged to no country in pre-modern times.
Part 2 examines the Chinese government’s claims that “the Senkaku Islands have long been under China’s jurisdiction”, in particular, two specific claims that “in the Ming Dynasty, China placed the Senkaku Islands under its coastal defense to guard against invasions by Japanese pirates” and that “the Qing court incorporated the Senkaku Islands into China’s coastal defense as the Ming court did, and placed the islands under the jurisdiction of the local government of Taiwan.” In this regard, Part 2 analyzes materials compiled in the Ming and Qing Dynasties such as military materials, coastal defense maps, and geographic materials and demonstrates that these two claims by China are unfounded. It then concludes that Senkaku Islands were uninhabited islands ruled by no country in the pre-modern times.