Era of An Yong-bok
Zone #1 features an animated video depicting what Ulleungdo and Dokdo meant to Joseon and Japan, and how both countries responded to claims of sovereignty over the two Islands in the 17th century, when An Yong-bok was sailing the East Sea.
- In the 17th century, Joseon relocated residents from Ulleungdo and Dokdo to the mainland to levy taxes and protect them from foreign invaders. At the same time, Joseon implemented a patrol policy of searching and dispelling the Japanese from Ulleungdo and Dokdo in order to prevent them from settling the two empty Islands.
- However, some seamen in the southeast coast of Joseon, who had difficulty making a living on the mainland due to a series of natural disasters, violated the law and secretly fished in and out of Ulleungdo and Dokdo. Japanese fishermen were also illegally exploiting the forest resources and fisheries resources of the two Islands by taking advantage of blindspots in Joseon’s repatriation and patrol policies.
- In the process, a conflict between Korean fishermen and Japanese fishermen over fishing rights resulted in the “Ulleungdo Dispute” between Joseon and Japan over the territorial rights of Ulleungdo and Dokdo. An Yong-bok appears in various historical records as a fisherman from Gyeongsang-do during the reign of King Sukjong of the Joseon Dynasty. His date of birth, date of death, and social status, however, are unclear as they appear differently in each record. Fortunately, the details of his deeds remain in various historical sources, and have been passed down to future generations.
- An Yong-bok made history with two separate journeys to Japan.
His first trip to Japan was an involuntary one - he was abducted by fishermen working for the Ooya clan in 1693 - but his second trip in 1696 was voluntary as he was looking to secure Joseon’s sovereignty over Ulleungdo and Dokdo. As a result of his two visits to Japan, Japan acknowledged Ulleungdo and Dokdo as Korean territory, and Joseon was able to consolidate its sovereignty and fishing rights over the two Islands. As a civilian diplomat, An Yong-bok’s legacy of defending Ulleungdo and Dokdo is still being hailed as a heroic deed that is worth learning for future generations.