Historically, Takeshima belongs to Japan
Hunting sea lions on the Takeshima shoreline (Photograph: San-in Chuo Shimpo Newspaper Co., Ltd.)
Although there is no record of the exact date of Takeshima's discovery, the islands have been known to Japanese people since the beginning of the Edo Period (1603-1868) at the latest.
In the year 1618, Jinkichi Oya and Ichibei Murakawa of Yonago City received permission from the Shogunate Government to sail to Ulleung Island in order to catch abalone, sea lions, and to cut down trees and bamboo for lumber. On their way to Ulleung Island, they used Takeshima as a midway port, and also hunted and fished there. In 1661, the Oya Family and Murakawa Family were granted official permission to travel to Takeshima by the Shogunate Government.
The Shogunate Government prohibited visits to Ulleung Island in 1696 owing to conflict between Japan and Korea, but visits to Takeshima were not banned. In 1836, a man named Imazuya Hachiemon was punished because he sailed to Ulleung Island “on the pretext of visiting Takeshima”. Knowledge of Takeshima was maintained throughout the Edo Period by recording the islands in books and on maps.
After the Meiji Restoration, large numbers of fishermen began to visit Ulleung Island again, and Takeshima was used as a midway port. Since the end of the second decade of the Meiji Period (1868-1912), people of the Oki Islands have hunted and fished for abalone, sea lions, and other marine life on Takeshima.
Given the historical background of Takeshima, there is no doubt that it belongs to Japan.