The OPRI Center for Island Studies, SPF is proud to present the Review of Island Studies. This English-language resource aims to bring scholarly analysis of island-related issues, particularly from the perspectives of historical developments and international law, to a global readership. We hope you will find it informative and helpful, and we thank you for visiting.

Latest Posts:

Refutation of Korean Media Claims Regarding Japanese Maps of Takeshima(Part1) FUNASUGI Rikinobu (Jul 08, 2015)

The "Critical Date" of the Takeshima Dispute MIYOSHI Masahiro (Jan 30, 2015)

The Legal Status of the Senkaku Islands (Part 1)

Their Inclusion in Japanese Territory and the Legal Basis for This

The Senkaku Islands have been officially Japanese territory since 1895, when the Meiji government formally incorporated them. Well before then, though, the islands were culturally and traditionally a part of the Ryukyus. In the first part of his paper, the legal specialist Ozaki Shigeyoshi examines Chinese documents to show that their references to the islands, including their names, drew heavily on Ryukyu knowledge about them, making it clear that they were never part of China. This paper will be posted in two installments. Part 1 is displayed below; click the link to jump to Part 2 once it is uploaded.

Even when referring to only Chinese historical documents, therefore, one can definitively conclude that the Senkaku Islands were never part of China during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

The "Critical Date" of the Takeshima Dispute

The territorial dispute over Takeshima began in 1952, when South Korean President Syngman Rhee asserted sovereignty over a sea area including the islands. Takeshima is Japanese territory historically and legally, and Japan has urged Korea to agree to International Court of Justice proceedings to resolve the issue, to no avail. Legal specialist Miyoshi Masahiro explores the case, defining 1952 as the “critical date” after which acts should not be taken into consideration in determining the legal status of Takeshima. South Korea must promptly recognize the need for a law-based resolution.

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The Legal Status of the Senkaku Islands (Part 1)

The Senkaku Islands have been officially Japanese territory since 1895, when the Meiji government formally incorporated them. Well before then, though, the islands were culturally and traditionally a part of the Ryukyus. In the first part of his paper, the legal specialist Ozaki Shigeyoshi examines Chinese documents to show that their references to the islands, including their names, drew heavily on Ryukyu knowledge about them, making it clear that they were never part of China. This paper will be posted in two installments. Part 1 is displayed below; click the link to jump to Part 2 once it is uploaded.

Read More

Latest Research

The "Critical Date" of the Takeshima Dispute

The territorial dispute over Takeshima began in 1952, when South Korean President Syngman Rhee asserted sovereignty over a sea area including the islands. Takeshima is Japanese territory historically and legally, and Japan has urged Korea to agree to International Court of Justice proceedings to resolve the issue, to no avail. Legal specialist Miyoshi Masahiro explores the case, defining 1952 as the “critical date” after which acts should not be taken into consideration in determining the legal status of Takeshima. South Korea must promptly recognize the need for a law-based resolution.

Read More

The Legal Status of the Senkaku Islands (Part 1)

The Senkaku Islands have been officially Japanese territory since 1895, when the Meiji government formally incorporated them. Well before then, though, the islands were culturally and traditionally a part of the Ryukyus. In the first part of his paper, the legal specialist Ozaki Shigeyoshi examines Chinese documents to show that their references to the islands, including their names, drew heavily on Ryukyu knowledge about them, making it clear that they were never part of China. This paper will be posted in two installments. Part 1 is displayed below; click the link to jump to Part 2 once it is uploaded.

Read More

The Meaning of the Territorial Incorporation of Takeshima (1905)

In January 1905, the Japanese cabinet decided to incorporate Takeshima into its territory, referring to the “title by occupation.” Effective control of an island is a key to occupation. In this paper, legal specialist Tsukamoto Takashi shows various examples of effective control, conducted peacefully and continuously by Japan, and examines Korea’s claims to the island (Korean name Dokdo) based on historical records up to around the turn of the twentieth century.

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Refutation of Korean Media Claims Regarding Japanese Maps of Takeshima(Part1)

The South Korean media produce a steady flow of commentary claiming that the island Takeshima, known in Korean as Dokdo, has been shown to be historically Korean territory by some newly discovered maps or documents. In the first part of his two-part essay, the historical geographer Funasugi Rikinobu notes that the International Court of Justice is unlikely to view old maps as a solid basis for sovereignty. Through a detailed examination of the District Overview Map, produced by the Japanese authorities in 1936, he counters Korean claims that its maps show Takeshima to be Korean territory.

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Deciphering Island Issues from a Sinocentric Perspective

China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea are rooted deeply in historical factors, such as a drive to accomplish its “manifest destiny” of recovering sway extending to the borders of its former empire. A three-year research program examined East Asian maritime security and concluded that “selective confrontation” with China is called for today. Defense specialist Akimoto Kazumine, an OPRF senior research fellow, gives an overview of the project’s findings and their relevance to regional nation’s relations with China.

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Latest Readings

Refutation of Korean Media Claims Regarding Japanese Maps of Takeshima(Part1)

The South Korean media produce a steady flow of commentary claiming that the island Takeshima, known in Korean as Dokdo, has been shown to be historically Korean territory by some newly discovered maps or documents. In the first part of his two-part essay, the historical geographer Funasugi Rikinobu notes that the International Court of Justice is unlikely to view old maps as a solid basis for sovereignty. Through a detailed examination of the District Overview Map, produced by the Japanese authorities in 1936, he counters Korean claims that its maps show Takeshima to be Korean territory.

Read More

Deciphering Island Issues from a Sinocentric Perspective

China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea are rooted deeply in historical factors, such as a drive to accomplish its “manifest destiny” of recovering sway extending to the borders of its former empire. A three-year research program examined East Asian maritime security and concluded that “selective confrontation” with China is called for today. Defense specialist Akimoto Kazumine, an OPRF senior research fellow, gives an overview of the project’s findings and their relevance to regional nation’s relations with China.

Read More

The Functions and Work of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf

Iuchi Yumiko and Usui Asano, two OPRF research fellows, explain the role of the CLCS, a body tasked with examining and recommending approval of submissions from coastal states regarding their continental shelf limits. Offshore islands can serve as the baseline for extensions of these limits, making them a vital part of states’ submissions to the CLCS. When conflicting submissions are made, as by the coastal states surrounding the South China Sea, how does the commission function? And how has Japan’s 2008 submission extending its continental shelf in seven regions been regarded?

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