Explaining the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands “dispute”

Senkaku / Daiyu Islands MapIf you’re wondering why Japanese business in your neighbourhood have broken windows, or why that mob just marched by shouting anti-Japan slogans and you’ve not got the foggiest idea what the hell the “Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands” dispute is all about, Kyle, aka The Manchurian Candidate, does a damn fine job of laying it all out here.

Kyle goes into a lot more detail, but the gist is:

  • In 1894, during the first Sino-Japanese war, Japan surveyed and incorporated into Okinawa Prefecture an uninhabited and unclaimed set of islands between Okinawa and Taiwan.
  • Japan got their ass handed to them in WWII and had to give back all war-gained lands from the previous 50 years of expansionism. They didn’t hand back the islands, as there was no one to hand them back to.
  • For 30 years post-war, despite massive propaganda of Western Imperialists banging at the door, nothing was mentioned about the Japanese sovereignty of the islands.
  • In fact, both the People’s Daily in ’58 and a PRC-produced map in ’69 both refer to the islands as “Senkaku Islands in Okinawa”.
  • In 1969 oil is discovered under the islands and suddenly ears perk up.

From the post:

To be fair, let me give the Chinese side of the issue:

They are ours

Yep, that is pretty much the only thing you will hear from people to support their argument.

However, there are a few more things that people sometimes point out:

In the 1400’s-1500’s, two major books were published in China that record the sighting and naming of the islands.  This, to me, is a pretty weak supporting argument for sovereignty.

And the main argument being used is the 琉球国全图, a group of maps from the 1600’s, in which the islands had the same color as Taiwan, thus (supposedly) supporting the argument that they were considered part of Chinese territory.

The only problem with this is that the same group of maps also contains maps that show China as being about half the size it is now.  The propaganda machine has also picked up on this and pretty much blocked access to images showing anything but the area in question.

The map shows China as being nearly half the size it is now, because… well… it was made several hundred years ago, and a lot of history has passed since then.  But what China is asking the rest of the world to do is to selectively forget and erase any history from that point.  They are asking us to forget the thousands of years of the islands being uninhabited… forget the 100+ years of Japanese sovereignty… forget any historical documents that the PRC itself has published, and simply accept that the islands are “Chinese”.