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Old Land Registrations Written by Japanese Consulate Discovered

Old Land Registrations Written by Japanese Consulate Discovered

Posted February. 28, 2007 06:53,   


It was revealed for the first time recently that Japanese nationals owned buildings and land in Seoul, and drafted and managed registrations on their own, even before Japan contracted the 1905 Eulsa Neukyak (known as the Treaty of 1905) and began to interfere in the domestic affairs of Korea.

The Supreme Court disclosed that it discovered four chapters of “Building Registrations in Various Areas” and three chapters of “Land Registrations in Ju-dong” (areas in and around Juja-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul) which were written by the Japanese Consulate in Gyeongseong (now Seoul) before Hanil hapbyeong (Japan`s annexation of Joseon) while the Supreme Court was carrying out a computerization process it started in 2003.

The registration documents for buildings include the records of sales and purchases of buildings and lands by Japanese nationals living in Seoul between 1904 (Meiji 37) and 1914.

This registration records indicate that, in January 1904, a Japanese man named Sidehara obtained a 19-pyeong-wide wooden building built on 638 pyeong of land in then Jang-dong, a part of what is now Hoehyeon-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, which was the one of the most important places in Seoul, and sold it to a Motonobu two years later.

The document also includes facts on how Sidehara sold his possessions to an agricultural company headquartered in Takamatsu in 1907, and how he borrowed 1,500 yen and 11,000 yen from Jeil Bank of Japan and the 58th Bank, respectively, mortgaging his building and land, and how he repaid the loans.

The registrations record the processes by which the Japanese traded a 117-pyeong land parcel in Juja-dong in 1905.

The Supreme Court assumes that the Japanese government considered the territory of Korean Empire to be under its ownership even before 1904, when the registrations began to be written, and came to document the registrations.

The three chapters of registrations for buildings in particular were written starting in January 1904, which is two years earlier than 1906 when the Tonggambu (Japanese Residency-General in Korea) formulated the Rules for Verifying Lands and Houses, a preliminary step to registration, and enforced it.

The Korean Empire administered such systems as gagye (house contract) and jigye (land contracts) between 1893 and 1906 in which the names of purchasers, sellers, and witnesses were written down in order to keep the record of ownership relations among foreign residents. The registration system was adopted in 1902 after the Hanil hapbyeong.

A person related to the Supreme Court said, “Registration is a system to publicly announce real rights, such as ownership, and is derived from the sovereignty of the nation interested. The Japanese actions of acknowledging ownership and exercising security rights in their own way are a violation of sovereignty.”

Other documents discovered included, “Registrations of Leased Territory by the Republic of China in Incheon,” which is equivalent to the original registration of the first Chinatown in Incheon, and a copy of a registration paper on which an executive of the North Korean people’s army jotted down land mine burial and operation plans in Dangjin, Chungnam, during the Korean War.