The discovery was made by Professor Ishiwi of Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University

(translated from Yaeyama Mainichi newspaper– May 16, 2015)
 (original Japanese : )

(Naha, Okinawa) - Associate Professor Ishiwi Nozomu of Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University, age 49, publicized his research on what he believes to be the earliest Japanese landing on the Senkaku Islands at an afternoon press conference of the Okinawa Prefectural Government Press Club on May 15. According to Professor Ishiwi's findings, a member of the Ryukyu royal family landed on the Senkaku Islands in 1819 in search of fresh water. Professor Ishiwi had first revealed his discovery in an essay published late last year.

Professor Ishiwi Nozomu of Nagasaki Junshin Catholic University points to a map of Senkakus and explains how a member of the Ryukyu royal family was the first Japanese person to land on the Senkaku Islands.
(May 15 noon, Okinawa Prefectural Government Press Club)

Professor Ishiwi examined a variety of historical sources, including "The Sho Family Geneology - Sho Koki of the Twelfth Generation", composed by the Gushikawa family, a branch of the royal family of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which was a part of Japan since 1609 or earlier. This record is held by the Naha City Museum of History. Kuniyoshi Makomo, a research fellow at the Okinawa University Institute of Regional Studies who carried out earlier research on the subject, pointed out the record's apparent reference to the Senkaku Islands with the Ryukyuan name "Yokon Koba Island." Professor Ishiwi focused on it, and carefully studied Preceding and following sentences.

He notes that, according to the record, the ship of Ryukyu royal family member Sho Koki, which was going to the Japanese province of Satsuma (now Kagoshima) on official business, was blown southwest during a rainstorm and ended up on "Yokon Koba Island". He spent three days there looking for drinkable water, but found nothing, and was once more cast adrift in a rainstorm that brought him to the shores of Yonaguni Island three days later.

Professor Ishiwi argued that "Yokon Koba Island" can only be one of the Senkaku Islands, either Koba Island or Uotsuri Island, because, among other reasons, these are the only uninhabited and Isolated islands close to Yonaguni Island and are full of a variety of fan palm called "koba" (Kuba) in the Ryukyu dialect.

Professor Ishiwi stated that, "They were searching for water, but would not have been able to see any on the island from the sea. It is 99% certain that they went ashore. Because Sho Koki was travelling on official business, we could call this the first record of an onshore survey of the Senkaku Islands. It is very likely that the Ryukyuans gave the Senkaku Islands their name."

Until now, the first Japanese people to land on the Senkaku Islands were believed to have been the team sent by Senkaku Islands developer Koga Shinshiro (Tatsushiro) in 1885. However, Sho Koki's landing predates it by sixty-six years.