Currently run by Seoul, the Dokdo islands are in the Eastern Sea, according to South Korea. Japan, however, calls the islands Takeshima and refers to its surrounding waters, like the Sea of Japan.
For many years, the couple were only small islands, only permanent residents, although other people, such as the police officer, lighthouse operators and tourists, periodically come and go.
The bad weather could cut off the islands from the outside world for several weeks, but their surrounding waters were rich in fisheries. Kim, who came from the island of Jeju, worked as a "henio" – a traditional female freediver – until 2017, when the poor state of health forced her to quit smoking.
But after the death of her husband, Kim Sung-do, last October, an 81
Her loss was not inspired by any plans for moving.
"She said that life on Docdo is relaxing," said her son-in-law Kim Ken-Chul.
Conflicting islands have long ruined the tense relationship between two historic adversaries, whose relations are still painted by the occupation and colonization of the Korean peninsula in the first half of the 20th century .
Japan says that South Korea illegally occupies rocky islands, which it claims to have been its sovereign territory since the 17th century. South Korea claims that its claims to islands, which are considered home to underwater gas reserves, date back to the sixth century.
South Korea consolidated its control of the islands in the 1950s, when there were armed guards there.
The islands were the recent diplomatic flash point when during the Winter Olympics in South Korea banner at the opening ceremony depicted them as part of the Korean Peninsula.
Islands far from both countries are geographically closer to the Korean mainland than Japan. They are a Korean tourist destination.
Kim lives with his daughter, Kim Jin-Hi, in Pohang, on the south-eastern coast of Korea, before the reconstruction of her solitary island house in April.
Although other Koreans expressed interest in moving to the islands to move their country to the area, local authorities say they have no plans to encourage
"There is only space for one household to stay as residents," said government official.
As healthy, Kim stumbles, however, her daughter and son-in-law plan to register as permanent inhabitants of isolated islands and live with the eighteenth.
Using the business license that she inherited from her father, Jim Kim plans to sell brands, cute and seafood. for tourists who make a four-hour ferry trip from the mainland.
But the expanded presence of the seven is more than an opportunity for business.
Paula Hancock, Brad Landon and Joshua Burlinger contributed to this report.