The Chinese History Podcast

Sino-Japanese Diplomatic Encounters from the 1st to the 9th Century

February 13, 2022

In this prequel to our first interview, UCLA Ph.D. student Greg Sattler talks about the diplomatic/tribute embassies that peoples and polities from the Japanese Archipelago dispatched to China from the 1st to the 9th centuries. While Japanese tribute embassies to China mainly evoke the missions that Japan dispatched to Tang China in the 8th and 9th centuries, diplomacy between China and Japan had been going on well before then. Greg talks about the evidence for these earlier embassies, why they happened, the role of the Korean Peninsula in facilitating exchange, why the Japanese decided to dispatched embassies to learn from Tang China, and why these embassies stopped in the late 9th century.

Contributors

Greg Sattler

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Gregory Sattler is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on sea merchants in East Asia from the ninth to thirteenth centuries, with a particular consideration of their place in society, their trade networks, and their relationships with government officials. Gregory has recently published an article titled “The Ideological Underpinnings of Private Trade in East Asia, ca. 800–1127” (Journal of Asian Humanities at Kyushu University 6) and he is currently working on two additional manuscripts. He has received degrees in Taiwan and Japan, and is a proficient speaker of both Chinese and Japanese.

Yiming Ha

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Yiming Ha is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His current research is on military mobilization and state-building in China between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, focusing on how military institutions changed over time, how the state responded to these changes, the disconnect between the center and localities, and the broader implications that the military had on the state. His project highlights in particular the role of the Mongol Yuan in introducing an alternative form of military mobilization that radically transformed the Chinese state. He is also interested in military history, nomadic history, comparative Eurasian state-building, and the history of maritime interactions in early modern East Asia. He received his BA from UCLA and his MPhil from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Credits

Episode no. 8

Release date: February 13, 2022

Recording location: Los Angeles, CA

Transcript

Bibliography courtesy of Greg

Images

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Cover Image: A 6th century Chinese depiction of a Wa (Wo) envoy from Japan (Image Source).

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The golden seal, discovered in Kyushu, bearing the same inscriptions as one described in Chinese textual sources that was bestowed upon a Wa (Wo) embassy by Emperor Guangwu of Eastern Han in 57 CE (Image Source).

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Bronze mirrors (Shinjū-kyō) uncovered in Japan. These mirrors are referenced in Chinese historical sources as gifts to the embassy of Himiko (Image Source).

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A model of the type of ships that the Japanese dispatched to Tang China (Image Source).

References

Barnes, Gina L. State Formation in Japan: Essays on Yayoi and Kofun Period Archaeology. London: Routledge Curzon, 2003.

Fogel, Joshua A. Japanese Historiography and the Gold Seal of 57 CE: Relic, Text, Object, Fake. Leiden: Brill, 2013.

Holcombe, Charles. The Genesis of East Asia, 221 BC-AD 907. University of Hawai‘i Press, 2001.

Kidder, Edward J. Himiko and Japan's Elusive Chiefdom of Yamatai: Archaeology, History, and Mythology. University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2007.

Saeki, Arikiyo. Treatise on the People of Wa in the Chronicle of the Kingdom of Wei: The World's Earliest Written Text on Japan. Trans. Joshua A. Fogel. Portland: Merwin Asia, 2018.

Sui shu 隋書. Comp. Wei Zheng 魏徵. 85 vols. https://zh.wikisource.org/wiki/隋書.

Suzuki Yasutami 鈴木靖民. “Wa to Chōsen Sankoku to Kaya” 倭と朝鮮三国と加耶. In Nihon kodai kōryūshi nyūmon 日本古代交流史入門, ed. Suzuki Yasutami 鈴木靖民, Kaneko Shūichi 金子修一, Tanaka Fumio 田中史生, and Ri Sonshi 李成市. Bensei Shuppan, 2017.

Wang, Zhenping. Ambassadors from the Islands of Immortals: China-Japan Relations in the Han-Tang Period. University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2005.

Wang, Zhenping. Tang China in Multi-Polar Asia: A History of Diplomacy and War. University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2013.

 

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