Transfer of Knowledge from Korea to Japan Chronology

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Until the tenth century (semi-seclusion era, 894-1401), Japan was very much concerned with Korea’s production of knowledge, with a second spike in the early 1600s (not covered here). Korea provided an intellectual commerce to Japan and many aspects of ancient Japanese history were the consequences of influences from Korea. The role of Korea was paramount in Japan's preparatory phase.

The best ancient historiographies of Japan and Korea are the Nihon Shoki (日本書紀),[1][2] completed in 720, and the Samguk Sagi (三國史記), completed in 1145. Two other sources are the Kojiki (古事記), completed 712, and the Samguk Yusa (三國遺事), completed in c. 1280, but, both are of lower quality. The Nihon Shoki and Kojiki are Japanese, the Samguk Sagi and Samguk Yusa are Korean. It is striking that the Nihon Shoki includes a lot of information about relations with Korea, while much less is found about Korean-Japanese relations in the Samguk Sagi.

In the years 501-697 (Nihon Shoki chronicle stops at 697), contacts[3] with Korean kingdoms was in the absolute majority (1,028 official missions) whereas Japanese contacts with the Chinese (86 official missions) were rare.[4] Below is a list of entries lifted from the Nihon Shoki. Like China, Korea also transferred literature, astrology, calendrical science, medicine, herbal medicine, metallurgy, divination, textiles, civil engineering, weapons, and ship building, to Japan.
Click to enlarge; map of Japanese (Asuka) trade with Korea (Baekje, Silla, Goguryeo) and China (Sui) at the time of the Sui, before 618.
Relevant Chinese dynasty Relevant Korean kingdom or confederacy Relevant Japanese period
Eastern Chin (晉朝) 317-420
Southern Dynasties (南北朝) 420-589
Sui (隋) 581-618
Tang (唐朝) 618-907
Baekje (百濟)18 BC–660
Goguryeo (高句麗) 37 BC–668
Samhan (三韓) until c. 300s
Gaya (加倻) 42–562
Tamna (耽羅國) until 1105
Silla (新羅) 57 BC–935
Kofun (古墳時代) 250-538
Asuka (飛鳥時代) 538–710
Nara (奈良時代) 710-794
Heian (平安時代) 794-1192
  Recorded event; fragment in quotes is lifted from the Nihon Shoki (日本書紀) before 697[1][2]
100 157 "Silla prince arrives with eight extraordinary items." (Items identified as several kinds of jade, one short sword, spear, sun-mirror. Prince is thought to be Yeon-orang/Cheonilchang).
400 414 "[Japan] sent ambassador to Silla to procure a medical teacher." (Teacher reported to have voyaged seven months later, tending to Emperor Inkyo.)

c. 444 "Goguryeo sent iron shields and iron targets." (Interpreted as earliest known introduction of iron weaponry to Japan.) This entry is recorded for the year 324, but the earliest records of the Nihon Shoki predate their actual dates by 120 years.

459 "An envoy was sent to Goguryeo for a good physician. Physician Le Tai (Tokurai in Japanese) came." (It is said that he settled permanently in Japan and that his descendants continued the practice.)[5]

463 "Baekje technicians invited by [Japanese] envoy."

493 "Hitaka no Kishi visits Goguryeo to procure artisans. He brings back Goguryeo tanners to the village of Nukata."
500 554 "Baekje teachers of divination, calendrical science, medicine; herbal specialists as replacements; including military staff, teachers of Five Classics, Buddhist priests, and musicians." (These positions were regularly replaced).

554 "Baekje teacher of calendar science is sent [to Japan]."

578-624 Temple experts brought to Japan from Baekje for a temple-building campaign that produced one temple per year for the next forty-six years.[6]

588 "Baekje sends temple building craftsmen, pagoda specialists, teachers of tiles, painters." (All necessary technical staff to construct Buddhist temples.)
600 c. 600 Three Buddha statues at Horyuji Temple known to be product of a Baekje builder. Records at this time indicate introduction of glass-making, lacquer ware, and chilbo techniques.

602 "Monk Kwalluk introduces books on astronomy, calendar science, divination, and magic."

610 "Monk Damjing introduces painting materials—colors, paper, writing brushes, grinding mills." (Damjing is thought to be painter of an extinguished wall painting (fire, 1949) at Horyuji Temple in Nara.)

610 "Officials sent to Aki Province to build two Baekje ships." (Nature of this entry remains unknown, interpreted as a sign of the introduction of shipbuilding technology to Japan.)

612 "Baekje specialist builds garden south of the main palace," recorded as the "Korean lake."

End of Nihon Shoki entries
700 743-758 Records in Astronomy of Japan by Nakayama Shigeru indicate that at Todaiji Temple in Nara, the large statue was built by a "Korean immigrant." The big temple bell at 490 tons, writes Yoshida Mitsukuni, was also built under the directorship of another "Korean immigrant."[7] (This immigrant is thought to have been from the felled Baekje kingdom.)

794 Technical families from Korean peninsula and their descendants fused with general Japanese populace, no special service expected of them just because technician was descendant of an immigrant family.[6]:p. 20 (Policy enacted when capital was moved to Kyoto from Nara).
800 814 Thirty percent of 1,059 households listed in a family registry (Shinsen shojiroku) were descended from Korean immigrants.[8] (Foreign households then possessed legitimate claims to official appointments and other privileges: top-level government, envoys, scholars, technicians).

Contents

See also

External Pages

References

Foot Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Interactive Searching of Nihon Shoki. University of California, Berkeley.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. London: Kegan Paul, Tench, Trubner & Co Limited. 1896. https://archive.org/stream/nihongichronicl00astogoog#page/n10/mode/2up. 
  3. Note. In Masayoshi & Swain p. 16. In the years 630-701 a mission consisted of one or two ships, 120-160 persons per ship; years 702-894, consisted of about four ships. One mission included four major groups: a diplomatic team that consisted of the chief envoy and his staff, a technical team made up of specialists, a study team that consisted of students who studied Chinese law or Buddhism, and a crew, which constituted of about forty percent of each ships outfit.
  4. Note. Chin, thirteen official missions; Sui, four official missions; Tang, sixty-nine official missions.
  5. "Meijizen Nihon igakushi (History of pre-Meiji Japanese medicine)" (in Japanese). Nihon Gakujutsu Shinkokai (日本学術振興会) (Tokyo: Nihon Gakujutsu Shinkokai 日本学術振興会) 5: 326. 1957. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Masayoshi, Sugimoto; Swain, David L. (1978). Science and Culture in Traditional Japan (A.D. 600-1854) (The M.I.T. East Asian Science Series ; 6). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT. p. 5. 
  7. Nakayama, Shigeru (1969). A History of Japanese Astronomy: Chinese Background and Western Impact (Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph). 18. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. pp. 9-10. ISBN 0674397258. 
  8. Ueda, Masaaki (1965) (in Japanese). 帰化人 : 古代国家の成立をめぐって / Kikajin : Kodai kokka no seiritsu o megutte (Naturalized Citizens). Tokyo: Chuokoronsha. p. 178. 
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