Far Eastern Governments and Politics: China and Japan

By Paul M. A. Linebarger; Djang Chu et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
The Japanese Model of a Chinese Empire

THERE are few instances in history in which relatively primitive peoples have vaulted to a high level of cultural development by borrowing from a foreign civilization. These cultural adoptions have, in most cases, been motivated by the threat of strategic power; the primitive peoples have moved forward only when they were faced with the challenge of outside attack. Yet there are exceptions to this rule. Ireland in the time of the first great Celtic Christian surge of creativeness and civilization was under no immediate pressure from the Mediterranean. The transplantations of early Hindu culture in the South Seas area are remarkable for their nonviolence, but in this case the credit must be divided between the Hindu merchants and missionaries who spread their arts and faith and the intelligent peoples of the area who desired the gift of such cultural treasures. The Japanese case in the seventh century after Christ is almost unique in that the effort was overwhelmingly a Japanese effort, with only minor Chinese or Korean contributions, and in the added factor that the creation in Japan of a Chinese Empire, Japanese model, was erected without the stimulus of a Chinese preponderance of power.

Japan's Ancient Korean Possessions . From an unspecified point in the second or third century down to a tremendous naval crisis in the seventh century, the primitive Japanese state and its subordinate tribal units had maintained various forms of political, economic and territorial control in Korea. An empress whose name sounds peculiarly apt to Westerners, the Empress Jingō ( A.D. 201-2 70)) is credited with leading some of the most effective Japanese campaigns to Korean soil.

Korea itself was divided at the time into three kingdoms. In the north, reaching well into present-day Manchuria, there was the great kingdom of Koguru. On the east coast, facing the Sea of Japan, there lay the kingdom

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