Japanese missions to Tang China (遣唐使, Kentōshi) represent Japanese efforts to learn from the Chinese culture and civilization in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. The nature of these contacts evolved gradually from political and ceremonial acknowledgment to cultural exchanges; and the process accompanied the growing commercial ties which developed over time.
Between 607 and 838, Japan sent 19 missions to China. Knowledge and learning was the principal objective of each expedition. For example: Priests studied Chinese Buddhism. Officials studied Chinese government. Doctors studied Chinese medicine. Painters studied Chinese painting. Approximately one third of those who embarked from Japan did not survive to return home.
|Year||Sender||Japanese envoys||Chinese monarch||Comments|
|630-632||Jomei||Inugami no Mitasuki (犬上御田鍬)
Kusushi Enichi (藥師惠日)
|Taizong||Accompanied on return by Tang emissary Gao Biaoren (高表仁)|
|653-654||Kotoku||Kishi no Nagani (吉士長丹)
Kishi no Koma (吉士駒)
Takada no Nemaro (高田根麻呂)
Kanimori no Omaro (掃守小麻呂)
|Gaozong||Vessel carrying Takada no Nemaro foundered on outward journey near the island of Takeshima in Satsuma Province|
|654-655||Kōtoku||Takamuko no Kuromaro
Kawabe no Maro (河邊)
|Gaozong||Takamuko died in China|
|659-661||Saimei||Sakaibe no Iwashiki (坂合部石布)
Tsumori no Kisa (津守吉祥)
Iki no Hakatoko (伊吉博德)
|Gaozong||Sakaibe died during the trip|
|665-667||Tenji||Mori no Ōishi (守大石)
Sakaibe no Iwatsumi (坂合部岩積)
|Gaozong||May have transported Tang emissary Liu Degao (劉德高) to army stationed at old Paekche garrison|
|667-668||Tenji||Iki no Hakatoko
Kasa no Moroishi (笠諸石)
|Gaozong||Transported Tang emissary Sima Facong (司馬法聰) to army stationed at old Paekche garrison|
|669-670||Tenji||Kawachi no Kujira (河内鯨)||Gaozong||Celebrated subjugation of Koguryŏ|
|702-704||Mommu||Awata no Mahito (粟田真人)
Takahashi no Kasama (高橋笠間)
Sakaibe no Ōkita (坂合部大分)
Yamanoue no Okura (山上憶良)
Kose no Ōji (巨勢祖父)
|Wu Zetian||Kose no Ōji returned home in 707; Awata no Mahito returned in 718|
|717-718||Genshō||Tajihi no Agatamori (多治比縣守)
Abe no Yasumaro (阿倍安麻呂)
Ōtomo no Yamamori (大伴山守)
Fujiwara no Umakai (藤原馬養)
|Xuanzong||Awata no Mahito returned in 718; students Abe no Nakamaro and Kibi no Makibi as well as monk Genbō (玄昉) joined this embassy|
|733-734||Shōmu||Tajihi no Hironari (多治比廣成)
Nakatomi no Nashiro (中臣名代)
|Xuanzong||4 ships set out on this voyage, and one ship returned in 734; another ship returned in 736; Magistrate Heguri no Hironari (平群廣成) returned in 739|
|746-||Shōmu||Isonokami no Otomaro (石上乙麻呂)||Xuanzong||cancelled|
|750-753||Kōken||Fujiwara no Kiyokawa (藤原清河)
Ōtomo no Komaro (大伴古麻呂)
Kibi no Makibi (吉備真備)
|Xuanzong||Ship carrying Fujiwara no Kiyokawa and Abe no Nakamaro shipwrecked in Annam; both became Tang officials and never returned home|
|761-761||Junnin||Kō Gendo (高元度)||Suzong||With aim of retrieving Kiyokawa, traveled with Balhae ambassador returning home via Balhae; returned home with send-off by Tang emissary Shen Weiyue (沈惟岳)|
|761-||Junnin||Naka no Iwatomo (仲石伴)
Isonokami no Yakatsugu (石上宅嗣)
Fujiwara no Tamaro (藤原田麻呂)
|Suzong||cancelled due to damage to vessels|
|762-||Junnin||Nakatomi no Takanushi (中臣鷹主)
Koma no Hiroyama (高麗廣山)
|Daizong||Cancelled due to lack of favorable wind|
|777-778||Kōnin||Saeki no Imaemishi (佐伯今毛人)
Ōtomo no Masutate (大伴益立)
Fujiwara no Takatori (藤原鷹取)
Ono no Iwane (小野石根)
Ōmiwa no Suetari (大神末足)
|Daizong||All four vessels shipwrecked en route home; Ono no Iwane and Tang emissary Zhao Baoying (趙寶英) died|
|779-781||Kōnin||Fuse no Kiyonao (布勢清直)||Dezong||Tang emissary Sun Xingjin 孫興進 et al. sent off at Mingzhou|
|804-805||Kammu||Fujiwara no Kadonomaro (藤原葛野麻呂)
Ishikawa no Michimasu (石川道益)
|Dezong||4 ships on this mission; vessel 3 shipwrecked at Hirado on the outward journey; news of vessel 4 unknown; Kūkai and Saichō joined this embassy|
|838-839||Ninmyō||Fujiwara no Tsunetsugu (藤原常嗣)
Ono no Takamura (小野篂)
|Wenzong||Vessel 3 shipwrecked soon after departure at Tsukushi; its 140 passengers did not reach China; the monks Ennin and Ensai on board; passengers on vessels 1 and 4 hired Silla vessels and split up for the voyage home; returning in 839 with a letter from Chinese emperor; vessel 2 returned home in 840|
|894-||Uda||Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真)
Ki no Haseo (紀長谷雄)
Abe no Nakamaro (阿倍 仲麻呂, c. 698 – c. 770), whose Chinese name was Chao Heng (Chinese: 晁衡, pronounced Chōkō in Japanese), was a Japanese scholar and waka poet of the Nara period. He moved to Tang dynasty China and served as the Tang jiedushi (governor) of Annam (modern Vietnam).Asano no Katori
Asano no Katori (朝野鹿取; 774–843) was a Japanese kanshi poet of the early Heian period. He studied Classical Chinese at the Imperial University before going on to visit China in one of the Japanese missions to Tang China. Six of his poems were included in the Bunka Shūreishū, and he was also selected to work on the Nihon Kōki, one of Japan's Six National Histories.Buddhist art
Buddhist art is the artistic practices that are influenced by Buddhism. It includes art media which depict Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other entities; notable Buddhist figures, both historical and mythical; narrative scenes from the lives of all of these; mandalas and other graphic aids to practice; as well as physical objects associated with Buddhist practice, such as vajras, bells, stupas and Buddhist temple architecture. Buddhist art originated on the Indian subcontinent following the historical life of Siddhartha Gautama, 6th to 5th century BCE, and thereafter evolved by contact with other cultures as it spread throughout Asia and the world.
Buddhist art followed believers as the dharma spread, adapted, and evolved in each new host country. It developed to the north through Central Asia and into Eastern Asia to form the Northern branch of Buddhist art, and to the east as far as Southeast Asia to form the Southern branch of Buddhist art. In India, Buddhist art flourished and co-developed with Hindu and Jain art, with cave temple complexes built together, each likely influencing the other.Fujiwara no Kadanomaro
Fujiwara no Kadanomaro (藤原葛野麻呂) was a 9th century Japanese ambassador to Tang dynasty China.Fujiwara no Tsunetsugu
Fujiwara no Tsunetsugu (藤原常嗣, d. 840) was a Japanese scholar and diplomat.Genbō
Genbō (玄昉, d. 746) was a Japanese scholar-monk and bureaucrat of the Imperial Court at Nara. He is best known as a leader of the Hossō sect of Buddhism and as the adversary of Fujiwara no Hirotsugu.Heian period
The Heian period (平安時代, Heian jidai) is the last division of classical Japanese history, running from 794 to 1185. The period is named after the capital city of Heian-kyō, or modern Kyōto. It is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at their height. The Heian period is also considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, a powerful aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family. Many emperors actually had mothers from the Fujiwara family. Heian (平安) means "peace" in Japanese.Hirado Island
Hirado Island (平戸島, Hiradoshima) (also previously named Hiranoshima and Firando Island) is the 4th largest island in the Nagasaki prefecture. Its coasts are washed by East China Sea. The entire island and the part of the nearby Kyushu mainland is administered as part of Hirado city. The island's highest peak is Mount Yasumandake 535 m (1,755 ft). The Saikai National Park comprise 24% of the island`s total area.History of Japan–Korea relations
For over 15 centuries, the relationship between Japan and Korea was characterized by cultural exchanges, economic trade, political contact and military confrontations, all of which underlie their relations even today. During the ancient era, exchanges of cultures and ideas between Japan and mainland Asia were common through migration via the Korean Peninsula and/or diplomatic contact and trade between the two. Buddhism, Chinese-influenced cuisine, Han characters and other technology came to Japan via Korea and/or the Sea of Japan (East Sea).Since 1945, relations involve three states: North Korea, South Korea and Japan. Japan cut off Korea from Qing Chinese suzerainty and for Japan, a high priority in the late 19th century, fighting wars with those two countries on the issue. Japan took control of Korea with the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910. When Japan was defeated in World War II, Soviet forces took control of the North, and American forces took control of the South, with the 38th parallel as the agreed-upon dividing line. South Korea became independent as of August 15, 1945, and North Korea as of September 9, 1945. In June 1950, North Korea invaded and almost conquered South Korea, but was driven back by the United Nations command, leading South Korean, American, European and international forces. North Korea was nearly captured, with the United Nations intending to roll back Communism there. However, China entered the war, pushed the UN forces out of North Korea, and a military stalemate resulted along the lines similar to the 38th parallel. An armistice was agreed on in 1953, which is still in effect, and the cease-fire line of that year remains the boundary between North and South.Diplomatic relations between Japan and South Korea were established in 1965. In the early 2000s, the Japanese–South Korean relationship soured when the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the Yasukuni Shrine every year during his term. Furthermore, conflicts continue to exist over claims of the Liancourt Rocks (known in Korea as "Dokdo") – a group of small islets near Korean island "Ulleungdo".
Bilaterally and through the Six-Party Talks, North Korea and Japan continue to discuss the case of Japanese citizens abducted by the North Korean government during the 1970s and 1980s, although there are no existent diplomatic relations between the two; Japan does not recognize North Korea as a sovereign state.
In recent decades, irreconcilable disputes over history and history textbooks have soured relations between Japan and the two Koreas. The debate has exacerbated nationalist pride and animosity, as teachers and professors become soldiers in an intellectual war over events more than a half-century old or even two millennia older. Efforts to reach compromise agreements have failed. Meanwhile, a much less controversial, less politicized and more study-oriented historiography has flourished in Western nations. In 2013, polls reported that 94% of Koreans believe Japan "Feels no regret for its past wrongdoings," while 63% of Japanese state that Korean demands for Japanese apologies are, "Incomprehensible."Japanese missions to Ming China
Japanese missions to Ming China represent a lens for examining and evaluating the relationships between China and Japan in the 15th through the 17th centuries. The nature of these bilateral contacts encompassed political and ceremonial acknowledgment as well as cultural exchanges. The evolution of diplomatic ties accompanied the growing commercial ties which grew over time.As many as twenty trade missions traveled from Japan to China between 1401 and 1547. Every one of these missions were headed by a Zen Buddhist monk from one of the so-called Kyoto Gozan (京都五山, Kyoto gozan) or "five great Zen temples of Kyoto", consisting of Nanzen-ji, Tenryū-ji, Shokoku-ji, Kennin-ji, Tofuku-ji and Manju-ji.Japanese missions to Paekche
Japanese missions to Paekche represent an aspect of the international relations of mutual Paekche-Japanese contacts and communication. The bilateral exchanges were intermittent.
The unique nature of these bilateral diplomatic exchanges evolved from a conceptual framework developed by the Chinese.
369-375 — Yamato Japan and Paekche maintain yearly exchanges of ambassadors.According to the Nihon Shoki, in the years 501-700 Japan sent 328 official missions to Paekche, 316 to Silla, 146 to Goguryeo, 193 to Imna (Mimana), 20 to Gaya, 20 to Tamna, and 5 to Samhan kingdoms. Exchanges of embassies with the Korean kingdoms of Paekche and Silla were critical for informing the Japanese of cultural developments on the continent.Japanese missions to Silla
Japanese missions to Silla represent an aspect of the international relations of mutual Silla-Japanese contacts and communication. The bilateral exchanges were intermittent.
The unique nature of these bilateral diplomatic exchanges evolved from a conceptual framework developed by the Chinese.
648 — At the request of Japanese government, the Silla ambassador in China delivers a Japanese letter to the court of the Tang emperor; the message conveyed a message wishing good health to the emperor.
804 — Mine no Masatao sent with letters from Japanese Council of State.
836 — Ki no Mitsu with letter from Council of State.According to the Nihon Shoki, in the years 501-700 Japan sent 328 official missions to Paekche, 316 to Silla, 146 to Goguryeo, 193 to Imna (Mimana), 20 to Gaya, 20 to Tamna, and 5 to Samhan kingdoms. Exchanges of embassies with the Korean kingdoms of Paekche and Silla were critical for informing the Japanese of cultural developments on the continent.Japanese missions to Sui China
Japanese missions to Sui China represent a lens for examining and evaluating the relationships between China and Japan in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. The nature of these bilateral contacts evolved gradually from political and ceremonial acknowledgment to cultural exchanges; and the process accompanied the growing commercial ties which developed over time.Between 607 and 838, Japan sent 19 missions to China. Knowledge was the principal objective of each expedition. For example: Priests studied Chinese Buddhism. Officials studied Chinese government. Doctors studied Chinese medicine. Painters studied Chinese painting. Approximately one third of those who embarked from Japan did not survive to return home.Kan-on
Kan-on (漢音, "Han sound") is one of the sources of pronunciation of Japanese kanji. They were borrowed during the Tang dynasty (7th to 9th century), introduced by, among others, envoys from Japanese missions to Tang China. This period corresponds with the Japanese Nara period. Not to be confused with Tō-on "Tang sound", which actually refers to later phonetic loans.
Kan-on is based on the central Chang'an pronunciation. The name Kan could refer to the Han dynasty, which also had Chang'an as its capital city. Furthermore, Kan has also become a description for all things Chinese, e.g., Kanji ('Chinese characters').
Kan'on partly displaced the earlier go'on, which were "just imitations of Korean imitations, but Kan-on were imitations of the real things."A minority of characters never had their Kan-on transmitted to Japan; their Kan-on are sometimes reconstructed in Japanese dictionaries although not specifically marked as such. A few dictionaries go as far as to discard attested Kan-on in favour of more systematic pronunciations.Kibi no Makibi
Kibi no Asomi Makibi (吉備 真備, 695 – November 3, 775) was a Japanese scholar and noble during the Nara period. Also known as Kibi Daijin ("Minister Kibi").List of tributaries of China
This list of tributary states of China encompasses suzerain kingdoms from China in Europe, Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia.Ryukyu Islands
The Ryukyu Islands (琉球諸島, Ryūkyū-shotō), also known as the Nansei Islands (南西諸島, Nansei-shotō, lit. "Southwest Islands") or the Ryukyu Arc (琉球弧, Ryūkyū-ko), are a chain of Japanese islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan: the Ōsumi, Tokara, Amami, Okinawa, and Sakishima Islands (further divided into the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands), with Yonaguni the westernmost. The larger are mostly high islands and the smaller mostly coral. The largest is Okinawa Island.
The climate of the islands ranges from humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) in the north to tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) in the south. Precipitation is very high and is affected by the rainy season and typhoons. Except the outlying Daitō Islands, the island chain has two major geologic boundaries, the Tokara Strait (between the Tokara and Amami Islands) and the Kerama Gap (between the Okinawa and Miyako Islands). The islands beyond the Tokara Strait are characterized by their coral reefs.
The Ōsumi and Tokara Islands, the northernmost of the islands, fall under the cultural sphere of the Kyushu region of Japan; the people are ethnically Japanese and speak a variation of the Kagoshima dialect of Japanese. The Amami, Okinawa, Miyako, and Yaeyama Islands have a native population collectively called the Ryukyuan people, named for the former Ryukyu Kingdom that ruled them. The varied Ryukyuan languages are traditionally spoken on these islands, and the major islands have their own distinct languages. In modern times, the Japanese language is the primary language of the islands, with the Okinawan Japanese dialect prevalently spoken. The outlying Daitō Islands were uninhabited until the Meiji period, when their development was started mainly by people from the Izu Islands south of Tokyo, with the people there speaking the Hachijō language.
Administratively, the islands are divided into Kagoshima Prefecture (specifically the islands administered by Kagoshima District, Kumage Subprefecture/District, and Ōshima Subprefecture/District) in the north and Okinawa Prefecture in the south, with the divide between the Amami and Okinawa Islands, with the Daitō Islands part of Okinawa Prefecture. The northern (Kagoshima) islands are collectively called the Satsunan Islands, while the southern part of the chain (Okinawa Prefecture) are called the Ryukyu Islands in Chinese.Timeline of Japanese history
This is a timeline of Japanese history, comprising important legal, territorial and cultural changes and political events in Japan and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Japan. See also the list of Emperors of Japan and Prime Ministers of Japan and the list of years in Japan.Yamanoue no Okura
Yamanoue no Okura (山上憶良, also written as 山於億良, 660?–733?) was a Japanese poet, the best known for his poems of children and commoners. He was a member of Japanese missions to Tang China. He was also a contributor to the Man'yōshū and his writing had a strong Chinese influence. Unlike other Japanese poetry of the time, his work emphasizes a morality based on the teachings of Confucius and Buddhism. Most scholars believe that he was born in 660, on the basis of his Chinese prose "Chin'a Jiai-bun" recorded in the fifth volume of Man'yōshū as a work written in 733 (Tenpyō 5), in which he says, "In this year, I am 74."Yamanoue no Okura accompanied a mission to Tang China in 701 and returned to Japan in 707. In the years following his return he served in various official capacities. He served as the Governor of Hōki (near present-day Tottori), tutor to the crown prince, and Governor of Chikuzen. While there, he associated with Otomo no Tabito, who was serving in Dazaifu.