The establishment of formal diplomatic relations with China also stimulated the writing of Chinese poetry and prose.
In 1877 the Chinese government sent a Minister Plenipotentiary with a large staff, including the distinguished man of letters Huang Zunxian (1848-1095). The Japanese officials enjoyed associating with these Chinese diplomats, who were apparently selected mainly for their literary talents. Social contacts with Western diplomats were generally uncomfortable for the Japanese, at a loss how to entertain their guests, but the Chinese it was at least possible to “converse” with the brush; though they differed in speech, the Chinese and Japanese belonged to the same world of Chinese characters and shared the pleasures of the gentleman-scholar which innumerable Chinese poets had celebrated.
In 1879 the well-known writer Wang Tao (1828-1897) visited Japan for four months and was kept busy with receptions offered by Japanese writers, who were eager to display their proficiency in classical Chinese and to learn the latest theories of poetics from the source. Qing poetry came for the first time to be widely appreciated. In 1878 Moro Shunto published an anthology of twenty-four Qing poets, starting a vogue for their style. On the other hand, Hung Zunxian published in 1879 日本雜事詩 (Poems on Various Subjects Concerning Japan), displaying an interest Japan which was then rare among Chinese. In 1882 Li Shuchang (1837-1897), the new Minister, arrived in Japan and soon was mingling freely with Japanese intellectuals. Minister Li devoted himself especially to collecting Chinese books that had been lost in China but preserved in Japan. When Li left Japan in 1890 Shigeno Seisai wrote a long prose farewell in Chinese, recounting both Japan’s indebtedness to China and Li’s accomplishments during his term as Minister.
Even Japanese who travelled to the West during this period often wrote their impressions in Chinese verse, as in this example by Narushima Ryuhoku (1837-1884)
The startled traveller wakes to the thunder by his pillow,
Rises and climbs among old trees to the roaring brink.
In the deep night, white all heaven and earth;
The moon comes, parting the curtain of a million misty peals.
One poet wrote a history of the West in 100 separate Chiense quatrains, going all the way from Adam and Eve to Bismarck. However, the Wanderer of the Eastern Seas, we are told, “always lamented that Americans lack elegance and artistic taste, and the he no friend with whom he could engage in the literary pleasures of describing flowers and the moon. For all their admiration of Western culture, the Japanese missed the aesthetic interests which they traditionally associated with cultured people, regardless of their occupations.
…the most popular kanshi (poems written in Chinese) were not by by professional poets but by soldiers…
Not only did Chinese visit Japan, but some Japanese travelled to China, for the first time in three hundred years. They were delighted to inspect sites long familiar to them from poetry, and they were moved to write poetry and prose of their own in Chinese.
- From “The Survival of Chinese literary Traditions in the Meiji Era” by Donald Keene.
What I want anyone reading this to take out of it is that Japanese attitudes towards China weren’t monotonic from 1853-1945! That’s almost a century of history. And even after the First Sino-Japanese War, there were people like Natsume Soseki who were more fond of Chinese culture than Western culture.
Although Japan and Europe did not have any direct contact with one another during the medieval and early modern periods, they independently developed very similar socio-political systems. Often, these systems are labeled as feudal.
What is feudalism? The great French historian Marc Bloch defined it this way: “A subject peasantry; widespread use of the service tenement (i.e. the fief) instead of a salary…; supremacy of a class of specialized warriors; ties of obedience and protection which bind man to man…; [and] fragmentation of authority - leading inevitably to disorder.”
AHMEDABAD, (Bernama) — A large collection of archaeological evidences, which can throw light into the 5,000-year-old Harappan civilisation in India, has been found in Khirsara in western Kutch region in Gujarat.
The antique objects, showing how advance the trade from this part of Gujarat used to be around 4,600 years ago, was recovered after three years of extensive excavation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
Lies about 85 km Northwest of Bhuj on the Bhuj-Narayan Sarover State Highway, Khirsara has emerged as one of the most prominent mature Harappan settlements in Western Kutch after Dholavira and Junikuren, ASI’s Superintendent Archaeologist, Vadodara, Dr Jitendra Nath said.
“The evidences found over last 3 years of excavation there show how advance trade used to be from this part of Gujarat around 4,600 years ago,” he said. Read more.
The long confrontation between Neo-Confucianism and Buddhism, which has its earliest origins in the tracts of the Tang dynasty scholar Hanyu (768-824), reached its culmination in Korea during the end of Goryeo and beginning of the Joseon dynasties in the writings of Jeong Dojeon (1342-1398) and Gihwa (1376-1433). Jeong, a well-known political figure and Neo-Confucian ideologue, wrote, during the course of his career, a number of essays which were critical of Buddhism. It was in his final treatise however (the Bulssi japbyeon; “Array of Critiques of Buddhism”) that he arranged all of the complaints against Buddhism that had been leveled through Hanyu, the Cheng brothers, and Zhuxi into one final summary argument against the Seon Buddhist tradition. Along with the arguments of these earlier Neo-Confucian thinkers, which were comprised largely of criticisms of Song Chan nihilism and antinomianism, he included his own censure of decadent practices of the current Goryeo Buddhist saṅgha.
Although in China the Neo-Confucian condemnations of Buddhism had gone largely unanswered, this was not to be the case in Korea. The monk Gihwa, who was the leading figure of the Buddhist saṅgha at the outset of the Joseon, and who was also originally a Confucian scholar of considerable accomplishment, felt compelled to answer the critiques that had been summarized in Jeong’s work. He did so in a treatise entitled the Hyeonjeong non (“Exposition of the Correct”), a work that presents a largely conciliatory response, but which nonetheless takes the Confucians to task for the disparity between what is said in their classical texts, and what they actually do in practice.
Both treatises are here translated in full in HTML format (generated from TEI2 XML source documents), with the original classical Chinese text, as well as a full-length introduction.
Do you have a favorite focus or time period of history?
No, not particularly! I have times in history I’m not particularly interested in, but I find that if I don’t enjoy part of history, it’s because the information being given to me is uninteresting or not compelling. Usually, there is something out there that will fascinate me.
Well, sort of! Singapore was a British Colony, and part of the British Commonwealth. Britain abandoned/lost widespread the Battle of Singapore in WWII, but reclaimed the colony in 1945. Singaporeans led movements to request independence from the British Empire, finally becoming an internally self-governing state in the Commonwealth in 1959.
This is what happens next, basically:
On 31 August 1963, Singapore declared independence from Britain and joined with Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form the new Federation of Malaysia as the result of the 1962 Merger Referendum. Singaporean leaders joined Malaysia for various reasons. Firstly, as a small country, they did not believe that the British would find it viable for Singapore to become independent by itself. Secondly, they also did not believe that Singapore could survive on its own, due to scarcity of land, water, markets and natural resources. And lastly, the Singapore government wanted the help of the Malaysian government to flush out the Communists. The two years that Singapore spent as part of Malaysia were filled with strife and bitter disagreements. The Malaysians insisted on a pro-Malay society, where Malays were given special Bumiputera rights, which still exists to this day. The Malaysians were also suspicious about Singapore’s majority of ethnic Chinese and worried that Singapore’s economic clout would shift the centre of power from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. There were also linguistic and religious issues. The Singaporeans, on the other hand, wanted an equal and meritocratic society, where all citizens were given equal rights. As part of Malaysia, Singapore’s economic and social development came to a halt as the Malaysian parliament blocked many bills. Race riots broke out in Singapore in 1964. After much heated ideological conflicts between the two governments, in 1965, the Malaysian parliament voted 126 to 0 to expel Singapore from Malaysia.
Thus, Singapore unwillingly was forced into independence.
Just wanted to say I'm so glad to have found your blog. I love reading about asian history! Feels good to learn about my people. ;) I know now everything thing in history is pretty. Wish they are more blogs like this!
I recommend the blogroll and the History spotlight for other, similar blogs. :)
For my Philosophy of East and West class, I have to do a presentation on Daoism and Art/Architecture soon. Would you happen to have any cool sources/information???
I have a strict No-doing-research-for-you rule. I recommend perusing through the resources links I have up, doing a little googling, and hitting your nearest local College/Academic/Public Library and explaining to the librarian what you need.
Librarians are awesome and will help you out!
Also generally speaking they have a Master’s Degree in helping you out with research which is more than I’ve got! Your local librarians, if they personally don’t know the subject, will generally know how to find out about it somehow.
sir, i am a keen history lover and have a query over the different tribes and races residing in the Indian region including Pakistan Iran Afghanistan and India,what is the origin of different races like Aryans and Huns and pathaans and jats ,indo-Scythian,indo Aryans,Greek linkage,Turk races and their links to the poeple living in this region now , please sir i am a Sikh from northern India with a family name Dhillon which belongs to jat tribe,so whats the history of jats and all warrior races.
This too, is an old question buried in my askbox. It was left unanswered by accident. Does anyone have good sources re: the Jat Tribe?
hi! i have a food blog, and i love food history. I am currently looking into the history of flan, and i was wondering do you have any knowledge of flan getting famous in Vietnam. I know that's probably farfetch'd, but I thought I'll give it a shot to ask you. I'm thinking that the french probably brought it to vietnam when they took it over. Anyways, if you don't have any information, that's okay too. thank you!
Sorry, I don’t! This is from awhile ago, sorry I didn’t get around to it sooner!
Today’s Singapore is known for its small size (it is a city-state), its role as a major east Asian port, its high quality education, and its restrictions on certain freedoms. In the 1960s, however, Singaporean leaders did not want to be independent at all; what they wanted was to be part of Malaysia.
In 1963, Singapore merged with Malaysia shortly after declaring independence from Britain. However, distrust and major differences in ideology between the two governments reigned supreme from the start. By 1964, race riots broke out between Singaporean Chinese and Malays. The Malaysian government blamed Indonesians and Communists for provoking the riots. The Singaporean government blamed Malay nationalists. The riots were also likely caused in part by the Singaporean People’s Action Party challenging the Malaysian government in the federal election.
Nonetheless, by 1965, Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, seeking to avoid any more bloodshed, advised Parliament to expel Singapore from the union, which they voted unanimously in favor of. Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew soon announced, with tears in his eyes, their independence.
Thus Singapore, despite its best efforts, unwillingly gained independence from Malaysia.