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11/18/2017

About the envoy to the Tang Dynasty

In 618 AD, China became unified under "the Tang Dynasty" which replaced "the Sui Dynasty".
 
"Tang Dynasty" established a big Empire and governed a vast portion of Asia, so it influenced neighboring areas.
 
The communication between "the Tang Dynasty" and western Asia progressed, therefore the capital of "theTang Dynasty", Changan present day Xian, developed an international culture.
 
 
In the 8th century, a delegation of Japanese envoys to the Tang Dynasty was dispatched about once every 20 years.
 
The envoys included ambassadors, students and scholar monks.
 
At the peak, one delegation had about 500 members and they sailed to China in 4 ships.  
 
However, ships frequently failed to reach their destination, because the technology of ship-building and sailing had not yet matured.
 
The envoys introduced advanced political systems and international culture into Japan.   
 
Some envoys such as Kibi-no-Makibi, and Genbo were given important posts by the Shomu Emperor and obtained strong influence in the Imperial Court.
 
On the other hand, another envoy Abe-no-Nakamaro became trusted by Tang's Emperor that he became a high ranking officer in the Tang Dynasty.
 
He was eager to return to Japan, but his wish was never realized. He passed away in Tang China.
 
In the late 9th century, the envoy was cancelled because Michizane Sugawara who was a high ranking officer and a great scholar suggested canceling it.
 
He judged that the dangerous trips to the Dynasty no longer yielded enough value, because the Tang Dynasty was already declining by the time.

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