あ:foreign diplomacy

09/28/2017

The battle at the Hakusonko in the Korean Peninsula

In the 7th century, there were three kingdoms on the Korean Peninsula.  Silla allied with Tang-China and defeated Paekche in 660 AD. Japan had a close relationship with Paekche , therefore the Yamato Imperial Court dispatched troops to restore the kingdom. However, the Japanese army suffered a crushing defeat at Hakusonko against the allied Silla and Tang-China forces in 663 AD. 
 
 
After the defeat at the Hakusonko, the Yamato Imperial Court feared invasion and reinforced the defense of Japan. For example, defense facilities called Mizuki were constructed to protect Dazaifu in the northern part of Kyusyu, which is a western island of the Japanese archipelago. Dazaifu was an important branch of the Yamato Imperial Court, because it was located at the area nearest to other Asian nations. Each Mizuki was composed of moats and embankments surrounding the buildings at Dazaifu.
 
 
In addition, soldiers called Sakimori were deployed to the Kyusyu. Castles called Sanjyo were also constructed in western Japan.
 
In 667 AD, Prince Nakano-Oe moved the Imperial Palace to Otsu. Otsu is in a land-locked area, so it was a good location for defense. After he ascended the throne as the Tenji Emperor, he created the first census register called Kougo-nenjyaku in 670 AD.
Meanwhile on the Korean Peninsula, Silla and Tang defeated Goguryeo in 668 AD, Thus ensuring the unified rule of Silla over the entire Korean Peninsula in 676 AD.
 
※The Asuka period ranged from the later 6th century to the mid 7th century.
The Asuka period coincides with the later Kofun period.
 
 

09/16/2017

About deploying emissaries to Sui China in the Asuka period

In those days, China was ruled by a great empire; Sui

Shotoku-Taishi dispatched envoys to Sui China. The envoys traveled to Sui by a fleet of ships. At that time, Sui never had equal diplomatic relations with other nations, because Sui considered other nations as just barbarians. Therefore, if the rulers in these barbarian areas paid tribute to Sui's Imperial Court, the Emperor approved them as countries.

However, Shotoku-Taishi sent a letter to the Emperor and in this letter, Shotoku-taishi said “I'm the son of the Emperor where the sun rises and sending this letter to the king of the country where the sun goes down.  How are you?”

Therefore, when Sui 's Emperor read the letter, he was very furious, but the messenger who brought the letter was able to return to Japan alive. It is said that Sui was fighting neighboring countries in those days, so Sui's Emperor avoided conflict with to Japan.

This anecdote shows that Shotoku-taishi tried to take a very bold strategy about diplomacy, despite the peace-oriented Buddhism-based domestic political policy.

Syotoku-taishi's portrait appeared  on Japanese paper currencies from 1930 to 1984.

Syotokutaishi_2

↑This photo is from AC. https://www.photo-ac.com/

※The Asuka period ranged from the later 6th century to the mid 7th century. The Asuka period coincides with the later Kofun period.

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