Ambassadors from the Islands of Immortals: China-Japan Relations in the Han-Tang Period

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Zhenping Wang
University of Hawaii Press, 2005 - History - 387 pages
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Using recent archaeological findings and little-known archival material, Wang Zhenping introduces readers to the world of ancient Japan as it was evolving toward a centralized state. Competing Japanese tribal leaders engaged in ambassador diplomacy and actively sought Chinese support and recognition to strengthen their positions at home and to exert military influence on southern Korea. Wang brings diplomatic history to life in his descriptions of the diplomats and their personalities and literary talents as well as their ambitions and frustrations. He explains in detail the rigorous criteria of the Chinese and Japanese courts in the selection of diplomats and how the two prepared for missions abroad. He journeys with a party of Japanese diplomats from their tearful farewell party to hardship on the high seas to their arrival amidst the splendors of Yangzhou and Changan and the Sui-Tang court. The depiction of these colorful events is combined with a sophisticated analysis of premodern diplomacy using the key concept of mutual self-interest and a discussion of two major modes of diplomatic communication: court reception and the exchange of state letters. accepting, or rejecting court ceremonial arrangements.
  

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Contents

The Islands of Immortals
7
Chinese Insignia in East Asian Politics
17
The Messenger of the Emperor
33
The Voyage to China
66
The Journey to Changan
86
Diplomacy in the Tang Capital
103
Weight and Nuances in State Letters
139
Information Gathering
180
A Chronology of ChinaJapan Relations from the First to the Ninth Centuries
229
The Letter to the Surveillance Commissioner at Fuzhou Drafted for the Ambassador
233
Components of Japanese State Letters
237
Abbreviations
239
Notes
241
Glossary
327
Bibliography
343
Index
375

Acquiring Foreign Talent
202
The Multipolar Nature of the International System in Asia
216

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About the author (2005)

Wang Zhenping is associate professor at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

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