Through Their Neighbors’ Eyes: Interactions and Relations between Korea, Japan and China during the Ming-Qing Transition
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In the period from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century, East Asia witnessed changes in the Chinese tribute system, the downfall of the Ming Dynasty, the Manchu invasion of Korea, the establishment of the Tokugawa bakufu in Japan, and the prosperity of the High Qing era. This extraordinary period disrupted the existing China-centered diplomatic system; however, at the same time, a fertile ground was created for new perceptions of the respective immediate neighbor for each individual state. In the struggle to achieve or maintain domestic and external stability, intellectuals, officials, and even commoners reflected on ways to express their individual and communal narratives that contributed to their nation’s history. This thesis explores Sino-Korean and Sino-Japanese cultural and diplomatic interactions from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century based on primary sources with a special focus on diplomatic envoys’ travel reports.