Organizer and Chair: Lawrence E. Marceau, University of Delaware
Discussant: Ronald P. Toby, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Following on the success of the 1996 AAS panel, "Viewing Kara from Yamato: Receptions of 'China' in Early Modern Japan," this panel focuses on the "other" Kara, Korea. The dearth of studies on Korean-Japanese relations continues, and this panel represents an attempt to provide methodological means by which further research on these important and ongoing ties may be pursued.
Emanuel Pastreich focuses on the diplomat, Amenomori Hôshû, who used any means at his disposal to equalize relations between Korea and Japan a century after Hideyoshi's invasions of the peninsula. From his base on Tsushima, as well as from the Japanese trading compound in Pusan, Hôshû used his training in Chinese and Korean to bring the Japanese closer to East Asia. Pastreich's presentation employs historical linguistics to underscore Hôshû's achievements.
Burglind Jungmann applies art historical techniques to explore Ike Taiga's relationships with Korean painting, and his direct contact with a court painter, Kim Yusong. Jungmann analyzes Taiga's 1764 letter to Yusong, underscoring the interest Taiga had in communicating with a leading foreign painter. She proceeds convincingly to compare Taiga paintings with Korean works in Japan.
Lawrence Marceau analyzes Ueda Akinari's writings, underscoring the deep-seated curiosity Akinari possessed for all uncommon things. Akinari acknowledges his debt to Korean literary sources in a short story, and also comments on the Japanese language and its potential to create misunderstanding, both in ancient and contemporary times.
Discussant Ronald Toby is the foremost authority on early modern Korean-Japanese relations, providing unequaled perspectives and feedback to the panelists.
Amenomori Hôshû and East Asian Cultural Relativism
Emanuel Pastreich, Harvard University
International contacts in East Asia during the early modern period were marked by a perceived Chinese centrality and resultant liminality of the surrounding states. This framework became problematic after the rise of the ethnic Manchu Ch'ing dynasty in Beijing. The subject of this presentation, the Japanese Confucian Amenomori Hôshû (1668-1755), reacted to the changing world order in dynamic and influential ways.
Hôshû devoted his life to the study of foreign languages, and to fostering cultural diversity during a time in which the ideology of Japanese uniqueness was growing. While in service to the daimyo of Tsushima, Hôshû conducted negotiations using verbal Korean and vernacular Chinese, in contrast to the norm of negotiating in written literary Chinese. Hôshû also spent a considerable amount of time at the Japanese compound in Pusan, which dwarfed the Dutch factory at Deshima in its scope.
In order to retard Japanese cultural insularity, Hôshû proposed that youths be sent to Korea for language studies. He started an unprecedented language school in Tsushima, in which he taught young children spoken Chinese with remarkable success. Hôshû further argued that every culture has its own legitimacy within a larger "global" context. In a heated exchange with his fellow Confucian classmate in Edo, Arai Hakuseki, Hôshû defended Korea against culturally biased stereotypes, and promoted diplomatic protocols that no longer required Korean abasement as a requisite for formal relations. Hôshû's achievements reflect an attempt to achieve an equal and lasting basis for international relations and mutual understanding in Asia.
Ike Taiga, Kim Yusong, and Korean Landscape Painting
Burglind Jungmann, Heidelberg University
This presentation focuses on a letter written by the Japanese Nanga, or literati, painter Ike Taiga (1723-76) to the Korean painter Kim Yusong (b. 1725) in 1763. Although the tradition of literati painting originates in China, Taiga utilized an array of foreign and native sources to create his own style. While Japanese and Western scholars have examined Taiga's reception of Chinese and Japanese traditions, Taiga's contacts with Korean painters have so far been overlooked as an artistic source. This presentation evaluates Taiga's contacts with members of the 1748 and 1764 Korean embassies within the context of the vivid interest in the Korean guests and their abilities shown by Japanese Confucian scholars, poets, calligraphers, and painters. Taiga's most important mentors, Gion Nankai (1676-1751) and Yanagisawa Kien (1706-58), served as officials receiving Korean envoys.
Taiga's letter to Kim Yusong, official painter of the 1763 embassy, reveals his concern about literati painting in general as well as his particular expectations regarding the Korean painter. The document is valuable for understanding both relationships between Japanese and Korean painters and the role Korean literati painting played in the development of Nanga. I shall also compare Taiga's works to those by Kim Yusong and Ch'oe Puk (1712-86), another outstanding Korean master who had come to Japan in 1748. Works of both painters that were created during their stays are still preserved in Japanese collections and provide us with a solid base for the examination of Korean inspiration in Taiga's oeuvre.
Ueda Akinari's Korean Encounters
Lawrence E. Marceau, University of Delaware
Best known today as the author of richly textured tales of the supernatural, Ueda Akinari (1734-1809) viewed himself primarily as a student of the Japanese classics. His approach to ancient Japanese history, literature, myth, and language put him at odds with the most prominent kokugaku scholar of his day, Motoori Norinaga, and the disagreement on interpretation of the texts and artifacts transmitted from ancient times is fortunately recorded in a series of exchanges, entitled Kagaika ("Clearing the Reeds," 1787-88). From this dispute, we see clearly the contrast between the chauvinist Norinaga, who took the accounts found in the Kojiki and other texts as fact, and the "relativist" Akinari, who sought out evidence from a wide range of sources, including Chinese and European, to support his beliefs.
Akinari's curiosity regarding the exotic is well documented. He is depicted in an 1808 portrait playing a five-stringed Ainu lute, and recent scholarship has determined that he experimented in his calligraphy with a brush fashioned from a Ryukyuan plant, the adan.
In this presentation, we shall examine Akinari's attitudes toward and direct contacts with contemporary Korea. Akinari writes in two works about his observation of Korean embassies in Osaka, commenting on the difficulties the Japanese language must have posed to foreigners. Akinari also used a Korean collection of supernatural tales as a textual source in Ugetsu monogatari. The various pieces of evidence discussed in this presentation yield a portrait of an expansive intellect interacting with and interpreting his own private "Korea."