[KS] Re: Tsushima/Taema-do

Gari Keith Ledyard gkl1 at columbia.edu
Tue Oct 13 12:23:55 EDT 1998

Dear Professor Paik,
	I appreciated very much your thoughts on the Tsushima/Taemado
question in the 15th century, and especially the detailed references and
the comments that you added to them.  Some of the notices you cited were
familiar to me, especially the interesting developments in 1438 concerning
the Korean map of Japan and the emphasis on Iki and Tsushima being on it. 
I cited this passage in my "Cartography in Korea" (ref in my earlier
posting) but had forgotten about it since.  Your observations on the
tributary system and how it worked in Korean-Japanese relations also gave
much ground for thought.  There is no doubt that on the ceremonial/ritual
level, and in economic matters, the form of the relationship came from the
tributary model.  On the political level, it is interesting that Korea had
relations with Tsushima, but also with other local or regional powers in
the Japanese islands, as well as with the Ashikaga shogunate itself.  From
a tributary perspective, this arrangement had its attractions, as most of
the people that Korea actually dealt with were of secondary status within
Japan itself, so that it was no particular problem to enforce degrees of
subordination on their various Japanese clients.  I think that Korea
probably saw it in its practical interest to have relations with as many
regional powers as possible, so that when and if pirate troubles recurred
there would be that many more buttons to push in efforts to deal with
them.  But, with you, I believe that this is a completely separate matter
from questions of territoriality. 
	Indeed, it is interesting to see how Sejong, in the context of his
relations with various Japanese groups, worked to define the territorial
status of Tsushima as Japanese.  This must have had a stabilizing, if
probably also unwelcome, effect on irridentist Korean opinion itself,
since it is clear that King T'aejong's remarks on this subject were only
the tip of an iceberg in which feeling about the Korean ownership of the
island were very strong.  That stabilizing effect was probably not what
these Koreans believed or wanted to accept.  But in many areas, Sejong was
ahead of his scholars insofar as concrete study and research were
concerned.  At least he cited names and general dates and had some concern
for documentation (clear from the 1438, 1441, and 1444 sillok passages
that you cited), which is apparently more than his father ever did. 

Yours truly,
Gari Ledyard

On Fri, 9 Oct 1998, sungjong.paik at uni-tuebingen.de wrote:

> Dear Professor Ledyard,
> After reading of about 650 documents about Tsushima in "Sillok", from
> 1392 to 1494, I recently got some ideas on the relationship between
> ChosOn and Tsushima. Topics in which you are also interested are
> scketched ed as follow:
> A. on the question of Tsushima Island and national territoriality
> 1. It was King T'aejong who mentioned that Tsushima once belonged to
> Korea during an expedition to the island, but without any convincing
> historical document. (1419 Sejong 1(year)/6(month)/9(day) Imo: Sillok,
> 2:321)
> 2. King T'aejong insisted again that the island was a part of Silla's
> teritory. But he failed to cite any historical record. (1419 Sejong
> 1/7/17 KyOngsin: Sillok, 2:326)
> 3. The envoy and the ruler of Tsushima rejected the T'aejong's opinion.
> (1421 Sejong 3/4/6 Musul and 7 Kihae: Sillok, 2:428)
> 4. Korean authority  including King Sejong mentioned without concrete
> evidence that the island was pastureground of horses. (1421 Sejong 3/4/7
> Kihae: sillok, 2:428; 1447 Sejong 29/5/26 PyOngjin: Sillok, 5:24)
> 5. Korean high ranking officials such as Yu Uison accepted that the
> island was Japanese territory. The island was additionally marked in the
> Japanese map. (1438 Sejong 20/2/19 Kyeyu: Sillok, 4:131)
> 6. King Sejong guessed that Tsushima was the same as Tuji Island where a
> certain Kim Chunggon [KoryO Dynasty] owned slaves. (1441 Sejong 23/11/21
> Kabin: Sillok, 4:370)
> 7. Some Korean officials influenced by the King's opinion said that the
> island turned into the Japanes hands during the late KoryO Dynasty. They
> could not, however, prove their theory based on historical
> documents.(1441 Sejong 23/11/22 Ulmyo: Sillok, 4:370)
> 8. Several rulers of Japanese islands, rivals of Tsushima's ruler,
> mentioned that Tsushima was originally Korean territory. But this cannot
> be proved, because of lack of historical document. (1444 Sejong 26/4/30:
> Sillok, 4:552) 
> Based on these facts, I am in the opinion that the theories of Korean
> authority from 15th century are not convincing. Additionally, I will
> note that no single sentence which help us in the territorial question
> of Tsushima was found by me in Samguk Sagi and Samguk yusa. Because
> KoryOsa was compiled in the very 15th century, I do not want to examine
> it for this purpose.
> B. on the Tsushima's political position
> 1. Korean Kings including both of above mentioned King T'aejong and
> Sejong treated the rulers of Tsushima not as Korean official but as
> Chief of a Japanese island. Japanese sovereignty of the island was never
> questioned by Korean authority. According to Sillok, the envoy of
> Tsushima was "Envoy from Tsushima Island of Japan". (for instance, 1397
> T'aejo 6/5/6 ChOngsa: Sillok, 1:106; 1474 SOngjong 5/10/6 Muja: Sillok,
> 9:151)
> 2. None of Korean officials was sent to the island to administrate the
> inhavitants of the island, even after a couple of successful expeditions
> to the island. There was no single Japanese ruler or t'aesu of the
> island was appointed as Korean Govonor of the island. In addition, the
> Japanese ruler of the island did not collect any kind of tax for Korean
> government. What the rulers gave to the Korean kings were merely
> tribute.
> 3. After getting of tribute from Tsushima, the korean kings gave gifts
> to the Japanese island. The value of the gifts exceeded the tribute.
> Hence, there were even unauthorized Japanese envoys or merchants from
> the island. (1439 Sejong 21/4/18 Ulmi: Sillok, 4:204)
> These historical facts make clear, in my view, that Tsushima was only a
> Korean tributary during the early ChosOn period, together with Jurchen
> tribes and Japanese rulers of other small islands.
> C. On assignment of Korean post to the persons from/of Tsushima
> 1. Envoys from Tsushima got often Korean ranks and posts, such as Manho
> (Military officer) and Hogun (a kind of general). It dose not mean that
> such Japanese became Korean officials, in the narrow sense, because they
> did not have concrete tasks. The titles had only a simbolic meaning.
> (1397 T'aejo 6/5/6 ChOngsa: Sillok, 1:106)
> 2. Military posts were also given to relatives of the Tsushima's ruler
> and members of powerful family on the island. In this case, the posts
> were honorable ones, too. Among these Japanese elite, there were lots of
> people who had never met the Korean King and recieved their salary.
> (1494 SOngjong 25/9/18 Kymyo: Sillok, 12:585; 1479 SOngjong 19/8/21:
> Sillok, 10:46)
> 3. There were, however, some Japanese who gained Korean nationality and
> served as military officers in the Korean government. Many of them
> returned to their home after retirement. 
> Regarding these facts, we can conclude that the assignment of Korean
> post has nothing to do with direct governing of island by Korean
> authority. It was, as we already know from other Chinese historical
> records, old custom in the tributary system in East asia.
> Sincerely,
> Paik Sungjong
> ----------------------------
> Dr sungjong Paik
> Seminar fuer Sinologie und Koreanistik
> der Universitaet Tuebingen
> Wilhelmstr. 133
> D-72074 Tuebingen/Germany
> e-Mail: sungjong.paik at uni-tuebingen.de


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