[KS] Kanghwa Treaty diplomatic protocol

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Wed Nov 14 16:20:23 EST 2007

And hello again:

My apologies for putting this in two postings -- this is an afterthought.

Christine dropped the term Chosôn t'ongsinsa. 
That seems to be the keyword, in a sense. I now 
think that professor Sand's question in itself 
might need to be rephrased. After the 16th 
century Hideyoshi Invasion there were twelve 
Chosôn t'ongsinsa (Korean envoys) to Japan: 1607, 
1617, 1624, 1636, 1643, 1655, 1682, 1711, 1719, 
1748, 1764, and 1811. None after 1811, as far as 
I know. Korea encapsulated itself, as we all know 
(and Japan had done so before, but still kept up 
its relations with Korea). I think -- please 
correct me if I am wrong -- that Korean 
historians usually do not place that Japanese 
delegation to Korea for the Kangwha Treaty within 
the traditional exchange of delegations between 
the two countries. And I think it should not, as 
it obviously resulted in the forceful opening of 
Korea (or was the result of the forceful 
'opening,' however way one wants to phrase it). 
It is also no coincidence that the place of that 
meeting was on Kanghwa, and not Pusan or 
elsewhere close to Japan. This delegation's 
meeting simply did not follow the traditional 
Chosôn period diplomatic protocol (which, of 
course, must have changed a lot over time). I 
would rather address the question in a different 
way: was it Japan that had demanded the chairs 
and to otherwise also follow the diplomatic 
protocol of Western countries, or was it the 
Korean court that wanted to "keep up" with the 
new situation? After all this was now Meiji 
Japan, not anymore Tokugawa.


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