Korea: Between China and Japan
 By the 4th century BC, people living in Korea began
adopting sedentary farming and metal working
from the Chinese
 1st Korean kingdom was founded in 109 BC
Choson Kingdom
 after Wudi and the Han over run Choson kingdom,
the Chinese settlers who stay behind are how
Chinese culture enters Korea
 despite conquest, tribal groups in Korea (Koguryo)
resist Chinese influence
 the Koguryo establish their own independent state
in the north and eventually come into conflict with
two other states in the south (Silla and Paekche)
 Korean kingdoms continue contact with the
“splinter states” that form after the fall of the Han.
This continued contact with “splinter states” result
in the first wave of “sinification” adoption of
Chinese culture
 Buddhism provides a key link in connecting
Chinese and Korean culture
 Korean rulers patronized Buddhist art, built
Buddhist monasteries, traveled to China, and some
even to India
 Chinese written language was adopted, but the
spoken language was harder to catch on in Korea
like in Japan
 Koguryo monarch imposed unified law similar to
that of Han China
 Education focused on Confucianism and China
rather than Korea
Tang Alliances and Conquest of the West
 The Tang took advantage of the political divisions
in Korea to help themselves conquer all three
kingdoms (Silla, Paekche, and Koguryo)
 The Tang withdraw in 668 and leave the Silla in
control of a newly unified Korea
Sinification: the Tributary Link
 Chinese culture peaked between 668-1392 in
 Silla initially intended to turn Korea into a
miniature Chinese state by:
1. Spending tribute to Chinese
2. Sending embassies to the Tang court
 The tributary system provided privileged access to
Chinese learning, goods, art, and culture
 The Tribute System became the main source of
exchange between the Koreans, the Japanese, the
Vietnamese, and the Chinese
Sinification of Korean Elite Culture
 Silla rulers rebuild the capital at Kumsong to
look like the Chinese counterpart
 Most elite Koreans lived in Kumsong to avoid the
“backward rural areas”
 Some aristocrats studied in Chinese schools, and
some even took civil service examinations
 Korean elite preferred Buddhism over
 Koreans borrowed techniques of porcelain
manufacturing from Chinese, and then improved
the quality by experimenting with Korean
 Koreans also improved the Chinese art of
printing with honey
Civilization for the Few
 Imports of Chinese culture were experienced
primarily by the elite classes
 Trading with Japan and China was aimed at
improving the lives of the elites
 Korean exports consisted of: forest products and
 ***the aristocrats were the “only people who really
counted for anything in Korean society”
Koryo Collapse, Dynastic Renewal
 periodically, the lower classes got tired of the
monotony and rebelled their boring lives
 these peasant rebellions and outsider invasions
helped sink the Koryo and Silla dynasties
 after the fall of these two dynasties, the aristocracy
brought about the Yi Dynasty (1392-1910)
Between China and Southeast Asia: the Making of
 the Viet people feared becoming engulfed by
China’s culture, and thus made extensive efforts to
remain separate
 1st and 2nd centuries BC, the Chinese traded silk to
the Vietnamese in exchange for ivory, tortoise
shells, pearls, peacock feathers, aromatic woods,
and other luxury goods
 Vietnamese people favored the “immediate family”
over the “extended family”
 Women in Vietnam experienced more influence
and greater freedom than their counterparts back
in China
 Vietnamese dressed DIFFERENTLY than the
 Vietnamese women “blackened” their teeth, which
was repulsive to Chinese women
 The Vietnamese stick to Buddhism ideologically,
and developed art and literature that was distinctly
Conquest and Sinification
 The Han ruler initially accepted the Vietnamese
admission as a “vassal” state with payments of
 In 111 BC, they decide to invade and conquer
 In the next centuries, Vietnamese elite were drawn
into the Chinese bureaucracy
 Vietnamese children attended Chinese-styled
schools, wrote in Chinese script, and studied
Confucian ideals
 The Vietnamese introduced irrigation and
agricultural techniquesexplains with Vietnam
had one of the highest population densities in Asia
at the time
 The Viet people also adopted the political and
military organization of China
 Over time, the Vietnamese change their minds on
this notion of “immediate family” over “extended