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Ecological Crises and their Systemic Origins: Historical East Asia in the Midst of a Dark Age
Unformatted Document Text:  kingdoms fought with Wa or Japan alone and in varying alliances with each other or with China. Additionally, they fought among themselves in varying alliances with each other and with Wa and/or China. The territories claimed by Japan and the three kingdoms were always in flux throughout the Dark Age period. During the early Japanese Kofun period, historians observe incursions by the Japanese on the Asian mainland. Specifically, this period is characterized as a militaristic period in Japan’s history. Evidence uncovered in tomb sites indicates a sophisticated army at the disposal of an aristocratic elite (Blomberg 1994). The presence of horse-riding warriors donning armor, equipped with swords and other weapons, suggests a very effective army for the time. Beyond weapons found at burial sites, funerary figures in the shape of weapons and shields confirm a formidable Japanese army. This army was able to establish its presence on the Korean peninsula as it occupied its southern region. In the Kojiki or Record of Ancient Matters the deployment of Japanese troops into the Korean peninsula in the fourth century A.D. is recorded: Then, exactly in accordance with these instructions, they put their army in order and marshalled many ships. As they were crossing the sea, all the fish of the sea, the small as well as the large, bore the ships across on their backs. Then a favorable wind began to blow strongly, and the ships moved along with the waves. These waves washed the ships ashore in the land of Siragi [or Silla] and they came to rest halfway across the country. At this time the king of the country, struck with awe, said: ‘From now on I will obey the will of the emperor [or empress] and will become your royal stable-groom. Every year I will arrange that many ships in line, without giving their bottoms time to dry, and without letting their oars and rudders dry; together with heaven and earth unceasing I will serve.’ In accordance with this, the land of Siragi [or Silla] was designated as the royal stable groom, and the land of Kudara [or Paekche] was designated as the overseas Miyake [or an overseas direct possession of the court] (cited in Philippi 1969, pp. 262-263). Further incursions into the Korean peninsula by Japan were linked to alliances between the Korean kingdom of Paekche and Yamato Japan. These alliances and the relationship between Japan and Paekche are presented in the Rikkokushi or Six National Histories. Specifically, in the Kojiki mention is made of tribute missions from Korean kingdoms to Japan: 12

Authors: Sarabia, Daniel.
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kingdoms fought with Wa or Japan alone and in varying alliances with each other or with China.
Additionally, they fought among themselves in varying alliances with each other and with Wa
and/or China. The territories claimed by Japan and the three kingdoms were always in flux
throughout the Dark Age period. During the early Japanese Kofun period, historians observe
incursions by the Japanese on the Asian mainland. Specifically, this period is characterized as a
militaristic period in Japan’s history. Evidence uncovered in tomb sites indicates a sophisticated
army at the disposal of an aristocratic elite (Blomberg 1994). The presence of horse-riding
warriors donning armor, equipped with swords and other weapons, suggests a very effective
army for the time. Beyond weapons found at burial sites, funerary figures in the shape of
weapons and shields confirm a formidable Japanese army. This army was able to establish its
presence on the Korean peninsula as it occupied its southern region. In the Kojiki or Record of
Ancient Matters the deployment of Japanese troops into the Korean peninsula in the fourth
century A.D. is recorded:
Then, exactly in accordance with these instructions, they put their army in order and
marshalled many ships. As they were crossing the sea, all the fish of the sea, the small as
well as the large, bore the ships across on their backs. Then a favorable wind began to
blow strongly, and the ships moved along with the waves. These waves washed the ships
ashore in the land of Siragi [or Silla] and they came to rest halfway across the country. At
this time the king of the country, struck with awe, said: ‘From now on I will obey the will
of the emperor [or empress] and will become your royal stable-groom. Every year I will
arrange that many ships in line, without giving their bottoms time to dry, and without
letting their oars and rudders dry; together with heaven and earth unceasing I will serve.’
In accordance with this, the land of Siragi [or Silla] was designated as the royal stable
groom, and the land of Kudara [or Paekche] was designated as the overseas Miyake [or an
overseas direct possession of the court] (cited in Philippi 1969, pp. 262-263).
Further incursions into the Korean peninsula by Japan were linked to alliances between the
Korean kingdom of Paekche and Yamato Japan. These alliances and the relationship between
Japan and Paekche are presented in the Rikkokushi or Six National Histories. Specifically, in the
Kojiki mention is made of tribute missions from Korean kingdoms to Japan:
12


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