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Traditional East Asian Structure from the Perspective of Sino-Korean Relations
Unformatted Document Text:  the Mongolian and Jurchen tribes in Manchuria. After the Chosǒn dynasty was established, the Koreans began to seriously consider the Jurchen problem. At this time Korea was mainly harassed by Menggetimur, chieftain of the Odoli subtribe of the Jianzhou Jurchens. 124 The Koreans sought to reduce the threat by persuading Menggetimur to acknowledge Korean, not Chinese, suzerainty. Their efforts succeeded: in 1395 Menggetimur arrived in person to present tribute to the court. For a decade thereafter, Menggetimur and the Koreans maintained a regular flow of tribute and trade missions, and they appeared amicable. The Koreans were also successful in pacifying the other Jurchen threat, Ahachu of the main Jianzhou Jurchens. The two achieved rapprochement in the 1390s. 125 During this period, most of the Jurchen bribes or subtribes along the Korean borders had in an ever increasing degree com under the influence of the Koreans. The Wu-liang-ha, the Odoli, and others regularly went to the Korean court with a tribute; individuals from these tribes served in the Korean army and in the royal body guard. 126 But Korea’s fortune was soon reversed with the coming of the Yongle emperor in China. This vigorous and ambitious emperor was determined to undermine Korean influence over the Jurchens and to bring the latter firmly under Ming control. 127 Throughout his reign the Ming was very active politically and made a great effort to penetrate into Manchuria as far as the northeastern borders of Korea and the lower Amur in far-eastern Siberia. 128 From about 1400 on the Ming strongly competed with the Koreans for the allegiance of the Jurchens. The Yongle emperor had four principal objectives in his policy towards the Jurchens. First, he wanted peace in Manchuria so that he could devote his attention to his Mongol campaigns. Second, he wanted to surpass Korea as the dominant influence among the Jurchens. Third, he wanted to stimulate tribute and trade and to obtain essential Jurchen products. Finally, he wanted to encourage the process of sinicization among the more developed Jurchens, but this did not receive a high priority. 129 The last point shows that the Yongle emperor accorded a much higher priority to pacifying the Jurchens by wooing them with political and economic inducements than “civilizing” them with Chinese culture. Chinese cultural influence did gradually penetrate Jurchen territories through Chinese envoys, traders, and craftsmen and Jurchen missions to China. Eventually Buddhism would dominate Manchuria. 130 But again one is tempted to think that this cultural influence was a by-product of political penetration in the first place. 124 DMB, pp. 1065-1067. 125 Rossabi, “The Jurchens in the Yuan and Ming,” pp. 18-19. 126 Henry Serruys, Sino-Jurchen Relations during the Yong-lo Period (1403-1424) (Wiesbaden, 1955), p. 49. 127 Clark, “Sino-Korean Tributary Relations under the Ming,” p. 286. 128 Serruys, Sino-Jurchen Relations during the Yong-lo Period, p. 46. 129 Rossabi, “The Jurchens in the Yuan and Ming,” p. 20. 130 Serruys, Sino-Jurchen Relations during the Yong-lo Period, p. 67. 29

Authors: Zhang, Feng.
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background image
the Mongolian and Jurchen tribes in Manchuria.
After the Chosǒn dynasty was established, the Koreans began to seriously
consider the Jurchen problem. At this time Korea was mainly harassed by
Menggetimur, chieftain of the Odoli subtribe of the Jianzhou Jurchens.
The
Koreans sought to reduce the threat by persuading Menggetimur to
acknowledge Korean, not Chinese, suzerainty. Their efforts succeeded: in 1395
Menggetimur arrived in person to present tribute to the court. For a decade
thereafter, Menggetimur and the Koreans maintained a regular flow of tribute
and trade missions, and they appeared amicable. The Koreans were also
successful in pacifying the other Jurchen threat, Ahachu of the main Jianzhou
Jurchens. The two achieved rapprochement in the 1390s.
During this period,
most of the Jurchen bribes or subtribes along the Korean borders had in an ever
increasing degree com under the influence of the Koreans. The Wu-liang-ha,
the Odoli, and others regularly went to the Korean court with a tribute;
individuals from these tribes served in the Korean army and in the royal body
guard.
But Korea’s fortune was soon reversed with the coming of the Yongle emperor
in China. This vigorous and ambitious emperor was determined to undermine
Korean influence over the Jurchens and to bring the latter firmly under Ming
control.
Throughout his reign the Ming was very active politically and made
a great effort to penetrate into Manchuria as far as the northeastern borders of
Korea and the lower Amur in far-eastern Siberia.
From about 1400 on the
Ming strongly competed with the Koreans for the allegiance of the Jurchens.
The Yongle emperor had four principal objectives in his policy towards the
Jurchens. First, he wanted peace in Manchuria so that he could devote his
attention to his Mongol campaigns. Second, he wanted to surpass Korea as the
dominant influence among the Jurchens. Third, he wanted to stimulate tribute
and trade and to obtain essential Jurchen products. Finally, he wanted to
encourage the process of sinicization among the more developed Jurchens, but
this did not receive a high priority.
The last point shows that the Yongle
emperor accorded a much higher priority to pacifying the Jurchens by wooing
them with political and economic inducements than “civilizing” them with
Chinese culture. Chinese cultural influence did gradually penetrate Jurchen
territories through Chinese envoys, traders, and craftsmen and Jurchen
missions to China. Eventually Buddhism would dominate Manchuria.
But
again one is tempted to think that this cultural influence was a by-product of
political penetration in the first place.
124
DMB, pp. 1065-1067.
125
Rossabi, “The Jurchens in the Yuan and Ming,” pp. 18-19.
126
Henry Serruys, Sino-Jurchen Relations during the Yong-lo Period (1403-1424) (Wiesbaden, 1955), p. 49.
127
Clark, “Sino-Korean Tributary Relations under the Ming,” p. 286.
128
Serruys, Sino-Jurchen Relations during the Yong-lo Period, p. 46.
129
Rossabi, “The Jurchens in the Yuan and Ming,” p. 20.
130
Serruys, Sino-Jurchen Relations during the Yong-lo Period, p. 67.
29


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