Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lecture on Korean-Japanese Relations from 1392 to 1592 tonight

Tonight Kenneth Robinson will be giving a lecture titled "Pirates and Traders, and Fake Japanese, too: Korean-Japanese Relations from 1392 to 1592" for the Royal Asiatic Society:
Pirate raids prompted the Choson Korea government to encourage trade by other Japanese in the early fifteenth century, and Japanese soon were sending dozens of trade missions each year. The Choson government gradually established detailed regulations for managing that trade, even dividing Japanese traders into a hierarchy. From the 1460s, those regulations and the hierarchy became tools by which Japanese traded through imposter identities, that is, people that did not exist or people who did not know that their identities were being used. Why did the Choson government not always stop imposter trade and what importance did imposter trade have in the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592?
I'm looking forward to this lecture, especially because I just finished Frontier Contact Between Choson Korea and Tokugawa Japan, by James B. Lewis, which deals with this subject in detail in the post-Imjin War era. Many of the issues the book deals with which I found interesting relate to the battle by Koreans to gain sovereignty over foreigners (Japanese, in this case) in their land, cultural differences which caused problems near the Japanese trading post, and issues of prostitution, miscegenation, and the problem caused historically by mixed race Koreans during the Imjin War. Much of this can be applied to current SOFA issues, perceptions of foreign male-Korean female couples, and the debate over multiculturalism. In other words, topics that are obviously right up my alley.

The lecture will be held at 7:30 pm tonight (Tuesday) in the Residents' Lounge on the 2nd floor of the Somerset Palace in Seoul, which is behind Jogyesa Temple, and is 7,000 won for non-members and free for members.

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