Korean History Studies in Japan

The 2010 Shigaku Zasshi Historiography Review: Korean Ancient History

Shinohara Hirokata


             In 2010, the year in which we met the “Centennial of the Japanese Annexation of Korea,” is a milestone for looking back upon Japanese-South Korean and Japanese-North Korean relations. There have been many publications in which research on Korean history by Japanese scholars has been reviewed. In the special issue “The History of Korean Archaeology” in Kōkogaku jānaru, Saotome Masahiro and Ko Kyogyŏl have pointed out that while it cannot be doubted that investigations undertaken in Chosŏn brought numerous results in archaeological methodology and in research, there was a strong tendency for those investigations to be led mainly by Japanese, and those results were published in Japanese through media in Japan. They have shown the actual conditions of the neglect toward Chosŏn. [1] In addition, despite the intentions of researchers, that research could not evade the policies of invading the continent and ruling Chosŏn and the generally accepted views of society are pointed out in Ishio Kazuhito’s comments on the paths opened by Torii Ryūzō’s investigations [2] and by Yi Sŏngshi, who shows that famous historians of that time, principally in the special issue “Chōsen” in Rekishi chiri published in 1910, viewed the myth of the expeditions against the Samhan together with the annexation of Korea and praised the expeditions, and as a result supported Japanese rule in Chosŏn. [3] Regarding postwar research on Chosŏn history that began infused with such reflections, Inoue Naoki follows the directions of research on ancient Korean history from the prewar period into the postwar period and the research of Suematsu Hirokazu and Hatada Takashi, whose respective views may be considered as contrastive. [4]
            Research in Japanese-Korean relations also influenced to no small degree the formation of distorted historical views of ancient Korean history. As a text showing those paths and perspectives, “Daini-ki Nikkan rekishi kyōdō kenkyū hōkokusho” can be focused upon. Founded upon agreement by the two governments of Japan and the Republic of Korea, this second joint research program is a continuation of the first program of 2002-2005. In the first research group, whose topic was “Bringing Together without Excess or Deficiency the Present State of Research in the History of Ancient Interaction in Japan and South Korea,” the six members wrote on the period prior to the fourth century (Hamada Kōsaku and Cho Pŏpchong), on the fourth century to the sixth century (Mori Kimiyuki and Kim T’aesik), and on the seventh century to the ninth century (Sakaue Yasutoshi and No T’aedon). [5] Because the quantity of their writings is so large, admiration of their efforts cannot be forbidden. While but a small portion of their report, problematiques and points such as the transmission of rice cultivation and verbal culture, the conditions of the Imna Nihon-fu, the meanings of the keyhole-shaped tomb mounds scattered around the southwestern Korean peninsula, the possibility that a systematic legal code was not compiled in Silla, and that Tang China, in its foreign relations, greatly emphasized Silla over Japan are extremely interesting. Further, as future perspectives, more concrete divisions and descriptions regarding the cultures of the “continent” and Chosŏn, the plenitude of research on Kaya history (the distribution and chronology of Kaya artifacts in Japan), and research in comparative history based upon similarities and differences were suggested. As seen in the impressions of the research groups’ members, a space where the interaction and understanding among scholars that goes beyond one’s country is invaluable and can be highly praised. However, it is impossible to read everything from the text on the printed page. In order for the significance of this program to be shared by a larger number of people, new attempts that aim toward the future activities of each member and more mature interaction and understanding can be anticipated. Further, I hope these papers will be read, as the PDF files from the research report may be downloaded from the website of The Japan-Korea Cultural Foundation.
            Contents noted in the perspectives section are already being shared. Some appeared last year. First, among texts aware of the comparative history perspective is Kodai Higashi Ajia no Bukkyō to ōken, edited by Suzuki Yasutami, which, informed by the excavation of the Paekche temple Wanghŭngsa and the discovery of written texts, offers seventeen chapters that discuss the forms or royal authority and Buddhism. [6] The edited volume Kanji bunkaken e no hirogari is one volume in a series that focuses on the transmission of Buddhist culture and the multiplicity of that culture from the perspective of Asia. This book must be considered a substantial general overview of the history of ancient Korean Buddhism. [7] The fourth issue of Higashi Ajia sekaishi kenkyū sentā nenpō is a special issue that concentrates on Japanese and Korean students abroad in the ancient period who performed important roles in interactions with Sui China and Tang China. [8] In the history of interaction, Tanaka Toshiaki writes that Japan’s diplomatic posture was pro-Paekche, and as an extension of those relations was anti-Koguryŏ, and that, in general, Japan-Silla relations were not good. [9]
            In such developments in the history of interaction and comparative history, results derived from studies of newly-found sources regarding ancient Korean history are important. An article by Yi Sŏngsi, Yun Yonggu, and Kim Kyŏngho is a consideration of the reading of the Lelang bamboo strips and their form as a text of the Analects belonging to the oldest stratum of such texts. [10] Yun Sŏnt’ae, from examples of recently excavated Paekche wooden strips, introduces their recycling for use as memos, their use for serial documentation, the presence of tags used for categorizing documents, and methods for discarding wooden strips, and points to similarities with Japanese wooden strips. [11] Hirakawa Minami on the one hand points to the possibility that the Silla documents that were affixed to eating utensils made from metal (J. sadori kaban) were connected to the submission of grains, and that the character 丑 in that text is the character 籾. On the other hand, he writes that the character 畠, which has been thought to be a character created in Japan, appears in Paekche wooden strips and the character 虫・包 appears in Silla wooden strips. [12] Shinohara Hirokata analyzes a text that he had discovered some ten years ago but had not had an opportunity to introduce and the text’s historical background. [13] Takeda Yukio considers a newly discovered rubbing to be a separate text from the Pan Zuyin rubbing in Yushi by Ye Changchi for comparison shows that differences may be seen in the stele’s direction marks, Chinese characters, and character shapes, and thus not to be the rubbing for the text in Yushi. [14] From the results of an archaeological investigation, Yi Pyŏngho sees the influence of the Southern Dynasties beginning with Liang in the placement of the monastery at Chŏngnimsa and in excavated clay figures, and asserts the necessity of comparisons of the Buddhist cultures of Jiankang – Puyŏ (Sabi) – Asuka. [15] Matsunami Hirotaka summarizes regional (state) differences and periodization differences in fortresses that have been learned in recent research. [16]
            Developments also can be seen in empirical research founded in written sources. In Kaya history, Suzuki Hideo sets the place name “Kumanari,” which appears in a note attached to an entry for the twenty-first year of Yūryaku [477, in Nihon shoki], in South Kyŏngsang Province. He urges a re-examination of the theory that the four counties of Imna were in South Chŏlla Province. [17] Chŏng Tongjun examines Kwaljiji, a text whose value as a historical source is low because of mistakes in and omissions of characters, emphasizes the uniqueness of its contents, and seeks to re-evaluate the text. [18] In the main, there are points of agreement in Kondō Kōichi’s research focusing on the Kim Hŏnch’ang disturbance and the local maritime powers who joined it, but some doubts remain in the development of his argument and description. [19]
            Yamasaki Masatoshi, while touching upon the concept of diaspora, argues that Silla’s Ch’uksan Pŏphwawŏn, which was in the Shandong Peninsula, handled the supervision and management of foreigners entering and leaving the peninsula, and that the event on the fifteenth day of the eighth month at the monastery was more than a festival for Silla people looking back toward their home country, it also included Silla’s antagonistic consciousness toward Koguryŏ and Parhae and political aims. [20] Chŏng Sun’il, too, while introducing various aspects of Silla people residing in the Japanese archipelago, positions this as one form of “coexistence.” [21] However, from the author’s article, it is unclear whether “coexistence” indicated only interaction between Silla people and Japanese people, or included the state’s control in which it intervened in those interactions and relocated Silla people.
            In general, added to the results from empirical research and new sources, changes in perspective and their intentions have been felt. Thus, once again what is to be remembered is the concept of the East Asian world. Higashi Ajia sekai no seiritsu, volume one in the set entitled Nihon no taigai kankeishi, offers various perspectives for considering foreign relations in ancient East Asia. Among these, Kaneko Shūichi raises features of and issues in the existing theories of the tribute system and of the East Asian world, and also focuses on the point that various East Asian countries imposed orders over nearby countries and sought to construct small worlds. [22] The perspectives of self-other consciousness, ethnic (tribal) group, and boundary can be seen in the research of Akiyama Shingo, who found an awareness of order between those peoples that conferred seals (Wei and Jin) and those nearby ethnic groups upon which seals were conferred [23]; of Misaki Yoshiaki, who noted the possibility that from the second half of the second century into the first half of the third century, as seen from graves with wall paintings in the Liaoyang area, Han people and non-Han people did not live in mixed communities and maintained their societies in settings in which they did not mutually influence the other [24]; and of Akabame Masayoshi, who found discrepancies in textual entries that relate the places of residence of the Wŏlhŭi [Yuexi] Malgals through their movements in different periods, and in this tried to detect the autonomy of the Wŏlhŭi [Yuexi] Malgals and Parhae’s rule over tribal groups [25]. Such perspectives also offer new issues and possibilities to research in ancient Korean history.
            The creation of such perspectives and issues is not at all unrelated to problems that embrace today’s realities. One example of this is the historical argument between South Korea and China over possession of Koguryŏ history. Furutake Tōru, who has discussed the details and the development of this issue, is looking calmly at the conflict not as a mere onlooker, and is trying to point in the direction of mutual understanding. [26] The significance of Korean history studies in Japan can also be seen in an issue such as this.

Translator’s Note: Text in brackets has been added to clarify information in the original text. This note does not refer to the endnote numbers in brackets, however.

[1] 早乙女雅博「植民地期の朝鮮考古学」『考古学ジャーナル』第596号、2010年2月、3-5頁;高橋潔「朝鮮考古学の始まりと日本考古学」『考古学ジャーナル』第596号、2010年2月、22-25頁。
[2] 石尾和仁「朝鮮総督府による朝鮮史編纂事業と鳥居龍蔵の立場」『史窓』第40号、2010年3月、113-127頁。
[3] 李成市「「韓国併合」と古代日朝関係史」『思想』第1029号、2010年1月、138-150頁。
[4] 井上直樹「戦後日本の朝鮮古代史研究と末松保和・旗田巍」『朝鮮史研究会論文集』第48号、2010年10月、25-57頁。
[5] 『第二期日韓歴史共同研究報告書』(日韓歴史共同研究委員会編集・発行、二○○七―二○一○)。
[6] 鈴木靖民編『古代東アジアの仏教と王権』勉誠出版、2010年。
[7] 石井公成編『漢字文化圏への広がり』(新アジア仏教史10)、佼成出版社、2010年。
[8] 『東アジア世界史研究センター年俸』第四号(2010年3月)。
[9] 田中俊明「文献史からみた六・七世紀の日羅関係と難波」、大阪歴史博物館、『古代新羅土器と近世薬種業を中心に』2010年3月。
[10] 李成市・尹龍九・金慶浩(橋本繁訳)「平壌貞柏洞三六四号墳出土竹簡『論語』について」『中国出土資料研究』第14号(2010年)、110-149頁。
[11] 尹善泰(篠原啓方訳)「新出木簡からみた百済の文書行政」『朝鮮学報』第215号(2010年4月)、1-32頁。
[12] 平川南「正倉院佐渡理加盤付属文書の再検討―韓国木簡調査から」『日本歴史』第750号(2010年11月)、1-15頁。
[13] 篠原啓方「慶山林堂遺跡出土古碑の内容とその歴史的背景」『東アジア文化交渉研究』第3号(2010年3月)、459-474頁。
[14] 武田幸男「広開土王碑「李超瓊本」の来歴問題―最初期墨本の方位系統を中心に」『朝鮮学報』第214号(2010年1月)、63-97頁。
[15] 李炳鎬「扶余定林寺址塑像と伽藍配置について」『奈良美術研究』第10号(2010年3月)、119-129頁。
[16] 松浪宏隆「韓国古代城郭の城壁築造」『古代文化』第62輯第2号(2010年9月)223-233頁。
[17] 鈴木英夫「「任那四県割譲」問題と大伴金村の失脚―「久麻那利」と「任那四県」の位置」『国学院大学紀要』第48号(2010年)、277-295頁。
[18] 鄭東俊「『翰苑』百済伝所引の『括地志』の史料的性格について」『東洋学報』第92輯第2号(2010年9月)、121-150頁。
[19] 近藤浩一「金憲昌の乱と九世紀前半の新羅社会―張保皐登場前史」『京都産業大学論集』人文科学42号(2010年3月)、225-237頁。
[20] 山崎雅稔「唐代登州赤山法花院の八月十五日節」『史海』第57号(2010年5月)、1-11頁。
[21] 鄭淳一「新羅海賊事件からみた交流と共存」『立命館大学コリア研究センターー次世代研究者フォーラム論文集』第3号(2010年7月)、7-23頁。
[22] 金子修一「東アジア世界論」荒野泰典・石井正敏・村井章介・編『日本の対外関係史1 東アジア世界の成立』吉川弘文館、2010年。
[23] 秋山進午「魏晋周辺民族官印制度の復元と『魏志倭人伝』印」『史林』第93輯第4号(2010年7月)、541-571頁。
[24] 三崎良章「遼東公孫氏政権と非漢民族」『(早稲田大学本圧高等学院研究紀要)教育と研究』第28号、2010年3月、75-85頁。
[25] 赤羽目匡由「唐代越喜靺鞨の住地とその移動について」『メトロポリタン史学』第6号(2010年12月)、271-301頁。
[26] 古畑徹「歴史の争奪―中韓高句麗歴史論争を例に」『メトロポリタン史学』第6号(2010年12月)、179-204頁。


Translated by Kenneth R. Robinson

(Shigaku zasshi vol. 120 no. 5 (2010.5), 244-247.  Translated and uploaded with the permission of the Shigakkai.)