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Japan, it may be called a period of "Chinese fixation."
Chinese Fixation in Japan
The Japanese were concerned about adopting attitudes brought from China during the country's early years. Prince Shotoku in particular was interested in introducing Chinese ideas into his community because he appreciated the fact that the Chinese were well organized and that their political system was structured so as for it to address the needs of both the people and their leaders. Emperor Kotoku was also concerned about adopting behaviors that would make the Japanese state more similar to the Chinese one and established the Taika reforms in an attempt to promote Confucian thinking and philosophies from China. While some of these reforms were meant to help Japan experience progress in a series of domains, they were generally purposed to restructure the political system in order for a strict hierarchy to dominate the Japanese social order.
Political system and how it relates to Japan as chinese fixation
Prince Shotoku send an emissary in 607 in China with the intention of interacting with the Chinese and devising a cultural relationship with their country. To a certain degree, one can say that this visit represented the first organized foreign study program in the history of the world. "After the first visit of Prince Shotoku's Taishi embassy to China, for more than two centuries, officials, priests and students of Japan were sent to China with the object of studying the Chinese governmental system, prevailing religion, literature and the arts." (Biswas 40) The Japanese rapidly adopted city plans and governmental strategies inspired from the Chinese and China thus came to have a strong influence on the Japanese political system during Prince Shotoku's era.
An interesting thing about the Japanese is that they did not simply imitate ideas they saw in China, as they reinterpreted these respective ideas. The first Japanese constitution was devised in 604 by Prince Shotoku and had clear influences of Confucian ideas of politics. The constitution was written in accordance with the Confucian historical-political plan. "Its primary objective was to define the relations between the sovereign and the state, between the emperor and the subjects." (Yao 127) The Mandate of Heaven, a traditional Chinese philosophical idea meant to emphasize why subjects need to accept being ruled by a particular individual, was introduced with the purpose of rationalizing the rule of the Japanese leader.
Prince Shotoku was succeeded by Emperor Kotoku, a person who was even more interested in Chinese political ideas and who wanted his subjects to concentrate on restructuring the social system in order for it to be in agreement with these respective ideas. "The influence of Chinese cultural elements in Japan reached its highest point when the Taika reform occurred in AD 645, and with this the Japanese rulers instituted far-reaching administrative changes." (Biswas 40) The Taika reforms played an important role in shaping Japanese history and experienced little to no difficulties in being enforced due to many Japanese ideas that were similar to Chinese concepts during the era.
A series of Chinese ideas came to be adopted throughout Japan as its leaders acknowledged the degree to which they could use such thinking with the purpose of assisting their community experience progress. The Nihon Shoki is a manuscript documenting the early history of Japan and is the second-oldest such text. This book has provided the Japanese with the opportunity to gain a more complex understanding of their history. What is intriguing about it is that it has been greatly influenced by Chinese techniques of keeping records and historiography.
The Japanese court issued the Taiho Code in 701 and a minor revision of this code in 718 called the Yoro code. Both of these codes were similar to the Tang Administrative and Penal codes, thus meaning that they too have been severely influenced by Japan's relationship with China (Foot & Robinson 64).
3) Japanese Religious: Japan cosmology and similarities to Chinese culture
Chinese influence in Japan did not only involve political ideas, as the Japanese were also concentrated on promoting Chinese cultural values. "Exchanging poems written in Chinese was considered the highest accomplishment in polite society, and the Chinese poems were also employed to impress upon foreign visitors Japan's cultural advancement at diplomatic receptions." (Lu 22) The first collection of Chinese poems written by Japanese poets, the Kaifuso, was issued in 751 and it directly demonstrated that Chinese cultural values held a special place…[continue]
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