Early Modern China Summary

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Evelyn Rawski in her book, Early Modern China and Northeast Asia. Cross-Border Perspectives, focuses on how China was shaped by its relations with other East-Asian countries. I was particularly interested in how Rawski describes the way relations between China, Japan and Korea influenced the nomenclature these countries used to refer to each other and how it incorporated the Hua-Yi discourse deeply rooted in Confucian culture. The relations between these countries were undoubtedly influenced by the distinction between the civilized people, Hua (華), and the barbarians, Yi (夷). The so-called Hua-Yi binome was and important part of Confucian ideology and was one of the crucial ideas that served to legitimize the Chinese dominance in the region. …show more content…
All these names expose Chinese feeling of superiority over the neighboring lands and the the belief, that their country really is the centre of the world. Koreans, having adopted Confucian ideology, incorporated the Hua-Yi discourse, but placed themselves in the centre as the civilized nation. They did, however, recognized the Chinese origin of that concept, and thus also used names like Haedong (Ch. Haidong 海東 Eastern Sea), Tongbang (Ch. Dongbang 東邦) or Tongguk (Ch. Dongguo 東國), positioning themselves on the East and China in the middle (Rawski 2015: 199). I was not surprised that the Chinese used those terms to refer to Korea, emphasizing their superiority. What did surprise me, however, was that Koreans used terms like that to refer to themselves, thus acknowledging the China-centered world order (Rawski 2015: 199-200). Koreans also used the term 漢人 or 華人 to refer to China, again recognizing that Chinese were the civilized people, as in the Hua-Yi discourse (Rawski 2015: 202). What is interesting is that Chinese had a lot of respect for Korea, saying that Gaoli, as they referred to Korea, was the most civilized out of the barbarian states (Rawski :

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