Япония до VIII века
The article concerns the perception of China in Japan in Nishikawa Joken’s (1648-1724) treatise «Zoho kai tsu:sho: ko». Purpose. I aimed to reconstruct the perception of China in the source mentioned above, and to assume whether in was representative for the middle of the Edo period (1603-1867) on the whole or not. Results. Nishikawa Joken’s treatise can be considered a representative source on the topic, due to the fact that it was adjusted and republished during the Edo period several times and even parodies appeared based on this treatise. Further, the author disposed quite detailed information about the neighboring country. The description included a preface with general remarks and an afterword discussing traditions and cults of Chinese sailors arriving at Nagasaki. Every Chinese province was described in a separate chapter, composed according to a pattern, that changed little throughout the text. The pattern included the historical past of the province, its geographic position, its climate, cultural and dialectical peculiarities, local production and trade routes, and famous places that can be found within the province. Textual description was adjusted by a map and several pictures of Qing and Ming courtiers and Chinese ships. China was the only foreign country in the treatise in connection to which particular persons were mentioned: for example, Confucius, the warlord and merchant Zheng Chenggong (1624 - 1662, also known as Koxinga among the Europeans), and the philosopher Zhou Donyi (1017 - 1073). In Koxinga’s case, there is even a short biography present. Also, China is the only country for which Nishikawa definitely divides its historic past from its present. He mentions that since the Manchurian conquer, customs have changed for the worse and all Chinese nowadays look like barbarians. Nishikawa knows Nanjing much better than other provinces, as its description is the most extensive, and he obviously prefers it to other parts of China. The description is rather Japanised: Joken adapts the pronunciation of Chinese place-names to Japanese phonetics. He also uses Japan as the anchor to explain the difference between Chinese provinces. Conclusion. The description of China in Nishikawa Joken’s treatise demonstrates detailed knowledge of the country, at the same time Joken’s approach has nothing in common with sinocentricity; the center for him is rather Japan. This view of China can be considered representative for this period on the whole.
During the XVIth century Japan acquires Western geographical knowledge for the first time. The adaptation went on comparatively fast, and thinkers of the Edo period (1603 - 1867) started to offer their own view of the world. Unevitably different systems of knowledge were mixed, and also Japan was compared to China, India and Europe. As a result the idea of Japan's supremacy was supported in a new way. Nishikawa offered one of the most original explanations, which is compared to of the other thinkers'.
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