Period 5 (Ms. Finder)
Compare China’s influence on other civilizations (LEQ Essay)
The period from 300 to 1000 was a time of intensive exchange and interaction across Eurasia. Several civilizations stand out as major influences. Gupta India, Byzantium, and the Islamic caliphates of the Middle East were remarkable powerhouses. The years from about 600 to 1500 as the Chinese Millennium, with China as the largest, strongest, and most populous civilization in Eurasia. China's success beginning under the great Tang dynasty (618-907) would prove to be the longest lasting period of success in world history. Indeed, the Tang dynasty is regarded by many historians as the most glorious period of China's long history. The years during which the Tang empire experienced its greatest power established pattern for China that would continue throughout the Song and Ming dynasties into early modern times. Tang rule set a standard mark on many facets of Chinese life, including literature and the arts. For this reason, Tang China was admired and copied by many other peoples. During Tang rule, China had its greatest influence on eastern Asia and, at the same time, carried out active trade with peoples across Eurasia. For more than 100 years, the Tang empire stretched deep into Central Asia, and various aspects of Chinese culture spread to Korea and Japan. Buddhism flourished, linking China to a widespread religious community. Tang China was an open forum for people and ideas from many cultures. Japan, Korea, both had strong ties to China as well, and until modern times, preferred keeping their links with China over other links with other civilizations around the world.
During the 7th century Tang armies conquered much of Korea, resulting in the Korean Silla Dynasty's king recognizing the Tang emperor as his overlord. Tang forces withdrew from the peninsula, and even though Korea paid tribute to China, the Silla rulers were allowed to have a greatly deal of autonomy. Significantly, though, the tributary relationship developed in a great deal of Chinese influence diffusing to Korea. The Silla built a new capital modeled on the Tang capital, Confucian schools were founded, and Buddhism sparked a great deal of popular interest. However, unlike China, Korea never developed a bureaucracy based on merit. On the other hand, Chinese armies never invaded Japan, and even Kublai Khan's great forces could not overcome the treacherous straits that lie between Korea and Japan. The straits had isolated Japan since its beginnings, and its many islands and mountainous terrain led to separations among people who lived there. As a result, small states dominated by aristocratic clans developed, with agricultural communities developing wherever they were possible. Some Chinese influence, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, and Chinese writing characters diffused to Japan, but it remained unique in many ways.
Though the Korean people have had many cultural exchanges with China, Korea has kept its own distinct identity throughout history. Chinese influence began to flow into Korea during the earliest Korean kingdom, the Ko Choson (Old Choson) kingdom, which was conquered by the Han dynasty of China. (Korea also had contacts with Japan but was closer to China at the time). When the Han left, Korea split into 3 kingdoms: the Koguryo, the Silla, and the Paekche. Each adopted different aspects of Chinese culture: Koguryo adopted Buddhism, the Chinese code of law, the taxation system, and the bureaucracy. The Silla military followed a code combining Chinese belief systems (Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism). Last, the Paekche adopted some Chinese styles for their art and architecture, but their styles were still unique. The Koreans also adopted the Chinese writing system.
The Japanese borrowed many ideas from the Chinese, including their written language, religion, government style, architecture, and art forms. For example, Buddhism and Confucianism, which were important belief systems in China, were adopted by the Japanese but were reshaped to fit Japanese ways of life, creating different Japanese forms of the same religions. The same went for art and architecture, because the Japanese admired Chinese art while adding their own distinct style. Finally, the Japanese modeled their government after the Chinese style by using their own Imperial Court, its bureaucracy, and city-planning.
Both Korea and Japan adopted Confucianism as a set of principles for the ordering of state and society, and this is perhaps the most significant borrowing as it was really the “operating system” for elites in these societies, as it was in China. Korea and Japan borrowed many features of Chinese political institutions that are, rightly or wrongly, associated with Confucianism. Korea and Japan both also adopted forms of Chinese dress, hairstyles, aesthetics, musical forms, furnishings, and architectural styles, too. Many of these were actually “preserved” in Japan and Korea while they underwent significant changes in China. Styles of clothing we now associate with Japan and Korea, for example, seem to have remained largely unchanged from the time they were borrowed from China, again mainly in Tang. Although they spoke totally unrelated languages, both Korea and Japan adopted the Chinese writing system as well as a great deal of vocabulary from Chinese. The Korean writing system called Hangul – itself clearly a work of genius – was created in the 15th century, and prior to that Korean was written in classical Chinese. Japan used Hanbun (modified Chinese characters) to write until the introduction of man’yōgana in probably the late 7th or early 8th century. It was from this system that modern hiragana and katakana were derived, though any educated Japanese person has a couple of thousands kanji characters under his or her belt.
Overall China had lots of influence on the neighboring civilization. Such as Japan borrowing the writing, religion, and governing style. In Korea, adopting law of the code, Buddhism, taxation system. China had influence on both Korea and Japan mostly in the same way. They both adopted the writing system, taxation system, the governing system, and the philosophies of theirs. The only difference that they both had was it was forcefully enforced in Korea while it was not enforced on Japan and they adopted those system itself. So, moreover China influence on Korea and Japan were similar rather different.