The "Account of the Wa People" (魏志倭人傳) in the Records of Three Kingdoms (三國志) is the evidence that ancient Japan, called Wa (倭) ruled Mimana (任那; Korean: Imna) and Kara (加羅 or Kuya 伽耶; Korean: Gaya or Gala ), the south coast area of the Korean Peninsula, and the Gwanggaeto Stele (好太王碑) of Goguryeo further confirms that Japan has a historical basis to claim the sovereignty over the 2/3 of South Korea's territory. This is what I pointed out in my recent two essays. This third essay introduces further viewpoints such as the Five Kings of Wa described in ancient Chinese records to reinforce this theory.
1. Five Kings of Wa
There are some descriptions of kings of ancient Japan in the 5th century in some ancient Chinese records. "Five Kings of Wa" are introduced in the following history records of Southern Dynasties of China.
Title Pinyin Era Year Compiled Book of Chin (晉書) Jin Chin Dynasty 265-420 648 Book of Sung (宋書) Song Liu Sung Dynasty 420-479 488? Book of Ch`i (南齊書) Qi Southern Ch`i Dynasty 479-502 510? Book of Liang (梁書) Liang Liang Dynasty 502-557 635
Their names were San (讃), Chin (珍), Sai (濟), Kō (興) and Bu (武).
NB: Many contemporary historians assign these five kings to following emperors of ancient Japan, San as Ōjin (應神; 15th emperor; r. 270-310), Nintoku (仁德; 16th emperor; r. 313-99) or Richū (履中; 17th emperor; r. 400-05), Chin as Nintoku or Hanzei (反正; 18th emperor; r. 406-10), Sai as Ingyō (允恭; 19th emperor; r. 412-53), Kō as Ankō (安康; 20th emperor; r. 453-56) and Bu as Yūryaku (雄略; 21st emperor; r.456-79). However, I rather support the Kyûshû Dynasty Theory (九州王朝説) that they were kings of an independent dynasty in southwest Japan which did not belong to the Yamato Imperial Court (大和朝廷; the lineage of Japan's imperial family).)
Each time, wa kings were investitured official ran titles by Chinese emperors of southern dynasties when they came or sent tribute messengers to China (册封). In fact, these title names are the most remarkable significance. For example, the Wa King Sai (倭王濟) who sent a tribute mission in 451 (Sung Dynasty, Yuanchia 7; 宋/元嘉28) was investitured as,
The Envoy Extraordinary, the Supreme Military Commander of Six States of Wa, Silla, Mimana (Imna),
Kara (Gaya), Jinhan and Mohan (Mahan), the Great General East-guard Wa King
This title suggests that the King Sai was approved by the Sung Dynasty to militarily rule six states of Wa, Silla, Mimana, Kara, Jinhan and Mahan. And in 477, the Wa King Bu (倭王武), the son of the King Sai professed himself,
The Envoy Extraordinary, Supreme Military Commander of Seven States of Wa, Kudara (Baekje),
Silla, Mimana, Kara, Jinhan and Mohan, the Great General East-guard Wa King
NB: Baekje is the name that Chinese characters are pronounced in modern Korean language. It has been called Kudara in Japan since the ancient time.
Although ruling Kudara (Baekje) was not approved, his military rule over six nations was further confirmed by the Emperor Shun (順帝) of the Sung Dynasty in 478.
NB: Kara (Gaya) corresponds to Mimana (Imna) and Mohan is Mahan (馬韓). Although Jinhan (辰韓 or 秦韓) is Silla's antecedent and Mahan is Baekje's, these names of Silla=Jinhan and Baekje=Mohan are all independently listed. It suggests that states of Jinhan (諸邑) were not all annexed to Silla yet, and states of Mahan were not all integrated to Baekje at that time.
Still, the inscription on the Gwanggaeto Stele of Goguryeo confirms that Kudara (Baekje) was practically under the rule of Japan as introduced in my previous essay.
百殘新羅、舊是屬民、由來朝貢。而倭以辛卯年、來渡海破百殘、隨破新羅、以爲臣民。"Since Baekjan (Baekje) and Silla were previously subservient states (of Goguryeo), they paid tributes (to Goguryeo). And since the Sinmyo year, the Wa (the Japanese) came across the sea, defeated Baekjan, defeated Silla and made them subjects."
This inscription proves that Baekje and Silla in the south part of the Korean Peninsula were subjugated by Wa (Japan). And the investiture titles of Wa kings further confirms the record on the Gwanggaeto Stele as an undeniable fact of the history. Nevertheless ancient Chinese record does not say, there are other records saying that Kudara (Baekje) was practically under influence of Japan such as the Seven Branched Sword (七支刀; Japanese: Nanatsu Saya no Tachi).
2. Inscription on the Seven Branched Sword
A precious legacy of the history, the Seven-Branched Sword (picture) – housed in the Isonokami Shrine (石上神宮) in Tenri, Nara (奈良縣天理市) – is designated a national treasure of Japan. It is 74.9 cm (29.49") in length, 65.5 cm (25.8") in length of the blade and 9.4 cm (3.7") in length of the tang. Because of its unique shape, it has been called the Rokusa no Hoko [Six forked halberd] (六叉之鉾) since the ancient time. There is a two-sided inscription engraved on the sword.[*1-*4]
造百練□七支刀。[出]辟百兵、宜供供侯*王、[永年大吉祥]。At noon on [May] 16 Pingwu day (丙午; Yang Fire Horse; sexagenary day 43), T'ai[he] year 4 (泰和 or 太和; Eastern Chin's era of China; CE 369), this hundred times tempered Seven-Branched Sword has been finished. This sword (is a talisman that) wards off hundreds of (enemy) soldiers. It is suitable for the respectful King of virtue [for his celebrated fortune and eternity].
Such a blade has never existed since the dawn of history. The [Crown Prince] of Baekje, [Guisu (貴首 or 貴須)] had this made for the Wa King [Shi (旨) to be passed down to posterity].
N.B.: This decoding is based on the newest research in 2005.[*1] Characters in brackets are ambiguous and argued on decoding, and with an asterisk are variants.
There are some different interpretations (decoding) suggested by Korean scholars such as "Baekje sent a replica sword to the Wa king that original was conferred on Baekje by the emperor of China" or "Baekje Prince conferred it on his subject Wa King." However, the context of the whole inscription naturally suggests that the "Prince of Baekje had this sword made for the Wa King" because of the wording at the beginning of the second side,
[Such a blade has never existed since the dawn of history.]
This wording signifies that Seven-Branched Sword had never existed in Baekje before. It does not make sense that Baekje only made such a special sword for not its own king but its subject Wa.
Another argument is a reading of a character, Shi (旨) in the phrase:
[made for the Wa King Shi]
This phrase has been translated in various ways through different interpretation of the letter "旨" because of its multiple meanings such as:
Nevertheless what twisting interpretations Korean scholars suggest, the most natural reading of this phrase is to regard Shi as a personal name of the then-king in the period around CE 369 — the "Wa King Shi" for whom the sword was made — because ancient Chinese records always describe kings of Wa as the "Wa King Name" such as "Wa King San" (倭王讃), "Wa King Sai" (倭王濟), "Wa King Kō" (倭王興) and "Wa King Bu" (倭王武).
Accordingly, it is quite unnatural to force to interpret the inscription that the Seven-Branched Sword was "conferred" or "offered down" by the Baekje prince to the Wa King. The description on the Gwanggaeto Stele further proves that Wa held a dominant position over Baekje in terms of the power relationship. The sword was rather tribute from the subject state Baekje, or just a gift to seal the relationship.
The Seven-Branched Sword also appears in a written document in Japan compiled in the the 8th century, the Nihon Shoki (日本書紀; or Yamato no Fumi; The Chronicles of Japan; 720) — Volume 9: Okinaga Tarashihime no Mikoto (氣長足姫尊; Regent Empress Jingū 神功皇后).
五十二年秋九月、丁卯朔丙子。久氐等從千熊長彥詣之。則獻七枝刀一口、七子鏡一面及種種重寶。仍啟曰『臣國以西有水源出自谷那鐵山。其邈七日行之不及。當飲是水、便取是山鐵以永奉聖朝。』 乃謂孫枕流王曰『今我所通東海貴國、是天所啓。是以垂天恩、割海西而賜我由是國基永固。汝當善脩和好、聚斂土物、奉貢不絶、雖死何恨。』 自是後、毎年相續朝貢焉。On September 10, the Empress Jingû Regent Era 52 (神功皇后攝政; CE 372), the envoy of Kudara (Baekje) Kutei (久氐; Korean: Gutae) and others came to the Imperial Court accompanied by Chikuma no Nagahiko (千熊長彥). Kutei offered up a seven-branched sword, a mirror with seven small decoration mirrors (七子鏡; Nanatsuko no Kagami) and various other objects of great value with a message from the Kudara King Kinshōko (近肖古王; Korean: Geunchogo; r. 346-75).
"There is a river in the east of our country that flows from an iron mine in Kokuna (谷那; Korean: Gokna). It is quite a long way that takes more than seven days to reach there (from the capital). Day after day, we drink from the river and devote to mine for iron-ore to solely revere Your Majesty."
The Kudara (Baekje) King told his grandson the King Tomuru (枕流王; Korean: Chimnyu; r. 384-85), "The noble country on the east of the sea that I exchange letters is the land where the Pantheon established. The holy empire granted a mercy of the Heavens on our country to cede the land on the west of the sea. Now the foundation of the country has been consolidated. I don't leave any regret after my death if you strive to keep amity without ceasing to offer up products and produce."
Since the time, Baekje never missed to pay tribute every year.
3. The ruined kingdom Kudara
Since the 4th century, Kudara (Baekje 百濟) was under pressures from the powerful Goguryeo (高句麗) on the north and Silla (新羅) on the east. The only way to oppose against these nations for Kudara is to ally amity with Wa (Japan) on the south. But eventually, Kudara began to lose influence and kept moving the capital to the south, from Kanjō (漢城; Korean: Hanseong; curt. Seoul) to Yūshin (熊津; Korean: Ungjin; curt. Gongju 公州, Chungcheongnam-do 忠淸南道) in 475 and again to Sofuri (所夫里; Korean: Sabi 泗沘; curt. Buyeo County 扶餘郡, Chungcheongnam-do) in 538. While the country was getting weak, members of Kudara royalty were sent to stay in Wa as hostages including princes. Kudara gradually became a protectorate of Wa.
In 660, the troops of Tang (唐) of China led by General Su Ting-fang (蘇定方; Pinyin: Su Ding-fang) attacked Kudara and the capital Sofuri (Sabi) eventually fell. The Kudara Dynasty ended by the King Giji's (夫餘義慈王; Korean Uija; Chinese: Fuyu Its'u; r. 641-60) surrender.
After the fall of Kudara, the revival forces led by General Kishitsu Fukushin (鬼室福信; Korean: Gwisil Boksin) rose in revolt against Tang proclaiming the Prince Fuyo Hôshô (扶餘豐璋; Korean: Buyeo Pungjang) as the new king of Kudara who stayed in Wa as a hostage (practically treated as a VIP) in an attempt to restore the Kudara Dynasty. However, in 663, the Kudara revival forces and the Wa navy were defeated by the Tang-Silla joint forces in the Battle of Hakusukinoe (白村江海戰; Korean: Battle of Baekgang 白江戰闘; Chinese: Battle of Paichiangk'ou 白江口之戰). The restoration of the Baekje Dynasty ended in failure.
There has been a controversy between China and South Korea with regard to Goguryeo's historical belonging.[#1] If the historical belonging of an ancient kingdom is determined based on its cultural, ethnic and political aspects, I rather suggest Kudara (Baekje) to be regarded as a part of Japan's history. After the fall of Kudara, numerous refugees including the royalty, feudal lords and aristocrats fled to Japan.
By considering the facts that numerous ruined people fled to Japan after Kudara's fall, Kudara had contributed for Japan's acculturation by introducing many kinds of the Silk Road cultures such as Buddhism, and the Gwanggaeto Stele says that Kudara (Baekje) was a subject state of Wa, it can be understood that the ruined country Kudara (Baekje) was practically absorbed into Japan with its flourished culture.
And, in fact, Chinese history records say that "the aristocracy and general public speak different languages in Kudara." (what kind of languages were spoken in Kudara is unknown. It is still assumable that the Kudaran aristocratic language is a sort of closely related language to the ancient Japanese language since the Kudara's royalty easily adopted themselves in the Imperial Court of Japan after their refuge.)[#2] These historical records suggest that Kudara was a mixed-nation country of the Kudaran (the South Buyeo 南扶餘) and the Wa (the Japanese).
The Imperial Court of Japan conferred the noble status with the surname "Kudara" on the former Kudara's royalty such as Zenkō (禪廣 or 善光), younger brother of Kudara's Prince Fuyo Hôshô (Buyeo Pungjang), who served for Japan after the fall of Kudara. They were given exceptional treatment such as family heads were conferred the high-class coronational titles such as Count Kudara no Konikishi [The Sovereign of Kudara] (百濟王).
The close relationship between the former Kudara Royal House and Japanese Imperial House is also testified by the Emperor Kanmu (桓武天皇; the 50th Emperor; 737-806, r. 781-806, portrait) with saying,
because his mother Takano no Asomi Niigasa (高野朝臣新笠; d. 790) from the Yamato family (和) is a descendant of the Kudara King Bunei (武寧王; Korean: Muryeong; 461-523, r. 502-23). (According to the Shoku Nihongi 續日本紀; New History of Japan; 797)
No matter it is true or not, the country Kudara (Baekje) does not exist any longer and many records have been lost in the lapse of time such as Kudara-ki [Records of Kudara] (百濟紀; Korean: Baekje-gi) and Go-Kudara-ki [Later Records of Kudara] (後百濟紀; Korean: Hu Baekje-gi). Even we don't know what kind of language the Kudaran people spoke.
Another enigmatic question is the name of "Kudara" itself. The combination of two Chinese characters for Kudara, "百濟" (Korean: Baekje) is normally pronounced as "Hyaku-sai" in the standard rule of the Japanese language but only the name of this country has been exceptionally pronounced as "Kudara." The reason of this mystery still remains enigmatic — the only thing it is certain is that the etymological origin of the pronunciation Kudara is from a legendary mountain's name "Potalaka" (補陀落; Fudaraku in Japanese) of Buddhism where the Avalokiteśvara (觀世音菩薩) lives.
This time, I started this essay with the Five Kings of Wa and concluded at the ruined kingdom Kudara. It reminds me my writing in old essay I wrote in 1997, No. 16 (Japan and Manchuria were brother nations!! — the dream of Japano-Balhae aliance) that, "Once there was a country Buyeo (扶餘; Chinese: Fuyu) that Goguryeo (Manchuria) and South Buyeo (Korea) were originated from, and then Kudara (Baekje) and Japan were separated from South Buyeo."
The Koreans always strive to interpret and understand the history as the glorious nation in the ancient time and as oppressed suffers in the modern time. This is completely an unilateral view of the history that South Korea always demands Japan to accept as the "correct understanding of the history." And they strive to justify their military invasion on Takeshima by their "distortion of the history." So that we need countermeasures against South Korea to restrain from further reckless driving by showing real historical facts in the ancient records such as the Account of the Wa People, the inscription on the Gwanggaeto Stele and more in this essay — Five Kings of Wa in ancient Chinese records, the Seven-Branched Sword and the history of Kudara. However, I am not intending to propose invading Korea in the 21st century.
Before confronting each other, we should remember that there was once a country called Kudara where the many Japanese people lived, and after its fall, numerous ruined people fled to Japan bringing their flourished culture. After receiving Kudara's ruined people, Japan became a duo-nation country of the Japanese and the Kuradan like Kudara used to be. The Kudaran people have melted into the Japanese as years go by, and now it is unimaginable how to distinguish who are posterity of the Kudaran.
Contrary, new Korean immigrants Zainichi Koreans (在日韓国・朝鮮人; Korean residents of Japan who immigrated in the 20th century, particularly during and after Japanese annexation) are peculiarly insisting to refuse acquiring Japanese nationalities. Many of them are already the third or fourth generation and even can't understand the Korean language at all. Although they were born and grew up in Japan as nothing different from the Japanese, they are quite deconstructive that always claiming unreasonable accusations. It seems like they regard the essence of their identity is that to confront with the Japanese. I rather encourage them to bid farewell to their vain dream of an illusionary fantasy of nostalgia — a mere ancestral land "Korea" — and to live as the Japanese with us like their ancestors Kudaran people once did.
#1. A controversy between China and South Korea
Because most of the ancient nation of Goguryeo was in areas now within China's borders, scholars in China have claimed it as belonging to China's history. Korean scholars argue that the historical identity of the ancient kingdom is far more important than current territorial rights to the region. One reason for the diplomatic sensitivity is that cultural and historical claims can be the basis for territorial claims.
Lost Kingdom, Modern Spat. Worldpress.org.
#2. Languages of ruined countries in East Asia
In ancient east Asian region, the only writing way was in archaic Chinese among areas of current China, Koreas, Japan, Mongolia, and Vietnam. Among different areas and countries, these characters are pronounced differently. East Asian languages other than Chinese are unable to be perfectly written in Chinese so phonemic characters were invented in or adopted to these countries and regions in later periods. Japanese characters were invented in the 8th century and Korean characters were invented in the 15th century. We can only trace how these languages were pronounced up to the period since the definition of phonemic characters was formed. There are many ruined kingdoms in ancient east Asia but there is no records what languages were actually spoken in these ruined countries since all the records were written in archaic Chinese.
References for English translation
*1. The Third "East Asian countries and comparison of formation processes" - Record of the International Symposium (第3回「東アジア諸国家とその形成過程の比較研究」領域横断研究會記録), 2005. Kyûshû University Humanities Project "East Asia and Japan: Interaction and transformations (九州大學21世紀COEプログラム「東アジアと日本：交流と變容」).
*2. Seven-branched Sword (七支刀). Concerning the Ancient Times (古代について), 2005.
*3. HAMADA Kōsaku (濱田耕策). Japanese-Korean Relationships in 4th Century (4世紀の日韓關係), 7-17. The Japan-Korea Cultural Foundation (日韓文化交流基金). 2005.
http://www.jkcf.or.jp/history/1/1-01-hamada_j.pdf (Japanese, PDF)
*4. No. 240: The Mysterious 4th Century (謎の四世紀). Society of Yamatai (邪馬臺國の會).
Related information (Links)
- Records of Three Kingdoms (三國志), Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
- Wa (倭). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Gaya Confederacy (加羅 or 伽耶). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Book of Chin (晉書). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Book of Sung (宋書). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Book of Southern Ch'i (南齊書). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Book of Liang (梁書). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Emperor Ōjin (應神天皇). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Emperor Nintoku (仁德天皇). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Emperor Richū (履中天皇). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Emperor Hanzei (反正天皇). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Emperor Ingyō (允恭天皇). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Emperor Ankō (安康天皇). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Emperor Yūryaku (雄略天皇). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Kyûshû Dynasty (九州王朝). Furuta's Historical Science Association (古田史學の會).
- Sinocentrism (中華思想). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Seven-Branched Sword (七支刀). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Nihon Shoki (日本書紀). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Empress Consort Jingō (神功皇后). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- King Kinshōko/Geunchogo (近肖古王). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- King Tomuru/Chimnyu (枕流王). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Tang Dynasty (唐). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- King Giji/Uija (義慈王). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Kishitsu Fukushin/Gwisil Boksin (鬼室福信). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Fuyo Hôshô/Buyeo Pungjang (扶餘豐璋). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Battle of Hakusukinoe (白村江海戰). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Emperor Kanmu (桓武天皇). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Takano no Asomi Niigasa (高野朝臣新笠). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- King Bunei/Muryeong (武寧王). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Shoku Nihongi (續日本紀). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
- Avalokiteśvara (觀世音菩薩). Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.