Friday, May 18, 2018

The Japanese First Encounter with the Balhae's Mission (3)

      The prewar imperial historical view in Japan wanted Muye's intension to be to pay tribute to Japan.  Obviously, it wasn’t.  He valued the proprieties, but was seeking for the equal diplomatic relations.

     The Japanese central government conferred Gao Je-deog and 7 others Japanese ranks with formal clothes correspondent to the ranks.  They held a grand party with Japanese high-ranking officials attending.  As entertainment for the party, they held archery completion between the Balhae mission members and Japanese archers, and performed gagaku, the ceremonial music and dances of the Imperial Court of Japan.

     Although main and major members were killed by Emishi, the mission brought the letter and presents to Kyoto.  The 8 survivors might have been looking after their ship while the others landed.

     It has been proved that they brought local products other than fur.  In 1988, the residence vestige of Prince Nagaya (684-729) was excavated.  They found thin wooden strips dated from 715 to 729.  In 729,  Prince Nagaya was cornered into suicide.  2 of the wooden strips had the Chinese characters for the "Balhae mission" and “trading”.  As Balhae’s first mission arrived in Japan in 729, and the second arrived in 739, the “trading” mentioned in the strips should have been carried out by the first mission.  They did trading as well as giving presents to the Emperor of Japan.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Japanese First Encounter with the Balhae's Mission (2)

     The Japanese central government issued the 8 surviving mission members with formal attire, headgear, and shoes so that they could attend the imperial new year ceremony at the Imperial Palace on January 3 in 728 (February 21 in the same year by the Gregorian calendar).  On 17 (March 8 by the Gregorian calendar), the members had a formal audience with the Emperor, and presented the letter from the King of Balhae, Muye, and 300 head of marten fur.  The letter said:

     “Muye shows respect.  We have different mountains and rivers, and different lands.  However, as we have heard about your manners and moral senses on hearsay, our admiration and honor has just increased.

     “As we look back in admiration, your great king founded Japan, accepting his fate.  The thick leaves shine under the sun light, and the truck has survived for 100 generations.

     "Muye has faced other nations, has ruled all the tribes, has recovered the former territories of Gogureyeo, and has preserved the manners and customs of Buyeo.

     “However, we are separated far away.  The sea is large and wide, and we haven’t communicated each other.  Asking each other’s fortune has ceased.  We hope to establish our friendship.  We wish to follow the previous courses, and to send missions to each other from today on.

     “Please accept our sending General Gao Len-i, Vice General Deog Ju, Vice-General Sa Hang, and 21 other members, and presenting our letter and 300 head of marten fur.  However humble our local products might be, we present them to show our sincerity.  We feel ashamed to send the fur which might not be rare, and which might meet contemptuous laughs.

     “Timely, we shall hand over our contacts to the next, and appreciate our neighboring friendship forever."

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Japanese First Encounter with the Balhae's Mission (1)

     On September 21 in 727 (on October 14 in the same year by the Gregorian calendar), 8 unfamiliar foreigners drifted ashore in Dewa Province.  They were the survivors of the 24 mission members led by Gao Len-i, who had been launched off by the King of Balhae, Muye.  The mission had been washed away to the land of Emishi in Northern Japan by misfortune.  16 members, including Gao Len-i, had been killed by Emishi.  The 8 escaped under the provisional leadership of Gao Je-deog.  The first encounter of Balhae people and Japanese people was such a tragically dramatic one.

     The Dewa Provincial government sent a swift messenger to the central government.  The central government, in turn, sent an inspector and an interpreter in rush to Dewa Province along with winter clothes etc.

     The inspector brought the 8 mission members to Kyoto on December 20 in 727 (on February 8 in 728 by the Gregorian calendar).

Sunday, May 06, 2018

The Ambivalence about Kobe Motomachi Shopping Street

On TripAdvisor, Kobe Motomachi Shopping Street is ranked #40 out of 762 attractions in Kobe.  66 travelers have posted their reviews about the street in English.  Along the street, however, only 2 attractions are listed on TripAdvisor; Kobe Fugetsudo Museum, which is ranked #119 out of 762 attractions in Kobe and which have had only 1 review in English, and Gallery Miyake,#412, which has no review in any language.  Even Motomachitaki Park, which is listed on Google Map, isn’t listed on TripAdvisor.  
Not all the restaurants along the street are listed.  Only a few of them have reviews.  Some reviewers of the shopping street itself sound to have just strolled through it, regretting that they found fewer people as they walked to the west end of the street.
If the shopping mall wants to attract more people into walking through the street and into more shopping, they have to list all the attractions and restaurants along the street, and even have to post the first reviews in English for themselves.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Gogureyeo's Missions across the Sea of Japan before Balhae’s

     Nihonshoki. the Chronicles of Japan, whose editing was finished in 720, recorded the diplomatic relations with Goguryeo, whose ruling in the northern half of Korea Peninsula lasted from 37 BC till 668 AD, as follows:

     In 570, “Goguryeo’s mission suffered the hardships of winds and waves, and drifted ashore at Koshi Province.”  (Ancient Koshi Province used to cover today’s Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama, and Niigata Prefectures.)
     In 572, “Goguryeo’s mission arrived at Koshi Province, and presented a crow-feathered letter to the Emperor.”  (What a crow-feathered letter was is unknown.)
     In 573, “Goguryeo’s mission arrived at Koshi Province.  We repatriated them with our reply mission.”
     In 574, "Goguryeo’s mission arrived at Koshi Province.”
     In 595, “A Goguryeo’s priest, Hyeja, arrived and resided in Japan.”  (Hyeja later became a teacher of Shotoku Taishi (574-622).)
     In 610, “The Goguryeo King presented priests, Damjing and Beobjeong.”  (They brought the arts of paper making and those of making Chinese ink sticks.)
     In 615, “A Goguryeo’s priest, Hyeja, returned home.”
     In 618, “The Goguryeo King, in commemoration of the victory against Zui Dynasty China, presented captives, music instruments, catapult rocks, camels, and etc.”
     In 625, “The Goguryeo King presented a priest, Hyegwan.”
     In 660, "Goguryeo’s mission arrived at Tsukushi Province.”
     In 662, “Goguryeo complained of the menace of Tang Dynasty China.”
     In 668, “Goryeo, sent a mission through the route of Koshi, and presented national products."

Friday, May 04, 2018

Community-Based English Learning is needed.

     My wife and I parked our car in the Naka-no-hashi Car Park, and visited the grave of my father in Mt. Koya.  After the visit, we visited Oku-no-in Temple and strolled along the street in the graveyard, watching the graves of historic figures.  We walked out of the graveyard from Ichi-no-hashi, and felt like having a cup of coffee or something to take a rest.  First, we found Komi Cafe, but it was full of travelers from abroad.  We kept walking, and found a Japanese sweet shop entirely vacant.
     What was the difference between two shops?  In Komi Cafe, a staff was sitting in front of the cafe, appealing they can serve in English, with signs and menus in English in front of the shop.  On the other hand, the sweet shop had no signs or menus in English.  As we has yummy Japanese sweets with a cup of aromatic tea, some foreign travelers looked into the shop and just passed by, shaking their heads.
     Later, when we were having lunch at a Japanese restaurant after visiting Kongo-bu-ji Temple and Danjo-Garan, there came in five young foreign travelers, who had troubles communicating with the staffs how and what to order.  I gave them some help. 
     The Koya-cho municipal government should provide a kind of English adult education to support the staffs working in the area to learn some useful English phrases so that they can serve visitors from abroad friendly and efficiently, as the area is attracting so many sightseers from abroad, who are contributing the tax revenues.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Community-Based English Learning

     I started teaching English in Osaka Prefectural Higashi-Mozu Senior High School a month ago.  For a month, I have been wondering how I can motivate my students to study English.  In the mean time, as I have commuted from Doto Bus Stop to the school on foot, I found a mysterious pyramid-like mound half covered with countless tiles in the middle of a park.  One day, on my way to a convenience store in the morning, I dropped in at the park, and walked around the mound out of curiosity.  And I posted my curious experience on a travel review site, with full of enigmatic words.  On another day, on my way back to the bus stop, I found a sign in front of a temple, which accounted for the history of the temple, Ono-ji Temple, and the nearby mound, which turned out to be the ruins of an ancient Buddhism pagoda, Doto.
     The travel review site informed me that Doto is currently ranked #43 out of 156 things to do in Sakai City.  If I post its reviews in English again, with a properly explanatory manner this time, I may be able to promote the pagoda, and attract inbound tourists to it.  I would like to let my students witness Western backpackers looking up to Doto, and Asian travelers strolling around Doto, pulling their suitcases behind themselves.  I would like my students to see learning and using English matters.
     To inform about the surrounding area, I have already listed Ono-ji Temple, to which Doto used to belong, and Doto Shrine on the travel review site, which are currently ranked #141, and #142 accordingly.  I have to wait another three months to post the next review about Doto, observing the rules of the travel review site.