East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute

Author
David C. Kang
Content Type
Book
Institution
Columbia University Press
Abstract
From the founding of the Ming dynasty in 1368 to the start of the Opium Wars in 1841, China has engaged in only two large-scale conflicts with its principal neighbors, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. These four territorial and centralized states have otherwise fostered peaceful and long-lasting relationships with one another, and as they have grown more powerful, the atmosphere around them has stabilized. Focusing on the role of the "tribute system" in maintaining stability in East Asia and fostering diplomatic and commercial exchange, Kang contrasts this history against the example of Europe and the East Asian states' skirmishes with nomadic peoples to the north and west. Scholars tend to view Europe's experience as universal, but Kang upends this tradition, emphasizing East Asia's formal hierarchy as an international system with its own history and character. His approach not only recasts common understandings of East Asian relations but also defines a model that applies to other hegemonies outside of the European order.
Topic
International Relations, History
Publication Identifier
9780231526746
Publication Identifier Type
ISBN
Political Geography
Japan, China, East Asia, Asia, Vietnam, Korea, Asia-Pacific