RAS Lecture Video: Korean Japanese Relations from 1392 to 1592

Pirate raids prompted the Choson Korea government to encourage trade by other Japanese in the early fifteenth century, and Japanese soon were sending dozens of trade missions each year. The Choson government gradually established detailed regulations for managing that trade, even dividing Japanese traders into a hierarchy. From the 1460s, those regulations and the hierarchy became tools by which Japanese traded through imposter identities, that is, people that did not exist or people who did not know that their identities were being used. Why did the Choson government not always stop imposter trade and what importance did imposter trade have in the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592?

Kenneth R. Robinson is currently a Special Visiting Scholar at the Northeast Asian History Foundation. His research focuses on Korean-Japanese relations in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and on Korean maps of Choson Korea and Japan from those same centuries.

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