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Guest lecture: "Roles of Buddhism in History of Relations among Ancient East Asian Countries: with a focus on Ennin and Sillan"

Nov 21, 2019 04:00 pm to 06:00 pm
Organiser: Professorship of Cultural Economic History

Speaker: Ryosuke Kakinuma (Waseda University High School)


Ennin (円仁), an eminent Japanese monk, went to Tang China (唐) with Japanese envoys to the Tang dynasty (遣唐使) in 838. He stayed in China for nine years and studied Buddhism. His diary during the journey is known as “The Record of a Pilgrimage to China in Search of the Law” (入唐求法巡礼行記) and it is a very important source to understand the society or transport system of Tang. With this work, you can search Ennin’s activities in China and gain insights into actual relations among East Asian countries. Ennin’s journey was extremely difficult because he could not get permission to stay in China. He was able to travel across China thanks to Sillans residing in the Tang Empire (在唐新羅人). There existed villages of people of Unified Silla (統一新羅) in coastal areas of the Shandong Peninsula (山東半島) and Jiangsu Province (江蘇省). Sillans residing in Tang were engaged in trade in the East China Sea and they developed a network among each other. It was by using this network that Ennin was able to make a pilgrimage.

How did Sillans in China have connections with Ennin and why did they help him? This matter can be verified through a consideration on Buddhists’ interactions across Japan, Silla and China. In addition, geographical conditions of villages of Sillans should be taken into account. The speaker conducted fieldwork in some village sites of Sillans residing in Tang such as Chishan (赤山) and Lianyungang (連雲港) in order to explain how the network of Sillans had an impact on Ennin’s journey. In this presentation, showing the results of the fieldwork, roles of Buddhism in relations to ancient East Asian countries will be revealed.




Guest Lecture poster

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