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In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
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Abstract

Zhang Ruoxu’s poem “Chunjiang huayue ye,” reached Japan and Korea in the anthology Tangshi xuan compiled by the Ming dynasty scholar Li Panlong. In the mid-Edo period, under the influence of the “Kobunjigaku” (Ancient Rhetoric School) represented by Ogyū Sorai, the Tangshi xuan anthology enjoyed a phase of great popularity and became the widest-read Tang poetry work at the time. Because “Chunjiang huayue ye” was included in Tangshi xuan, it was also widely read. Many versions of Tangshi xuan containing abundant commentaries on “Chunjiang huayue ye” were published in Japan; most of these focus on art appreciation and comment on the poem in considerable depth. China, Japan, and Korea also produced many response poems and imitations of “Chunjiang huayue ye.” Of these, the Chinese imitations were closest to the original work, the Japanese ones had greater ideological depth and echoed the commentaries on the poem, and the Korean ones were all rhymed response poems that were integrated into Korean culture over time. As a literary classic, “Chunjiang huayue ye” transcended its original era and at the same time broke the barriers of space, becoming world literature appreciated by people in other countries.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Author:

Abstract

Since the 1980s, research on Sinographic literature has made significant strides. From the standpoint of academic history, this research has undergone three broad stages, which are represented respectively by new materials, new questions, and new methods. These have been the overall trends, which necessarily overlap each other. Research on Sinographic literature has diverged from a focus on new material toward the refinement of new questions and the exploration of new methodologies. One such exploratory approach is “the Sinosphere as methodology,” which addresses the shortcomings of four previous research models and seeks to put this new methodological concept into practice, to contain the expansionist impulses of cultural imperialism, and to prise apart nationalist parochialism.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Author:

Abstract

Yanxinglu studies” is a field of study dedicated to the research of Yanxinglu (Kor: Yŏnhaengnok), the travel records of Korean diplomatic envoys to China during the Koryŏ and Chosŏn periods. Yanxinglu should be distinguished from travel records of a more general nature and can be further classified as follows: Yanxinglu writings in a broad or a narrow sense; and Yanxinglu writings with a single or multiple titles. This article investigates a number of pertinent questions such as the concept of Yanxinglu itself, the titles of individual travel accounts, the creation and periodization of Yanxinglu writings, the collection and compilation of primary sources and their translation, the creation of databases, and the search for suitable research methods. This analysis shows that it is time to establish “Yanxinglu studies” as an independent field of study in China and to create a scholarly society to guide and coordinate future research efforts.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Author:

Abstract

The “Riben dao ge” is a well-known poem in the history of East Asian literary exchanges. The poem was written by Sima Guang during his appointment at the Palace Library, expressing his cultural expectations as well as some satirical remarks about Qian Gongfu. The earliest proponent of the theory that the “Riben dao ge” was written by Sima Guang was the Japanese Meiji-era scholar Kusaka Hiroshi, who influenced Yang Shoujing. From the standpoint of cultural history, the “Riben dao ge” is intimately connected to the Edo-era concept of lost and surviving books; Chosŏn’s goodwill missions, moreover, played a vital role in the dissemination of the poem in Japan. The “Riben dao ge’s” many influences across Japan and Chosŏn demonstrated an interest in the Chinese cultural issue of “searching for lost rituals among the people.”

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
Author:

Abstract

From the Wei-Jin through Tang-Song periods, social structures and customs in China underwent great change. In the case of sitting positions, these periods saw a shift from the “floor-sitting era” prior to the Qin to the “era of raised sitting” following the Tang and Song dynasties. In the interim, there was a period where the seated squat (juzuo 踞坐 ) made an appearance. This position is depicted in the “Man seated on foreign stool” detail of the scroll painting, Bei Qi jiaoshu tu 北齊校 書圖. During the Liu Song dynasty, monks at the Qihuan Temple ate in a seated squat and were vehemently lambasted by scholar-officials led by Fan Tai, instigating political debate around the sitting position. From a Confucian point of view, sitting positions are divided into two categories based on whether the calves or the bottoms of one’s feet touch the ground: the first includes kneeling, the sitting kneel, and the lotus positions, while the second includes squatting, sitting with legs outstretched, and the seated squat positions. Shifts in sitting positions reflect not only subtle changes taking place across various aspects of Chinese social customs and daily life, but also structural change on a systemic level. On the ideological front, obscure learning of the Wei and Jin dynasties exposed abuses of Confucian ethics. Compounded with the onslaught of foreign cultural influences such as Buddhism, it is no wonder, in this context of great historical upheaval, that efforts to preserve Confucianism would end in failure.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities

Abstract

The concept of li (rites) in ancient China encompasses three levels of meaning, namely: the rituals and ceremonies themselves, moral ethics, and a system of political hierarchy. While these three levels are related to each other, they each carry specific characteristics. When people today discuss issues such as the origins of rites, they rarely analyze the concept of rites according to these different levels, thus causing the topic at hand to be vague, ambiguous, and inchoate. In most research, both “rites” and the “rituals” refer specifically to the level of the ritual per se. “Rites” include both folk rituals and state rituals, the latter of which refers to what is commonly termed the “rituals,” that is, the part of rites with state background and political coercion. The fundamental difference between the rituals and other statutes and institutions lies in rituals’ performative, symbolic, and standardized nature. Their performative and symbolic nature bestowed upon the rites a special significance and publicity function which transcend everyday life. At the same time, their standardized and formulaic nature made these rites highly organized and institutionalized, while allowing them to reinforce the social and political hierarchy. The highly mature rituals in ancient China allowed both characteristics of these rituals to be developed to their fullest, thus giving rise to Chinese culture’s emphasis on performance and form.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities

Abstract

In traditional China’s complicated social system, the interaction between custom and ritual laid the foundation for a national political framework and local societal functions, and has continued to play a role in modern Chinese nation-building since the May Fourth Movement. The essence of this interaction is that it draws together national politics with non-governmental micropolitics; by engaging widespread support from across society, it ensures that society’s internal mechanisms function smoothly through a shared cultural identity, thereby eliminating real or potential social crises. Today, in a time of rapid globalization, all nations are faced with issues such as international regulations, national legal rights, and civil governance. Chinese traditional political wisdom and social mechanisms embedded in the interaction between custom and ritual may be useful.

Open Access
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities
In: Journal of Chinese Humanities