Chinese Influence on Korea and Japan
Today, Japanese and Korean civilizations are advanced, wealthy, and independent with their own system of government and religious beliefs due to the influences from China. The majority of Asia experienced changes in government and dealt with inter and intra state conflicts when the countries were most susceptible to influences from alliances made with other countries. The Tang Dynasty/ Silla alliance shaped the future of Korea’s religious and government movements. Art and literature from China also greatly impacted Korea’s and Japan’s society and provided new insight into literary expression through new forms of poetry and a new system of writing. Religion was also a major influence because of popularity and acceptance of new views and beliefs. Agriculture played an important role in the development of Korean and Japanese civilizations because new tools and forms of irrigation led to more efficient harvesting. The bulk of Chinese influence impacted Japanese society through the Heian period and Korea was heavily influenced by Chinese culture during the period when Silla unified Korea. Although there were many factors of Chinese culture that influenced Korean and Japanese civilizations, religion and government legislation had the most impact.
Regarding religion, Chinese culture saw the emergence of Confucianism and Buddhism as the major influence. Confucianism stressed filial piety which meant respecting elders and superiors, ruling righteously, and obeying commands and orders. Confucianism was introduced by the Chinese thinker Confucius. Buddhism was brought to China, but originated in India and was founded by Siddhartha Gautama. Followers of Buddhism worshipped Buddha and acknowledged that life was full of suffering that was caused by wrong doings and bad deeds in previous lives. Nirvana was the ultimate goal that broke the cycle of rebirth. North Korea is connected to China by land, so Chinese monks travelled to Korea to spread their knowledge and practice of Buddhism. At the time, Korea was divided into the Three Kingdoms that were Koguryo, Silla, and Paekche. Outbreaks of conflict between the Three Kingdoms tore the peninsula apart and leaders of Silla sent officials to China who negotiated an alliance with officials of the current Tang Dynasty. This alliance was important because it led to Buddhism’s emergence as the major religion in Korea. Buddhism spread from Korea to Japan as well. Whereas Chinese monks came to Korea to spread Buddhism, Japan sent missions of important political figures to Korea and China to learn about Buddhism. Buddhism also brought different style of art and literature to Korean and Japanese societies. Buddhist sculpture and statues gave Japanese and Korean artists new materials to build with and new ways to express themselves. Many temples constructed by architects were similar to the style of Buddhist temples and the Tang Dynasty’s style of...