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Japanese missions to Sui China represent a lens for examining and evaluating the relationships between China and Japan in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. The nature of these bilateral contacts evolved gradually from political and ceremonial acknowledgment to cultural exchanges; and the process accompanied the growing commercial ties which developed over time.[1]

Between 607 and 838, Japan sent 19 missions to China. Knowledge was the principal objective of each expedition. For example: Priests studied Chinese Buddhism. Officials studied Chinese government. Doctors studied Chinese medicine. Painters studied Chinese painting. Approximately one third of those who embarked from Japan did not survive to return home.[2]

Year Sender Japanese envoys Chinese monarch Comments
607 Suiko Ono no Imoko[3] Yang Imoko's title was kenzuishi[4]
608 Suiko Ono no Imoko Yang Takamuko no Kuromaro (no Genri)[5] and Minabuchi no Shōan,[6] along with the Buddhist monk Sōmin [7] remained in China for 32 years before returning to Japan. Like Imoko, the titles of Kuromaro and Shoan were kenzuishi[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Fogel, Joshua A. (2009). Articulating the Sinosphere: Sino-Japanese Relations in Space and Time, pp. 102-107.
  2. ^ Hoffman, Michael. "Cultures Combined in the Mists of Time: Origins of the China-Japan relationship," Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. February 3, 2006; reprinting article in Japan Times, January 29, 2006.
  3. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Ono no Imoko" in Japan encyclopedia, p. 755, p. 755, at Google Books; n.b., Louis-Frédéric is pseudonym of Louis-Frédéric Nussbaum, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Authority File Archived 2012-05-24 at
  4. ^ a b Nussbaum, "Kentōshi" at p. 511, p. 511, at Google Books
  5. ^ Nussbaum, "Takamuko no Kuromaro (No Genri)" at p. 935, p. 935, at Google Books
  6. ^ Nussbaum, "Minabuchi no Shōan" at p. 632, p. 632, at Google Books
  7. ^ Nussbaum, "Sōmin" at p. 900, p. 900, at Google Books


  • Fogel, Joshua A. (2009). Articulating the Sinosphere: Sino-Japanese Relations in Space and Time. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674032590; OCLC 255142264
  • Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan Encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 48943301