A Sample of Sinocentrism
in "Korea and her neighbors"



As the background of Kumdo problem, I talked about petit Sinocentrism (the introduction of Izawa Motohiko's work).

Briefly speaking, this is a sort of nationalism that based on worship of Chinese civilization / culture as supreme one. This also include the idea of "selected people".

We can see nationalism in various time or place. It is natural to love their own nation. It is also common to be proud of their nation's culture. But petit Sinocentrism is different from the other nationalism. The object of worship or respect is not their nation or culture itself. They worship China or Sino, its culture and civilization. They think Korea is superior to the other nations, because Korea is close to Chinese culture and civilization.

As an example of petit Sinocentrism, I quote from "Korea and her neighbors" by Isabella Bird who traveled Korea in the end of 19th century.

- From "Korea and her neighbors"(Chapter36) -

 .. it must be remarked in connection with education in Korea that so lately as the close of 1896 a book, Called Confucianist Scholars' Handbook of Latitudes and Longitudes,had been edited by Sin Ki Sun,Minister of Education, prefaced by two Councillors of the Education Department, and published at Government expense, in which the followlng sentences occur:−

 P.52:"Europe is too far away from the centre of civilization, i.e. the Middle Kingdom;hence Russians, Turks, English,French,Germans,and Belgians look more like birds and beasts than men,and their language sound like the chirping of fowls."

 Again:"According to the views of recent generations,what westerners call the Christian Religion is vulgar,shallow, and erroneous,and is an instance of the vileness of barbarian customs, which are not worthy of serious discussion....
They worship the heavenly spirits, but do not sacrifice to parents, they insult heaven in every way, andoverturn the social relations. This is truly a type of Barbarian vileness, and is not worth of treatment in our review of foreign customs, especially as at this time the religion is somewhat on the wane.
 "Europeans have planted their spawn in every country of the globe except China.All of them honor this religion(!), but we are surprised to find that the Chinese scholars and people have not escaped contamination by it."

 On p.42 it is said: "Of late the so-called Ye Su Kyo(Christianity)has been trying to contaminate the world with its barbarous teachings. It deceives the masses by its stories of Heaven and Hell: it interferes with the rite sof ancestral worship, and interdicts the custom of bowing before the gods of Heaven and Earth. These are the ravingd of a disordered intellect, and are not worth discusslng."

P.50: "How grand and glorious is the Empire of China, the Middle Kingdom! She is the largest and richest in the world. The grandest men of the world have all come from the Middle Empire."

This tirade from an official pen was thought worthy of a remonstrance from the foreign representatives.





--   「朝鮮紀行」第36章より --








Creator : bxninjin2004@yahoo.co.jp