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The Politics of Food and Diplomacy in the Imjin War (1592-98)

By Nam-lin Hur, The University of British Columbia / Korea Colloquium Series

Monday, January 31, 2011
3:00 PM
11377 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

What dictated the 1592-98 war in Korea? In this talk, Hur suggests that the contours of this war and the historical change that followed from it had to do with issues of food and diplomacy. Here, “food” means the logistics of providing food to combatants. It refers to all government actions and systems related to procuring and delivering military food supplies. On the other hand, “diplomacy” refers to the efforts which China and Japan made in order to achieve a negotiated solution for the conflict while Korea remained reluctant. The question of diplomacy holds the key to understanding the geopolitical context of the war in sixteenth-century East Asia. By focusing on the period of 1597 to 1598 in which the issues of food and diplomacy featured least prominently, Hur suggests that the ways in which this seven-year war came to a close were still shaped by the equation of food and diplomacy. In this discussion, Hur situates the factors of food and diplomacy in the context of how governing systems and socio-cultural forces affected the wartime actions and reactions of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese leaders.

Professor Nam-lin Hur (Ph.D., Princeton) teaches premodern Japanese history and Korean-Japanese relations in the Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia, and conducts research on foreign relations, religion, and society in premodern Korea and Japan. His major publications include Prayer and Play in Late Tokugawa Japan: Asakusa Sensōji and Edo Society (2000) and Buddhism and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan: Buddhism, Anti-Christianity, and the Danka System (2007). His current monograph projects involve “Japan’s Invasion of Korea in Premodern East Asia, 1592-98” and “Kaichō and Religious Culture in Early Modern Japan.”

This event is free and open to the public.

Cost : Free

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