D. R. Howland explores China's representations of Japan in the changing world of the late nineteenth century and, in so doing, examines the cultural and social borders between the two neighbors. Looking at Chinese accounts of Japan written during the 1870s and 1880s, he undertakes an unprecedented analysis of the main genres the Chinese used to portray Japan-the travel diary, poetry, and the geographical treatise. In his discussion of the practice of "brushtalk," in which Chinese scholars communicated with the Japanese by exchanging ideographs, Howland further shows how the Chinese viewed the communication of their language and its dominant modes-history and poetry-as the textual and cultural basis of a shared civilization between the two societies.
With Japan's decision in the 1870s to modernize and westernize, China's relationship with Japan underwent a crucial change-one that resulted in its decisive separation from Chinese civilization and, according to Howland, a destabilization of China's worldview. His examination of the ways in which Chinese perceptions of Japan altered in the 1880s reveals the crucial choice faced by the Chinese of whether to interact with Japan as "kin," based on geographical proximity and the existence of common cultural threads, or as a "barbarian," an alien force molded by European influence.
By probing China's poetic and expository modes of portraying Japan, Borders of Chinese Civilization exposes the changing world of the nineteenth century and China's comprehension of it. This broadly appealing work will engage scholars in the fields of Asian studies, Chinese literature, history, and geography, as well as those interested in theoretical reflections on travel or modernism.
D. R. Howland is Associate Professor of History at DePaul University.
Acknowledgments vii Note ix Introduction 1 I. Encountering Japan 9 1. Civilization from the Center: The Geomoral Context of Tributary Expectations 11 Civilization and Proximity 13 The Bounds of Diplomatic Protocol 15 Japan in the Qing Record 18 An Aside: The Aborted Legacy of the Ming 26 The Matter of International Treaties 28 The Decision to Grant Japan a Treaty (1870) 31 Japanese Incident/Dwarf Intrusion (1874) 35 2. Civilization as Universal Practice: The Context of Writing and Poetry 43 Brushtalking 43 The Written Code: Hanwen/Kanbun 45 The Play of the Code 48 Tong Wen: Shared Writing/Shared Civilization 54 Playing the Code: Occasional Poetry 57 Celebrating Tong Wen: Poetry and History 62 The Value of Civilization in Japan 65 II. Representing Japan 69 Prologue: Geographical Knowledge 71 3. Journeys to the East: The Geography of Historical Sites and Self in the Travelogue 80 Images of the East 81 Recovering History through Geographical Sites 86 Travel Accounts 92 4. The Historiographical Use of Poetry 108 The Poems on Divers Japanese Affairs 110 The Epistemological Basis of the Poetry-History Homology 119 Poetry and Geography 129 Evidential Research 135 5. The Utility of Objectification in the Geographic Treatise 157 The Decade of Geographic Treatises on Japan 158 The Local Treatise as a Model 164 Utility as Means and End 173 Strategies of Objectification 176 III. Representing Japan's Westernization 195 6. Negotiating Civilization and Westernization 197 Analogy and Containment 200 The Precedence of Learning before Action 201 Western Learning and Western Ways 203 Alternative Approaches to World Order 222 Afterword 242 Notes 251 Bibliography 303 Glossary 323 Index 333