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A Study on Occurrence of and Dealing with False Ambassadors of the Jurchen During the Early Years of Joseon Dynasty

  • The Review of Korean History
  • 2010, (100), pp.531-567
  • Publisher : The Historical Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > History

Han, SeongJoo 1

1강원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the early years of Joseon Dynasty, 'false ambassadors of the Jurchen tribes' started to appear when the direct diplomatic relation between Joseon and Holjaon Oljeokap(忽刺溫 兀狄哈) was made after the foundation of 4 Guns and 6 Jins. It seems that this occurrence affected other Jurchen people to follow it. The types of 'false ambassadors of the Jurchen tribes' so far clarified are as follows:First, borrowing stamps; second, using Mongol(元) stamps; third, false assumption of another person; fourth, false statement of a messenger of false ambassadors; fifth, forgery, borrowing, or trading of official statements; sixth, two or more of the violations above. The fact that such types were related to stamps, another persons' name, false assumption of false ambassadors indicate that there were already many forgery, borrowing, or trading of official statements. It is thought that assigning governmental offices to Jurchen tribes as well as royal assignment of offices became the consent of diplomatic relation with Joseon in the end. In other words, as Jurchen people who were given offices presented the official certificates from Joseon to chieftains in borderlands for passage. The problem is, though, such documented writs of appointment could be easily fabricated or forged. As a way of prevent such 'false ambassadors of the Jurchen tribes,' Joseon endeavored to collect information on Jurchen people, and started to limit the relationship with Jurchen tribes. In the mean time, Joseon would forgive and let them leave as a great country out of generosity to embrace people from far regions. However, the chieftains were ordered to investigate thoroughly the writs of appointment of Jurchen people before passage, and to take over such false documents, whether in Seoul or in side areas, when finding them forged, borrowed, or traded. In fact, seizing false writs of appointment resulted in disturbanc among Jurchen people, especially the tribes who surrendered(城底彼人) and submitted to Joseon since it already became old customs to borrow such certificates, deceive officials, receive stipends or become officials. To limit such acts, which became a custom and a way of diplomatic policy to them, was like a limitation to the diplomatic relationship. Therefore, this could resulted in a revolt of the major tribe over the basin of Duman River(城底彼人). In examination of the types of 'false ambassadors of the Jurchen tribes,' it is made clear that they tried to disguise the true identities for a financial purpose and attempted to get profits in trading with Joseon. They deceived the officials, forged, and assumed a false name of a messenger in many different ways by cunningly exploiting the established methods of exchange with Joseon. Thus, there is a need to change the approach to 'false ambassadors,' which is one of the hot issues among Korean and Japanese researchers on Korean-Japan history in the age of Joseon Dynasty, and to investigate the title, concept, and appreciation of 'false ambassadors' during the early years of Joseon comprehensively.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.