Fogel, Joshua A.
In the year 57 C.E., the court of Later Han dynasty presented a gold seal to an emissary from somewhere in what is now Japan. The seal soon vanished from history, only to be unearthed in 1784 in Japan. In the subsequent two-plus centuries, nearly 400 books and articles (mostly by Japanese) have addressed every conceivable issue surrounding this small object of gold. Joshua Fogel places the conferment of the seal in inter-Asian diplomacy of the first century and then traces four waves of historical analysis that the seal has undergone since its discovery, as the standards of historical judgment have changed over these years and the investment in the seal’s meaning have changed accordingly.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Historiography and the Biography of an Object
1. Wa-Han or Archipelago-Mainland Relations before 57 c.e.
2. The Material Object
3. Kamei Nanmei: “Politics Is Learning and Learning Is Politics”
4. Commentaries on the Gold Seal in the 1780s: Let a Hundred Schools of Thought Contend
5. Ascendancy of the “Ito no kuni” Reading from the Late Eighteenth Century
6. Revival of Interest in the Gold Seal in the Meiji Era and Miyake Yonekichi’s Breakthrough
7. Modern Science and the Gold Seal
8. Persistent Problem Areas in the Twentieth Century
9. Recent Challenges to the Gold Seal’s Authenticity: Conspiracy Theories and Better Science
10. Conclusion: Institutionalization of the Gold Seal and Future Research
A. Miyake Yonekichi, “A Study of the Seal of the Ruler of the State of Na in Wa under the Han Dynasty”
B. Miyake Yonekichi, “A Critique of the Theory That the Gold Seal [Inscribed] to the Ruler of the State of Na in Wa Is a Forgery”
C. Okazaki Takashi, “Measuring the Gold Seal [Inscribed] to the ‘Ruler of the State of Na in Wa under the Han’ ”