Open Seminar

Vol. 11.

The Qing Dynasty and Early Modern Japan as Military Regimes

  • Date: 14th June 2019, 17:00-19:00
  • Venue: Ito International Research Center, The University of Tokyo
  • Speaker: Kiyohiko Sugiyama (Graduate School and College of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo)
  • Discussant: Hiraku Kaneko (Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo)

How do we conceive of East Asian states in the early modern period? The general understanding contrast Japan, seen as a feudal state with its territory divided among a ruling warrior class, with the centralized states of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, governed by Confucian bureaucrats led by an emperor. However, when the Qing Dynasty replaced the Ming--roughly contemporaneously with the formation of the early modern Japanese state--it was founded not by Han Chinese but by people who called themselves Manchu. These were a Tungusic people from Manchuria, organized militarily and socially under "Eight Banners," powerful enough not just to conquer the former Ming territory but to expand beyond its borders into inner Asia, creating what was called the "Great Qing Empire." Regional military groups vying for hegemony until the transformation of the victor into a state authority: viewed in these terms, might we not arrive at a new and different understanding of authority and control in early modern Japan and the Qing dynasty, which at a glance seem the exact opposite of each other? This seminar will attempt a comparative theory of military governance in early modern East Asia based on this perspective.