||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Korea's civil war
They found a hillfort in Kyushu. h/t Jessica Sarraceni. It's being dated to 663 AD.
For the overall context, Kyushu is Japan's southern island. It was also I think the first Japanese-speaking island; those islands drawn out to its south include Okinawa, which does not speak Japanese but speaks a very-closely-related language, such that the ancestral language it shares with Japanese was probably spoken in Kyushu as of 663 AD. In Hokkaido at this point no-one had even heard the language (they were all Ainu).
Meanwhile, Korea was even more divided. On the southwest was a state called Baekje; on the southeast, Silla. Both Silla and Baekje were increasingly having to deal with Tang China. In the late 500s AD Baekje's king Seong made a bid for national antiquity, as the true Korean kingdom ("Buyeo"), to which end he moved his capitol and renamed his kingdom "South Buyeo". One suspects that Silla and the Chinese in control over north Buyeo weren't amused.
When it became clear that the Tang were siding with Silla, in 620ish Baekje sent missionaries to Kyushu, in a time-honoured strategic tactic. The prince Shōtoku over there converted to that faith - Buddhism. (The Tang were, I believe, more Tao / Confucian with a hint of Han Fei's Legalism.) In 663, Baekje called in its marker and the Japanese sent over an army.
Baekje and Japan, uh, didn't win. The Tang protectorate of Silla got to be "Korea"; Baekje didn't.
What they've found in south Japan means that the proto-Japanese of the 660s were worried the Tang would look over there next. They certainly weren't building those earthworks for worry against the Ainu...
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