Autour de l’île d’Ezo : évolution des rapports de domination septentrionale et des relations avec l’étranger au Japon, des origines au 19ème siècle

Abstract : After the 5th century, Japanese relations with foreign entities fit in a multi-Layered concentric distinction between a central arborescence radiating civilization and uncultivated outer fringes gravitating around it, whose barbaric quality increases according to their distance from it. This oppositional vision, inspired by the antique Chinese world-Order, gradually evolves into a dichotomous paradigm, often referred to as "Japanese middle kingdom ideology" (nihon gata ka.i chitsujo) at the end of the 15th century. A thorough study of the power struggles in the Japanese north reveals that despite two and a half centuries of selective foreign relations which earn Japan its reputation as a "locked-Up country" (sakoku), the barbaric figure shifts in terms of time, space and technical abilities. The barbarian is no longer viewed as a barely human entity, impure and underdeveloped, inhabiting peripheral contiguous fringes, who must be subdued, or even a "tamed barbarian" whose otherness is staged to legitimate domination over him. At the turn of the 19th century, due to an increasing Russian presence at its northern border, the barbarian has become a potentially dangerous yet worthy adversary, technologically advanced, who needs to be kept at bay (jô.i). Ezo's status is no longer that of a netherworld, or of a vast and empty wasteland, but that of a territory worth developing and protecting. Embodied by such shifts and treaties written by scholars advocating an adequate maritime defense (kaibô-Ron), agricultural development (kaitaku-Ron), the opening of foreign commercial relations (kaikoku-Ron) or "a prosperous country and a powerful army" at the end of the 18th century, the first stage in the transition from a closed to an open Japan stems from their influence on the decisions regarding foreign relations, as well as an ethical transvaluation which gradually transfers virtue from sakoku (protecting the population against Christian proselytism and commercial protectionism) to kaikoku (protecting the people from foreign harm and famine).
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Noémi Godefroy. Autour de l’île d’Ezo : évolution des rapports de domination septentrionale et des relations avec l’étranger au Japon, des origines au 19ème siècle. Histoire. Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales- INALCO PARIS - LANGUES O', 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013INAL0018⟩. ⟨tel-01124206⟩

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