Chosen Tsushinshi (the Korean Emissary) (朝鮮通信使)

Chosen Tsushinshi is the name of envoys dispatched by Yi Dynasty Korea to Japan.


Chosen Tsushinshi originally started as a return call for an envoy and message dispatched by Seii Taishogun (literally, "great general who subdues the barbarians") of the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun) to Korea. In 1375, Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA dispatched an envoy from Japan to Korea, and for this, the Korean side sent to Japan an envoy to express a good relationship. This envoy from Korea was the first Chosen Tsushinshi. Chosen Tsushinshi ceased to come to Japan for some time after around the middle of 15th century. In the Azuchi-Momoyama period, Yi Dynasty Korea sent Chosen Tsushinshi to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI for checking whether he had an intention of sending his military troops to Korea. However, the diplomatic relations between the two nations were broken due to the Bunroku-Keicho War, and Chosen Tsushinshi ceased to come. Then Chosen Tsushinshi started coming again in the Edo period. In a broader sense, the term of Chosen Tsushinshi is used for indicating all of the Korean envoys that came to Japan in the Muromachi period to the Edo period, but in a narrow sense, this term is used mostly for indicating those in the Edo period.

Chosen Tsushinshi in the Muromcahi period

Chosen Tsushinshi was provided with the mission of secretly surveying situations in Japan as well. For example, according to "Kaitoshokokuki" (literally, descriptions of various countries across the sea) written by Sukchu SIN, a secretary of the envoy dispatched in 1428, the survey included 15 items including the following: identifying base-places of wako together with a request of prohibiting wako (Japanese pirates) actions, observing Japan's power, such as relationships among wako, shugo daimyo (shugo, which were Japanese provincial military governors, that became daimyo, which were Japanese feudal lords), dominant Kokujin (local samurai) and local clans, states of progress in urban areas, and monetary policies, and checking the states of progress of Buddhism in Japan.

Chosen Tsushinshi came to Japan three times in the Muromachi period, and plans of sending it in 1459 and 1479 were not materialized. It is explained that the failures were due to the death of the envoys or the necessary voyages were dangerous. However, it was also explained that the envoys were not dispatched, because gishi actions (the actions in which shugo daimyo or kokujin negotiated with the Korean side using the name of shogun without getting permission) were rampant and because such a mission became unnecessary since trade between the two nations had became sluggish. After this, Chosen Tsushinshi did not come to Japan for 150 years until the era of the Toyotomi government.

Seo-saeng BAK who came to Japan in 1429 made Kinshin (金慎), a student under him, investigate 'how to make a water wheel' closely and made him make a model water wheel, saying that 'Japanese farmers use water wheels,' and also reported a silver-gilding method, how to manufacture paper, how to generate vermillion and how to manufacture medicine called keifun. The survey also covered the state of the monetary economy and the progress of shop-based goods-selling business in Japan, and in particular, included descriptions related to technology. This is because, prior to starting the mission, he was instructed by Sejong (a Korean king) that 'You should learn how to make paper, how to make hard blades and how to build houses and should bring back the technologies concerned,' or he was instructed to introduce technologies in Japan. As described in 'Tsurezuregusa' (Essays in Idleness) (in the 51st section) written 100 or more years ago, water wheels were built and used by farmers themselves at that time. Considering this, it is supposed that there might have existed a significant difference between the technological level of Japan and that of Korea.

The Tsushinshi sent to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI

The nominal mission of the Tsushinshi sent to Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI in 1590 was to celebrate the unification of Japan by Hideyoshi (this Tsushinshi had an audience with Hideyoshi on December 3). However, the actual mission was to check whether the rumor of his intruding Korea was true or not. At this time, the So clan played an intermediary role between the two governments as well. In this envoy, Yun-gil HWANG, the head of the envoy and Seong-il KIM, its deputy head, were in a bad relationship. Therefore, while the head of the envoy reported that Hideyoshi had the intention of invading Korea, the deputy reported otherwise, and the opinion of the deputy head, who was close to the king, was taken. In the Bunroku War, Korea was invaded up to Pyongyang, but it is said that this was because the Korean side made no preparation for the war based on the deputy head's opinion.

In 1596, Tsushinshi came together with the Ming envoy (Sakuho-shi ambassador) who came to Japan for closing the truce negotiation between Japan and the Ming. However, both the head of the Tsushinshi, Koshin (黄慎), and its deputy head, Boku Kocho (朴弘長), could not be received by Hideyoshi. The negotiation with the Ming envoy failed, and Hideyoshi sent his troops to Korea again.

Chosen Tsushinshi in the Edo period

Diplomatic relations between Japan and Korea remained broken after the Bunroku-Keicho War, and entering the Edo period, the first action the Japan side took for restoring diplomatic relations with Yi Dynasty Korea was to sound the Korean side to send Tsushinshi.

Towards the end of the Muromachi period, the real power of the trade between Japan and Korea and that between Japan and the Ming moved to daimyo, making daimyo gain power and making weaker the validity of the control by the Muromachi bakufu. To prevent such a situation from prevailing, it was necessary for the Edo bakufu to establish diplomatic relations with Korea ahead of daimyo in the western part of Japan.

The Tsushima-fuchu Domain played a principal intermediary role between the Edo bakufu and Yi Dynasty Korea. This was because the land of the Tsushima Domain was mountainous and not fitted for farming and was forced to remain in a poor state without trade with Korea. To make sure the restoration of diplomatic relations, the Tshushima Domain forged even sovereign's message, and the envoy on the Korean side approved the message, even though knowing that it was forged one. Later, Shigeoki YANAGAWA, Karo (chief retainer) of the Tsushima Domain, admitted to the bakufu the fact that the sovereign's message was forged. For this, the bakufu only admonished Yoshinari SO, the lord of the Tsushima Domain without any penalty, but Yanagawa who blew the whistle was exiled to Tsugaru. For more information, refer to the Yanagawa Incident.

On the other hand, after the Bunroku-Keicho War ended and the Ming, which had helped Korea in the war, pulled out its troops from the Korean peninsular, Korea began to fear Japan and thought that it should manage to establish a good relationship with Japan (according to "Korea, the 208th Items of the Itemized Ming History"). 秀吉死我軍尽撤,朝鮮畏倭滋甚, 欲與倭通款,又惧開罪中国 (Refer to the following translation). A translation: Hideyoshi died (and the war between the Ming and Japan stopped), and all of our troops (Ming troops) had been pulled out, and then Korea came to fear Japan exceedingly and came to consider establishing a good relationship with Japan, but on the other hand, Korea feared that the establishment of diplomatic relations might anger the Ming.

Meanwhile, the first Tsushinshi in the Edo period was sent to the bakufu due to efforts of the Tsushima Domain and had an audience with Ieyasu on June 29, 1607. However, the name of the first three Tsushinshi starting with this one was actually called Kaito-ken-sakkanshi (refer to the next sentence). This means that the main mission of these envoys was to bring back to Korea the Confucians and potters who had been brought to Japan during the war. It is said that most of these Confucians returned to Korea but many of these potters remained in Japan. The reason is considered as follows: In Japan at that time, potters who produced chaki (tea utensils) and earthenware, considered having a value equal to that of a province, were treated favorably, for example, given the samurai status, but in Yi Dynasty Korea, potters were designated as humble or lowly people with the lowest social status in the social status system based on the Confucian thought: They were forced to work like slaves and were placed in such harsh conditions that they were punished physically when committing an error, or in other words, there existed fundamental discrimination against craftsmen.

After that, following the precedent in the Muromochi period in which the two nations retained a good relationship, an envoy fromm Korea came to be sent to Japan corresponding to a request from the Tokugawa shogunate, and then the name of the envoy was changed from Kaito-ken-sakkanshi to Tsushinshi.

Tsushinshi came to Edo through the following route: The envoy got on board a ship at Pusan Metropolitan City, called at Tsushima, sailed through the Seto Inland Sea via Shimonoseki City, changed ships to Kawa gozabune (a roofed pleasure boat with a tatami floor and shoji used in a river) at Osaka, sailed up the Yodo-gawa River, and from Yodo, went by road in a procession of palanquins, each of which carried one of the three highest-ranked persons of the envoy, horses on which high or middle officers of the envoy rode and the other lower officers of the envoy who walked, via Kyoto. In the Omi Province, the passage of the route that Ieyasu TOKUGAWA used after he won the Battle of Sekigahara was approved. Even today, this road is also called a Korean road (the section from Yasu City to Hikone City). This constituted a Kitsurei no michi (festive road), and it was not allowed for processions of daimyo to use this road. According to a viewpoint, this route was selected for paying a respect to the Tsushinshi, but there is another viewpoint of considering that the selection might have been made for showing the Tokugawa family's military prestige by making them trace the route of its unification of Japan.

After that, Tsushinshi were sent from the Korean side to pay homage to a new shogun or to cerebrate the birth of a heir to a shogun. Tsushinshi came twelve times in total, but in 1811, the travel of Tsushinshi was stopped at Tsushima, and thereafter no Tsushinshi came to Japan. The Tshushima domain sent a return-call envoy to Korea instead of the bakufu. However, the Korean side did not permit the envoy to come up to Seoul Special City mainly for military reasons, and a ceremony for the return call was held at Wakan (consular office) in Pusan Metropolitan City. The envoy from the Tsushima Domain in 1629, which consisted mainly of priests and was sent up to Hanseong, was the only exception. It is said that the reason was as follows: At that time, Korea suffered from frequent invasions of Kokin, and the Korean side wanted to show Kokin that Korea had the support of Japan. In this case, the Tsushima Domain successfully requested Yi Dynasty Korea to export China-made cotton. At that time, persons from the Tsushima Domain stationed at the Wakan for trade.

Concerning Tsushinshi, Japanese at that time rumored that 'Tsushinshi brings tributes to Japan, because otherwise, the shogun would invade the Korean peninsular again.'
Therefore, although the term of Raikoshi (indicating a messenger with an article of tribute from a foreign country) was not used in any official documents, the term of Raiko (coming to pay tribute), which indicated an outright master-slave relationship, came to be used widely among the general public, as for envoys from Ryukyu. In "Chosenjin Raiheiki" (a document about Koreans who visited Japan to pay tributes), it is described that, referring to "Sankan Seibatsu" (The Conquest of the Three Korean Kingdoms), Chosen Tsushinshi was an envoy bringing tributes to Japan, suggesting that Japanese considered, from the beginning, Chosen Tsushinshi an envoy bringing tributes. The Korean side also recognized that the Japanese side considered Chosen Tsushinshi as coming for paying tributes. The Tsushinshi who visited Japan in the Enkyo era (1744 to 1748) submitted a report to the Korean Imperial Court after returning from Japan, and in it, described the following: The bakufu informed lords that Tsushinshi came to Japan 'to pay tributes from Korea' and all of the past envoys knew the fact but acquiesced fearing the disputes that would occur otherwise.

Major events occurred in the eleven visits to Japan are as follows:

The change of treatment for Chosen Tsushinshi in 1636

In the year next to the year when the Yanagawa Incident occurred, the So clan in Tsushima invited Tsushinshi, instead of the Yanagawa family that had mainly handled such events until then. This included the aspect that the ability of the So clan was to be checked by the bakufu. On this occasion, how to entertain, wine, and dine Tsushinshi was changed. The Japan side led this change, and the main point of the change was to alter the terms for expressing the Tokugawa shogun in the sovereign's message on the Korean side from King of Japan to Tycoon of Japan (the term of tycoon was devised by Gyokuho Korin, a high priest at Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto). The term of Iemitsu MINAMOTO was used in the sovereign's message on the shogun side. The second point was to use Japanese-style year names instead of the Oriental zodiac in letters of each sovereign, and the third was that the Korean side should change the name of the envoy from Kaitoshi-ken-sakkanshi to Tsushinshi.
The reason why the term for shogun should be changed and the reason why Japanese-style year names should be used are explained as follows:

One opinion is as follows: Use of the title of 'King' and the 'Oriental zodiac' was a residue of the China-centered sakuho (homage by Chinese emperors) system, indicating the traditional eastern Asian diplomatic order with China placed at the top and nations around it considered dependent on China, and it was time to try separating from such a system and to make such a situation acknowledged by the Korean side as well. On the other hand, there is another opinion as in the following: Since the title of 'King' indicated the emperor domestically, the term of 'Tycoon' was simply used as the second best term hesitating to utilize the term of King, and therefore, the change of the title name was made solely based on a domestic factor. This dispute remains unsolved yet. Anyway, this system change did not develop into a serious diplomatic problem as when Tsushinshi came to Japan in the Shotoku era (1711 - 1716), as described later.

It is said that the reason was as follows: At that time, Yi Dynasty Korea was busy for combating pressure from the north by Kokin, and therefore, did not dispute or could not afford to dispute the system change on the Japan side. The envoy that came to Japan in this occasion presented to the bakufu a message written directly by the King of Korea and bronze mirrors, and visited Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine where daigongen (Great Avatar) Ieyasu, considered having been Shinkun (a god-like head of Japan), was buried. This visit to the shrine was publicized widely, being used for enhancing the prestige of the bakufu.

The change of treatment for Chosen Tsushinshi in the Shotoku era (1711 - 1716)

In the Shotoku era (in Japan), the treatment of Chosen Tsushinshi was simplified and the term for the title of shogun was changed. This system change was led by Hakuseki ARAI. However, the former ways of treating and entertaining the envoy were totally changed in the new system, resultantly leading to diplomatic conflicts between Japan and Korea. To treat a Tsushinshi envoy, one million ryo (assuming that one ryo is equal to one koku (roughly, rice of 180 liters), this amounted up to 1/4 of the four million koku from the land controlled directly by the bakufu) was required, and attention must also be paid to the fact that Hakuseki originally opposed the invitation of the envoy to Japan itself. However, there was the background that Masanao TSUCHIYA, the head of roju (member of shogun's council of elders) at that time, insisted on inviting Tsushinshi as in the past and Hakuseki had to make concessions. Then Hakuseki simplified the treatment of the envoy as in the following based on 'Being equal,' 'Being simple,' and 'Being friendly:' For simplifying the treatment, banquets should be held at the six places of Shimonoseki City, Tomonoura, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Sunpu between Tsushima and Edo, only meals should be provided in other lodging places, and the lords of the domains where the envoy passed should not be required to go to meet the envoy. It was also prohibited severely using high-priced utensils, such as makie (Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder) zen (trays with legs) or ceramics for entertainment. The cost of entertaining the envoy was reduced to 600 thousand ryo by these efforts, and the term for the title of shogun was changed to King of Japan again.

The reason why the term for the title of shogun was changed was explained as follows: The change was made because the state of the nation in the Edo period had become stabilized, then the domestic positioning of shogun became like sovereign rather than a winner of wars, and therefore, it was intended to use the term of 'King of Japan' to clearly show that the Tokuwaga shogun became effectively a sovereign, or because the term of 'Tycoon' was used in Korea for indicating a prince, and therefore, use of 'King of Japan' was restored to remedy the unequal state of using the term.

Being apart from whether the usage of the term is appropriate or not, this change was informed unilaterally to the Korean side immediately before Chosen Tsushinshi departed for Japan. Therefore, this problem developed into a serious diplomatic conflict, plunging both Japan and Korea sides into endless arguments concerning the positioning of shogun, including Nobuatsu HAYASHI and Hoshu AMENOMORI, Hanju of the Tsushima Domain (a Confucian scholar who worked for the Tsushima Domain). When Tsushinshi came to Japan in the Kyoho era (1716 - 1736) after the one in the Shotoku era, Yoshimune TOKUGAWA restored the use of Tycoon, without getting involved in the positioning-of-shogun problem, and also totally restored the treatment of the envoy for the reason that the original rules should be followed.

The change of treatment for Chosen Tsushinshi in the Bunka era (1804 - 1818)

In 1787, Ienari TOKUGAWA assumed the eleventh Tokugawa shogun. Normally, Tsushinshi should come immediately, but Sadanobu MATSUDAIRA, roju, sent a messenger in 1788 to request the postponement of the arrival, and in 1791, sounded out the Korean side about the possibility of visiting Tsushima instead of Edo. The negotiation did not go smoothly, and the visit was realized 20 years later, or 1811, at last. Both Japan and Korea entered an era of financial difficulty at that time, and the timing was finally consented because they came to have the same cost-saving viewpoint. However, although the cost of the bakufu for this event was reduced, the domestic meaning of showing the prestige of the shogun was damaged.

Therefore, when Ieyoshi TOKUGAWA assumed shogun in 1841, Tadakuni MIZUNO, roju, planned to invite Tsushinshi to Osaka instead of Edo. This plan was aimed at producing the following three effects at the same time: Reducing the power of the lords in the west part of Japan through mobilizing them to attend to Tsushinshi, exhibiting the prestige of the bakufu, and reducing the cost burdened by the bakufu through canceling the procession between Osaka and Edo. However, this plan was opposed within the bakufu and failed, and after this, no plan to invite Tsushinshi was compiled until the bakufu system became extinct.

Chosen Tsushinshi's views of Japan

Concerning Chosen Tsushinshi's views of Japan, Ingyom KIM, who came to Japan as a member of the eleventh Chosen Tsushinshi, described in details in "Nittosoyuka" (Song of a grand trip to Japan) his record of the visit to Japan, and as an example, he described about Osaka as follows:
The paradise in Chinese legends indicated Osaka actually. It cannot be considered that there would be any other city so splendid as Osaka in this world. The size of the downtown area is 10000 times that of Seoul. The landscape of Tomonoura was highly evaluated by Chosen Tsushinshi, and it is recorded that it was the most beautiful place in Japan (by the eighth Chosen Tsushinshi).

Chosen Tsushinshi in history education of Korea

In the history education of Korea, Chosen Tsushinshi is taught in the following way:
It is pointed out by Scholars in Japan that such education in Korea has implanted in Korean minds the images of 'Korea, a culturally advanced nation' and 'Japan, a culturally inferior nation' and has formed the foundation of the theory that all of the culture in Japan originated in Korea. However, when reading documents concerning that time, for example, actual written diaries (such as Nittosoyuka), it is found that Japan was advanced culturally and was prosperous, showing differences between what is educated in Korea and reality.

Due to Jinshin waran (the Bunroku War in Korean), Japan and Korea broke their diplomatic relations. Therefore, Japan got into difficulty economically. Therefore, the Tokugawa shogunate, which was established after the war, needed to import advanced things and requested Korea to conduct negotiations with Japan through the head of the Tsushima island. Korea, while resenting Japanese crimes, permitted the negotiations, referring to its basic policy of being friendly to neighbors, within certain limitations (according to Kiyu yakujo (Treaty in 1609)). Then Wakan was placed again in Pusan Metropolitan City, where Japanese bought rice, cotton, Asian ginseng, etc. In addition, Japan requested Korea to send an envoy, considering Korea a culturally advanced nation. For this, Korea sent Tsushinshi consisting of approx. 400 persons, and they were treated as national guests. Japan was keen to learn advanced science and technology through the Tsushinshi envoy. Therefore, Tsushinshi played the role of introducing advanced culture in Korea to Japan, in addition to the mission as a diplomatic envoy.

Interactions between the two nations

As described above, Chosen Tsushinshi was a national envoy that came to Japan to make congratulations to the shogun family, and was provided with the same role as an envoy to bring tributes to a Chinese emperor or was used for showing the prestige of shogun. Japan at that time enforced the national isolation policy and therefore, the visit of Tsushinshi gave people a rare opportunity to know Chinese culture, though indirectly. Therefore, many Japanese writers and artists visited the places where Tsushinshi stayed, also generating the byproduct that cultural exchanges among peoples of the two nations were made actively. Confucians of both nations, including Seika FUJIWARA, interacted with each other as well.

The guest hall (called Taichoro) adjacent to the present main hall in the premises of Fukuzen-ji Temple in the Tomonouwa of the Bingo Province was built in 1690 in the Edo period and was used as a state guest hall for Chosen Tsushinshi throughout the Edo period, also becoming a place where Japanese scholars of the Chinese classics and Japanese calligraphers interacted with Tsushinshi. In 1711, Bangyan LI, an officer of the envoy, praised the scenery of Sensui-jima Island and Benten-jima Island located on the opposite shore was the '日東第一形勝' (meaning that the most beautiful scenic area in the east of Korea) when viewed from the guest hall. In 1748, Gye-hui HONG, the head officer of the envoy, named the guest hall "Taichoro" (literally, a tide-viewing hall) and left a calligraphy writing the name. Now, the calligraphy is framed and hung in Taichoro.

It was a big pastime for the general public to view the procession of Tsushinshi. On the other hand, regardless of the route Tsushinshi took, it was requested for farmers in the Tokaido, Kinai, Saigoku regions located to the west of the Musashi and Sagami Provinces to provide physical labor and to bear costs. Therefore, the visit of Tsushinshi to Japan forced farmers to bear a heavy burden additionally. In addition, due to differences in culture and disrespect to Japanese, some of Tsushinshi envoy did violent acts as described in the following: Sneezing or spitting on walls, urinating on stairs, drinking too much sake wine, digging out gates or poles, breaking chairs or folding screens, making horses run to death, complaining about the food served, stealing bedclothes and tableware, making maidservants pregnant, requesting bigger fish, requesting vegetables out of the season, or spitting on persons of the Tsushima Domain accompanying them when a request for unscheduled actions was refused. It often happened that samurai of the Tsushima Domain, guarding Tsushinshi, were disparaged. In 1764, even the following incident occurred in a guest hall in Osaka: Denzo SUZUKI, an interpreter at the Tsushima Domain, was hit by a stick seriously, and for this, a Tushinshi interpreter (都訓導) Cheon-Jong CHOI was stabbed to death with a spear in at night.

There is another view of considering that the Chosen Tsushinshi, which should come for friendly purpose, bore distorted views due to cultural differences between the Japanese and the Korean at that time, leading to Seikanron (debate on subjugation of Korea) and the annexation of Korea in later years. It is said that the meat-eating culture of the Koreans looked barbaric to the Japanese at that time and this was one cause of the conflicts, and as grounds for this, the following are listed: There is the expression of 'Tsushinshi brought fish and meat into a temple and ate them littering the place' in a comical poem in "Ezuiri Chosenraiheikizen" (Descriptions of Korean visits, with pictures), and part of the picture depicting the arrival of Chosen envoy at Yodo Castle in "Chosenjin Raiheiki" (see the picture on the right), a document in the Yodo province: It is said that this picture depicted the scene where an officer of Tsushinshi who stole a chicken kept by a townspeople was fighting with Japanese while escaping with the chicken. Citing the Sankan Seibatsu and the Bunroku-Keicho War by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI in addition to documents at the time, such as "Chosenjin Raiheiki" and "Chosenjin Raichoki" (a document about Koreans who visited Japan), the Korean side points out, as a basis of the argument, that there exist descriptions trying to consider Chosen Tsushinshi as an envoy for paying tributes.

On the other hand, while fundamentally disparaging Japanese as 'Wajin' (an older name for Japanese), Koreans were astonished in the Muromochi period by the existence of Japan-original characters of Hiragana and Katakana and by the splendor of cities, such as Kyoto, Osaka and Edo, in the Edo period. A document records that Kiei SO (宋希景), a kaireishi (an officer sent to Japan responding to an envoy sent by Japan) sent to Japan in 1420, gave an exclamation of surprise about the highly progressed monetary economy that even a beggar wanted money instead of food (this was because, in Korea at that time, paper money called Choka was circulated only in urban areas, with no system that could be called a monetary economy established yet, and the economy was centered on barter trade based on the media of rice and cloth), and in addition, it is likely that the envoy from Korea brought back products of culture necessary for them, such as sweet potato that rescued Korean people from a famine in Korea in later years (1764) and water-pumping wheels. In particular, each of the Chosen Tsushinshi envoys showed interest in water-pumping wheels in Japan and brought back pictures depicting the structure many times. However, because it is not recorded that water wheels of this type were used in Yi Dynasty Korea, it is likely that such water wheels were not made in Korea. However, this fact contradicts the present historical recognition on the Korean side and the Korean side often insists that such a description is fabricated or distorts the facts by the Japan side. When the Japan side insists such historical facts, the Korea side often becomes hostile.

Chosen Tsushinshi in pictures, craftworks and performing arts in Japan

Today, pictures depicting a procession of Tsushinshi remain in various places of Japan. In particular, many such pictures in the Shotoku era were drawn by an order from Masanao TSUCHIYA, including "A Scroll of Pictures of a Procession of Chosen Tsushinshi in the Shotoku Era" remaining in the Tsushima Domain that is a typical example. Other famous pictures concerned include "Pictures of Children in Chosen Tsushinshi" drawn by Itcho HANABUSA, a painter at that time, and "A folding screen depicting a houseboat carrying Chosen Tsushinshi" handed down in the Kishu Domain.

The procession of an envoy parading along a road was a curious sight in the peaceful era. The three Tojin (Chinese) dances handed down, each in Higashi Tamagaki-cho, Suzuka City, in Wakebe-cho, Tsu City, or in Ushimado, Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture, are famous for imitating Chosen Tsushinshi. Unlike daimyo processions, Chosen Tsushinshi included, in addition to diplomatic officers, such as the head or deputy head of the envoy, children and a marching band wearing beautiful dresses, men of culture, doctors and interpreters. Therefore, the procession was accepted favorably by the general public along the road throughout the Edo period, as a kind of exotic show that came once every tens of years. "Pictures of Children in Chosen Tsushinshi" included the scene in which a person in a town sought kigo (signing in the present days) for a child who rode a horse, showing that the general public were easily accessible to persons in the envoy. Furthermore, Obata dolls in Gokasho-cho, Higashiomi City, Shiga Prefecture include Tsushinshi dolls (correctly, tojin (Chinese) dolls): the dolls of children and those of a music band), suggesting that they were popular at that time together with elephants presented by a foreign country.

In literary works, such as Kabuki (traditional drama performed by male actors) and Joruri (dramatic narrative chanted to a shamisen accompaniment), there exist many numbers including themes of Chosen Tsushinshi. When Tsushinshi came to Japan in 1764 in the Horeki era (1751 - 1764), the incident in which Denzo SUZUKI, a retainer of the Tsushima Domain and an interpreter, killed Cheon-Jong CHOI, an interpreter and a middle-class officer, in Osaka. The following literary works were generated based on this incident: "Sewaryori Suzuki Bocho" ("Imaori Ezonishiki" [Ezo Brocade in modern fashion]) in 1767, "Kanjin Kanmon Tekudano Hajimari" (The Han Chinese and Korean letters, the beginningof their tricks) in 1789, and "Sewajitate Kara no Nuibari" in 1792.

[Original Japanese]