ASIA/HISTORICAL 1420 – Assignment 1 – Early Korea & Japan
Asian Civilizations to 1500

This course is an ambitious survey of over five hundred years of history of a region with diverse peoples, cultures, and traditions. Inevitably, some topics and themes do not receive as much discussion in course lectures as might be merited. This
assignment will introduce you to one of these themes and the major impact on the
region and period under study.
The early Yamato state in Japan is believed to have had strong cultural and political ties to the Korean peninsula, although the nature of those relations are often debated. One theory, first expressed in 1949 by Japanese historian Egami Namio, argues that the formation of the early Japanese state occurred after the invasion by
Korean horsemen in the late fourth or early fifth century A.D. This essay will require you to summarize and describe some of the connections between early Korea and Japan, and to critically evaluate Egami’s “Horserider Thesis” and the critiques made against it. Starting with the brief introduction contained in the Jinwung Kim reading, use the remaining four articles to summarize both sides of this theory and to construct your own argument.
The essay will ask you to critically discuss the following:

i. What sources of evidence is there to determine the relations of early Korea and the Yamato state in Japan? What pitfalls do these sources bring?

ii. What influences did Korean peoples, politics, and technologies have on early state formation in Japan?

iii. What is Egami Namio’s “Horserider Thesis”? What evidence is there to support this theory?

iv. How have authors like William W. Farris and Walter Edwards critiqued the “Horserider Thesis,” and what evidence have they used?

v. What side of the debate do you agree with? Explain, with examples and evidence, why you think so.

ASIA/HISTORICAL 1420 – Assignment 1 – Early Korea & Japan
This essay will require a fine balance between description and argument. It is recommended that you progress along the essay using the structure modelled  above, saving your own argument for after the summary. However, treat this essay as one broad discussion – that is, make sure that your summary and argumentation sections flow well together. Indeed, the first section should set up the context of your
second section.

Remember: Although you are using these sources as the basis of your essay, you need to make an argument of your own! Do not merely repeat what you read. Engage with the individual arguments of each author to construct your own. I don’t
want their opinions, I want yours!

Your essay should have a fully developed introduction with a thesis statement, body paragraphs that are focused on one point each, and a conclusion that satisfactorily brings the paper to an end by reflecting on the broad importance of this research
topic. The essay should be cohesive and flow well, which can be achieved by ensuring you have an overarching argument that unites all sections of your essay. While there are a number of questions posed, they should all be framed as helping to understand more broadly what changes occurred when Confucianism was adopted, and the effects this had on Korean women. To help with structuring your essay, the use of an outline can be very helpful. Refer to the Course Guide on UMLearn and the Mary Lynn Rampolla text for more.

For this essay, you are required to read the five sources listed below. All sources must be discussed in your essay, and you are not permitted to add additional readings. The essay should be between 1500-2000 words in 12-point, double spaced text. Please use an easy to read font like Times New Roman or Calibri. Please include a title page that includes an original essay title, your name, student ID, and section (ASIA or
HIST), and ensure there are page numbers. An essay title as banal as “Assignment 1” is a weak start to an essay. Please view the following ALC handout for help coming up with a catchy title:


Please use Chicago style footnotes for your citations, and be sure to include a bibliography. Essays are to be submitted to the Dropbox folder on the course’s

A few comments
ASIA/HISTORICAL 1420 – Assignment 1 – Early Korea & Japan
• Fair warning: Any essay not using Chicago-style footnotes will be returned to
the student and not graded until footnotes are properly inserted.
• For help with Chicago, make use of the Mary Lynn Rampolla text and the
Course Guide posted on UMLearn.
• Only the sources listed on this assignment are permitted.
• Do not merely repeat information from sources – engage in their arguments.
What are their claims? How do they help you make your argument?
• Be sure you bring a list of specific question when you meet with the writing
You are required to read and incorporate all of the following readings, which are
available for download via the University of Manitoba Libraries website.
Walter Edwards, “Event and Process in the Founding of Japan: The Horserider Theory
in Archeological Perspective,” The Journal of Japanese Studies 9 no.2
(Summer, 1983): 265-295.
William Wayne Farris, “Ancient Japan’s Korean Connection,” Korean Studies 20
(1996): 1-22.
Wontack Hong, “Chapter One: Paekche and the Origin of the Yamato Dynasty,” in
Ancient Korea-Japan Relations: Paekche and the Origin of the Yamato
Dynasty, (Seoul : Kudara International, 2010). Available online at
http://www.wontackhong.com/homepage2/data/2031.pdf. (To see the whole
book, visit http://www.wontackhong.com/)
Jinwung Kim, A History of Korea: From “Land of the Morning Calm” to States in
Conflict. (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press: 2012.) Pp. 73-77. Online
access, University of Manitoba Library.
Gary Ledyard, “Galloping along with the Horseriders: Looking for the Founders of
Japan,” The Journal of Japanese Studies 1 no.2 (Spring, 1975): 217-254.
ASIA/HISTORICAL 1420 – Assignment 1 – Early Korea & Japan

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