feel a certain kinship with…



That the people of Korea and Japan have from ages past had deep interchange is recorded in detail in the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan, compiled in 720), among other historical records. Those who immigrated or were invited to come to Japan from Korea [ People who migrated, and people who were invited, from Kankoku ] introduced culture and technology. Of the musicians in the Music Department of the Imperial Household Agency, some are direct descendants of musicians who came over to Japan from Korea [ descendants of the migrants ] at that time, and have inherited the music for generations and still perform the Gagaku (Imperial Court Music) on various occasions. It was truly fortunate that such culture and technology was brought to Japan through the enthusiasm of Japanese people and the friendly attitude of the Korean people. I also believe that it contributed greatly to Japan’s subsequent development. I, on my part, feel a certain kinship with Korea, given the fact that it is recorded in the Shoku Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan [ Continued Chronicles of Japan ], compiled in 797), that the mother of Emperor Kammu (reign 781-806) was of the line of King Muryong (reign 501-523) of the Kingdom of Paekche*. King Muryong had strong relations with Japan, and it was from his time that masters of the Five Chinese Classics (books compiling the teaching of Confucianism) were invited to Japan one after another to teach Confucianism. King Song Myong (reign 523-554), son of King Muryong, is recognized as the one who introduced Buddhism to Japan.

It is regrettable however that Japan’s exchanges with Korea have not all been of this kind. This is something that we should never forget.

His Majesty The Heavenly Sovereign Emperor Akihito, Responses to Questions on the Occasion of His Birthday translated by William Wetherall, 18 December 2001


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