It is the belief of many scholars that it is possible to trace China’s education history back to the sixteenth century in the “Xia Dynasty”. Throughout this time, elite dynasties were privileged to have education in their system. The near end of the “Xia Dynasty” came in the Warring Autumn and Spring periods that oversaw educational prosperity despite civil strife and disunity. Many different philosophies originated from this period. They are often referred to as the “Hundred Schools of thought”. The Confucian school of thought originated from this period and with it came arguably the biggest influence in education China has witnessed.
One concept of explaining the central message of the Confucian schools in ancient China comes through ethics and politics. For Confucius, the central message of Confucianism regards the totality of social and ethical relationships between people, based on deference to and respect for superiors and elders and showing devotion to those in power. The pronouncements of Confucius are a reflection of aristocratic and class seen in his teachings. He showed a resolute contrast between commoners and noble men. In terms of ethical and social relationships, Confucius saw that noblemen were called to rule over commoners as well as serve as an example.
The other aspect of explanation regarding the central message of Confucian school is through religion and society concept. In this case, Confucianism regards religion as a path to self-transformation, and this benefits the entire society rather than the individual alone. According to Confucianism, religion bears an inherent goodness but is subject to corruption if not well nourished. Human nature has to endure suffering because of abuse of power, oppressive laws, and impropriety in social and religious relationships. Nevertheless, if we study human nature and universal nature as required by religion, we would hence be living harmonious lives.
Indeed, I am in agreement with the statement that China suffered due to its isolation compared to its counterparts in the Middle East. One reason for this argument is that China was left unimproved in terms of industry. Urbanization and industrialization in China took place in the early twentieth century compared to the 18th and 19th centuries of its counterparts. This can be attributed to lack of diffusion in culture. In this case, China did not socialize with other cultures and so became dormant in terms of change and development. Cultural diffusion enhances exchange of ideas and lifestyles that promote development. However, China is renowned because of preserving its ancient culture.
Additionally, the isolation of traditional China meant that it was left to suffer in poverty. Poverty engulfed China because it did not engage in trade with the rest of civilization. Furthermore, China was less modern compared to other civilizations beyond East Asia. Trading in the early centuries played an important role in a country’s economy and modernization. Trade meant that a country would be able to acquire resources scarce in its boundaries in exchange for this that are in excess. Furthermore, trade meant an increase in a country’s cultural and resource diversity thus promoting modernization. Lack of trade in China thus meant less modernization.
The isolation of China also had political setbacks as well. China had to deal with political unrest due to local warfare. Poor development and modernization meant that China had poor governance and political instability. Local wars were common in this era. Indeed, the isolation of China from other civilizations had major negative impact on the country’s social, political, and cultural considerations.
China played a major role in the formation of states in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. China had a strong influence over Japan through architecture, writing system, philosophy, religion, law, and Culture. When countries from the West made Japan engage in open trade unwillingly, Japan had to choice but to move towards Meiji restoration (modernization) because it considered China antiquated civilization. This led to a major influence by the Chinese on Japan’s culture. However, Japan began developing independence on its cultural traditions after 1000 C.E. Even though it was affected, Japan’s part in the sino-centric order is minimal.
Before, 1000 C.E, Vietnam and Korea fell under China’s control in terms of religion, culture, and partly political. In this case, both Vietnam and Korea incorporated rice in their diet and it went on to constitute large portions of agricultural production. It is important to note that most of China’s influence on Japan came through Korea. By 500 C.E, Korea had already formed a tangled, long relationship with China. The first Kingdom of Korea to bring the whole of the Peninsula together was an ally of China’s Tang dynasty.
However, it collapsed due to the fall of Tang. The extent at which Korea can be considered part of the sino-centric order is large due to China’s large influence over Korea’s formation into a republic. On the other hand, Vietnam had long and sometimes conflicting relationship with China. Vietnam formed part of China’s various kingdoms and dynasties for an estimate 900 years prior to its achievement of independence. Of the other two, Vietnam was influenced the most by China as it assimilated aspects such as literature, governance, language, religion, and even culture. Vietnam largely belongs to the sino centric order.
Invasion by the Mongols in East Asia is regarded among the most destructive. Two main factors motivated this invasion. These include the acquisition of new agricultural and pastoral land, and the second is material benefit. Genghis Khan and those who descended after him attempted an invasion on China and succeeded. The invasion on Korea eventually made it become a vassal. However, it is important to note that the Mongol’s invasion attempt on Vietnam and Japan did not succeed. However, regarding East Asia, the biggest success of the Mongol invasion involved their set up in China of the Yuan Dynasty. This dynasty was however overthrown eventually by Han Chinese.
The era of the Mongols had significant impact on the Chinese state. The Mongols changed China’s economics, the state’s power, and the trading system. Some of the influences on cultural trends have lasted to this day. The Mongols altered China’s political system by causing shifts in the government’s central power. Additionally, the Mongols were responsible for the destruction of forms of government and cities in China and Vietnam. They carried this out regardless of whether the cities had surrender or not thus exhibiting their terror governing tactics. Because the Mongols had a need of controlling both Vietnam and China with ease, they had to move China’s capital to Beijing. This move was significant because this city stands as China’s capital to this day.
Other than political influences, the Mongols as well posed economic impacts on conquered nations in East Asia. For example, since China was a major exporter of porcelain and silk, Mongols decided to make the center for trade. After Mongolian rule, Vietnam’s economy tumbled down and had to rebuild through agriculture. Furthermore, it is important to consider more significance of Mongolian impact on East Asia. Some of the economic effects led to the promotion of international trade, exchange, and religion. Consequently, the West and East world parts were as a result connected thousands of years later.
The impact of Buddhism in East Asia is largely positive since Buddhists believed in the peaceful spreading of their religion. They did not engage in forceful assimilation of their culture to other nations. In China, as the Han dynasty grew towards Central Asia, cultural and trade ties increased that eventually led to Buddhism gaining access to China. The religion’s growth in China was tremendous and led to the translation of Buddhist texts to Chinese. Eventually, many Buddhist schools were set up to cater for the increasing followers.
In the seventh century, many monks from Korea traveled to China for study purposes and took back various teachings on Buddhism. The growth of the religion was immense as the building of monasteries and creation of art took place. Buddhism had tremendous impact on the Korean people’s way of life.
As the king of Packche looked to develop peace with Japan, he sent copies of Buddha texts and images as gifts. Buddhism was a means of acquiring benefit for a country in the sixth century. The people in the Japan soon incorporated Buddhism in their culture together with their beliefs in Shinto. Since Buddhism is a religion that appeals universally, it led to the development of harmony in Japan. From the beginning, the development and spread of Buddhism in Japan was dependent on support and protection from those in authority. Prince Shotoku in particular played a major role in the expansion of Buddhism in Japan.