Im Gwang

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Im Gwang
Hangul 임광
Hanja 任珖
Revised Romanization Im Gwang
McCune–Reischauer Im Kwang

Im Gwang (1579–1644) was a scholar-official of the Joseon Dynasty Korea.

He was also diplomat and ambassador, representing Joseon interests in the 4th Edo period diplomatic mission to the Tokugawa shogunate in Japan.[1]

1636 mission to Japan[edit]

In 1636, King Injo sent a mission to Japan led by Im Gwang.[2] This diplomatic mission functioned to the advantage of both the Japanese and the Koreans as a channel for developing a political foundation for trade.[3]

This delegation was explicitly identified by the Joseon court as a "Communication Envoy" (tongsinsa). The mission was understood to signify that relations were "normalized."[4]

According to the Japanese calendar, the mission reached Japan in the 12th month of the 13th year of Kan'ei (1635).[2]

This mission to the court of Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu in Edo also encompassed a pilgrimage to the first shogun's mausoleum at Nikkō.[5] The grand procession of the shogun and his entourage, which included the Joseon ambassador and his retinue, was recorded to have occurred in the 4th month of the 14th year of Kan'ei, as reckoned according to the Japanese calendar.[2]

Recognition in the West[edit]

Im Gwang's historical significance was confirmed when his mission and his name were specifically mentioned in a widely distributed history published by the Oriental Translation Fund in 1834.[2]

In the West, early published accounts of the Joseon kingdom are not extensive, but they are found in Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu (published in Paris in 1832),[6] and in Nihon ōdai ichiran (published in Paris in 1834). Joseon foreign relations and diplomacy are explicitly referenced in the 1834 work.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Toby, Ronald P. (1991). State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan: Asia in the Development of the Tokugawa Bakufu, pp. 205-207; Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du japon, p. 411; n.b., the name Nin kwô is a pre-Hepburn Japanese transliteration and Jin kuang is a pre-McCune–Reischauer, Korean romanization devised by Julius Klaproth and Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat in 1834.
  2. ^ a b c d Titsingh, p. 411.
  3. ^ Walker, Brett L. "Foreign Affairs and Frontiers in Early Modern Japan: A Historiographical Essay," Early Modern Japan. Fall, 2002, pp. 48.
  4. ^ Lewis, James Bryant. (2003). Frontier contact between Chosŏn Korea and Tokugawa Japan, pp. 21-24.
  5. ^ Toby, p. 105 n16; Walker, p. 50.
  6. ^ Vos, Ken. "Accidental acquisitions: The nineteenth-century Korean collections in the National Museum of Ethnology, Part 1," Archived June 22, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. p. 6.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jeong Rip
Edo period diplomacy
4th mission

Succeeded by
Yun Sunji