Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu

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Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu (三国通覧図説, An Illustrated Description of Three Countries) by Hayashi Shihei (1738–93) was published in Japan in 1785.[1] In his lifetime, the writer and his works were considered controversial. This book represents one of the earliest attempts to define Japan in terms of its outer boundaries. It represented a modern effort to distinguish Japan from the neighboring nations.[2]

The book describes the Joseon Dynasty (Korea), the Ryukyu Kingdom (Okinawa), Ezo (Hokkaido)[3] and the Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands).[4]

A copy of Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu was brought to Europe by Isaac Titsingh (1745-1812). In Paris, the text represented the first appearance of Korean han'gŭl in Europe.[4] After Titsingh's death, the printed original and Titsingh's translation were purchased by Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat (1788-1832) at the Collège de France.[5] After Rémusat's death, Julius Klaproth (1783-1835) at the Institut Royal in Paris published his version of Titsingh's work.[5] In 1832, the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland supported the posthumous abridged publication of Titsingh's French translation.[6]

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