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Maritime interactions and the East Asian world

The ‘East Asian world’ is a lived reality, maintained through cultural, historical, and economic interactions that began in prehistoric times and continue strongly into the present day. The seas have played a pivotal role in facilitating such interactions, allowing people, resources, and knowledge to be exchanged throughout this extensive region.

In this issue of News from Northeast Asia, we examine the various forms of maritime interactions that took place in the past and which contributed to the formation and reproduction of a common East Asian community: the nature of these maritime interactions, and how they developed over time, is overviewed here by Jun Kimura of Tokai University, in ‘Formation of an East Asian cultural, economic, and historic sphere through maritime interactions’; in ‘Investigating Neukdo Island. An ancient hub of maritime interactions’, Ilhong Ko of Seoul National University introduces the results of excavations undertaken at the site of Neukdo, which illustrate how this ancient port functioned as an international hub of maritime trade around the turn of the first millennium; the way in which Chinese ports, products, and institutions shaped the nature of maritime interactions in the region is discussed by Haiming Yan of the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage in ‘The formation and fruits of East Asian maritime interactions’; and finally, Jong-Ho Kim of Sogang University discusses the way in which Chinese merchant communities contributed to the formation of a trans-border economic network in the region, and the distinctive nature of their practices vis-à-vis Indian merchant communities, in ‘Modern maritime interactions of Asian merchant communities’.


Ilhong Ko, Research Fellow, Seoul National University Asia Center; Regional Editor of News from Northeast Asia mahari95@snu.ac.kr

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