The Haiguo tuzhi and Shengwu ji by Wei Yuan

  • Masuda Wataru


In Japan, the most stimulating and influential Chinese-language work in the field of world geography and topography was doubtless the Haiguo tuzhi (Illustrated Gazetteer of the Sea Kingdoms). That is to say, the Haiguo tuzhi was not simply a work that conveyed knowledge of geography and topography. It was also a study of defensive military strategy and tactics in the face of the foreign powers then exerting considerable military pressure on East Asia, including gunboats and artillery. Wei Yuan (1794–1856) wrote the Haiguo tuzhi from an indignation borne of China’s defeat in the Opium War and with that experience as an object lesson. Because of the concrete quality of their arguments concerning naval defenses, the Haiguo tuzhi and the Shengwu ji (Record of August [Manchu] Military Achievements), written at about the same time, were packed with suggestions for Japan at that time. This was a time when naval defense was being actively debated in Japan, spurred by the arrival of vessels, commanded by Admiral Matthew Perry (1794–1858) and Admiral E. V. Putiatin (1804–83), along the Japanese coast and by the stringent diplomatic posture assumed by Townsend Harris (1804–78).1


Qing Dynasty Coastal Defense Concrete Quality Japanese Coast Foreign Power 
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© Joshua A. Fogel 2000

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  • Masuda Wataru

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