Valerio Anselmo
A research on the name Kudara
(published in 1974)

Hypotheses on Kudara (6) 

[page 48 of the original (cont.)]


In the last paragraph we have seen that the name Kudara can be linked, according to the different points of view, with the names of the capitals, with the names of some landing-places or of other notable places, with the names of states and places outside Paekche, with the name of the people and so on. All these suggestions for a solution of the etymology of the name Kudara lead us to very little conclusions because each one of them seems to let us understand that the name went to Japan in a time different from the one supposed by the others. We can believe that, if we could know exactly when this name entered the court of Yamato we could say to have done a great step ahead in the solution of the problem.

The name Kudara could have been brought to Japan by Wani 王仁 (Korean pronounciation: Wang In), according to the tradition, first teacher of Chinese characters in Japan 226, or could be connected to the establishment of the first relations between the court of Yamato and Paekche with consequent exchanges of diplomatic missions.
[page 49 of the original]
Given the importance that the Japanese sources attribute to this scholar of Paekche, let us consider first his date of arrival to Japan. In the Kojiki and in the Nihon shoki the name of Wani is linked to that of Achiki 阿直岐 (Korean pronounciation: Ajikki), another Korean who came from Paekche. In the 15th year of the emperor Ōjin 應神 Achiki arrives to the court of Yamato as an escort to some horses sent as a gift from Paekche 227. Miller 228 connects the name Achiki (ancient Japanese: Atiki) with the ancient Turkish atlïγ «horseman». Certainly Achiki is not a Japanese name. Its direct connection with the Turkish lets us think that is was even not a southern Korean name and opens another opportunity to know better the identity of the founders of Paekche. The mentioned form, Achiki, is quoted in the Nihon shoki, while the Kojiki calls him Achikishi 阿知吉師 229. The two characters kishi 吉師, it is said 230, probably pointed to a post corresponding to the rank of kilsa 吉士, 14th of the 17 ranks of the functionaries of Silla. In another research 231 it was rather hinted a connection between the name kishi 吉支, used in the Nihon shoki also for the king of Paekche (konikishi), and the meaning "sir". The fact that also in the Kojiki was used the same form, even if with different characters, strengthens the thesis that this kishi be a honorary title, a name of high respect used in Paekche, perhaps in a form slightly different from the one transcribed by the Japanese sources. The name Achikishi, keeping in mind the form given by the Nihon shoki (Achiki), could be an abbreviation of Achiki-kishi “mister Achiki”, or better “sir Akichi”. This is partially confirmed by the name of Wani, called in this way by the Nihon shoki, but Wanikishi 和邇吉師 by the Kojiki 232. It is said that Wani was the first teacher of Chinese classics that Japan had, and the fact that he taught the Chinese characters in Japan lets us suppose that the link between the pronounciation Kudara and the characters 百濟 goes back to that time. Wani arrived in the archipelago in the 2nd month of the 16th year of Ōjin.

The Korean sources do not refer to these two figures, so that, in order to ascertain their date of arrival to Japan, we can base ourselves just on the Japanese sources. According the traditional dating, emperor Ōjin ascended to the throne in the year 270 A.D. and a good part of the historians, both from the West and from the East, follow this date. The year of arrival of Wani to Japan should then be the 285 A.D., year yi-szu 乙巳.
[page 50 of the original]
Bruno Lewin 233 states that Achiki and Wani would have arrived to Japan in the year 375. Dates near the 375 are provided by some Korean historians, which think that Wani was a scholar who lived under the kings Kŭnch’ogo (r. 346-374) and Kŭn’gusu (r. 375-383) 234, and by Wedemeyer 235. G. B. Samson 236 states that the date of the arrival of Wani would have been the year 405, and the same hypothesis was already put forward by Aston in 1888 237. A story heard in Puyŏ would put the date of the arrival of Wani to Japan still later, actually after the 600 238.

The problem is not of easy solution because it is linked to the chronology of the early days of the state of Paekche, which is somewhat uncertain. Coming back to the Japanese sources, we see that in the same 16th year of Ōjin the Nihon shoki carries the death of king Akwa 阿花 (Korean pronounciation: Ahwa) of Kudara and at the same time speaks of the prince Toki 直支 (Korean pronounciation Chikchi), which at that time was obviously in Japan. King Akwa of the Nihon shoki certainly corresponds to the king Asin 阿莘 (r. 392-404), also called Ahwa 阿華 or Abang 阿芳, who died the year before the news reported in the Nihon shoki, that is in the year chia-ch'en 甲長. In the year ting-yu 丁酉, 8th year of Ōjin, the same text carried the news given by the Kudara-ki 百濟記 that king Akwa had ascended to the throne and that prince Toki had come to Japan. The Samguk sagi in the same year ting-yu reports that in the 5th month prince Chŏnji 腆支 was sent to Japan as an hostage 239 and that at that time were established bonds of friendship with Japan 240.
[page 51 of the original]
According to the Chōsen-shi 241 Wanikishi and Achikishi arrived in Japan in the 20th year of Ōjin. This date of the Chōsen-shi is undoubtedly wrong and the mistake is easily explainable due to the difference in the names between the Nihon shoki and the Kojiki and for the fact that the Kojiki does not mention the dates of the emperors.

The Kwang'gaet'o stone fixes an exact date for the Korean chronology, so that the dates of the Korean annals referring to this period can be considered correct. Sansom 242 mentions the fact that the Kwang’gaet’o stone speaks of a Japanese invasion in Korea and that the Japanese chronicles referring to king Ōjin relate that four Japanese generals went to Paekche, unthroned the king and deprived him of part of his territory; he infers from this that the two events are contemporary. These and other information push us to edit the traditional dates of the reign of Ōjin by two sexagesimal cicles, that is of 120 years 243, bringing in this way his reign to the years 390-430.

The date of the arrival of Wani to Japan should therefore be the year 405, according what it is said by Aston and Samson.

The foundation of the state of Paekche, according to what is said by Gardiner 244 goes back to the beginning of the 4th century A.D. and is to be connected from one side to the weakening of the Chinese control in Korea after the year 300, and from the other side with the resumption of the expansion of Koguryŏ around the 313 and the consequent growing of the pressure of this state on the Okchŏ 沃沮 areas, where several members of the clan Puyŏ 夫餘 escaped in the year 286 following the invasion of their state by the Mu-jung Hsien-pei 慕容鮮卑. Therefore, according to what the Samguk sagi says 245, around the 313 a Puyŏ prince settles in the area where approximately we find now the towns of Seoul and Inch’ŏn 仁川, and from here he starts his expansion both towards the areas previously under the Chinese governor of Tai-fang 帶方 (Korean: Taebang) and towards the area previously occupied by the Mahan.

[page 52 of the original]
The first diplomatic missions to Yamato from Paekche reached Japan in the year 367 (date of the Nihon shoki: 247) and from that time on between the two states began the cooperation against Koguryŏ and Silla. The first capital of the new state, Hansan, was probably near what was the previous administrative center of Tai-fang, perhaps located on the lower course of the Han river, approximately in the area where the present-day Seoul stands. Following the occupation of this territory by Koguryŏ in the year 475, as we said, the capital city was afterwards moved to the south.

The name Kudara would, therefore, go back to the half of the 4th century A.D. In that period the capital was certainly Hansan. We have already done an analysis of this name and we have already seen that perhaps from the name of this capital could have come the name Kudara. Here we want to think of some other connection in order to establish with more reliability if this derivation is possible or not. In Japanese, as we have seen, 漢城 is read Kanishō. Another term whose first part is read Kani is 干岐ㆍ旱岐, kaniki 246, the first rank of the posts of the functionaries of Silla. The Japanese pronounciations kani for both the characters and , the similar ancient Chinese pronounciations reconstructions (χân and hân), and the context where these characters are, lead us to think that these characters were transcribing the same meaning, that we will here translate with the latin multi-purpose term princeps (first, chief, prince, noble, supreme, sovereign). On the other hand we find the same prounciation hân () in Silla, used to trascribe the meaning of “great, big” 247, If this character was not used by mistake, we could then put beside it the character , already seen, used in Silla with the meaning of “great, big”. With this operation we would have built for Hansan a couple of names equivalent in the meaning (“big mountain” or “big fortress”) but with two different pronounciations, which, keeping in mind the fact that “mountain” in Koguryŏ was said *tal, we can render as *Hʌndal and *K'jwudal. Anyhow these two words are hybrid terms (the first part of the name is in a southern language, while the second part is in a northern language) and this puts a serious obstacle. Even if with the reasoning done before we tried to demonstrate that these two Silla words had some correspondents in the language of Paekche 248, nevertheless it still remains the fact that the capital city in this way happens to have two names.
[page 53 of the original]
It would then be easier to suppose that the capital city at the beginning was called something like K'judal, but later, with the introduction of the Chinese culture, they preferred to transcribe the name with the equivalent Handal in order to use the prestigious character of the Chinese Han line. Also with this explanation we are still fumbling in the dark, as usual.

But let's do still another attempt to try to establish the date when the name Kudara entered in Japan. The relations between Paekche and Yamato attested by the Samguk sagi consider just the period when the capital city was Hansan and that when the capital was Sabi 249. There is a long interval (from the 428 to the 608) when by this source no news of diplomatic missions to Japan are recorded. In this intermediate period Paekche lost the Hansan area, transferred its capital to Ungjin in the south and then transferred it to Sabi. News of diplomatic missions coming from Paekche are however reported by the Japanese sources. The Nihon shoki says that the new capital Ungjin was given by the emperor of Japan to king Munju of Paekche, and that area may have actually been under Japanese control. With the move of the capital to the south begins a new stage of the life of Paekche and, with some probability, also the name of the state is changed. The name Kudara, then, could have entered the court of Yamato in this second period of the life of Paekche, in coincidence with the change happened to the name of the state. But the sources do not let transpire anything on this matter.

It could be that the characters 百濟, appearing so early in the Chinese sources 250, were read in Paekche in a way different from the original Chinese pronounciation; but that this way was exactly Kudara is not absolutely certain.
[page 54 of the original]
It is up to now established that in no ancient source the name Kudara, as name of the Paekche state, is transcribed in Chinese characters, while for example the name of the capital Ungjin (name of the capital and therefore less important of the name of the country) is registered in the Chinese sources (as Kuma) and in the Japanese ones (as Kumanari) in characters, and in the Korean sources of the 15th century in Korean alphabet (as Kumanɑrɑ).

In spite of the various proposed solutions (which can be useful for further researches), the mistery of the name Kudara is not cleared up. There are too many solutions and they are not enough convincing.

Hypotheses on Kudara (6) 

  1. Miller (review of Ohno Susumu: The Origin of Japanese Language, cit., p. 91) however assumes that the first contacts of Japan with the Chinese language and the Chinese writing go back to the 3rd century A.D.
  2. Cf. NS, Iwa, K. 10, Ōjin tennō, 8th month of the 15th year, p. 370 of the 1st vol.
  3. Cf. Miller, cit., p. 81.
  4. Cf. Kojiki, cit. ed., p. 249.
  5. Cf. Kojiki, cit. ed., p. 248, note 4.
  6. Cf. Anselmo, Armonia..., cit., p. 65-66.
  7. Cf. NS, Iwa, K. 10, Ōjin tennō, 2nd month of the 16th year, p. 372 of the 1st vol., and Kojiki, cit. ed., p. 249.
  8. Cf. Lewin, Kleines Wörterbuch der Japanologie, cit., p. 391.
  9. Cf. Yi Hong-jik, Kuksa..., cit., p. 697, and Yi Pyŏng-do, Han'guksa, cit., I, p. 571.
  10. A. Wedemeyer in Japanische Frühgeschichte, Tōkyō 1930, p. 61, suggests the year 375 or 376.
  11. Cf. G. B. Sansom, Japan, A Short Cultural History, London 1962, p. 36.
  12. Cf. W. G. Aston, Early Japanese History, in «Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan», XVI, 1888, part I.
  13. Cf. p. 46 of the original.
  14. The fact that king Asin sent his son as a hostage to the court of Yamato would mean that, before, there was some threat or some invasion (not recorded in Korea) by Japan, to which should have followed a peace with the security/guarantee of the hostage. The invasion of Korea, described in the Nihon shoki (NS, Iwa, K. 9, Jingū kōgō = Chūai tennō, 9th year, 12th month, p. 339 of the 1st vol.) was perhaps the episode which caused such a state of things. On the other hand, we can also think that the dispatching of the hostage was done spontaneously, with the purpose to make with the court of Yamato closer friendship and cooperation relations against Silla and Koguryŏ. Also the Kwang’gaet’o stone speaks of a defeat inflicted on Paekche by the Japanese, but the date of this rout seems to be the year 391 (cf. Szczesniak, The Kôtaiô Monument..., cit., p. 257 and 261: 而倭以辛卯年來渡海破百殘口口新羅以爲臣民. «And in the same hsin-mao 辛卯 year 391 the Japanese came crossing the sea and defeated Paekche XX and Silla and made them their subject.»). Thinking that at that time between Paekche and the court of Yamato already for quite some time friendship or dependence relations had been established, this leaves open the doubt that the state of subdual of Paekche was not so passive and that the imposed control sometimes needed to be reconfirmed by some military actions.
  15. Cf. Samguk sagi, kwŏn 25, Asin wang 阿莘王, 6-5, p. 423 of the cit. ed.: 六年夏五月. 王與倭國結好. 以太子腆支爲質.
  16. Cf. Chōsen-shi, cit. ed., 1-II, p. 58.
  17. Cf. Sansom, Japan, A Short..., cit., p. 35.
  18. The same view is shared by Gardiner, The Early History..., cit., p. 48.
  19. Cf. Gardiner, The Early History..., cit., p. 43-45.
  20. The founders of Paekche should have established themselves first in an area near the Han river, and afterwards should have begun from here the expansion towards the south where the Mahan were. Gardiner, on the contrary ( cit., p. 45), says that the founder would at first have established himself at Paekche 伯濟 and from here he would have begun the expansion towards the north.
  21. Cf. NS, Iwa, K. 6, Suinin tennō 垂仁天皇, 2nd year, 10th month, p. 259 of the 1st vol.: 名都怒我阿羅斯等亦名曰于斯岐阿利叱智干岐 and NS, Iwa, K. 9, Jingū kōgō, 5th year of regency, 3rd month, p. 351 of the 1st vol.: 載微叱旱岐令逃於新羅.
  22. Cf. Samguk sagi, kwŏn 36, p. 563 of the cit. ed.: 翰 山縣本百濟大山縣景德王改名.
  23. Cf. Anselmo, Armonia..., cit., p. 74: hʌn would be equivalent to kjʌn, while k'jwu seems to be equivalent to k’jən. But, given that the most perfect correspondence of the term transcribed with k’jən in the Paekche language is kən in the Silla language, we can introduce here the hypothesis of the existence in the Paekche language of a term more exactly correspondent – from a phonetic point of view – with the one whose pronounciation was transcribed by k'jwu in the Silla language. This term, which does not appear to be attested at the present-day state of knowledges, would be pronounced *k'ju. Admitted as demonstrated such an hypothesis, one could obtain the names *Kjʌndal (already seen) and *Kjudal in Paekche's language, equivalent to those hibrid, now cited, of *Handal and *K'jwudal
  24. Cf. Samguk sagi, cit. ed., p. 423 (5th month of the 6th year of Asin, 397 A.D.), p. 424 (5th month of the 11th year of Asin, 402 A.D.), p.424 (2nd month of the 12th year of Asin, 403 A.D.), p. 424 (5th year of Chŏnji 腆支, 409 A.D.), p. 424 (summer of the 14th year of Chŏnji, 418 A.D.), p. 424 (2nd month of the 2nd year of Piyu 毗有, 428 A.D.) for the relations concerning the period when Hansan was the capital city, and p. 448 (3rd month of the 9th year of Mu, 608 A.D.), p. 462 (8th month of the 13th year of Ŭija, 653 A.D.), p. 464 (20th year of Ŭija, 660 A.D.) for the relations concerning the period when Sabi was the capital city.
  25. If the date of the 346 of the Chinese source when the name was for the first time recorded is correct, we would have to think that the Chinese culture entered Paekche very early, certainly much earlier than the 375 (date of the compilation of the first written history of Paeche), otherwise we would be compelled to think that the characters with which the name of the state is transcribed were first chosen by the Chinese.

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© Valerio Anselmo