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Wei Yuan's wild ambition: dream of great world and great power in Hai Guo Zhi Zhi

lengpaolishi @ 2019/09/20


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What do you think of the dissemination and influence of "Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" in China and Japan?


After the Opium War, the Qing Dynasty began to face the uncertain situation of ancient and modern times. Some of the world's enlightened scholar bureaucrats were forced to rethink their own world. As a leader of them, Wei Yuan was compiled by Lin Zexu on the book of charts. This is a very rare international case at that time, which contains a lot of contents in world geography and history. However, due to the need to integrate too complicated content, the whole book appears to be crude and has many cognitive errors.


At last, the fate and influence of "Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" in China and Japan is worth sighing and sighing.


Grand worldview

The result of the Opium War is the biggest source of power for Wei Yuan to write books.


Wei Yuan has already had a clear understanding of the information gap between the two world systems. For example, he found that the residents of Fujian and Guangdong to the development of Nanyang would become a source of information for Britain and Asia to spy on China. In the missionary school in Malacca, Yinghua college provides missionaries to study classics, histories, sons, collections, and maps. Those who arrive in the thirteen row may also gather from many sources the important military and political information about the Qing Dynasty. Even Japan, Siam and Annan know how to treat overseas residents who are drifting overseas and collate their intelligence and foreign knowledge every year. In contrast, the external cognition of the Qing Dynasty was very limited. This is also an important driving force for Wei Yuan to write "Hai Guo Zhi Zhi".


From the catalogue of the whole book, Hai Guo Zhi Zhi has broad horizontal space and long longitudinal timeline. Based on Chinese traditional culture and traditional history, and combining with the latest maps from the west, Wei Yuan introduces readers to the history of five continents and four oceans in the past 2000 years.


Hai Guo Zhi Zhi introduced the concept of five continents for the Chinese world for the first time.


On the spatial dimension, Wei Yuan first led the readers off the coast of Guangdong, and in the first volume, he referred to his analysis of the success and failure of the Opium War. The second volume is an introduction to the history and geography of all countries in the world. The 3-6 volumes in the following chapters introduce the Southeast Asian countries such as Lv Song and India respectively. Then, from volume 7-9, we will introduce the Europa States and the new United States of America with the origin of Daqin. Finally, in volume 10-18, the advantages of religion, calendar, geography, statute system, Navy, firearms, currency and so on are described in detail.


In the appendix to the book, Wei Yuan quoted the outline and division of the Portuguese book "the earth's general theory" for the first time, and introduced to the Chinese world for the first time many contents that are common sense today. If the earth is divided into five continents, the population is divided into five races. The languages of European countries are generally a system. The languages of Africa and Asian countries are heterogeneous, while the languages of the Americas and Australia mainly come from the European language system. Compared with the traditional concept of heaven and earth, Wei Yuan once again introduced the earth's circle into the Middle Earth after the Matteo Ricci in the Ming Dynasty, so that the Chinese people once again came into contact with the correct concept of geography. The implication is that China is not a unique center, but the most eastward end of the Asia Europe continent.


The 13 volume of "Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" copied in Guangxu period


New world history system

Hai Guo Zhi Zhi is the result of the impact of world development on scholar bureaucrats' cognition.


Compared with many geographical miscellany in history, Wei Yuan's "Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" focuses on the history of other countries. This is something that has never been seen in previous works. It also shows the impact strength from outside, which makes the traditional worldview of scholar bureaucrats start to crack.


In introducing the history of Europe, Wei Yuan started from the source of Western civilization. In turn, we introduce the history of ancient Greece, Italy, Russia, England, France, Portugal and the United States of the new continent. He also believes that the history of these countries is equally stirring and worth seeing. This is the thought that his previous scholar bureaucrats could not produce. Many of the late Ming Dynasty's most civilized people in the late Ming Dynasty mostly stayed at the level of utensil learning.


"Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" introduced Alfred the great emperor for the first time in the Chinese language world.


In order to help the readers who lack the concept build up the concept of time, Wei Yuan corresponded the ancient emperors chronology to the western world's annals. For example, accurately recorded in the equivalent of Zhou Xian Wang era, the Greek King Alexander East Asia and invincible past. When it comes to the British Islands, it is also clear that the Romans gave culture to the area. In the ninth Century era equivalent to the ninth Century, Alfred had integrated the Anglo Saxon forces against the invasion of Dani (Denmark). In the Northern Song Dynasty, Nalman (Norman), who was separated by a sea, attacked England. Then the two countries merged into one and repeatedly returned foreign troops. The warships cross the four seas, and the literature and art are great and the classics are on display. Wei Yuan even mentioned that the last large-scale invasion of England was done by Chongxin's Catholic king of Asia.


It is commendable that Wei Yuan's Greek history is also based on the western literature. In the Chinese world, for the first time, the four aspects of the reform of the thesus, the abolition of the king in Athens, the election of the consul and Solon were divided into three parts. There is also a heavy tillage campaign in Sparta and a military policy without gold and silver as currency. Of course, the invasion of Darius of Persia was jointly defeated by Athens and Sparta. Since then, the two parties have recruited small states and made endless efforts to give the Macedonian an opportunity. Rome is the great Qin in Han Shu. They built the city in Zhou Ping Wang, and finally died in Hui Ming (Osman, Turkey) during the Ming and Tai dynasties.


"The chart of the sea" also introduced the Peloponnesian War for the first time.


In combing the growth process of Russia, Wei Yuan also accurately referred to the Greek King's daughter married Ross, and thus came to Christianity. The invasion of Mongolia also affected Russia's folk customs and political and military affairs. Later, Peter traveled abroad to study art and shipbuilding. Russia's participation in the three kingdoms' capture of Poland successfully defeated the invasion of the 600 thousand armies of King flanges and became a land hegemony in the West.


Nevertheless, Wei Yuan's record still has many flaws, which confuse many important points and concepts. For example, we believe that Russia believes in Catholicism and brought the seven countries of England forward to around 150 ad. This should be the result of the comparison between single person facing vast information and lack of multi-party information.


"Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" has also given great attention to Russia.


Abandoning the cognitive attitude of empty talk

Wei Yuan contrasts his time with Zhou Xuan Wang.


Wei Yuan also did not mention in obscurity that "Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" contains concerns about reality. In the opening word, he used the book of changes to demonstrate the necessity of moving in time. In the face of the ancient Qing Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty was likened to the invasion of Zhou Xuan Wang. Citing the text of Chung Chung King Chung Chung, which is praised by Book of Songs, suggests that the Qing Dynasty can replicate such a revival.


For the failure of the Opium War, Wei Yuan's induction is that the equipment is not refined, the defense is not the right place, the non-human being is used, and there is a lack of cutting and felling. Based on this situation, Wei Yuan's core idea is to take defensive as the premise and find the opportunity to fight back under the premise of self-protection. In war, we need to train the water masters, mobilize the enemies of the barbarians, and learn the skills of the barbarians.


There is a lot of introduction to Western weapons in Hai Guo Zhi Zhi.


To this end, Wei Yuan not only introduced the ruler of Heaven (four points), Cha Tiantong (mercury thermometer), timing clock, sky ship (airship), thousand mile mirror, European compass, and the use of advanced targeting technology "cannon". It is also pointed out that the European battleships are hard and thick, and if they are not firing their propellant tanks, they will not be able to destroy their hull. The two sides of the artillery cannons will not be able to dive and sink. The fire attack rafts will be sunk before approaching the enemy ships. If we want to use rocket canister to burn rigging and sails of enemy ships, the scouts on high mast will use telescopes to detect and respond ahead of time. For the newly emerged fire ships at that time, Wei Yuan pointed out that it did not rely on manpower and was less affected by wind direction and could sail thousands of miles day and night.


Wei Yuan is not only introducing advanced technology in the west, but also does not denounce these new things as ingenious and ingenious. Wei Yuan himself was greatly impressed by the scientific achievements of the west, and believed that the other side was the country of gold and fire, so he was good at using firearms and metallurgical technology. In addition to military technology, he also introduced the western wind, medicine and lead plate printing. In order to facilitate readers to understand directly, the concept of the book of changes is used as an intermediary to explain problems in a relatively popular analogy.


Wei Yuan has always praised the neighboring Annan.


Wei Yuan also expressed concern and dissatisfaction with the isolation of the Qing Dynasty in the world. Referring to neighboring countries such as Annan, Siam and Japan, they used positive examples to praise. In particular, the highly developed Annan was treated by Wei Yuan as an idealistic top student.


Finally, Wei Yuan also expressed his good wishes for the future world. Not only to learn the military techniques of the barbarians, but also to attack them by attacking them. In the eastern colonies of India, forced to withdraw from colonial expansion in the East, and then solve the problem of China's coastal waters. It is only in this case that he regarded France, the United States and Russia as pieces for the Qing Dynasty, and considered that India and the entire India ocean were the key to breaking the Qing Dynasty once again.


Wei Yuan regards India as the key to be taken.


Dissemination in China and Japan

The scholar bureaucrats in the Qing Dynasty had a boycott attitude towards the book of records.


Although "Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" fills many cognitive blind spots in the Chinese world, it is difficult for the public to accept it immediately because the information is too complex. After all, in a time when most knowledge owners only read one-sided content, things that are comprehensive and objective are easy to be ignored. Among them, his appreciation of Japan and Annan, many Central Plains theorists are emotionally unacceptable.


In addition, Wei Yuan's admiration for Switzerland and the United States which did not implement the monarchy system is also unavoidable to restrict their own dissemination because of the correct political rights. Because the purpose of most of the owners of knowledge is just to get the iron rice bowl and system identity for themselves. If we accept the new world view of Hai Guo Zhi Zhi immediately, it means breaking up our own road of ascension at the inner level. Therefore, "Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" began to circulate among a few enlightened literati only after the two Opium War. The real influence is even more limited. Even a great respect for the backward tradition is still resisted by the conservative bureaucrats.


The imperial examination system has severely restricted the vision of knowledge owners.


In 1851, China merchant shipping two, bound for Nagasaki, Japan, brought 3 "charts of the sea country" to Japan. Because of the sensitive contents such as Christianity, these books were handed over to Edo, and they were collected by knowledge Institute, imperial library and Zhongya Makino. In the second year, another merchant ship took 1, and it was still saved by the Nagasaki club.


By 1853, the black boat incident shocked all of Japan. Tokugawa Shogunate lifted the book in second years, and bought 15 in two batches in the same year, which caused the price of the book to rise. Over the next three years, Japan has published more than 20 selected books on the chart of the sea country, which has been sought after by many Japanese people. The Japanese paid special attention to the contents of Haiphong diplomacy, such as "Hai Hai", "Macao monthly" and "Yi Yi Bei Cai". In the 10 group of printed editions, there were 7 groups of non geographical knowledge contents such as coast defense diplomacy.


There are many new versions of "Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" in Japan.


However, in the early days of the spread of the book of records in Japan, it still caused unexpected results. Some radical warriors agree with Wei Yuan's adherence to tradition, limited backwardness, and the use of traditional cold and hot weapons to fight foreign aggression. As a result, this kind of people launched the Shimonoseki incident in 1863 and caused the artillery fire response of the warships of the nations.


Since then, Japan has just begun to enter the important stage of Meiji Restoration. But the radical action of the lower warriors is, in a sense, echoing the idea of Wei Yuan in other countries. Ironically, however, the Japanese gradually passed the preschool class granted by the chart of the sea state, which was popular in the Qing Dynasty because of the second Opium Wars.


"Hai Guo Zhi Zhi" has produced unexpected results in Japan.


Today, the content contained in Hai Guo Zhi Zhi has become common sense, but the circulation logic of this book does not seem outdated. From the point of view of information sending and accepting decoding, only when we are prepared well in terms of psychology and knowledge background can we accept new cognitive standards. Otherwise, the intake of all new knowledge will only reinforce one's inherent cognition of the old world.


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