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Prince Misahun: Silla's Hostage to Wa from the Late Fourth Century

From: Korean Studies
Volume 27, 2003
pp. 1-15 | 10.1353/ks.2005.0002


Three of the oldest extant chronicles of Korea and Japan, the Samguk sagi, the Samguk yusa, and the Nihon shoki, recount the story of the Silla prince Misahŭn's escape from extended captivity in Wa. Regarding Wa as the early Yamato confederacy based in western. Japan, this article clarifies the chronology and characteristics of the Misahŭn incident in reference to the series of related events described by the inscription on the Koguryŏ king Kwanggaet'o's stele. Between 391 and 399, Silla succumbed to Wa's military attacks and sent Misahŭn to Wa as a means of appeasement. Silla, however, soon chose to return to Koguryŏ's sphere of inßuence to ward off further Wa assaults. After Koguryŏ annihilated the Wa forces, Silla managed to retrieve the prince from Wa with a clever scheme. Unlike Paekche's reciprocal relationship with Wa, Silla's relationship with Wa was unilateral, based on the latter's incessant demands.

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