In 1396, a diplomatic rift emerged between the Chosŏn government and its Chinese neighbor. The Ming court took offense at poorly worded diplomatic correspondences and promptly froze all contact with Chosŏn. Court official and scholar Kwŏn Kŭn volunteered to go to China to resolve the dispute. Not only did Kwŏn end up resolving the diplomatic dispute and securing the release of detained envoys, but he also struck a rapport with the Hongwu emperor. The emperor lavished feasts, clothing, and tours upon Kwŏn and even composed poetry for him. Kwŏn reciprocated with three collections of poems, totaling twenty-four individual poems. Upon returning to Chosŏn, Kwŏn was celebrated for solving the diplomatic dispute, and he gained praise for his poetic exchanges with the emperor. This article centers on Kwŏn’s trip to China and his exchange of poetry with the Hongwu emperor. It charts domestic events in both Ming China and Chosŏn leading up to the diplomatic disputes in 1396–1397 and uses Kwŏn’s trip and the exchange of poetry as a vehicle to explore the diplomatic, territorial, and historical issues that surrounded this event and relations between the two countries.


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pp. 104-147
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