Pak Tonji (1342.1.6–1412.9.2) served in both the Koryŏ and Chosŏn governments during his career as an official. His Miryang Pak descent group emerged in the mid-fourteenth century as an influential participant in court politics. At that time, six Miryang Pak men already served in the government, three of them as chaech’u. Marriage relations with other elite families were another aspect of the family’s growing influence. Although Kyeyang was his adult given name, ‘‘Tonji’’ became his public name. A false accusation amid Koryŏ court politics resulted in his spending several years out of government service. Nevertheless, throughout his later career Pak was close to Chŏng Mongju, Yu Sungin, Yi Ch’ŏm, Yi Sayŏng, Yi Haeng, and Kwŏn Kŭn. Recognized for his abilities and skills, Pak served the Koryŏ and Chosŏn governments in their respective diplomatic relations with Ming China and Japan in the late fourteenth century and the early fifteenth century. He served in embassies bound for Ming China in 1388, 1402, and 1410, and to Japan in 1397 (as Reciprocation Envoy). In the latter service, Pak met the retired shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and gained Japanese assistance, especially through the Ōuchi family, in slowing pirate raids along the Korean coast. He returned to Chosŏn bearing a map of Japan that he submitted to the government. His contributions to diplomatic relations with Ming China and Japan were unique among officials of the Chosŏn government.


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