This article explores a puzzle at the heart of the tributary system, an early modern East Asian system of international relations: What exactly did China get out of it? I argue that Chinese participation in the tributary system engendered domestic legitimacy. The tributary system produced substantive benefits domestically for China but little power internationally. In fact, the assumption that the tributary system functioned primarily as a vehicle for Chinese regional domination is a modernist artifact. That coherence, not coercion, characterized a more flexible East Asian tributary system is difficult to see from a modern international relations (IR) perspective. Within Westphalian IR, the arc of hegemony bends toward domination because sovereignty requires egalitarian relations; conversely, hierarchical relations diminish autonomy and self-determination. This article offers a different East Asian genealogy of hegemony.
이른바 中華世界秩序의 構築과 强制를 동아시아에서 共有하는 漢字儒教 文化에서 찾는 기존연구와 달리, 본문은 中國의 觀點에서 朝貢體制의 이점을 檢 討하고 朝貢體制를 통해 얻을 수 있는 國際的 利益은 미미하였으나, 國內的으로 正當性을 强化시킬 수 있는 기제가 되었다고 주장한다.