600 - 1450 // The Chinese Tributary Empire

     A tribute is defined as wealth from one certain society/organization to another as sign of consideration, courtesy, and in a historical aspect a sign of submission or adherence. A tributary on the other hand is a society, colony, region, state, or people that submits and obliges to a higher state of power. One example of a tributary was early Korea, Japan, and Vietnam under the vast Chinese Empire.
By analyzing the relationships and influence of the Chinese on these civilizations one can see the benefits of being a tributary empire, and even how associating with other civilizations as a tributary empire can be detrimental to ones own civilization. It can be noted that China was a serious factor when it came to the development of these three countries

    There is one key component that should be considered when learning about tributary empires. This crucial main point is that when multiple society’s tribute to one more powerful society cultural diffusion is almost inevitable. In this case China’s influence on Korea and Vietnam is very obvious while Japan is an Exception. Japan was isolated geographically, due to an ocean gap where storms was a popular occurrence, from the other three civilizations, and they were a bit more stuck up when it came to accepting another cultures beliefs and values. Many times the Chinese political structure was adapted by its attributing neighboring civilizations. 

In all three civilizations a Confucian bureaucracy is established. Japan adopted the Imperial court system from the Chinese. Since they were politically independent they were able to choose what parts of the Chinese culture they wanted to develop like bureaucracy, script, some of their art styles, and Buddhism. Korea, which was most affected by Chinese Influence, conformed and learned many of the Chinese ways such as commercial practices and goods. Vietnam also underwent a similar cultural transformation when China took over. Accommodating the more powerful civilizations culture and formulating it into a way that suits ones civilization best is vital to a civilization’s chance of survival. Cultural Diffusion can be and usually is a huge advantage when it comes to being part of a tributary empire.

    Sometimes though conforming to another civilizations social and political structure can lead to a civilizations downfall. Not all practices of another civilization can be successful. Korea and Vietnam accepted a type of government that is usually frowned upon nowadays. This type of socialistic government is known as communism. Chinese communist influence affected north Korea and Northern Vietnam, because many civilizations now go under a democratic and more capitalistic government( which is almost the exact opposite of a socialist government) many times these civilizations develop conflicts and arguments among each other, for example the Korean and Vietnam war. War can cost a civilization a huge sum of wealth. Many times the civilization that loses the war is left at the brink of collapse, or even complete exile from other civilizations. A civilization would not want to be in that kind of state, so a huge disadvantage of being tributary is that sometimes embracing another civilization’s belief could have destructive results. 

    Being tributary has its pros and cons. Based on the analysis of the Chinese tributary empire one can dispose that influence is really the key factor when it comes to determining the advantages and disadvantages of being tributary. Sometimes the influence can be constructive (the Japanese Empire), and other times deteriorative (communist Vietnam and Korea). It all truly depends on how each empire is influence by the supreme power at that time. The Chinese instilled there trends, and ideologies upon these civilizations molding them into what would be known as the modern day Vietnam, Japan, and Korea.