Japanese Envoys to Tamna (Korean kingdom which ruled Jeju Island in ancient times) (遣耽羅使)

Japanese Envoys to Tamna was dispatched to Tamna from Japan (Wakoku).

Background and Summary

The first appearance of Tamna in historical records is as Juho (present Jeju Island) in Weizhi Dongyi zhuan (Records of Wei Concerning Eastern Barbarians) in "Sangokushi (Three Kingdoms Saga)", a Chinese history book written in the third century, but the Geographical Record of the "History of Goryeo" also records a legend which reports its relationship with Wa (Japan) suggesting its interaction with Japan from the ancient times. Tamna seems to have paid tributes to Baekje and have become its subject from the fifth to sixth century as written in Samguk Sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms).

Upon the fall of Baekje in 660 due to the invasion by the Tang army, Tamna developed its own diplomacy starting with the dispatch of an envoy to Tang in the same year ("Tang Huiyao" [Institutional History of Tang]). It also sent Prince Awagi to Japan in 661, taking advantage of the event that the fourth Japanese envoys to Tang drifted down to Tamna, and began to pay tributes to Japan; since then, as far as we can see in the official records, its envoys visited Japan at least nine times until 678, continuing to pay tributes to Japanese Imperial court until it was subjected to Silla in 679. Tamna is thought to have worked with Japan to back Baekje at the time because 'Japanese Envoys to Tamna' are included in the list of capitulants of Battle of Hakusukinoe.

Japan responded to the tribute from Tamna by dispatching envoys to Tamna in 679 and 684. Although the members of the first envoy are not identified, the envoy of 684 included senior envoy INUKAI no Tasuki and junior envoy KAWARA no Kane, according to "Nihonshoki" (Chronicles of Japan). Both envoys were dispatched as an addition to envoys to Silla; the first one was dispatched to give silent approval for the Tamna's subjection to Silla and the latter one was dispatched to investigate the situation there after the annexation of Hotoku (報徳国) to Silla.

In addition, envoys from Tamna arrived in Japan in 688 and 693 but they were not allowed to enter the capital and were forced to stay in Dazai-fu, probably because the two countries no longer had a formal diplomatic relations at the time.