Japanese, Korean, or Chinese exploration of Kamchatka or Okhotsk Sea?

May 2019
137
Earth
Before the 1860s, how much exploration/contact was there by these East Asian cultures with the Okhotsk Sea region and the Kamchatka Peninsula? I have heard of Chinese and Japanese ventures into Sakhalin island, but what about points north?
 
Sep 2012
1,116
Taiwan
Not a massive amount, but we know there was certainly cross-strait trade going on between Sakhalin/the Kurils and continental NE Asia throughout the medieval period, as evidenced mainly by iron tools and other 'advanced' materials uncovered by archaeologists there. I think Chinese exploration in the Okhotsk Sea began in earnest in the Yuan dynasty, although I don't know much about what Korea and Japan were doing up there in pre-modern times. Kamchatka itself I'm afraid I don't know too much about.
 
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May 2019
137
Earth
Kamchatka itself I'm afraid I don't know too much about.
I am aware of a Japanese castaway ending up there in the 18th century, but that was by accident, so not exactly what I'm asking about: Dembei - Wikipedia

If East Asians were interacting with the Kurils as you said, it wouldn't have been impossible for them to follow the islands as far as Kamchatka's southern end. I just don't know if it happened...
 
Sep 2012
1,116
Taiwan
Ah, Kamchatka is referred to as the 'Ghost Country' (Liuguiguo 流鬼國) in Tang records, and there was trade between China and Kamchatka in this period. I'm afraid I don't know if any specific Chinese people actually ended up going there. Sailors and merchants maybe, but that would just be an inference. It's possible the Tang sent an embassy there, but dynastic records don't typically list these things.
 
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Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,777
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I believe Koreans in the 17th century at least were aware of there being open sea beyond Hokkaido, but not sure if they knew any details beyond that. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Korean sailors went up into that area on occasion. They certainly had the technology and capacity to.

There's actually an interesting account of some sailors that were caught in a storm and ended up in that area, eventually getting home by way of Hokkaido.

I haven't really seen many records about these things.
 
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May 2019
137
Earth
Ah, Kamchatka is referred to as the 'Ghost Country' (Liuguiguo 流鬼國) in Tang records, and there was trade between China and Kamchatka in this period. I'm afraid I don't know if any specific Chinese people actually ended up going there. Sailors and merchants maybe, but that would just be an inference. It's possible the Tang sent an embassy there, but dynastic records don't typically list these things.
Interesting, the Tang is earlier than I expected. I wonder if perhaps there are Chinese maps or other forms of records which could give us some indication of how well the Chinese knew the region...

I believe Koreans in the 17th century at least were aware of there being open sea beyond Hokkaido, but not sure if they knew any details beyond that. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Korean sailors went up into that area on occasion. They certainly had the technology and capacity to.
If you do come across anything, I'd be interested to hear it. As you said, I've heard that Korea in the early-modern period was a fairly competent naval state. I just don't know how inclined they were to send their sailors in a northward direction...

There's actually an interesting account of some sailors that were caught in a storm and ended up in that area, eventually getting home by way of Hokkaido.
I wonder if they left any record of the things they saw. That would be interesting.
 
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Haakbus

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,777
United States
...

If you do come across anything, I'd be interested to hear it. As you said, I've heard that Korea in the early-modern period was a fairly competent naval state. I just don't know how inclined they were to send their sailors in a northward direction...
The they would have gone up there intentionally for fishing, whaling, or small-scale trading with the locals, but again I don't know of it being mentioned in an official capacity so anything that did happen would be informal exclusively by individuals. But yeah Korea had a well-developed maritime tradition by the Three Kingdoms period.

I wonder if they left any record of the things they saw. That would be interesting.
They actually did. A learned man was among them and wrote about the trip. Here's a translation from 1924: http://www.raskb.com/transactions/VOL15/KORS0749D_VOL15.pdf
 
May 2019
137
Earth
The they would have gone up there intentionally for fishing, whaling, or small-scale trading with the locals, but again I don't know of it being mentioned in an official capacity so anything that did happen would be informal exclusively by individuals.
Even if it was private/individual voyages, and not in an official capacity, I'm still interested to hear about it if any evidence of that happening has survived :)


They actually did. A learned man was among them and wrote about the trip. Here's a translation from 1924: http://www.raskb.com/transactions/VOL15/KORS0749D_VOL15.pdf
Great, I'll have a look at that. Thanks.
 
Sep 2012
1,116
Taiwan
Interesting, the Tang is earlier than I expected. I wonder if perhaps there are Chinese maps or other forms of records which could give us some indication of how well the Chinese knew the region...
I've never looked deep into cartography and I'm not sure how many Tang maps we have. But the Chinese probably really didn't know the region well at all; most of what they knew was probably second hand knowledge garnered from Bohai and the Mohe (who helped to establish the trading routes).
 
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