Tokyo College Online Event “Last Great Fest within the Tributary Circle” by Prof. GE Zhaoguang - Tokyo College

Tokyo College Online Event “Last Great Fest within the Tributary Circle” by Prof. GE Zhaoguang

2020.06.08 @ 16:00 – 17:00

Following the online Tokyo College lecture titled “Last Great Fest within the Tributary Circle,” we hosted a discussion between Professor GE Zhaoguang and Associate Professor SUGIYAMA Kiyohiko

On June 8, 2020, following Professor Ge Zhaoguang’s lecture, “Last Great Fest within the Tributary Circle,” we held a discussion between Professor Ge and Associate Professor Sugiyama. The lecture and discussion, which had originally been scheduled to occur in March of this year, were postponed as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and ultimately took place in the form of a video recording (the lecture) and live stream (the discussion). 

Associate Professor Sugiyama is the author of Daishin Teikoku no Keisei to Hakki Sei (The Formation of the Qing Empire and the Eight Banner System) (The University of Nagoya Press, 2015), and an expert on Manchu and Qing history. In particular, he researches Qing systems and political culture within the context of the broader Central Eurasian world, which also includes the Jurchen (Manchu). At the beginning of the discussion, Associate Professor Sugiyama stated that he felt Professor Ge’s lecture was successful in analyzing and evaluating history in a multifaceted manner, considering the Qianlong Emperor’s 80th birthday celebrations from the various perspectives of Chinese history, Asian history, and global history.

The discussion then went deeper, as both discussed why the celebrations were held first in Chengde rather than Beijing, and what one should think about the conspicuous absences at the celebrations. The fact that ceremonies began in Chengde and ended in Beijing truly represented the dual character of the Qing emperor as both a monarch in the Central Eurasian world, and as Chinese dynastic son of heaven. Both speakers recognized the benefit of considering the meaning of the celebrations from the perspective of the Central Eurasian world, but Professor Ge explained that he deliberately emphasized the perspective of Asian history because of the need to pay attention not only to the east-west axis but also to the north-south axis. Associate Professor Sugiyama raised Russia and the Dzungar as conspicuously absent at the ceremonies, asking what the “Tributary Circle” really was. In response, Professor Ge pointed out that various other states, including the semi-official tribuatry state of Luzon (now the Philippines), as well as Holland and Great Britain, had similarly not received invitations to attend the celebrations. The reasoning is clear when one considers the relationships between the Qing court and these countries. Only those states demonstrating obedience to the Qing were invited. According to Professor Ge, this makes it clear that the Qianlong Emperor still held tightly to a attitude that saw the Chinese imperial court as central.

The alloted hour flew by, especially given the need for Japanese-Chinese interpreting. Finally, the speakers wrapped up the discussion by stating that they hoped there would be another opportunity in the future to exchange their views on a range of topics that it was not possible to discuss fully on this occasion, such as the transition to the 19th century and the beginning of modern history.

Almost 150 people tuned in to the live stream on the day. With sincere apologies to those who were unable to watch the discussion, unfortunately it was only available on that day. The video of Professor Ge’s lecture continues to be available on the Tokyo College YouTube channel, and can be viewed either on there or on this page.

YouTube LIVE
Date(s) Monday, 8 June 2020, 4:00-5:00 pm

Tokyo College YouTube Channel

Language Chinese and Japanese (Simultaneous translation available)

“Emperor Qianlong’s 80th birthday celebration viewed from Chinese history, Asian history, and global history”
Holding events from areas across Chengde and Beijing, Chinese Emperor Qianlong’s 80th birthday celebration was the most important historical occurrence in the eastern part of Asia in the late 18th century, as well as the last great fest within the tributary circle. This lecture will discuss from three perspectives – Chinese history, Asian history, and global history – why in the history of China, Asia, and the world, the same event demonstrates different meanings. Nowadays, from what perspective, and by what standard, do we evaluate a historical event?


Available on Tokyo College YouTube Channel

【Discussion】Discussion between Prof. GE Zhaoguang and Prof. Kiyohiko Sugiyama (University of Tokyo)
Please watch the Lecture in advance and watch Discussion LIVE on Tokyo College YouTube Channel (

Speaker Profile

Ge Zhaoguang:
Graduated from Peking University with a Master’s degree in Chinese Language and Literature. Full professor of Tsinghua University (history) in 1992. Distinguished Professor of Fudan University in 2006. Guest Professor at Kyoto University (1998), the University of Tokyo (2015), Princeton University (2011-2013), and Chicago University (2015). Research fields include intellectual history, cultural history, and religious history of East Asia and China.

Organized by Tokyo College, The University of Tokyo

Upcoming Events

“The Future of Europe and the EU-Japan Partnership: The War in Ukraine and its Impact on Europe and Beyond” Lecture by H.E. Herman Van Rompuy

イベント予定共催/Joint Event講演会/Lecture

Tuesday, 12 July 2022, 1:00-2:45 pm (Doors open: 12:30 pm)

The war in Ukraine has shaken our confidence in peace and prosperity within Europe and beyond. What is needed to overcome such a crisis in international relations? H.E. Herman Van Rompuy, President Emeritus of the European Council, leads the discussion by sharing his insights on the future of Europe and Japan which will be followed by Q&A sessions with students and others.

Tokyo College Lecture “How the Russo-Ukrainian War is Changing European International Order: The Perspective from Japan”

イベント予定共催/Joint Event講演会/Lecture

Friday, 29 July 2022, 3:00-5:00 pm (Doors open: 2:30 pm)

The Russo-Ukrainian War is changing the structure of international order and security in Western Europe. Did it mend the EU's diplomatic and security divisions in Western Europe, or did it reaffirm them?
How is Japan's response to the war in Russia and Ukraine perceived in the West, and how will it affect Japan's future relations with Western nations?

Previous Events

“Rereading Proust in 2022” Lecture by Prof. Antoine Compagnon


Thursday, 23 June 2022, 4:00-5:30 pm (Doors open: 3:30 pm)

In 2022, we are commemorating the centennial of Marcel Proust's death with an extraordinary salvo of publications, exhibitions, and acclamations. “Proust is the man of the year,” advertised the Italian magazine La Repubblica on New Year’s Day. It gives us an occasion to evaluate the magnitude of his novel, Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time, and also to compare this anniversary with the previous one, 1971, a century after Proust’s birth. His star hasn’t stopped rising.

“Rethinking Methodology in Global Diplomacy” Lecture by Prof. SHIMAZU Naoko


Tuesday, 7 June 2022, 4:00-5:30 pm (Doors open: 3:30pm)

Why do we need to rethink about the way we study and make sense of global diplomacy? In this lecture, I explore how cultural approaches can illuminate important aspects of diplomacy which have not been adequately considered in much of the existing scholarly literature.

“Globalisation, Empires, and the Making of the Modern World” Lecture by Prof. A. G. Hopkins


Friday, 13 May 2022, 15:00-16:30 (Doors open: 14:40)

This talk describes three phases of globalisation that have occupied the last five centuries and their role in making the world we know today. The first two phases were associated with the rise of Western empires, which integrated large parts of the world through a process of compulsory globalisation. The third phase, which began after 1945, brought empires to an end and produced the current world order - and disorder.

“Trade war, global pandemic, Ukraine: What we know, and don’t know, about the new political and economic order” Lecture by Mr. Bill Emmott


10 May 2022, 3:00-4:30 pm (Doors open: 2:40 pm)

Recent years have featured the US-China trade war, the coronavirus pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, each of which we can consider “radically uncertain” events that were not in any real sense predictable. This lecture seeks to identify how these events fit into conventional frameworks for explaining the world, how these events might have changed that framework, what elements of the framework remain unknown, and how we should respond to this age of uncertainty.

“Self-organization for Materials Synthesis” Lecture by Prof. FUJITA Makoto


Tuesday, 5 April 2022 (17:00-18:00 JST)

A wide variety of new structures are created using the phenomenon of “self-assembly,” in which molecules spontaneously assemble and order themselves. This presentation introduces the tiny world of manufacturing, where new structures are magically created simply by mixing metal ions and organic molecules.