Japan’s historic relationship with the Korean Peninsula has often been complicated by mutual misunderstanding and distrust, if not outright hostility. But on Tsushima, a Japanese island off the coast of the peninsula, efforts are being made to celebrate long-ago diplomatic missions with Korea that took place for the purposes of peaceful coexistence and trade during Japan’s period of isolation in the 17th through 19th centuries.

Last October, UNESCO’s Memory of the World heritage program agreed to register 333 diplomatic documents, travel records and records of cultural exchanges of a dozen missions by Korean envoys to Japan between 1607 and 1811. Of these, 209 items are held in Japan and 124 in South Korea. The registration effort was the result of years of joint cooperation by both countries.

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