- Japanese: 王仁 or 和邇 (Wani)
Foreigner of the ancient period who settled in Japan. He is said to have come to Japan from the Korean state of Paekche in the time of Emperor Ôjin (late 3rd or early 4th c. CE), bringing with him copies of the Lúnyǔ (Analects of Confucius) and the Qiānzì wén (Thousand Character Classic), a rhymed work one thousand characters in length compiled by Zhou Xingsi, thus becoming the first person to introduce books to Japan. He became a tutor to the heir apparent and, along with Achi no Omi, was put in charge o the handling and drafting of documents for the court.
It is not clear whether he was Korean or Chinese, and indeed it is not even certain that he actually lived. However, as the Yamato court in the period around the fourth century began to grow in size and complexity, it employed foreigners to draw up documents and handle written records, and Wani may be conveniently regarded as representative of the earliest of these.
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