Kang Hsi Essay, Research Paper
Emperor of China
The Self Portrait of K ang-Hsi is a work unlike any other that a typical reader could expect to encounter. It is both educational and exciting, incorporating many elements such as morality, history, and wisdom, that when combined, stun the reader into admiration for one of China s greatest emperors. The Emperor Of China is a beautifully written masterpiece both on the part of the author K ang-Hsi and the editor Jonathan Spence. The book takes its readers into the 17th century China, presenting them with the Chinese way of life as well as the Chinese culture in general. The way in which K ang-Hsi presents his thoughts, victories, and defeats is spectacular to both the old and the young. K ang-Hsi s self portrait allows the readers to psychologically enter the mind of the great emperor witnessing the true perspectives of his job, as well as evaluating how well he accomplished such an enormous task as ruling an empire for over sixty years. In the words of K ang-Hsi himself, his job was hard work, two words so simple, yet with such great meaning. Despite the hardships, K ang-Hsi was able to clearly define and describe his own function as the leader of his country, while performing all crucial tasks with unmatched excellence.
It is clear to all that summarizing a job of an emperor is not an easy task, since this is the only job that has no limits and extends in all directions and all areas of a fairly large empire. K ang-Hsi was well aware of that and even pointed out, I have worked with unceasing diligence and intense watchfulness, never resting, never idle. (Spence, 170) Conceivably the reason for K ang-Hsi s accomplishments understanding his role as well as carrying it out, were due to his high intellectual standpoint, as well as a virtuous heart. K ang-Hsi fought wars but knew when to be cruel as well as when to be merciful. He spared many men s lives, condemned to death for some crime they have committed. Again as K ang-Hsi himself pointed out, No dynasty in history has been as just as ours in gaining the right to rule. (Spence, 171)
For the duration of the book, K ang-Hsi tells us the history of his rule, bringing us to the exact locations of some specific events. He is extremely descriptive, unable to omit the slightest details. This great technique allows him to maintain the full attention of the reader, as well as helps him transliterate some of his functions and roles by direct examples, rather then lengthy edict-like essays.
Generally speaking, K ang-Hsi views himself as a true leader should an example to his subjects. He always attended to the slightest details as careless handling of one item might bring harm to the whole world, a moment s carelessness damage all future generations. (Spence, 147) In military matters K ang-Hsi did not fall short either. He was successful expanding his empire in the north, and dispersing outbreaks and rebellions. He planned all military tactics by himself and never killed a single soldier recklessly. Furthermore, K ang-Hsi never took funds out of the Board of Revenue treasury unless it was for famine relief or military matters.
By reading this great work, I arrived at an indescribable admiration toward K ang-Hsi. I never had a slightest idea that a ruler can have so much concern toward his country. K ang-Hsi assumed and fulfilled all possible roles that were a part of his job. In addition, through wisdom and great moral characters, K ang-Hsi surpassed all normal duties of a ruler and extended himself beyond. While reading I was often amazed and even doubtful that K ang-Hsi was capable of accomplishing so much. The final chapters cleared those doubts away. The only regret that I have from K ang-Hsi, is that we do not have a ruler like him today. A man with so much charisma and love for his country is the only man fit to rule. In old age K ang-Hsi s only request was to die without having an outbreak of troubles. Concluding his auto-biography, I asked K ang-Hsi, How do you ever manage to be so successful?
I just go on each day in an ordinary way, and concentrate on ruling properly, he replied with a smile. (Spence, 150)