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There are many studies of the history of European literature. But the history of East Asian literature has not yet been written. Such an unbalance must be redressed. The histories of so-called Eastern Literature(東方文學) published in China include all non European literatures and have no coherent system. We have to find the inner structure of East Asian literary history in the sphere of the tradition of written Chinese, which is comparable to the Latin heritage of European literature.In the course of accomplishing a series of studies on literary history, from Korea scope to the world perspective, I presented some keys understanding the historical development of East Asian literature. They can be used as the starting point to write its whole history. Two pairs of binary opposition, the noble (華) and the vulgar (夷), as well as the poem (詩) and the song (歌) are the key concepts. The noble is the common ideal of East Asian civilization and the vulgar refers to national peculiarities. The poem uses the written chinese, while the song is composed in vernacular language.The combinations of these two pairs of key concepts reveal the characteristics of each era. In ancient times there was only the vulgar song. Confucian civilization. which spread from China, promoted the noble poem. Non-Chinese nations developed the noble song, along with the noble poem, during the medieval age. But in the time of the transition from medieval to modern ages, the newly appearing vulgar poem destroyed the chain of being, The modern age began when the vulgar triumphed over the noble, and the song took the place of the poem.