Japanese missions to Imperial China
The Japanese missions to Imperial China were diplomatic embassies which were intermittently sent to the Chinese court. Any distinction amongst diplomatic envoys sent from the Imperial Japanese court or from any of the Japanese shogunates was lost or rendered moot when the ambassador was received in the Chinese capital. Extant records document missions to China between the years of 607 and 839; the composition of these Imperial missions included members of the aristocratic kuge and Buddhist priests. These missions led to the importation of Chinese culture, including advances in the sciences and technology; these diplomatic encounters produced the beginnings of a range of Schools of Buddhism in Japan, including Zen. From the sinocentric perspective of the Chinese Court in Chang'an, the several embassies sent from Kyoto were construed as tributaries of Imperial China. China seems to have taken the initiative in opening relations with Japan. Sui Emperor Yangdi dispatched a message in 605 which read: The sovereign of Sui respectfully inquires about the sovereign of Wa.
The court of Empress Suiko responded by sponsoring a mission led by Ono no Imoko in 607. A message carried by that mission, believed to have been written by Prince Shōtoku, contains the earliest known written instance in which the Japanese archipelago is referred to by a term meaning "land of the rising sun." The salutation read, in part: From the sovereign of the land of the rising sun to the sovereign of the land of the setting sun." The Imperial embassies to the Sui dynasty included representatives sent to study government and technology. The Imperial embassies to Tang dynasty are the best known. A 20th mission had been planned including the appointment of ambassadors. However, shortly before departure, the mission was halted by Emperor Uda because of reports of unsettled conditions in China; the emperor's decision-making was influenced by the persuasive counsel of Sugawara no Michizane. Japanese envoys to the Sui court were received as ambassadors: 607: The first diplomatic mission was led by Japan's first ambassador to China.
This Japanese envoy, Ono no Imoko, had the title kenzuishi. The delegation was received in the Imperial Court. 608: Ono no Imoko leads a returning embassy to China. This mission included two others with the title kenzushi: Takamuko no Kuromaro and Minabuchi no Shōan. Kuromaro and Shōan, along with the Buddhist monk Sōmin remained in China for 32 years before returning to Japan. Japanese envoys to the Tang court were received as ambassadors: Three missions to the Tang court were dispatched during the reign of Emperor Kōtoku. Emperor Kanmu's planned mission to the Tang court in 804 included three ambassadors and several Buddhist priests, including Saichō and Kūkai; the ambassadors returned in the middle of 805. They were accompanied by the monk Saichō known by his posthumous name Dengyō Daishi, whose teachings would develop into the Tendai school of Japanese Buddhism. In 806, the return of the monk Kūkai known posthumously as Kōbō-Daishi, marks the beginning of what would develop into the Shingon school of Japanese Buddhism.
New ambassadors to China were appointed by Emperor Ninmyō in 834. 836–839: The mission was postponed by a typhoon. In China, a steady and conservative Confucianist Song dynasty emerged after the end of the Tang dynasty and subsequent period of disunity during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. During this time, although travel to China was safe, Japanese rulers believed there was little to learn from the Song, so there were no major embassy missions to China. Ancient Japan was called Wa; the Tang folks referred to Wa as 東夷. From 630 onward, Wa sent large groups of monks and government officials, up to 600 each time, to the Tang capital of Chang'an to learn the advanced production technology, social system, philosophy and architecture. Among many items adopted by Wa: Tang political system Heian-kyō, the new Japanese capital established in 794, was a laid out in a grid similar to that of Chang'an, the Tang capital. Culture, many Han Chinese characters were borrowed from Tang civilization to build the Japanese culture.
Tang dress codes, eating habits were the fashion, imitated and popularized. Japanese envoys to the Ming court were received as ambassadors. 1373-1406: Embassies between China and Japan. 1397: an Imperial ambassador is dispatched from Emperor Go-Komatsu to the Ming Court. 1401: Ashikaga Yoshimitsu sends a diplomatic mission to China as a tentative first step in re-initiating trade between Japan and Ming China. The formal diplomatic letter conveyed to the Emperor of China was accompanied by a gift of 1000 ounces of gold and diverse objects. 1402: A letter from the Jianwen Emperor of China was received by Yoshimitsu. During Japan's self-imposed isolation in the Edo period, Japan's vicarious relationships with China evolved through the intermediary of the Kingdom of Ryukyu. Japan's view of external relations was ambivalent. 1853: Hayashi Akira completed Tsūkō ichiran. The work was created under orders from the bakufu t
Matteo Ricci, S. J. was one of the founding figures of the Jesuit China missions. His 1602 map of the world in Chinese characters introduced the findings of European exploration to East Asia, he is considered a Servant of God by the Roman Catholic Church. Ricci arrived at the Portuguese settlement of Macau in 1582 where he began his missionary work in China, he became the first European to enter the Forbidden City of Beijing in 1601 when invited by the Wanli Emperor, who sought his services in matters such as court astronomy and calendrical science. He converted several prominent Chinese officials to Catholicism, such as Xu Guangqi, who aided in translating Euclid's Elements into Chinese as well as the Confucian classics into Latin for the first time. Ricci was born 6 October 1552, in Macerata, part of the Papal States, today a city in the Italian region of Marche, he studied law at Rome for two years. He entered the Society of Jesus in April 1571 at the Roman College. While there, in addition to philosophy and theology, he studied mathematics and astronomy under the direction of Christopher Clavius.
In 1577, he applied for a missionary expedition to the Far East. He sailed from Lisbon, Portugal in March 1578 and arrived in Goa, a Portuguese Colony, the following September. Ricci remained there employed in teaching and the ministry until the end of Lent 1582, when he was summoned to Macau to prepare to enter China. Ricci arrived at Macau in the early part of August. In August 1582, Ricci arrived at a Portuguese trading post on the South China Sea. At the time, Christian missionary activity in China was completely limited to Macau, where some of the local Chinese people had converted to Christianity and lived in the Portuguese manner. No Christian missionary had attempted to learn the Chinese language until 1579, when Michele Ruggieri was invited from Portuguese India expressly to study Chinese, by Alessandro Valignano, founder of St. Paul Jesuit College, to prepare for the Jesuits' mission from Macau into Mainland China. Once in Macau, Ricci studied customs, it was the beginning of a long project that made him one of the first Western scholars to master Chinese script and Classical Chinese.
With Ruggieri, he traveled to Guangdong's major cities and Zhaoqing, seeking to establish a permanent Jesuit mission outside Macau. In 1583, Ricci and Ruggieri settled in Zhaoqing, at the invitation of the governor of Zhaoqing, Wang Pan, who had heard of Ricci's skill as a mathematician and cartographer. Ricci stayed in Zhaoqing from 1583 to 1589, it was in Zhaoqing, in 1584, that Ricci composed the first European-style world map in Chinese, called "Da Ying Quan Tu". No prints of the 1584 map are known to exist, but, of the much improved and expanded Kunyu Wanguo Quantu of 1602, six recopied, rice-paper versions survive, it is thought that, during their time in Zhaoqing and Ruggieri compiled a Portuguese-Chinese dictionary, the first in any European language, for which they developed a system for transcribing Chinese words in the Latin alphabet. The manuscript was misplaced in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, rediscovered only in 1934, published only in 2001. There is now a memorial plaque in Zhaoqing to commemorate Ricci's six-year stay there, as well as a "Ricci Memorial Centre" in a building dating from the 1860s.
Expelled from Zhaoqing in 1589, Ricci obtained permission to relocate to Shaoguan in the north of the province, reestablish his mission there. Further travels saw Ricci reach Nanjing and Nanchang in 1595. In August 1597, Alessandro Valignano, his superior, appointed him Major Superior of the mission in China, with the rank and powers of a Provincial, a charge that he fulfilled until his death, he moved to Tongzhou in 1598, first reached the capital Beijing itself on 7 September 1598. However, because of a Chinese intervention against Japanese invasion of Korea at the time, Ricci could not reach the Imperial Palace. After waiting for two months, he left Beijing. During the winter of 1598, with the help of his Jesuit colleague Lazzaro Cattaneo, compiled another Chinese-Portuguese dictionary, in which tones in Chinese syllables were indicated in Roman text with diacritical marks. Unlike Ricci's and Ruggieri's earlier Portuguese-Chinese dictionary, this work has not been found. In 1601, Ricci was invited to become an adviser to the imperial court of the Wanli Emperor, the first Westerner to be invited into the Forbidden City.
This honor was in recognition of Ricci's scientific abilities, chiefly his predictions of solar eclipses, which were significant events in the Chinese world. He established the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing, the oldest Catholic church in the city. Ricci was given free access to the Forbidden City but never met the reclusive Wanli Emperor, however, granted him patronage, with a generous stipend and supported Ricci's completion of the Zhifang Waiji, China's first global atlas. Once established in Beijing, Ricci was able to meet important officials and leading members of the Beijing cultural scene and convert a number of them to Christianity. One conversion, which he called "extraordinary", occurred in 1602, when Li Yingshi, a decorated veteran of the Japanese/Korean War and a well-known astrologer and feng shui exper
Ono no Takamura
Ono no Takamura known as Sangi no Takamura, was an early Heian period scholar and poet. Takamura was a descendant of Ono no Imoko who served as Kenzuishi, his father was Ono no Minemori, he was the grandfather of one of the three famous calligraphers. In 834 he was appointed to Kintōshi, but in 838 after a quarrel with the envoy, Fujiwara no Tsunetsugu, he gave up his professional duties pretending to be ill, attracted the ire of retired Emperor Saga, who sent him to Oki Province. Within two years he regained the graces of the court and returned to the capital where he was promoted to Sangi. Takamura is the subject of a number of odd legends. One of the most singular of these legends is the claim that every night he would climb down a well to hell and help Yama in his judgements. In Sataku, there is a grave said to belong to Takamura. Near that grave is a grave marked Murasaki Shikibu, with a legend that it was placed there by the devil himself as punishment for lust for which Murasaki Shikibu descended to hell.
Ono no Takamura figures into several setsuwa works such as the Ujishūi Monogatari and the Takamura Monogatari. In Ujishūi Monogatari there is the following story about Takamura to illustrate his wit. One day in the palace of Saga Tennō, someone erected a scroll with the writing "無悪善". No one in the palace was able to decipher its meaning; the emperor ordered Takamura to read it, he responded "It will be good if there is no evil," reading the character for evil as "Saga" to indicate Saga Tennō. The emperor was incensed at his audacity and proclaimed that because only Takamura was able to read the scroll, he must have been the one who put it up in the first place. Takamura however pleaded his innocence, saying that he was deciphering the meaning of the scroll; the emperor said, "Oh, so you can decipher any writing, can you?" and asked Takamura to read a row of twelve characters for child: "子子子子子子子子子子子子". Takamura responded: neko no ko koneko, shishi kojishi, using the variant readings ne, ko and shi/ji for the character.
The emperor removed the accusation. Takamura is the main character in the tale Takamura Monogatari, in which he engages in a romantic affair with his half-sister; the work's date is disputed, few scholars take it to be reliable. While people like Ono no Michikaze are Takamura's direct descendants, he had several spiritual descendants among the Samurai. In particular, several Samurai names such as Notarō, Yatarō, Koyata can be traced to Takamura. One of his poems is included as No. 11 in Fujiwara no Teika's Ogura Hyakunin Isshu: Takamura contributed six poems to the Kokin Wakashū: #335, 407, 829, 845, 936, 961. Tatsumiya. Meikai densetsu: takamura no ido 冥界伝説:たかむらの井戸. Yūko Satsuma. Fudaya Ichiren! 札屋一蓮！. Yū Itō. oni no hashi 鬼の橋. ISBN 4-8340-1571-8. Japanese literature Katagiri Yōichi 2009. Kokin Wakashū. Tokyo: Kinuma Shoin. McMillan, Peter 2010. One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each. New York: Columbia University Press. Suzuki Hideo, Yamaguchi Shin'ichi, Yoda Yasushi 2009. Genshoku: Ogura Hyakunin Isshu. Tokyo: Bun'eidō
Abe no Nakamaro
Abe no Nakamaro, whose Chinese name was Chao Heng, was a Japanese scholar and waka poet of the Nara period. He served as the Tang jiedushi of Annam, he was a descendant of Prince Hikofutsuoshi Makoto, the son of Emperor Kōgen and first son of Abe no Funamori. As a young man he was admired for having outstanding academic skills. In 717-718, he was part of the Japanese mission to Tang China along with Kibi no Makibi and Genbō, they returned to Japan. In China, he passed the civil-service examination. Around 725, he took an administrative position and was promoted in Luoyang in 728 and 731. Around 733 he received Tajihi Hironari. In 734 he tried to return to Japan but the ship to take him back sank not long into the journey, forcing him to remain in China for several more years. In 752, he tried again to return, with the mission to China led by Fujiwara no Kiyokawa, but the ship he was traveling in was wrecked and ran aground off the coast of Vietnam, but he managed to return to Chang'an in 755; when the An Lushan Rebellion started that year, it was unsafe to return to Japan and Nakamaro abandoned his hopes of returning to his homeland.
He took several government offices and rose to the position of Governor-General of Annam between 761 and 767, residing in Hanoi. He returned to Chang'an and was planning his return to Japan when he died in 770, he was a close friend of the Chinese poets Li Bai and Wang Wei, Zhao Hua, Bao Xin, Chu Guangxi. From his literary work he is most famous for a poem filled with intense longing for his home in Nara. One of his poems was included in the anthology Hyakunin Isshu and in the Kokin Wakashū. Abe's place in Japanese cultural history is confirmed in Hokusai's Hyakunin Isshu series of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Japanese missions to Imperial China Japanese missions to Tang China McMillan, Peter. One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231143998. Media related to Abe no Nakamaro at Wikimedia Commons
Prince Shōtoku known as Prince Umayado or Prince Kamitsumiya, was a semi-legendary regent and a politician of the Asuka period in Japan who served under Empress Suiko. He was the son of Emperor Yōmei and his consort, Princess Anahobe no Hashihito, Yōmei's younger half-sister, his parents were relatives of the ruling Soga clan and he was involved in the defeat of the rival Mononobe clan. The primary source of the life and accomplishments of Prince Shōtoku comes from the Nihon Shoki. Over successive generations, a devotional cult arose around the figure of Prince Shōtoku for the protection of Japan, the Imperial Family, for Buddhism. Key religious figures such as Saichō, Shinran and others claimed inspiration or visions attributed to Prince Shōtoku. According to tradition, Shōtoku was appointed regent in 593 by his aunt. Shōtoku, inspired by the Buddha's teachings, succeeded in establishing a centralized government during his reign. In 603, he established the Twelve Level Rank System at the court.
He is credited with promulgating a Seventeen-article constitution. The Prince was an ardent Buddhist and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Sangyō Gisho or "Annotated Commentaries on the Three Sutras"; the first of these commentaries, Hokke Gisho, is traditionally dated to 615 and thus regarded as "the first Japanese text", in turn making Shōtoku the first Japanese writer. A legend claims that when Bodhidharma came to Japan, he met with Prince Shōtoku whilst under the guise of a starving beggar; the Prince asked the beggar to identify himself. Instead of going ahead, Shōtoku gave him food and covered him with his purple garment, telling him to "lie in peace"; the Prince sang for the starving man. Alas! For The wayfarer lying And hungered for rice On the hill of Kataoka Art thou become Parentless? Hast thou no lord Flourishing as a bamboo? Alas! For The wayfarer lying And hungered for rice! The second day, the Prince sent a messenger to the starving man, but he was dead. Hereupon, Shōtoku was grieved and ordered his burial.
Shōtoku thought the man was no ordinary man for sure, sending another messenger, discovered the earth had not been disturbed. On opening the tomb there was no body inside, the Prince's purple garment lay folded on the coffin; the Prince sent another messenger to claim the garment, he continued to wear it just as before. Struck by awe, the people praised the Prince: "How true it is that a sage knoweth a sage." This legend is linked with the temple of Daruma-dera in Ōji, where a stone stupa was found underground, exceedingly rare. Prince Shōtoku commissioned the Shitennō-ji in Settsu Province after his military victory against the powerful Mononobe clan, for he is said to have summoned them to crush his enemies. Shōtoku's name has been linked with Hōryū-ji, a temple in Yamato Province, numerous other temples in the Kansai region. Documentation at Hōryū-ji claims that Suiko and Shōtoku founded the temple in the year 607. Archaeological excavations in 1939 have confirmed that Prince Shōtoku's palace, the Ikaruga no miya, stood in the eastern part of the current temple complex, where the Tō-in sits today.
Despite being credited as the founder of Japanese Buddhism, it is said that the Prince respected Shinto and never visited Buddhist temples without visiting Shinto shrines. In his correspondence with Emperor Yang of Sui, the Prince's letter contains the earliest known written instance in which the Japanese archipelago is referred to by a term meaning "land of the rising sun." The Sui Emperor had dispatched a message in 605 that said, "the sovereign of Sui respectfully inquires about the sovereign of Wa," and Shōtoku responded by sponsoring a mission led by Ono no Imoko in 607, who brought along a note reading: "From the sovereign of the land of the rising sun to the sovereign of the land of the setting sun."He is said to have been buried at Shinaga in Kawachi Province. His face has appeared on 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen bills. Two tickets made with different types of materials and special inks with a face value of 100,000,000 were issued; the characteristic of these bills is. As characteristics, it has a seal and figures in different positions starting from the middle outwards.
The measurements of these 2 issues of bills are 35.3 cm x 16 cm and the other with a small variation of 34.3 by 16.5 cm. These cloth tickets were used for the exchange of important values at that time. A number of institutes are named after him, such as Shotoku Gakuen University and its associated junior college; the first syllable of his name, can be read shō in Go-on and can be read sei in Kan-on. The reading is found in Seitoku University and its associated junior college as well as Tokyo's defunct Seitoku Junior College of Nutrition, he features as a playable character, represented by a horse archer, in Age of Empires: Definitive Edition. Shōtoku is known by several titles, although his real name is Prince Umayado since he was born in front of a stable, he is known as Toyotomimi or Kamitsumiyaō. In the Kojiki, his name appears as Kamitsumiya no Umayado no Toyotomimi no Mikoto. In the Nihon Shoki, in addition to Umayado no ōji, he is referred to as Toyomimit
Marco Polo was an Venetian merchant and writer, born in the Republic of Venice. His travels are recorded in Livre des merveilles du monde, a book that described to Europeans the wealth and great size of China, its capital Peking, other Asian cities and countries. Marco learned the mercantile trade from his father and his uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, who travelled through Asia and met Kublai Khan. In 1269, they returned to Venice to meet Marco for the first time; the three of them embarked on an epic journey to Asia, returning after 24 years to find Venice at war with Genoa. He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant and had three children, he was buried in the church of San Lorenzo in Venice. Though he was not the first European to reach China, Marco Polo was the first to leave a detailed chronicle of his experience; this book inspired many other travellers. There is a substantial literature based on Polo's writings. Marco Polo was born in 1254 in the Republic of Venice, though the exact date and place of birth are archivally unknown.
Marco Polo's birthplace is considered to be Venice, but some claimed Constantinople and the island of Korčula as his birth place. There is dispute as to whether the Polo family is of Venetian origin, as Venetian historical sources considered them to be of Dalmatian origin; the lack of evidence makes the Korčula theory as a specific birthplace disputed, some Croatian scholars consider it invented. In 1168, his great-uncle, Marco Polo, commanded a ship in Constantinople, his grandfather, Andrea Polo of the parish of San Felice, had three sons, yet another Marco, the traveller's father Niccolò. This genealogy, described by Ramusio, is not universally accepted as there is no additional evidence to support it, his father, Niccolò Polo, a merchant, traded with the Near East, becoming wealthy and achieving great prestige. Niccolò and his brother Maffeo set off on a trading voyage before Marco's birth. In 1260, Niccolò and Maffeo, while residing in Constantinople the capital of the Latin Empire, foresaw a political change.
According to The Travels of Marco Polo, they passed through much of Asia, met with Kublai Khan, a Mongol ruler and founder of the Yuan dynasty. Their decision to leave Constantinople proved timely. In 1261 Michael VIII Palaiologos, the ruler of the Empire of Nicaea, took Constantinople, promptly burned the Venetian quarter and re-established the Eastern Roman Empire. Captured Venetian citizens were blinded, while many of those who managed to escape perished aboard overloaded refugee ships fleeing to other Venetian colonies in the Aegean Sea. Nothing is known about the childhood of Marco Polo until he was fifteen years old, excepting that he spent part of his childhood in Venice. Meanwhile, Marco Polo's mother died, an aunt and uncle raised him, he received a good education, learning mercantile subjects including foreign currency and the handling of cargo ships. His father married Floradise Polo. In 1269, Niccolò and Maffeo returned to their families in Venice, meeting young Marco for the first time.
In 1271, during the rule of Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo, Marco Polo, his father, his uncle set off for Asia on the series of adventures that Marco documented in his book. They returned to Venice in 1295, 24 years with many riches and treasures, they had travelled 15,000 miles. Marco Polo returned to Venice in 1295 with his fortune converted into gemstones. At this time, Venice was at war with the Republic of Genoa. Polo armed a galley equipped with a trebuchet to join the war, he was caught by Genoans in a skirmish in 1296, off the Anatolian coast between Adana and the Gulf of Alexandretta and not during the battle of Curzola, off the Dalmatian coast. The latter claim is due to a tradition recorded by Giovanni Battista Ramusio, he spent several months of his imprisonment dictating a detailed account of his travels to a fellow inmate, Rustichello da Pisa, who incorporated tales of his own as well as other collected anecdotes and current affairs from China. The book soon spread throughout Europe in manuscript form, became known as The Travels of Marco Polo.
It depicts the Polos' journeys throughout Asia, giving Europeans their first comprehensive look into the inner workings of the Far East, including China and Japan. Polo was released from captivity in August 1299, returned home to Venice, where his father and uncle in the meantime had purchased a large palazzo in the zone named contrada San Giovanni Crisostomo. For such a venture, the Polo family invested profits from trading, many gemstones they brought from the East; the company continued its activities and Marco soon became a wealthy merchant. Marco and his uncle Maffeo financed other expeditions, but never left Venetian provinces, nor returned to the Silk Road and Asia. Sometime before 1300, his father Niccolò died. In 1300, he married the daughter of Vitale Badoèr, a merchant, they had three daughters, Fantina and Moreta. In 1305 he is mentioned in a Venetian document among lo