Azuma kagami and Wuqi jing bu

From the weird footnotes to history department: "Azuma kagami and Wuqi jing bu: Historical Evidence of Sino-Japanese Cultural Interaction" [PDF], a 1980 paper by Feng Zuozhe and Wang Xiaoqiu translated in 2003 by Joshua F. Fogel for Sino-Japanese Studies.

In the Qianlong 乾隆 period, the following case cropped up unexpectedly. At this time, the Qing government prohibited the local minting of private currency. There was discovered by chance along a certain coastal area a copper coin on which was cast the characters "Guanyong tongbao" 寛永通宝 (Japanese, "Kan'ei tsūhō" or "currency of the Kan'ei reign period"). The official in the Board of Revenue which handled financial administrative matters reported to the emperor that China had never had the reign title "Guanyong," and that he did [not] know from whence this money had come to China. The Qianlong Emperor soon ordered his provincial magistrates to investigate the background of this currency, but no one knew anything. "The prefects and district magistrates were all flustered and at a loss as to what to do." Finally, a scholar from the Suzhou area by the name of Wang Huiyin 王慧音 realized that it was a Japanese coin. The basis for his judgment was the mention of a Japanese reign period "Kan'ei" in the essay "Wuqi jing ba" in Zhu Yizun's Pushu ting ti [juan 44]. He reasoned further that it was highly probable that this coin was carried home by a Chinese merchant returning from Japan where he had bartered with copper. Based on the facts contained in Wang Huiyin's analysis, the Jiangsu 江蘇 Provincial Governor Chen Hongmou 陳宏謀 reported to the throne and resolved this difficult matter. "It was only because a literatus knew the title Azuma kagami, but when he sought out this book he was unable to obtain it."

Although highly dissatisfied with the state of Chinese scholarship on Japan in the late Ming and early Qing, everyone was hoping for the publication of a detailed introduction on the situation in Japan. For a long time, no one wrote such an introductory work which was accurate in its details. Finally, in the Jiaqing reign period, a "classical scholar from a remote area" (Wujiang 吳江 county, Jiangsu) by the name of Weng Guangping 翁広平, "devoted seven years and went through five drafts in composing the Wugi jing bu [Emendations to the Azuma kagami].

Weng's quoted commentary on the Azuma kagami will amuse any connoisseur of grave Sinitic scholasticism. (Sample: "Did it have to record the weather for every day of every month?")

Turns out that Sino-Japanese Studes has a whole page of articles in PDF form, if that's your thing.

Popularity factor: 10


I'm confused. What's the connection between the Kan'ei Era (1624-1643) and the Azuma Kagami (13c.)? Or rather, what did these Ming scholars suppose the connection was?


Whoops! Should have read the article before commenting ... Gomen, ne.


Thanks for the tip. As someone who read the 吾妻鏡, I usually don't look at Qing studies to find information on it. This, however, looks fun.

(Yes they did have to record the weather for every day of every month, Weng. Yes they did.

… Well actually no they didn't because the text doesn't. I'd have rather they had to be honest.)


Aw, I was all ready to make a joke about how it's so comprehensive it even included era names from the future.


MMS, I thought you were a Heian specialist. If you skip ahead in the chronicles you'll only spoil the ending for yourself.


I skimmed the list of articles and thought, "how convenient, another article on Chinese influences in Bashō; I'm writing about that in a few days, I'll use this". I was very confused when I couldn't find it again, even after using the search function, Google, different keywords etc. I thought it was took offline, & it took a while to realize that the article I glanced was actually about Baisaō the sencha guy – and written by Patricia "Tea of the Sages" Graham herself, so that I'm totally procrastinating on the Bashō homework to read more about Baisaō.


("it was *taken* offline", right? -_-;)


Matt: I always check the ending of history first, to see if it's worth the effort. Why waste your time and the time of all the historical actors if the teleology isn't going in a good direction?

(Late Heian actually, so I do bleed into Kamakura at times. And at work they want to turn me into a modernist anyway.)


Okay, it's good to know I don't need to be all "spoilers: 諸行無常"

Hold fast against the pro-modernists! I'm always disappointed when I check the contents of a 400-page "History of Japan" and find them at 1600 CE by page 50.


That's why I love Sansom -- in 500 pages, he barely gets to the 18th century. If you want to know what happened after that, read the damn newspapers!

Aime la vérité, mais pardonne à l'erreur

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