Taikun’s Zen Master from China:

Yinyuan, the Tokugawa Bakufu, and the Founding of Manpukuji in 1661

Jiang Wu

The story of Yinyuan’s 隱元 (1592–1673) arrival in Japan in 1654 and the subsequent founding of Manpukuji 萬福寺 in 1661 are familiar to students of Sino-Japanese history. However, the path to Yinyuan’s success is still mysterious. In a previous study, I showed that Yinyuan came to Japan to answer the call of Nagasaki Chinese merchants who had local links with Fuqing 福清 county in China during the turbulent transition from Ming 明 to Qing 清.[1] It would have been expected that Yinyuan would settle in one of the three Chinese temples in Nagasaki and become the spiritual leader of the Chinese expatriate community. However, what happened next was extraordinary in three aspects: first, after just one year of residence in Nagasaki, Yinyuan was able to secure invitations from Japanese monks and authorities to move to a Japanese monastery called Fumonji 普門寺, close to Osaka and Kyoto, despite the bakufu’s 幕府 ruling against Chinese residents living outside Nagasaki; second, after staying in Fumonji for a few years, Yinyuan became the first Chinese of significance after the founding of the Tokugawa regime to be granted two audiences with the fourth shogun Ietsuna 家綱 (1641–80) in Edo 江戸 during the winter of 1658, where he met with Ietsuna’s senior councillors; Third, two years later, in 1660, the bakufu allowed him to build a new temple in Kyoto, breaking another rule, this time one prohibiting new temple building.

Obviously, these results were not something that Yinyuan or his Japanese sponsors could manage alone. They were decisions made by Japanese authorities, both local and central, and mediated by some of Yinyuan’s zealous Japanese supporters such as Ryōkei Shōsen 龍溪性潛 (1602–70) who lobbied in Edo for Yinyuan’s stay.[2] One may argue that Yinyuan’s success could be attributed to his popularity among Japanese monks and to his teachings, which have been claimed to have “rescued” Japanese Buddhism from its decline. Helen Baroni, for example, interpreted Yinyuan’s Ōbaku 黄檗 Zen as a “New Religious Movement” that attracted a large number of Japanese Buddhists, clearly implying that he was popular in Japan. Following the Japanese scholar Takenuki Genshō 竹貫元勝, she suggested that the bakufu patronage of Yinyuan was similar to that lavished on Chinese monks from the Yuan 元 dynasty by previous shoguns.[3] It might be true that after the founding of Manpukuji, more Japanese Buddhists were drawn to the new sect and more temples changed their affiliations to Ōbaku. However, this theory does not explain why the bakufu chose to allow its founding in the first place while the “country was in chains” (sakoku 鎖国) and temple building was tightly controlled.

One can also link Yinyuan’s success to the rising enthusiasm for Chinese culture and Confucianism. However, the so-called cultural renaissance of the Genroku 元禄 era only reached its peak almost half a century later; thus Confucianism was not yet fully established as the official ideology during Yinyuan’s time.[4] More importantly, the newly established system of official affiliation of households with temples (danka 檀家) left little room for the development of a new sect such as Ōbaku unless the bakufu was willing to support it financially. Even after the founding of Manpukuji, Ōbaku temples fared poorly in the danka system.[5]

In particular, we have to consider that during the six years before the founding of Manpukuji Yinyuan received a mixed response from Japanese Buddhists. Strong opposition was organised by the powerful Zen institution Myōshinji 妙心寺, despite the fact that Myōshinji monks such as Ryōkei Shōsen, Jikuin Somon 竺印祖門 (1610–77), and Tokuō Myōkō 禿翁妙宏 (1611–81) supported Yinyuan strongly.[6] Even the Confucian scholar Mukai Genshō 向井元升 (1609–77) aired his opposition to Yinyuan because he feared that Japanese national identity would be lost in the face of an imported foreign tradition.[7] This anti-Ōbaku sentiment culminated in the mid-eighteenth century and nourished the rise of Hakuin’s 白隱 (1685–1768) Zen teaching. It should be remembered, though, that Yinyuan’s syncretic teachings were not novel, focussing on a reinvention of the Chan 禅 rhetoric of beating and shouting, while his practice was a mixture of Pure Land, Tantric, and Vinaya practices.[8]

Unlike other studies that only discuss Yinyuan’s role in the Zen Buddhist world of the early Edo period, I intend to situate him in the broader political and international context in which Tokugawa foreign policy took shape. I believe that in order to explain Yinyuan’s remarkable success, one has to examine closely how the transformation of early Tokugawa bureaucracy and the formation of a Japan-centred world order shaped the active foreign policy of the bakufu towards Europeans, and to her Asian neighbours such as China, Korea, Ryukyu 琉球, etc. When Yinyuan arrived in 1654, the bakufu had partially achieved its goal by barring Europeans, except the Dutch, from trade and by “persuading” Korea and Ryukyu to send regular embassies to Edo as a way of establishing “neighbourly relationships”.[9] In 1607, Ieyasu 家康 (1543–1616) and his son, the new shogun Hidetada 秀忠 (1579–1632) welcomed the first Korean embassy, and eleven more came to Edo by 1811. These embassies, composed of a large number of Korean officials and attendants (usually numbering between 300 and 500) publically paraded their way through western Japan to Edo, and created a sensation throughout the country. They were widely viewed by the Japanese as evidence of shogun’s success in bringing the Koreans to pay tribute to Japan.

At the same time, a Japanese version of the “civilised versus barbarian” relationship (Nihongata kai ishiki 日本型華夷意識) started to emerge in political and intellectual discourse, characterised by rejecting the domination of the Chinese tribute system. This new conception of the world order was primarily based on Japan’s diplomatic relationship with Korea and secondarily on a fictional “foreign” relationship with Ryukyu.[10] For this purpose, the bakufu invented a form of address for the shogun in all documents addressed to neighbouring countries: Taikun 大君 (popularised in English as Tycoon).[11] The ideological underpinning of this “Taikun Diplomacy” was the usurpation of the Chinese “civilised versus barbarian” discourse, stripped of its Sinocentrism and instilled with the nationalist notion of a “Kami-state” (Kami no kuni 神國). Such a mixed ideology called for the transformative power of “virtue” (toku 德) rather than “military prowess” (bui 武威) as the basis of political legitimacy.

Although the bakufu was successful in its dealings with Korea and Ryukyu, it should be noted that such a new diplomatic order was largely the production of the bakufu’s own imagination and crafting of ideology, as both were also official vassal states of the Chinese empire and paid regular tribute to the Ming and Qing courts. Twelve Korean embassies visited Japan during the Edo period, but between 1637 and 1874 about 474 went to Beijing, or three visits every year on average (these were known as Yeonhaengsa 燕行使).[12] However, this comparatively insignificant number of embassies to Edo Japan was discussed and represented in popular literature and painting with much fanfare by contemporaries, as Ronald Toby shows.[13] Moreover, in popular literature, Koreans were often referred to as Chinese and their writings as Chinese works. The double status of Japan’s “vassal” states points to an implicit relationship between China and Japan even though there were no formal diplomatic links after the end of the kangō 堪合 trade in the late sixteenth century. Conspicuously missing in the bakufu’s carefully constructed diplomatic worldview was the Chinese empire.

Under these circumstances, in the eyes of bakufu officials, Yinyuan was not simply an established Zen monk, but also a kind of representative from China whose presence in Japan was symbolically ambiguous and nuanced, considering the long absence of formal diplomatic relations. However, rather than ignoring China, the bakufu showed favour to private trade with China in Nagasaki, lauched an active intelligence program to keep abreast of the Ming–Qing transition in the mainland, and even initiated debates among its senior officials about sending troops to help the resistance leader Zheng Chenggong 鄭成功 (1624–62) who made repeated requests for military aid. Thus, China held a significant place on the bakufu’s mental map, and Japan clearly wanted to engage China in the new world order she intended to build.

In this essay, I will try to disentangle the complicated political and religious background that led to the founding of Manpukuji. I suggest that the bakufu’s gradual moves to grant Yinyuan a more prominent status in Japan were calculated considerations to engage China and to create a symbolic presence for China on a new Japan-centred world map. Evidence for this can be adduced from two coincidences with other diplomatic events: first, Yinyuan and the Korean embassy travelled at the same time in 1655 and arrived at Osaka on the same day; second, Yinyuan was summoned to Edo in 1658—right after Zheng Chenggong’s envoy arrived in Nagasaki in the summer of the same year and presented an official letter which mentioned Yinyuan’s name. Finally, I examine the bakufu’s ceremonial protocols for dealing with Yinyuan in official and private records, especially his audiences with Ietsuna as seen in bakufu documents such as Diary of Edo Bakufu (Edo bakufu nikki 江戶幕府日記) and Veritable Records of Tokugawa (Tokugawa jikki 德川實紀). Although ambiguous, these public and formal rituals and ceremonies contained all the elements of formal audiences with foreign diplomats and were interpreted differently by various spectators. I believe that this ambiguity was created to allow Yinyuan’s Manpukuji to be institutionalised as a symbolic representative of China. This interpretation is supported by the bakufu’s choice of only having Chinese abbots in Manpukuji, and making their regular visits to Edo part of the routine of audiences with shoguns to accept new appointments and congratulate the new shogun on his succession. These visits, though not specifically characterised as diplomatic “tribute” missions (and remaining politically ambiguous), were comparable to those of Korean and Ryukyuan embassies in the minds of the common people during the Edo period. All evidence points strongly to the idea that the bakufu was less interested in Yinyuan’s religious message than they were eager to harness the political benefits of having a Chinese presence in Edo Japan.

Two Diplomatic “Coincidences”

The inner workings of the bakufu’s decision to retain Yinyuan are largely unknown to us, as many secret discussions were not recorded. Public notices and official letters concerning Yinyuan simply announced the result of such deliberations. However, the bakufu’s other diplomatic measures for dealing with China and Korea may offer some clues as to how high bakufu officials considered Yinyuan’s case, because the officials who were dealing with Yinyuan were all adept in dealing with foreign affairs. For example, the Kyoto deputy Itakura Shigemune 板倉重宗 (1586–1657), the representative of shogunal power in west Japan, invited Yinyuan to Fumonji and personally interviewed him. During his long career as Kyoto deputy, Shigemune was also actively involved in China affairs and joined a bakufu debate about sending troops to China to help Ming loyalists in 1646, strongly supporting the move and even drafting an invasion plan that still raises debate among scholars.[14] Another supporter of Yinyuan, Grand Councillor (tairō 大老) Sakai Tadakatsu 酒井忠勝 (1587–1662), was one of the most influential policy makers at the time and continued to exert his influence in domestic and international affairs, as we can see from his handling of the 1643 Korean embassy and the capture of the Dutch ship Breskens in the same year.[15]

It is hard to imagine that when the bakufu was dealing with Yinyuan they only appreciated his Zen teaching and did not consider his status as a Chinese monk and its ramifications for other international affairs. Two events with international significance that superficially appear to be mere “coincidences” during Yinyuan’s trip to Osaka in 1655 and his trip to Edo in 1658 might shed light on the bakufu’s decision-making process.

Arriving at Osaka with the 1655 Korean Embassy

If the bakufu only considered Yinyuan as a Zen teacher, there would have been no need to relocate him from Nagasaki, as Japanese monks could travel there to study with him. Before Yinyuan came to Japan, his dharma nephew Daozhe Chaoyuan 道者超元 (1602–62) was in Nagasaki; from 1651 to 1658 Japanese monks such as Bankei Yōtaku 盤珪永琢 (1622–93) and Dokuan Genkō 獨庵玄光 (1630–98) came to study under him without causing major issues.[16] When the Myōshiji monk Ryōkei and others petitioned for Yinyuan to stay in Fumonji, located between Kyoto and Osaka, the bakufu granted their request even though there were no obvious political gains for them. In the meantime, another more portentous diplomatic event occurred. In 1653, the year before Yinyuan arrived, the fourth shogun, Ietsuna, took power and both Korea and Ryukyu sent envoys to attend his inauguration. The Korean king sent an impressive 488 strong delegation headed by the official envoys Jo Hyeong 趙珩 (1606–79) and Nam Yong-ik南龍翼 (1628–92).[17]

The 1655 embassy was particularly important because Manchu troops had invaded Korea in 1627 and 1636, and Korea had to subject herself to Manchu rule. The 1655 Korean embassy was the first to Japan after the fall of the Ming in 1644.[18] On the ninth day of the sixth month in 1655, it left Busan釜山, arriving at Tsushima 對馬 six days later. Days earlier, on the first of the sixth month—eight days before the Korean embassy left Busan—the Magistrate of Works, Makino Shigetsune 牧野成常, sent a letter to the Overseers (bugyo 奉行) of Nagasaki and Osaka concerning the invitation of Yinyuan to Fumonji.[19]

The Korean embassy travelled to Kyūshū passing Iki 壱岐 island, Chikuzen 筑前 province, and Ainoshima 藍島 (an island close to Okura), before boarding boats at Shimonoseki 下關 on the fourth day of the eighth month. On the ninth, only four days after the Korean envoys set off from Shimonoseki, Yinyuan and his disciples Damei Xingshan 大眉性善 (1616–73), Duyan Xingwen 独言性聞 (1586–55), Huilin Xinji 慧林性機 (also known as Duzhi 独知 1609–81), Duzhan Xingying 独湛性瑩 (1628–1706), Duhou Xingshi 独吼性獅 (1624–88), and Duli Xingyi 独立性易 (also known as Dai Li 戴笠 or Dai Mangong 戴曼公 1596–1672) left Nagasaki. Their group crossed the Isahaya諫早 River during the night of the tenth day. During the night, they stayed at Isahaya itself. The next morning, they travelled briefly in Hizen 肥前 province and boarded a boat dispatched by the Lord (daimyo大名) of Shino 信濃 province, Nabeshima Katsushige 鍋島勝茂 (1580–1657), one of Hideyoshi’s generals during the Korean invasion. Yinyuan’s party travelled by boat for three days until they reached Okura 小倉 and stayed in Kaizenji 開善寺 on the fourteenth. Tired of receiving so many curious Japanese visitors, Yinyuan ordered the sailors to move on early in the morning. Quickly, his group reached Shimonoseki on the seventeenth but was delayed by rain.[20] After waiting a few days for a favourable wind, they passed Kaminoseki 上関 on the twenty-fourth. They stayed at Tsuwa 津和 on the twenty-seventh, and that night arrived at Kamaka 釡狩, then stopped at Tomo no Ura 鞆の浦 on the twenty-ninth. On the third day of the ninth month, they stopped at Murotsu 室津, finally catching up with the Korean envoys at Osaka Bay on the fifth.[21] (See Map 1 for the reconstructed itinerary.)

It was a bright day according to Yinyuan’s poetic record, however, his chronological biography only recorded:

... on the fifth day of the ninth month, [the master] arrived at the port of Osaka. It happened that the Korean kingdom came to pay tribute. Spectators formed such a crowd that they resembled a solid wall. The master could not get to the shore and had to change to a small boat to travel along the river.[22]

The Korean envoy arrived at the port in the early morning and found crowds had gathered to watch them, men and women sitting on both sides of the road. After the Koreans landed, they stayed at Nishi Honganji’s Tsumura Cloister in Osaka 西本願寺津村別院.[23] Apparently, Yinyuan’s boat arrived shortly after. Finding the port had been occupied, he had to yield to the formally invited foreign guests. He landed on Karasaki 唐崎 the next day and was ushered to Fumonji nearby Fukuta 富田.

Yinyuan did not meet the Korean envoys or even see their splendid procession (although it would have been an interesting encounter for the Koreans to see a man from the “Heavenly Dynasty” tianchao 天朝—their suzerain country, Qing China). Their arrival on the same day in Osaka appeared to be pure coincidence, however when the invitation was extended to Yinyuan, the Korean embassy was already on their way to Japan. Allowing a small group of Chinese monks to travel within Japan at the same time was an interesting move by the bakufu, suggesting they intented to have the Chinese participate in a similar mission. Of course, Yinyuan’s status and travel privileges could not match those of the Korean embassy. All this may be mere coincidence but if we take into consideration the bakufu’s intention to construct a Japan-centred international order in East Asia, Yinyuan’s visit and his final settlement at Uji 宇治 were significant as he could be considered as representing China in this new world order. As mentioned above, it was impossible for the bakufu to ignore China when dealing with Korea and Ryukyu, since China was the political force behind them.

Yinyuan and Zheng Chenggong’s Envoy, Zhang Guangqi

Without a formal diplomatic relationship, the bakufu had to engage China in a more cautious and tactical way, especially when the Qing regime was not stabilised and several Southern Ming courts claimed legitimacy simultaneously. The Ming–Qing transition and Zheng Chenggong’s resistance movement only made Chinese affairs more complicated as Japan had to negotiate with the Manchu court, the Southern Ming regimes, and Zheng Chenggong’s regional hegemony in the southeast coast and Taiwan. One of the central issues was how to deal with the repeated requests for military aid from China. The bakufu chose to be inactive but vigilant while the political and military situation was not completely settled. As a general policy, they would turn down requests for direct military intervention, only occasionally providing supplies. However, the bakufu appeared to be more active in promoting Yinyuan who came directly from China, and in particular from Zheng Chenggong’s stronghold in Xiamen 廈門 as I demonstrated in my previous study.[24]

Although there is no evidence to suggest that Yinyuan carried Zheng Chenggong’s secret request for aid, it is certain that his presence in Japan was a valuable asset for Zheng Chenggong to leverage his plea. Another “coincidence” occurred three years after Yinyuan settled in Fumonji: Zheng Chenggong sent his general, Zhang Guangqi 張光啓, an acquaintance of Yinyuan, to request aid in the middle of 1658. Because Zhang Guangqi knew Yinyuan personally, he even petitioned to meet him. When Zheng Chenggong mentioned Yinyuan’s name in his official “state letter” to the shogun, it may have alerted the senior councillors in Edo. However, the response to Zheng’s request was quick and negative: Zhang Guangqi was asked to stay in Nagasaki without an audience with senior bakufu officials. However, the bakufu suddenly became interested in Yinyuan: just one month after Zheng Chenggong’s letter reached Edo, Yinyuan was asked to prepare to go there, arriving three months later.

Zheng Chenggong’s 1658 envoy was sent under auspicious circumstances. In the fifth month, Zheng had launched his famous Northern Expedition and quickly besieged Nanjing, though the campaign failed in the second year. Just two months after the start of the campaign, in the sixth month, he dispatched Zhang Guangqi to Japan. Zhang brought Zheng Chenggong’s formal letter to the shogun, which was relayed to Edo from Nagasaki on the tenth day of the seventh month.[25]Although the letter itself did not mention the request for aid, the intention to form a special allegiance was clear. In various Chinese sources, however, Zhang’s mission is clearly associated with these attempts as he did receive some military supplies.[26] For example, A Record of Experiences at Sea associates this mission with Yinyuan’s arrival in Japan:

In the seventh month [of 1658], [Zheng Chenggong] ordered General Zhang Guangqi to borrow armies from Japan and took the monk Yinyuan and his disciples from Huangbo monastery, fifty in total, with their boats. Because at that time, the Japanese invited Yinyuan sincerely, he was carried [to Japan] together with them.[27]

It is plainly wrong, as claimed here, that Yinyuan went to Japan in 1658 with Zhang Guangqi. However, such an “innocent” anachronism] suggests an implicit connection between this mission and Yinyuan, which the Ming loyalists wished to establish. Indeed, both Zheng Chenggong’s letter and Zhang Guangqi’s request directed the bakufu’s attention to Yinyuan.

On his arrival at Nagasaki, Zhang Guangqi contacted Yinyuan, who was in Fumonji at Osaka, and requested a meeting with him. Judging from their communications, they had met previously in Huangbo monastery when Zheng Chenggong’s army temporarily occupied the Fuqing area.[28] Zhang Guangqi wrote several letters to Yinyuan and one of them, probably written in the ninth month of 1658 when he was about to return, is still extant. In this polite letter, Zhang expressed his admiration for Yinyuan and indicated that he had planned to meet him in Kyoto but was unable. Zhang also indicated that in a separate letter Yinyuan had left a message for Zheng Chenggong to continue to spread Buddhism in his territories and to protect his people. Zhang promised to bring this message back to Zheng Chenggong. Realising the importance of Zhang’s mission, Yinyuan replied with a poem to encourage Zhang “not to fail in his China mission” 不辱中華命, showing the significance of his trip to Japan. Zhang also wrote another letter to Yinyuan to express his admiration, and once again hinted at the political connection between Yinyuan and Zheng Chenggong.[29]

If the bakufu officials could ignore the exchange of private letters between Yinyuan and Zhang Guangqi, they could not overlook the clear reference to Yinyuan in Zheng Chenggong’s official “state letter”. In this, Zheng first alluded to the historical connection between China and Japan and praised Japan’s moral integrity and the shogun’s military power. Emphasising the fact that Japan was his birthplace, and demonstrating his determination to expel the Manchu army from China, he expected to have more frequent communications with Japan after the Ming dynasty was restored. When he praised the shogun’s orderly governance, Zheng mentioned the bakufu’s religious policy: “You have used Buddhism to assist Confucianism, again it has been seen that high officials studied with [Master] Huangbo (Yinyuan)” 釋輔儒宗 再見元公參黃檗.[30] This “Master Huangbo” must refer to Yinyuan, who hailed from Huangbo and at that time resided in Japan. It is, however, curious why Zheng Chenggong chose to mention Yinyuan and Huangbo as the two had never met: it is perhaps plausible that, because of frequent contact between Nagasaki and Xiamen, Yinyuan’s successes in Japan had been reported back to China, and that Zheng referred to Yinyuan in his letter to strengthen his ties with Japan.[31]

This passing reference must have alerted the bakufu and, according to Kawahara Eishun’s 河原英俊 study, their reaction to Zheng Chenggong’s letter and the decision to invite Yinyuan to Edo corresponded perfectly. On the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month of 1658, Zheng Chenggong’s official letter arrived at Nagasaki and was rushed to Edo on the tenth day of the seventh month. Meanwhile, after receiving several letters from his teacher Feiyin Tongrong 費隱通容 (1593–1662) and lay patrons in China, Yinyuan asked Ryōkei to lobby on his behalf for permission to go back to China. The bakufu did not respond until the seventh month and decided to that Yinyuan should travel to Edo instead. Yinyuan left for Edo on the sixth day of the ninth month and arrived in Edo on the eighteenth. Shortly before this trip—on the fourteenth day of the eighth month—Zheng Chenggong sent a second letter requesting troops because of major military setbacks in Nanjing, which arrived in Nagasaki and then in Edo on the first day of the ninth month.[32] A quick rejection was sent from Edo on the second and arrived in Nagasaki on the fifteenth. On the twentieth, Zheng Chenggong’s envoy left Nagasaki, just two days after Yinyuan arrived in Edo.

The bakufu’s choice to see Yinyuan rather than Zheng Chenggong’s envoy, Zhang Guangqi, is the subject of much debate: arguably Yinyuan was called to Edo to replace Zhang. The bakufu’s rejection of Zheng’s request was consistent with their previous decisions not to intervene, not because of Japan’s lack of interest in China affairs, but due to their lack of confidence in Zheng’s resistance movement. On the contrary, Yinyuan’s visit to Edo at the same time showed the bakufu’s deep interest in China and their intention to explore another kind of relationship represented by Chinese monks, which was conventional and acceptable for Japanese rulers. These two diplomatic “coincidences” suggest that, although Japan rejected the China-centred tribute system, the new Tokugawa bakufu hoped that China could still play a role in its new diplomatic order. Yinyuan’s arrival and his identity as an eminent monk provided the bakufu with an opportunity to establish an alternative place for China on Japan’s imagined world map.

Did Yinyuan Come on a Tribute Mission?

The bakufu’s attitude towards Yinyuan is also clear in numerous references to him in official and private documents. His treatment in ceremonial, especially his audience with Ietsuna, reveals a secret agenda of state building and asserting ritual hegemony. The bakufu was notorious for manipulating diplomatic language and ceremonial protocol to gain an upper hand in foreign relationships. In the eyes of commoners, the Korean embassies were overwhelmingly considered as tribute missions (raichō 來朝), while the official designation for such visits was raihei 來聘, a diplomatic term developed during the Warring States period in China to describe visits among vassal states of equal status.[33] References to Yinyuan’s arrival demonstrate a similar pattern. As I will show below, although most official records used the vague term “coming east” (tōrai 東來), popular writers often referred to his journey to Japan as a “tribute mission”, like the Korean embassy. Although the simple choice of wording might be considered arbitrary, it is suggestive that in the popular imagination, Yinyuan’s audience with Ietsuna, through ceremonially ambiguous, was represented as a tribute mission and was even visualised in popular paintings in this way, as illustrated in Figure 1.[34] More surprisingly, in a clear move to perpetuate the image of Yinyuan’s trip as a “tribute mission” performed by Chinese monks, the bakufu, after granting him land and financing the building of Manpukuji, set the precedent of only appointing Chinese monks as Manpukuji abbots while requesting they attend the shogun’s inauguration ceremonies as the Korean and Ryukyuan embassies did.

References to Yinyuan’s Arrival in Japanese Sources

Yinyuan’s arrival and presence in Japan was a public event in the mid-seventeenth century, and many Japanese public and private sources recorded his activities. The fanfare he caused in Nagasaki even disturbed Mukai Genshō, who, as noted above, was hostile to all foreign influences. He noted that Yinyuan’s fame as a great teacher and another “Bodhidharma” preceded his arrival in Japan. Moreover, once there people came to worship him day and night and Japanese monks, especially those from Myōshinji came to study with him. He noted in his book Chapter on Realizing One’s Shame (Chichihen 知恥篇):

Monks and laypeople, men and women, go to see him one after another. Day and night, there is no one who does not pay obeisance to him…Not knowing right from wrong, or honor from disgrace, only the monks of the Kanzanha 関山派 [Myōshinji]—old and young monks, wearing purple robes or black robes—come and go without respite. I have heard that all of the two hundred-odd monks gathered in Yinyuan’s assembly are members of the Kanzanha.[35]

Yinyuan’s arrival in Fumonji also caused a stir, and the bakufu even chastised Ryōkei for allowing so many visitors to come. It happened that many Japanese pilgrims came to a nearby Ikko-sect 一向宗 temple to attend a ceremony commemorating Shinran’s 親鸞 (1173–1263) death. After hearing a Chinese monk was living at the nearby Fumonji, they crowded into the monastery to see Yinyuan.[36] Even more Japanese sent requests for Yinyuan’s calligraphy. The bakufu had to control the chaos by restricting the number of visitors to 200 capable Japanese students.[37]

Yinyuan’s arrival at Edo in the winter of 1658 was also a sensation. During his seventy odd day stay, many visited him, both rich and poor. The Confucian scholar Yamaga Sokō 山鹿素行 (1622–85), thirty-seven at the time, was one of these curious people. Introduced by his friend, the Hirado lord Matsuura Shigenobu 松浦鎮信 (1622–1703), who knew Yinyuan from Nagasaki, Yamaga visited Rinshōin 麟祥院 (or Tentakuji 天澤寺) where Yinyuan stayed and had a short conversation with him on the sixteenth day of the tenth month of 1658.[38]

Yinyuan’s moves were also recorded in official records such as Diary of the Edo Bakufu and the Veritable Records of Tokugawa.[39] In these documents, Yinyuan was referred to neutrally as Ingen zenji 隱元禪師 without implying any diplomatic significance. The Diary of the Edo Bakufu has five entries concerning Yinyuan before the founding of Manpukuji in 1661, but none of them characterised his visit as a tribute mission,[40] and neither did official documents. For example, in the Miscellaneous Notes of Temple and Shrine Officials (Shisō zasshiki 祠曹雜識), a collection of documents from the Office of the Superintendent of Temple and Shrine Affairs, Yinyuan’s arrival to Japan was referred to as “his boat coming to shore” (chosen 著舩) and his meeting with the shogun as “coming for an audience” (ekken 謁見) or a “royal viewing” (omemie 御目見). Among the official decrees issued by the bakufu, only one document addressed Yinyuan’s presence using the term raichō.[41] However, in private letters and anecdotal notes such as An Outsider’s Notes on Ōbaku (Ōbaku geki 黃檗外記), and the Corruptions of Zen Communities (Zenrin shūhei shū 禪林執弊集), Yinyuan’s visit was overwhelmingly referred to as a tribute mission. For example, Mujaku Dōchū 無著道忠 (1653–1745) recorded how Jikuin referred to Yinyuan when addressing Kyoto deputy Itakura Shigemune in An Outsider’s Notes on Ōbaku:

The thirty-second generation descendent of Linji, a worthy teacher, has come to Nagasaki from China to pay a tribute visit [raichō] and says that he must soon return to China. He is an honored guest of the Rinzai sect in Japan, so I would like to show him some hospitality.[42]

Japanese monks also wrote explicitly about Yinyuan’s journey as raichō, including numerous such references in private letters among Myōshinji monks. For example, Japanese monk Kyorei Ryōkaku 虛欞了廓 (1600–1691) wrote to Tokuō after he stayed with Yinyuan for the winter retreat in 1654 that, “Yinyuan arrived (raichō) as anticipated”.[43] In Ryōkei’s invitation letter for Yinyuan to move to Fumonji, he wrote: “Our country recently has not heard of any righteous teacher coming for a tribute visit”.[44]

It should be noted that unofficially raichō was commonly used in private records to refer to the arrival of foreigners, and might not have implied any special meaning. However, the etymology of the word is deeply rooted in the ideology of the Sinocentric tribute system; the bakufu appears to have been keenly aware of this and intentionally avoided such references in official records. Sakai Tadakatsu’s letter to Yinyuan (dated to the third day of the fifth month of 1659), which announced the shogun’s decision to allow Yinyuan to stay permanently might illustrate the bakufu’s ambivalent attitude towards characterising Yinyuan’s presence in Japan a tribute mission. In this letter, Tadakatsu first expressed his great admiration for Yinyuan:

I received your letter and desired seeing you in person after reading it. First, I am happy that you are healthy and at peace. It also made me recall your visit to Edo last winter. After you came to Edo Castle and paid homage to the shogun, I met you in person for the first time and was honoured that you deigned to visit my home. This was indeed a most fortunate outcome of our marvellous meeting. Even today, I cherish it in my heart.

He indicated in this letter that Ryōkei had again petitioned the shogun on Yinyuan’s behalf to return to China, and subesquently conveyed the the result:

You said in your letter that you were thinking of returning to China. Your feelings for your home country are indeed laudable. Ryōkei went to persuade the shogun again and so we heard the order from the Taikun [Ietsuna]: “What Yinyuan has requested is indeed reasonable. However, when he came he subjected himself to me. Since I have received him in audience and he is senior in age, I suspect it is better that he settle peacefully in this land rather than cross vast distances on rough seas. Therefore, choose a place close to the capital and grant him a piece of land to build a temple.”

Tadakatsu then asked Yinyuan to accept this offer:

This is the shogun’s decree. You should follow his orders and spread Zen teachings here; do not mention your wish to return again. If you do this, I will look forward to meeting again with great pleasure. Ryōkei will inform you of the other arrangements. There is no more to say.

Tadakatsu signed the letter on the third day of the fifth month of the second year of the Manji 万治 reign with the dharma name that Yinyuan gave to him: Kūin 空印—the “Seal of Emptiness”.[45]

Here, Tadakatsu referred to Yinyuan’s arrival in Japan simply as “coming to the East”, avoiding the term raichō. However, he referred to the shogun as the Taikun or “Great Lord”, a new diplomatic coinage that asserted that the Tokugawa shogun held the position at the centre of the Japanese world order. This approach was similar to the way Japan handled Korean affairs: that is, they did not refer to the Korean embassy as a tribute mission but allowed Japanese people to see it as such simply by treating it as one. The tone of the letter and the excuse Tadakatsu gave on behalf of Ietsuna also reminds us of a Sinocentric mentality best described in the Chinese phrase “Cherishing Men from Afar” (huairou yuanren 懷柔遠人), used as the title of James Hevia’s monograph on Macartney’s mission to the Qing in 1793. This condescending phrase often appeared in Chinese court literature on imperial guest rituals performed by foreign tributary envoys. The shogun’s gesture suggests he considered it time for the Japanese Taikun to assume his position at the centre of the world and to “cherish” Yinyuan as a Zen master from China.

When Monks Became Diplomats

Audiences with foreign embassies and their implicit cultural and political significance have been intensively studied, for example Korean embassies to Japan, the Dutch embassy to Edo in 1643, four Dutch and Portuguese embassies to Beijing between 1666 and 1687, and Macartney’s British embassy to Beijing.[46] All these embassies involved lengthy and sophisticated negotiation of ritual protocols. One of the areas these studies have not yet touched upon was the protocol concerning Buddhist monks who also acted as emissaries. Such cases were not rare in East Asian history, especially between China and Japan, who shared common roots in the Buddhist tradition.

Since the Yuan, monks such as Lanxi Daolong 蘭溪道隆 (1212–78), Wu’an Puning 兀庵普寧 (1197–1276), Daxiu Zhengnian 大休正念 (1214–89), Wuxue Zuyuan 無學祖元 (1226–86), and Yishan Yining 一山一寧 (1247–1317) were sent to Japan as envoys.[47] During the Ming, official visits from Japan were often carried out by Japanese Zen monks from the Gozan 五山 system. For example, monk-envoy Tōyō Inpō 東洋允澎 (? – 1454) visited China in 1453. In 1511, the Tōfukuji monk Ryōan Keigo 了菴桂悟 (1425–1514), chief envoy of the Japanese delegation, arrived in Ningbo and even met with the famed Neo-Confucian thinker Wang Yangming 王阳明 (1472–1529). Zen monk Sakugen Shūryō 策彥]周良 (]1501–79) was another famous envoy who visited China in 1539 and in 1547.[48]

Similarly, the Ming government also used Buddhist monks as envoys to Japan and to other neighbouring countries. In 1372, the Ming founder Zhu Yuanzhang 朱元璋 (1328–92) dispatched Zhongyou Zuchan 仲猷祖闡 (fl. 1360–1373), and Zhongming Kexing 仲銘克新 (dates unknown) to Japan, and in 1420, Tianlun Daoyi 天倫道彝 (dates unknown) and Yi’an Yiru 一庵一如 (1352–1425) were sent as emissaries to Japan.[49]

In the seventeenth century, Buddhist monks were again busy in the courts of the new regimes in China, Japan, and other East Asian areas. The Shunzhi 順治 emperor (1638–61) received the fifth Dalai Lama in Beijing in early 1653. Just two years after Yinyuan was received by Ietsuna in 1658, the Chinese emperor Shunzhi granted an audience to Yinyuan’s dharma uncle Muchen Daomin 木陳道忞 (1596–1674) in Beijing; in 1695, Vietnamese King Nguyên Phúc Chu 阮福週 (1674–1725) had an audience with the Chinese Caodong master Shilian Dashan 石濂大汕 (1633–1702) from Guangdong province.[50] These activities were typical: audiences with religious leaders in the process of establishing empires had special symbolic meaning and should not be overlooked in the study of international relations in early modern East Asia.

Although speculation has been raised that Yinyuan’s mission was on behalf of the Ming loyalist leader Zheng Chenggong, there is no hard evidence to support this, and to view his audience with Ietsuna as a diplomatic meeting is farfetched. However, as I showed earlier, Yinyuan was called to Edo in lieu of Zheng’s envoy. Judging from this, the bakufu deemed it inappropriate to receive a formal envoy from China. However, it was considered suitable to have a Chinese monk replace him because such an audience was ritually more ambiguous, allowing different interpretations by its participants, observers, and the general public. Because of the complexity of the Sino-Japanese relationship, the meanings of ritualised audiences with foreign monks in Tokugawa Japan were intentionally blurred.[51]

According to Yinyuan’s own account, the purpose of his trip to Edo and his audience with Ietsuna was to thank the shogun in person for Japan’s hospitality and the bakufu’s support once he had decided to go back to China –he had sought permission to leave Japan several times earlier.[52] However, one abiding question is whether Yinyuan warranted such a formal audience with Ietsuna, especially after the Great Meireki 明曆 fire which destroyed most of the city, including the shogun’s main palace (Honmaru 本丸), and when there were more important domestic issues to deal with. The bakufu documents, however, maintain silence about the true intention of the meeting (which was definitely not to bid farewell to Yinyuan). It is also unlikely that the seventeen-year-old shogun had any serious interest in Yinyuan’s Zen teaching. Through illness, he was unable to rule the country since he was installed at the age of ten, and had to rely on senior councillors such as Matsudaira Nobutsuna 松平信綱 (1596–1662) and Sakai Tadakiyo 酒井忠清 (1624–81).

Did Ietsuna and his senior councillors appreciate Yinyuan’s Zen teaching? Certainly, Sakai Tadakatsu and Inaba Masanori 稻葉正則 (1623–96) were interested in Zen. Masanori in particular became a patron of the Japanese Ōbaku monk Tetsugyū Dōki 鐵牛道機 (1628–1700).[53] However, they pursued their religious interests privately. Thus, if Yinyuan’s Zen teaching was not the primary reason for the favour bestowed on him, his identity as a Chinese celebrity coming to Japan ten years after the founding of the Manchu empire (but still claiming to be a subject of the Ming) might have intrigued the senior councillors.

Although the Tokugawa shoguns had received Koreans, Ryukyuans, and Europeans, they had never received a Chinese in a formal audience in the early seventeenth century. The last time Japanese rulers met with Chinese envoys was Hideyoshi’s audience with the Ming ambassadors in Osaka in 1596, when they tried to confer Hideyoshi with the title of “the King of Japan” in exchange for his retreat from Korea.[54] It is certain that Yinyuan was the first Chinese to be received formally by a Japanese ruler in almost 80 years. More importantly, as I have shown in the previous section, the arrival of Zheng Chenggong’s letter in mid-1658, with a clear reference to Yinyuan’s residence in Japan, alerted the bakufu about his significance.

Ceremonial Protocols in Yinyuan’s Audience with Ietsuna

On the surface, Yinyuan’s audience seems to have been one of many ceremonial events held in Edo Castle: each year the shoguns and his senior councillors received many foreign and domestic guests, including Japanese monks. However, Yinyuan’s Chinese identity made this audience special and ceremonially important; it was a special ritual tailored for a Chinese visitor, conforming to Japanese protocol while demonstrating Yinyuan’s Chinese origins by his presenting gifts of a Chinese flavor. In particular, Yinyuan had to present his Recorded Sayings (Yulu 語錄) published in China and Japan. These were the credentials of an authentic Chinese Zen monk, similar to official envoys who carried “state letters” as proof of their status.

Emphasising ceremonial protocol fitted into the bakufu’s overall agenda of imperial formation by establishing a series of ritual conventions such as keeping daily records of shogunal activities, the ranking of daimyos and officers, the ritual arrangement of the shogun’s visit to Kyoto, worshipping in temples and shrines, shogunal inauguration ceremonies, and the mortuary rites for deceased shoguns. In annual bakufu ceremonies such as the New Year Celebration Ceremony (Nentō Girei 年頭儀禮), the Five Festivals (Gosekku 五節句), the Kashō Celebration in the middle of the year (Kashō 嘉祥), the Autumn Celebration in the beginning of the eighth month (Hassaku 八朔), and the Winter Celebration (Gencho 玄豬), daimyos and abbots in temples and shrines were granted an audience with the shogun who in turn dispensed gifts to them. Audiences with foreign guests such as Koreans, Ryukyuans, and Dutch ambassadors and representatives at Nagasaki were even more elaborate and meticulously prepared. All these rituals and ceremonies were carefully designed to express a kind of ceremonial supremacy and to highlight the symbolic centre through the use of ritual props, seating arrangements, dress codes, decorations, and the exchange of gifts.[55] The audience with Yinyuan occurred exactly during the formative period of these samurai ritual protocols (buke girei 武家儀禮).

Yinyuan and his entourage left Fumonji on the sixth day of the ninth month and first headed north, stopping at Fushimi 伏見. The next day, they passed scenic Biwa Lake. Two days later, on the eighth, Yinyuan was on the road leading to Ise and passed the Kuwana Ferry 桑名渡 on the ninth. That night, he stayed at Atsuta 熱田. It began to rain when they moved again the next morning to Mikawa 叁 ]河. On the eleventh day, they were on the way to Tootōmi 遠江 province and soon passed the Tenryū Ferry 天龍渡. The thirteenth day was the most exciting time during the journey because Yinyuan could now see Mount Fuji from the Nakayama Ridge 中山嶺. He then sailed across the torrential Ōigawa River 大井川 heading for Suruga 駿河, where he stayed in a small village called Maruko 丸子. On the fourteenth day, it rained again when they paused in a small village called Ejiri 江尻. The next day (the fifteenth), he continued the march and visited Seikenji Temple 清見寺 at Mount Kyogō 巨鰲. He soon climbed over the Hakone 箱根 Pass and on the eighteenth Yinyuan arrived in Edo and was lodged in Rinshōin 麟祥院, also known as Tentakuji 天澤寺, which had been built for the powerful nurse of the third shogun Iemitsu 家光 (1623–51), Kasuga no Tsubone 春日局 (1579–1643). In total, Yinyuan stayed in Edo for about four months.[56] (See Map 1 for his reconstructed itinerary in 1658 and Map 2 for the places he visited in Edo.)

The moment Yinyuan arrived was not opportune: most of the city had been burnt to the ground the previous year in the Great Meireki Fire. However, the audience was held as scheduled and took place in the Western Palace (Nishinomaru ]西丸). Yinyuan did not leave any detailed description of this audience. However, bakufu diaries all recorded this event in varying degrees of detail. According to Veritable Records of Tokugawa, when Yinyuan arrived in Tentakuji on the eighteenth day of the ninth month, Senior Councillor Matsudaira Nobutsuna and Superintendent of Temples and Shrines Inoue Masatoshi 井上正利 (1606–75) were sent to welcome him. Yinyuan’s Japanese disciple Ryōkei was first summoned on the twentieth-ninth of the tenth month to discuss details of the audience and Yinyuan was summoned on the first of the eleventh. On that day, Yinyuan arrived at West Ōte Gate 大手門 by palanquin (norimono 乘物). Then, he walked with the aid of his staff from the gate.[57]

Yinyuan was led to wait in the Great Hall (Ōhiroma 大廣間), the official place for formal audiences with important “Outsider” Lords (tozama daimyo外様大名) and foreign guests, such as Korean and Ryukyuan ambassadors, and representatives from the Dutch company at Nagasaki. The Great Hall was further divided into several sections, and depending on the occasion the audience was held in one of the smaller spaces. While Yinyuan was waiting, the shogun’s attendant first came out to give a series of orders to his translator. Then, the Superintendent of Temples and Shrines appeared and ushered Yinyuan into the inner chamber. Yinyuan, together with Ryōkei and Tokuō and a translator, were allowed to enter the hall. Japanese records give a detailed description of Yinyuan’s dress and behaviour: he wore a yellow robe, holding a rosary and a monk’s sitting mat (zagu 坐具) in his left hand and his whisk in his right. He entered the door and bowed, followed by Ryōkei, Tokuō, the interpreter, senior councillors Matsudaira Nobutsuna, Abe Tadaaki 阿部中秋 (1602–71), and Inaba Masanori.

Yinyuan presented carefully chosen gifts for the shogun, ones which were indispensable in status conscious societies like China and Japan, having listened to the advice of the Japanese.[58] The gifts included two rolls of precious brocades (ransu 襴絲), a hundred bundles of fine incense (senkō 綫香), and sixteen sticks of Chinese ink (karasumi 唐墨). Then Ryōkei and Tokuō were brought forward. On Yinyuan’s behalf, Ryōkei presented his Recorded Sayings published in China (in six fascicles) and in Japan (in five fascicles), together with two fine Chinese fans, perhaps with calligraphy of famous Chinese literati on them. Tokuō presented one bundle of Gihara paper (gihara 椙原, also known as Sugihara 杉原 paper, a kind of Hōsho paper 奉書紙). Here we can identify that the presentation of silk brocade and Hōsho paper largely followed the Japanese convention for receiving monks in a formal audience with the shogun.[59] This meeting was primarily symbolic. No serious conversation was held between Yinyuan and the shogun, and the guests were soon dismissed. Yinyuan returned to Tentakuji and began a ceremony of releasing animals to pray for the shogun. He retrurned for a second audience when he received gifts bestowed by the shogun, leaving Edo on the twenty-eighth day of the eleventh month.

Yinyuan’s audience with the shogun was a carefully managed ceremony and could be interpreted in many ways. Before Yinyuan entered Edo Castle, Ryōkei had been summoned twice to discuss the details of the audience. In bakufu diaries, it was described using the Japanese terms shōken 召見 (Tokugawa jikki) and omemie 御目見 (Edo bakufu nikki). More importantly, the structure of the ceremony followed Japanese convention in receiving Buddhist monks. In the eyes of those who believed that Yinyuan was coming to present tribute, this ceremony was the climax of the mission: an audience with the ruler following Japanese ritual protocol while presenting his credentials as a representative of a foreign nation.

Chinese Monks Only

If the bakufu’s intention to use Yinyuan as a symbolic envoy of a tribute mission from China was not clear during Yinyuan’s audience with Ietsuna, events after the founding of Manpukuji strengthen the case. First, Sakai Tadakatsu made the suggestion to Yinyuan that the abbots of Manpukuji should be always Chinese and in case of vacancy they should invite monks from China. Yinyuan concurred and wrote this into his will and only Chinese monks served as Manpukuji abbots for the next hundred years. Second, it was decided that all Manpukuji abbots should be nominated by the bakufu and on appointment they were obliged to visit Edo to acknowledge their elevation in person. Third, the Chinese abbots were obliged to visit Edo to congratulate the bakufu on the succession of a new shogun, like the Korean and Ryukyu embassies.

Selection of Chinese Monks as Manpukuji Abbots

If we examine the history of Manpukuji in the Edo period after its founding in 1661, it is notable that the monastery maintained the tradition of having Chinese monks as abbots until the late eighteenth century. The Japanese finally took control of Manpukuji only because it failed to bring capable monks from China, despite the bakufu’s decree demanding them, and because the last surviving Chinese monk passed away in Japan in 1784. It is clear that Chinese monks were an absolute minority in the Manpukuji community but during the hundred years after 1661, Chinese monks had to occupy the position of abbot, at least symbolically. Evidence shows that this was not the result of Chinese monks’ deliberate manipulation, but was implemented and institutionalised by Japanese authorities.

When Yinyuan was about to die, he wrote in his will that if a new abbot was required, a Chinese monk should be invited from China. As Yinyuan noted in the sixth article in his will, this was not his idea but had been suggested by Sakai Tadakatsu.[60] There is no other evidence to corroborate Yinyuan’s words, but it is likely that Sakai Tadakatsu had indeed made such a suggestion because Yinyuan’s will was published and no-one disputed it. Yinyuan handpicked the second abbot, Mu’an Xingtao 木庵性瑫 (1611–84), and watched over him for more than ten years before he passed away. When the third abbot was to be elected a convention was established: a list of three or four Chinese and Japanese monks, selected by Manpukuji, was presented to the bakufu for the final decision. This process of selecting the third abbot shows that Chinese monks did not intend to monopolise the abbotship—among the candidates was one of Yinyuan’s senior Japanese disciples, Dōkuhon Shōgen 獨本性源 (1618–89).[61] However, the bakufu picked the Chinese monk Huilin Xingji 慧林性機 (1609–81) and the tradition of appointing Chinese monks continued. In a meeting with the eighth Manpukuji abbot, Yuefeng Daozhang 悅峰道章 (1655–1734), on the first day of the third month in 1706, the grand councillor Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu 柳沢吉保 (1658–1714) reaffirmed bakufu support for having Chinese monks as abbots and even conveyed the shogun’s intention to eliminate Japanese monks from the candidate list in the future. He passed the shogun’s decision to Yuefeng: “In the future all Ōbaku abbots should be Chinese monks and there is no need to list Japanese candidates anymore”.[62]

In practice, Manpukuji continued to supply a list of both Chinese and Japanese candidates. However, in the next hundred years, the bakufu always selected Chinese monks. In 1740, a Japanese abbot, Ryōtō Gentō 龍統元棟 (1663–1746), was selected for the first time because of the failure to invite monks from China. But Chinese monks resumed the abbotship soon after for the next fifty years—occasionally alternating the position with Japanese monks—until the last surviving Chinese abbot, Dacheng Zhaohan 大成照漢 (1709–84), passed away. Among the Chinese monks, eight of them received purple robes.

The bakufu reluctantly discontinued the convention and allowed Japanese monks to be abbots only because efforts to invite more Chinese monks failed in the mid-eighteenth century. Realising the lack of qualified Chinese monks, in the 1720s the bakufu asked Manpukuji to put more effort into inviting monks from China, but they also demanded that the newly invited candidates must have dharma transmissions within Yinyuan’s line and present their published Recorded Sayings as credentials. (Previously, only junior monks without dharma transmissions were invited and then received dharma transmissions from resident Chinese monks in Nagasaki.) The Chinese abbots in the three Chinese temples in Nagasaki and in Manpukuji panicked about the change because they realised that such a high standard would be difficult to meet. They finally secured the senior master Zhongqi Daoren 仲琪道任 (dates unknown) from the Chinese Huangbo monastery to meet the requirement. The bakufu was very serious about Zhongqi’s arrival: a large sum of money was bestowed to Huangbo and new quarters were built for him in Nagasaki. However, in 1728 when Zhongqi’s small group of monks were about to depart from Putuoshan 普陀山, they were arrested by Zhejiang Governor Li Wei 李衛 (1687–1738) as the Yongzheng 雍正 emperor had started to tighten trade with Japan. They were sent back to Huangbo and Zhongqi soon passed away. In 1730, another attempt to invite the Chinese monk Tiechuan 鐵船 (dates unknown) also failed.[63]

Chinese Monks’ Regular Visits to Edo

The bakufu clearly considered it important that their sponsorship of a Chinese monastery was widely known, that they requested these Chinese monks to visit Edo regularly, that they were granted audiences with the shogun on their appointments, and that they were asked to attend when receiving the honour of the purple robe.[64] Why was this? Table 1 details visits to Edo of Manpukuji abbots until 1780 (non-Chinese are marked *).[65]

The Manpukuji abbots were also asked to come to Edo to offer congratulations on the inauguration of a new shogun. Although I have not found the bakufu edict that stipulates this practice, the following table, correlated with similar Korean and Ryukyu missions, shows that it was institutionalised and followed faithfully.

Table 1
Gratitude Missions of Manpukuji Abbots to Edo and Audiences with the Shogun
(* denotes abbots were not Chinese)

Year Abbot Shogun Purpose of the audience
1665 Mu’an Xindao Ietsuna for appointment
1669 Mu’an Xindao Ietsuna thank for donation
1671 Mu’an Xindao Ietsuna thank for purple robe
1682 Duzhan Xingying Tsunayoshi thank for appointment
1692 Gaoquan Xingdun Tsunayoshi thank for appointment
1695 Gaoquan Xingdun Tsunayoshi thank for purple robe and preach to Tsunayoshi
1696 Qiandai Xing’an Tsunayoshi thank for appointment and preach to shogun
1705 Yueshan Daozong Tsunayoshi thank for appointment and met Yanagisawa
1706 Yueshan Daozong Tsunayoshi thank for purple robe
1707 Yuefeng Daozhang Tsunayoshi thank for appointment
1708 Yuefeng Daozhang Tsunayoshi thank for purple robe
1716 Lingyuan Haimai Yoshimune thank for appointment
1720 Duwen Fangbing Yoshimune thank for appointment
1723 Gaotang Yongchang Yoshimune thank for appointment
1735 Zhu’an Jingyin Yoshimune thank for appointment and visit Ietsuna’s shrine
*1740 Ryōto Gentō Yoshimune thank for appointment
1744 Dapeng Zhengkun Yoshimune thank for appointment and visit Ietsuna’s shrine
1747 Dapeng Zhengkun Ieshige thank for purple robe and visit Ietsuna’s shrine
*1748 Hyakuchi Genzetsu Ieshige thank for appointment
*1754 Sogan Genmyō Ieshige thank for appointment
1758 Dapeng Zhengkun Ieshige thank for appointment of a second term
*1763 Sengan Gensū Ieharu thank for appointment
1765 Boxun Zhaohan Ieharu thank for appointment
1772 Boxun Zhaohan Ieharu thank for purple robe and visit Ietsuna’s shrine
1776 Dacheng Zhaohan Ieharu thank for appointment

There are no systematic records that document these audiences in later times. However, one record preserved by officials at the office of Superintendent of Temples and Shrines shows how these audiences were conducted in the late eighteenth century. On the twenty-eighth day of the second month in 1793, while copying a report sent by Superintendent of Temple Affairs Matsudaira Teruyasu 松平輝和 (1750–1800) to Senior Councillor Toda Ujinori 戸田氏教 (1756–1806), a bakufu official noted that the ceremonial audiences Ōbaku monks had with shoguns were different from all other sects.[66] This report included a description of ceremonies involving the audience with the twenty-second Manpukuji abbot, the Japanese monk Kakushū Jōchō 格宗凈超 (1711–90), on the fifteenth day of the ninth month in 1785, a year after the last Chinese abbot Dacheng Zhaohan had passed away. The official who copied this report noted that the same ceremony was followed for the previous visit of the Chinese abbot Dacheng Zhaohan on the first day of the third month in 1776. Therefore, we can assume the following ritual protocols were stipulated for Manpukuji abbots.

Table 2
Shogunal Ceremonies Attended by Manpukuji Abbots in Edo
(correlated to foreign embassies for the same purposes)

Year Abbot Ceremony Korean Embassy Ryukyu Embassy
1680 Huilin Xingji Ietsuna’s death    
1680 Huilin Xingji Tsunayoshi’s accession 1682 1682
1709 Yuefeng Daozhang Tsunayoshi’s death    
1709 Yuefeng Daozhang Ienobu’s accession 1711 1711
1712 Yuefeng Daozhang Ienobu’s death    
1713 Yuefeng Daozhang Ietsugu’s accession no 1714
1716 Lingyuan Haimai Yoshimune’s accession 1719 1718
1744 Dapeng Zhengkun Ieshige’s accession 1748 1753
1751 Hyakuchi Genzetsu Yoshimune’s death    
1761 Dapeng Zhengkun Ieharu’s accession 1764 1764
1761 Dapeng Zhengkun Ieshige’s death    

First, the place for audience was no longer the Great Hall. Rather, the ceremony was held in the shogun’s regular office, Oshiroshoin 御白書院, and was an individual audience (dokurei 独禮).[67] The abbot was allowed to carry his staff to the resting room (tenjōnoma 殿上之間) while waiting. When the ceremony started, the abbot presented three bundles of Hōsho paper with mizuhiki 水引 knots and two rolls of brocade on top.[68] During the ceremony, the abbot was asked to wear his dharma robe and Chinese-style zhigong hat (Shikō mōsu 誌公帽子), and in his left hand to hold a whisk.[69] Two monk officers, usually the First Monk (shuso 首座), and Supervisor (kansu 監寺), presented one bundle of Hōsho paper and one fan (issoku ibbon 壹束一本). After the audience, they were asked to meet with senior councillors at Tamarinoma 溜之間 and receive their gifts: five seasonal garments (jifuku 時服) and fifty bars of silver for the abbot and three seasonal garments for the two accompanying monk officers.[70]

The difference between the ceremony Manpukuji monks used and those for other sects (as noted by officials of temple and shrine affairs) awaits further research. However, current evidence indicates that the bakufu treated Manpukuji’s Chinese abbots as special guests in their symbolic universe, comparable to Korean and Ryukyuan embassies, suggesting that the founding of Manpukuji and the symbolic use of Chinese monks were calculated measures to co-opt China into a Japan-centred world order.


Scholars of Tokugawa history have often overlooked the political and diplomatic roles of Chinese monks from Manpukuji. Marius Jansen and Joshua Fogel, for example, emphasised the cultural contribution of these monks to Chinese learning and the artistic renaissance in the mid-Edo period, but considered Yinyuan and his Chinese cohorts simply as remarkable Zen monks among the many Chinese in Nagasaki.[71] Ronald Toby, in his State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan, does not mention Yinyuan Longqi at all. He assumes that no Chinese were allowed to visit the shoguns and thus the Chinese were placed after Koreans, Ryukyuans, and even the Dutch, giving them the same status as “barbarians”.[72] Reinier Hesselink, indeed, speculates that Tokugawa Japan was forced to accept one of two extreme options: “either [to] ignore the existence of China, or to conquer it”.[73]

My study shows that a third way of dealing with China, more subtle and complicated, did exist. The arrival of Yinyuan Longqi and the institutionalisation of audiences with the shogun for Chinese monks represented the symbolic presence of China in the bakufu’s new world order. Historians should, thus, consider seriously the presence of Chinese monks in Japan, and to take into account religious exchange as another way of forging international relationships in addition to diplomacy (tsūshin 通信) and trade (tsūshō 通商).

We should note that the two locations of Chinese communities in Japan—Nagasaki on the periphery and Uji at the centre—produced different meanings of “China” in politics and culture. In Nagasaki, Chinese ships came with goods such as raw silk, sugar, medical herbs, and books, plus the human cargo of merchants, sailors, refugees, and Chinese monks. While these merchants and sailors, wearing their exotic “barbarian” clothes and talking chinpunkan 珍紛漢, 珍糞漢 or 陳奮翰—an onomatopoeiac term the Japanese coined to mimic Chinese conversation—were restricted to Nagasaki, Chinese monks, who had not adopted the Manchu dress code, were identified as loyal to authentic Chinese ideals.[74] Winning respect from the Japanese with their decorum, ritual performance, poetry, calligraphy, painting, and medical knowledge, they settled in Uji and were invited to Edo.[75] These Chinese monks brought China, in an idealised and symbolic fashion, right into the land of the kami and created a mental buffer zone which obviated having to deal with the actual country. The founding of Manpukuji in Uji, rather than in Nagasaki where Chinese residents lived, signaled the completion of a process of both domestication and alienation: on the one hand, Chinese cultural ideals were domesticated by establishing Manpukuji as part of the Japanese symbolic universe in Kyoto; on the other hand, the Chinese political power represented by Chinese merchants was alienated as foreign, and restricted to Nagasaki.

This paper also contributes to the debate about Yinyuan’s political mission to Japan. As Chen Zhichao 陳智超 argued and Ono Kazuko 小野和子 suggested, Yinyuan came to Japan on a mission from Zheng Chenggong to request aid, acting as his “envoy of friendship”. However, Lin Guanchao 林觀潮, dismissed the alleged letter from Zheng Chenggong to Yinyuan, countering that the connection between Zheng Chenggong and Yinyuan was tenuous, and further claimed that Yinyuan was wary about the legitimacy of Zheng Chenggong’s resistance movement.[76] I agree that Yinyuan was not an envoy dispatched by Zheng Chenggong. However, as this paper shows, when he landed in Japan, a particular political situation in China and the assertion of shogunal hegemony allowed the Japanese to interpret Yinyuan as a representative from China. This interpretation was specifically created by manipulating ritual protocols and placing Yinyuan in different contexts in Edo society.

For Tokugawa Japan, China was both remote and near. The bakufu could choose to ignore the “real” China and create buffer zones in Korea and Ryukyu in order to avoid direct confrontation with China. However, they needed to engage China in some manner; this imperative led to the tolerance toward the China trade and the building of Chinese temples.

The founding of the Chinese-style Manpukuji in Japan was a compromise between two conflicting claims of imperial hegemony in early modern East Asia, and the bakufu was the prime mover in a series of events leading to this result. They successfully manipulated the symbolic presence of Chinese monks by exploiting a common cultural and religious heritage shared with China, while the presence of Chinese monks in Japan satisfied the demand of dealing with China in an era without formal diplomatic relations.

This study also demonstrates that the newly established Japan-centred world order was not rigid, nor was the Chinese tribute system. The new order and its ideology were largely figments of the bakufu’s political imagination and could easily become illusory, or a “notional construct” as Ronald Toby terms it.[77] The consideration of Japan’s foreign relationships should, thus, be broadened beyond diplomacy and trade. To borrow James Hevia’s theoretical framework, while Yinyuan’s presence in Japan and the founding of Manpukuji may not be viewed as international diplomacy in its strictest sense, they should be understood as one of the results of an “interdomainal struggle for dominance” in East Asia between the imperial formation of the Qing empire and the Tokugawa shogunate. Both adopted what Hevia calls a “centering” approach to resolve complicated foreign relationships and to physically manoeuvre foreigners, such as embassies and Buddhist monks, towards centres such as Beijing and Edo through public displays of ritual and the manipulation of textual records.[78] The arrival of Chinese monks fitted into this approach without much contention as various diplomatic claims could be put to rest by using the excuse of spreading Buddhism. Therefore, such “domains” should not be confined to political and bureaucratic transactions but should also include the symbolic sphere of religion, allowing the possibility of a broader engagement with foreign countries.

Yinyuan was once again instrumental in the process of restoring the Sino-Japanese relationship in the 1970s. On March 27, 1972, the Showa 昭和 emperor Hirohito 裕仁 (1901–89) bestowed an honorific title on Yinyuan: Great Master of the “Light of Efflorescence” (kagō 華光), which derives from a title of the Buddha in the Lotus Sutra, but which can also be metaphorically rendered as “the Light of China”. The timing of this bestowal was not randomly chosen: just six months later, on 29 September 1972, China and Japan resumed normal diplomatic relations.[79]

Jiang Wu
University of Arizona



Common Japanese names such as Kyoto, and Tokyo are spelled without macrons. I thank James Baskind, Iioka Naoko 飯岡直子, Liu Yuebing 劉岳兵, Lin Guanchao 林觀潮, Sueki Fumihiko 末木文美士, and Yokote Yutaka 橫手裕, for sending me their works or providing references during my research. Noel Pinnington, James Baskind, and William Bodiford read through the manuscript and their suggestions are deeply appreciated. Kamada Hitoshi helped to locate rare sources in Japan and secured the permission for the use of images. Comments from two anonymous reviewers for East Asian History helped me revise this article in its final stage. The basic idea of this paper has been presented at Institute of Japanese Studies at Nankai University, Tianjin. Japan Foundation awarded me a short-term fellowship to study in Kyoto during the summer of 2013. I deeply appreciate all the support I received.

1 Jiang Wu, “Leaving for the Rising Sun: The Historical Background of Yinyuan Longqi’s Migration to Japan in 1654,” Asia Major (Third Series) Vol.17, part 2 (2004): 89–120.

2 For Ryōkei’s short biography in English, see Helen Baroni, Obaku Zen: The Emergence of the Third Sect of Zen in Tokugawa Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2000), pp.75–77. His name can be spelled as “Ryūkei” as well. Here I follow the pronounciation in Ōbaku bunka jinmei jiten [Dictionary of Person’s Names Related to Ōbaku Culture], ed. Hayashi Yukimitsu (Kyoto: Shibunkaku, 1988), p.380.

3 See Baroni, Obaku Zen, pp.181–82, 197–219.

4 Recent studies show that the Neo-Confucian Orthodoxy was not established in the beginning of the Tokugawa rule. It ascended to the centre of the bakufu discourse only during the reign of the fifth shogun Tsunayoshi 綱吉 (1646–1709). See Beatrice Bodart-Bailey, The Dog Shogun: The Personality and Policies of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2006), especially pp.295–97.

5 Based on the statistics of 1871, Nam-lin Hur noticed that there were very few Ōbaku temples that had funerary danna households. For example, in the Ōzu 大洲 province, there were only three Ōbaku temples and none of them had funerary households, and in Hita 日田 province there were 26 Ōbaku temples but only four had funerary danna households. The development of the Ōbaku sect in late Tokugawa deserves more study. However, this incomplete survey shows the Ōbaku participation into the so-called funerary Buddhism was significantly low in comparison with other indigenous traditions. Nam-lin Hur, Death and Social Order in Tokugawa Japan: Buddhism, Anti-Christianity, and the Danka System (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007), p.11.

6 Religious aspects of Ōbaku Zen and the opposition it faced have been explored recently by Baroni, Obaku Zen; James Baskind, “Ming Buddhism in Edo Japan: the Chinese Founding Masters of the Japanese Ōbaku School,” (PhD diss., Yale University, 2006); Michel Mohr, “Zen Buddhism during the Tokugawa Period: The Challenge to Go beyond Sectarian Consciousness,” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 21.4 (1994): 341–72; and Richard Jaffe, “Ingen and the Threat to the Myoshinjiha,” Komazawa daigaku zen kenkyusho nenpo 2 (1991): 1–35. It should be noted that despite the initial support from some Myōshinji monks, Myōshinji strongly opposed Manpukuji after its founding. The rivalry between the two might have resulted from the fact that Myōshinji received recognition from emperors in Kyoto while Manpukuji abbots were appointed by the shoguns directly. As Mujaku Dōchū indicates, the Purple Robe Incident, which occurred a few decades ago, also gulvernised the Myōshinji community as Ryōkei and his teacher Hakuho Eryo 伯蒲恵稜 supported the bakufu’s ruling and was thus alienated by the Myōshinji community. See his Shōbōzan shi [Gazetteer of Myoshinji]. Reprint. (Kyoto: Shibunkaku, 1975), p.98. See also Katō Shōshun, “Hakuho Eryo to Shie jiken” [Hakuho Eryo and the Purple Robe Incident], in Zengaku ronkō: Yamada Mumon Rōshi kiju kinen [Studies on Zen Buddhism: Festschrift for Our Teacher Yamada Mumon] (Kyoto: Shibunkaku Shuppan, 1977), pp.391–436.

7 Mukai Genshō, Chishihen [Chapter of Realising One’s Shame], in Kaihyōsōsho [Collection of Books About Foreign Countries], ed. Shinmura Izuru, Vol.1, 1927–28; (rpt., Tokyo: Naruyamadō Shoten, 1985), especially pp.23–6, 75–83, 90–111. Genshō’s book was not specifically targeted at Yin-yuan. Rather, he expressed his concerns of losing Japan’s identity to foreign influences such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Christianity. But because Genshō was at Nagasaki when Yinyuan arrived and witnessed the many “shameless” Japanese who followed Yinyuan’s Chinese practice, he particularly singled out Yinyuan. His work was published in the early summer of 1658 and might be the first systematic criticism of Yinyuan and his practice.

8 See Jiang Wu, Enlightenment in Dispute (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), especially pp.265–73.

9 Many scholars have questioned this concept. For an overview, see Ronald Toby, “Reopening the Question of Sakoku: Diplomacy in the Legitimization of the Tokugawa Bakufu,” Journal of Japanese Studies 3.2 (1977): 323–63, and recently Michael S. Laver, The Sakoku Edicts and the Politics of Tokugawa Hegemony (Amherst and New York: Cambria Press, 2011).

10 For discussion about this type of new consciousness, see Arano Yasunori, Kinsei Nihon to Higashi Ajia [Modern Japan and East Asia] (Tokyo: Tōkyō Daigaku Shuppankai, 1988), pp.53–66; Asao Naohiro, Shōgun kenryoku no sōshutsu [The Creation of the Shogunal Power] (Tokyo: Iwanami shoten, 2004), p.309; Ronald P. Toby, State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan: Asia in the Development of the Tokugawa Bakufu (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), pp.211–30. For a comprehensive discussion of the Chinese tribute system, see John Fairbank (ed.), The Chinese World Order: Traditional China’s Foreign Relations (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1968).

11 Some of these ideas have been discussed in Ronald Toby’s recent book in Japanese, “Sakoku” to iu gaikō [Isolation as Diplomacy] (Tokyo: Shōgakkan, 2008). See also Arano Yasunori, Kinsei Nihon to Higashi Ajia, pp.161–244. See also Brett L. Walker, “Foreign Affairs and Frontiers in Early Modern Japan: A Historiographical Essay,” Early Modern Japan Fall, 2002, pp.44–62.

12 For the frequency of these visits, see Hae-jong Chun, “Sino-Korean Tributary Relations in the Ch’ing Period,” in Fairbank, The Chinese World Order, pp.90–111, especially pp.99–100. Such an unbalance has been noted by Fuma Susumu in his comparative study of Korean embassies to China and Japan. See Fuma Susumu, trans. Wu Yue, Chaoxian yanxingshi yu Chao-xian tongxinshi [Korean Envoys to Beijing and Japan] (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe, 2010). I use the Chinese translation of Fuma Susumu’s articles because there is no equivalent Japanese book and the papers originally published in Japanese have been revised and updated for Chinese translations.

13 See Ronald P. Toby, “Carnival of the Aliens: Korean Embassies in Edo-Period Art and Popular Culture,” Monumenta Nipponica 41.4 (Winter 1986): 415–56.

14 New studies show that Shigemune was responsible for drafting the plan but did not represent Iemitsu’s attitude. He drafted the plan when the messenger who brought Zheng Chenggong’s letter passed through Osaka. See Komiya Kiyora, “Minmatsu Shinso Nihon kisshi ni taisuru Iemitsu seiken no taiō” [Iemitsu Government’s Response to the Requests of Japanese Troops During the Late Ming and Early Qing] Kyūshū shigaku 97 (1990) 4: 1–20. See also Ronald Toby,“Sakoku” to iu gaiko, pp.137–39; “Minmatsu Shinsho Nihon kisshi nikansuru Tachibana monjo” [Tachibana Documents Related to Requests of Japanese Troops During the late Ming and Early Qing], Nihon rekishi 498 (1989): 94–100.

15 Reinier H. Hesselink, Prisoners from Nambu: Reality and Make-Believe in Seventeenth-Century Japanese Diplomacy (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2002), pp.93–96. For Tadakatsu’s dealing with the Korean embassy, see the Korean documents addressed to him in Sakai Family Archive, reprinted in Obama shishi, Hansei shiryōhen [Obama City History: Series of Domain Administration Documents] ed. Obama City Council (Obama: Obama Shiyakusho, 1983–1990), pp.40–48. See also Harold Bolitho, Treasures Among Men: The Fudai Daimyo in Tokugawa Japan (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974), pp.165–66.

16 See Nanzan Dōcha goroku [Recorded Sayings of Daozhe Chaoyuan of Southern Mountain], reprinted in Dokuan Genkō gohōshū [Dokuan Genkō’s Dharma Protecting Collection], eds Kagamishima Genryū et al. (Tokyo: Shigensha, 1996), Vol.2.

17 The Ryukyu king Shōshitsu 尚質 sent his son as the ambassador. An envoy sent by the Siamese king also arrived in the fifth month of 1656.

18 For more on the intricate relationship between Korea and Manchu, see Etsuko Hae-Jin Kang, Diplomacy and Ideology in Japanese-Korean Relations: From the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Century (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997), pp.177–85.

19 It was not known why he was assigned the job to take care of Yinyuan before 1658. See Kimura Tokugen, Ōbakushū no rekishi, jinbutsu, bunka [History, People, and Culture of the Ōbaku Sect] (Tokyo: Shunjūsha, 2005), p.305.

20 In another record, Yinyuan said it was the nineteenth day. Shinsan Kōtei Ingen Zenshū [Newly Collated Complete Collection of Yinyuan’s Work], ed. Hirakubo Akira (Kyoto: Kaimei shoin, 1979) [hereafter IGZS] 6: 2846.

21 This itinerary was reconstructed through his poems written during the journey. See IGZS 6: 2845–50.

22 See Ingen Zenji Nenpu [Chronological Biography of Zen Master Yinyuan], ed. Nōnin Kōdō (Kyoto: Zenbunka kenkyūjo, 1999), p.267.

23 They left Osaka in the eleventh day of the ninth month and arrived in Edo in the second day of the tenth month. They left Edo in the first day of the eleventh month and arrived in Osaka on the twenty-third day and returned to Busan in the tenth day of the first month of 1657. There are many studies of the Korean embassies during the Tokugawa period, especially during the eighteenth century. For the 1655 embassy, see Nakao, Chōsen tsūshinshi to Tokugawa bakufu, pp.152–66. Both Jo Hyeong and Nam Yong-ik left travelogues about their trip in Japan. See Sin Ki-su and Nakao Hiroshi, Taikei chōsen tsūshinshi: zenrin to yūkō no kiroku [Complete Compilation about Korean Envoys: Records of Good Neighbors and Friendship], Vol.3 (Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 1995). It should be noted that Nan Yong-ik also served as vice ambassador of the Korean embassy to Beijing in 1666.

24 Wu, “Leaving for the Rising Sun.”

25 The letter is preserved in Kai hentai [Changing Situations of the Civilised and the Babarian], compiled by Hayashi Shunsai and Hayashi Hōkō, ed. Ura Renʼichi (Tokyo: Tōyō Bunko, 1958–1959), Vol.1, p.45.

26 See Wu, “Leaving for the Rising Sun,” p.108.

27 Ruan Wenxi, Haishang jianwen lu [Records of Hearsays from the Sea] (rpt. Fuzhou: Fujian renmin chubanshe, 1982), p.43.

28 For details about Mount Huangbo under Zheng Chenggong’s occupation, see Lin Guanchao, Yinyuan Longqi Chanshi [Chan Master Yinyuan Longqi] (Xiamen: Xiamen daxue chuapanshe, 2010), pp.202–07.

29 This letter has been reprinted in Chen Zhichao, Wei Zuhui, and He Lingxiu, eds, Riben Huangboshan Wanfusi cang lüri gaoseng Yinyuan zhongtu laiwang shuxin ji [Collection of Correspondence Between Yinyuan, the Sojourning Eminent Monk in Manpukuji at Mount Ōbaku in Japan and China] (Beijing: China Microfilm Center, 1995), letter no. 094, pp.433–40. This letter has been analysed by Ono Kazuko in “Ingen zenji ni ateta ittsū shokan” [One Letter Addressed to Zen Master Yinyuan], in Nagata Hidemasa, ed., Chūgoku shutsudo moji shiryō no kisoteki kenkyū [Foundational Study of Excavated Textual Masterials from China] (Kyoto: Genbunsha, 1993), pp.65–69. For a reproduction of Zhang Guangqi’s letter to Yinyuan, see Chen Zhichao et al., Riben Huangboshan Wanfusi cang lüri gaoseng Yinyuan zhongtu laiwang shuxin ji, p.433. For Yinyuan’s reply, see IGZS, 6:2636. See also Lin Guangchao’s detailed analysis in his Yinyuan Longqi Chanshi, pp.222–29.

30 Kai hentai, Vol.1, p.45.

31 See also Lin Guanchao’s different reading in his Yinyuan Longqi Chanshi, p.225. Lin reasoned that the phrase “Yuangong” was misprinted and should be “yuanglao” 元老 or “yuanrong” 元戎, referring to senior bakufu high officials such as Itakura Shigetsune.

32 This letter was preserved in Kai hentai and was usually dated to 1648 because it was appended to Zheng Chai’s 鄭彩 letter. However, Kawahara believed that it should be dated to 1658 based on its content. See his “Tei Seikō no Nihon seigan to Ingen zenji no Edo gyōke: Kai hentai shosai Tei Seikō enhei yōseisho no nendai kaishaku ni tsuite” [Zheng Chenggong’s Request of Aid and Zen Master Yinyuan’s Travel to Edo: On the Dating of Zheng Chenggong’s Letter of Requesting Troops Recorded in Kai hentai], Ōbaku bunka [Ōbaku Culture] 120 (1999–2000): 61–74, at p.70. See also Kawahara Eishun, “Ingen Zenji no tōtō to tairiku jōsei” [Zen Master Yinyuan’s Migration and the Situation in the Continent], Ōbaku bunka 116 (1996): 53–58.

33 See Toby, State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan, pp.41–42. See also Yamamoto Hirofumi, Sakoku to kaikin no jidai, pp.206–09.

34 It would be interesting to compare these paintings with those of Korean procession studied by Toby. See Toby, “Carnival of the Aliens.” However, due to space, I will not elaborate here.

35 Translated by Richard Jaffee, “Ingen and the Threat to the Myoshinjiha,” p.157. Mukai Genshō, Chishihen, pp.23–44.

36 See translation of this record of Ōbaku geki in Baroni, Obaku Zen, p.207.

37 This can be seen in the bakufu orders issued in the third day of the fifth month of 1656 and the twenty-sixth day of the seventh month to allow Yinyuan to stay in Fumonji and restrict Japanese visitors to 200. See documents preserved in Keizuiji archive 慶瑞寺文書 and included in Tsuji Zennosuke, Nihon Bukkyō shi [History of Japanese Buddhism] (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1944–55), Vol.9, pp.338–39,

38 See Hirose Yutaka, ed., Yamaga Sokō Zenshū [Complete Collection of Yamaga Sokō’s Works], Vol.15 (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1941), pp.62–64.

39 I am aware of the existence of a large number of bakufu diaries kept by various officials and some compilations such as Tokugawa jikki [Veritable Record of Tokugawa Regime] were not primary sources. Without extensive visits to these archives, I mainly relied on published sources and digitised manuscripts made available at Digital Archive of National Archive of Japan <http://www.digital.archives.go.jp/DAS/meta/MetaOutServlet>. For the complex textual lineage of various bakufu diaries, see Komiya Kiyora, Edo Bakufu no nikki to girei shiryō [Dairies of Edo Bakufu and Historical Sources About Rituals and Ceremonies] (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan. 2006), pp.1–190.

40 For these records, see Fujii Jōji, Edo bakufu nikki: himeji sakaikebon [Diaries of Edo Bakufu: The Sakai Family of Himeiji Edition]. Vol.26 (Tokyo: Yumani Shobō, 2004), pp.362, 416, 455, 456 and 477.

41 Shisō zasshiki [Miscellaneous Notes of Temple and Shrine Officials], fasc. 15, in Naikaku bunko shozō shiseki sōkan [Series of Historical Materials Preserved in Naikaku Archive] (Tokyo: Kyūko Shoin, 1981), Vol.7, p.354. Other documents I examined include those preserved in the archives of Keizuiji 慶瑞寺, Tafukuin 多福院, Senjuin 仙壽院, and Sakai families 酒井家, which have been collected by Tsuji Zennosuke and reprinted in his Nihon Bukkyō shi, Vol.9, pp.328–31, 339–40, 343–44, 347–48 and 351–52. Fourteen other relevant bakufu documents preserved in the archives of the Fumonji 普門寺 and Shimizu families 清水家 have been reprinted in Takatsuki shishi [Taka-tsuki City History] (Takatsuki: Takatsuki-shi, 1973–84), Vol.4, part 2, Shiryo hen [Section of Historical Documents], no.3, pp.587–95. Four letters from Tadakatsu to Yinyuan preserved in the Sakai Family Archive were reprinted in Obama shishi, pp.65–67.

42 See Baroni’s translation in her Obaku Zen, p.206. For the original phrase, see Tsuji, Nihon Bukkyō shi, Vol.9, p.327.

43 Reprinted in Tsuji’s Nihon Bukkyō shi, Vol.9, p.322. See Baroni’s translation of the the letter in Obaku Zen, pp.124–25.

44 Tsuji, Nihon Bukkyō shi, Vol.9, pp.332–33.

45 This letter has been reproduced in many books. For example, Hirakubo Akira, Ingen [Yinyuan] (Kyoto: Yoshikawa kobunkan, 1974), p.124. A recent reproduction is included in a special exhibition catalogue, Ōbaku: Kyoto Uji Manpukuji no meihō to Zen no shinpū [Ōbaku: Treasures in Manpukuji of Kyoto’s Uji and the New Zen Style] (Kyushu, Kyūshū kokuritsu hakubutsukan, 2011), no.58, p.116.

46 See Toby, “Carnival of the Aliens”; Hesselink, Prisoners from Nambu; John E. Wills, Embassies and Illusions: Dutch and Portuguese Envoys to K’ang-hsi, 1666–1687 (Cambridge, Mass.: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University, 1984); and James Hevia, Cherishing Men from Afar: Qing Guest Ritual and the Macartney Embassy of 1793 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1995).

47 For the role of Zen monks as diplomats, see Nishio Kenryū, “Kyoto gozan no Gaikōteki kinō: Gaikōkan toshite no zensō” [The Diplomatic Function of the Five Mountains in Kyoto: Zen Monks as Diplomats], in Ajia no naka no nihonshi. 2: Gaikō to sensō [Japanese History within Asia], ed. Arano Yasunori (Tokyo: Tokyo University Press, 1992), pp.339–57. See also Nishio Kenryū, Chūsei no Nitchū kōryū to zenshū [Japan–China Exchanges during the Medieval Age and Zen Buddhism] (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 1999), pp.190–210.

48 All these Japanese monks left their travelogues and are reprinted in Zoku shiseki shūran 1 [The Supplementary Collection of Historical Sources], ed. Kondō Heijō (Tokyo: Kondō Shuppanbu, 1917–1930).

49 For a detailed study of the role of Buddhist clergy in early-Ming diplomatic policy, see Hasebe Yūkei, Minshin Bukkyō kyōdanshi kenkyū [Study of Buddhist Monastic Orders in Ming and Qing] (Kyoto: Dōhōsha Shuppan, 1993), pp.47–76.

50 For an overview of Chinese monks in Japan and Vietnam, see Wu, Englightenment in Dispute, pp.98–99.

51 For example, according to Robert Borgen’s study, even though Jōjin 成尋 (1011–81) arrived in China in 1072 without formal documentation as a diplomat, he was treated as if an official envoy by the Song court. See Robert Borgen, “Jōjin’s Travels from Center to Center,” in Heian Japan, Centers and Peripheries, eds Mikael Adolphson, Edward Kamens, and Stacie Matsumoto (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007), pp.384–413, at pp.395–96.

52 See IGZS 4:2328.

53 Masanori became a stronger supporter of Ōbaku after Yinyuan’s death. He was particularly close to Yinyuan’s Japanese disciple Tetsugyū, who was active in Edo. He received Tetsugyū’s transmission in 1688. See Kiyoshi Shimojū, Bakkaku fudaihan no seiji kōzō: Sagami Odawara-han to rōjū seiji [Political Structure of Bakufu’s Lineage Daimyo Domains: Odawara Domain in Sagami and the Politics of Senior Councillors] (Tokyo: Iwata Shoin, 2006), pp.311–27. See also his article “Inaba nikki ni mieru Shōtaiji to Tetsugyū Dōki” [Shōtaiji Seen from Inaba Diary and Tetsugyū Dōki, Ōbaku bunka, 117 (1995–97): 106–18.

54 Mary E. Berry, Hideyoshi (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982), p.232.

55 For new emphasis of the role of bakufu rituals and ceremonies in the formation of Edo society, see Komiya Kiyora, Edo Bakufu no nikki to girei shiryō [Diaries of Edo Bakufu and Historical Sources about Rituals and Ceremonies], pp.326–84.

56 Yinyuan’s itinerary to Edo was reconstructed from his poems written during his journey. See IGZS 6:2918–931.

57 My account of the audience is based on Tokugawa jikki, (Vol.4), in Shintei zōho Kokushi taikei [Complete Collection of Newly Collated and Supplemented National History], ed. Kuroita Katsumi (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 1929–64), Vol.41, p.284, which was compiled based on Ryūei hinamiki [Daily Records of Edo Castle] and Osoba nikki [Diary Besides the Shogun]. The entries in Edo bakufu nikki were rather brief and only Inoue was mentioned to be sent to greet Yinyuan at Tentakuji. See Edo Bakufu nikki, Vol.26, p.456.

58 Mujaku reported that Yinyuan initially refused to bow to the shogun and later only agreed to bow once. When he was at the audience, he sat down in front the shogun arrogantly and attempted to approach him directly. If this is true, it shows that Yinyuan initially resisted following Japanese conventions. See Baroni’s translation of Obaku geki, in Baroni, Obaku Zen, p.211.

59 For a detailed explanation of the wrapping of the gifts, see Ryūei gyogi [Records of Events in Edo Castle], fasc. 2, in Tokugawa seido shiryō shoshū [First Collection of Historical Sources Related to Tokugawa Institutions], ed. Ono Kiyoshi (Tokyo: Hatsubaisho Rokugōkan, 1927), p. 29. Reprinted as Shiryō Tokugawa Bakufu no seido [Tokugawa Bakufu’s Institutions in Historical Sources], annot. Takayanagi Kaneyoshi (Tokyo: Jimbutsu Ōrai Sha, 1968), p.307.

60 He accepted Sakai Tadakatsu’s advice and stipulated that if in the future no suitable candidates could be found in Japan, they should seek a new abbot from China. See IGZS 3489–494.

61 Ōbaku bunka jinmei jiten, pp.280–81.

62 有上旨 向後黃檗住持皆唐僧住的 不必寫出日本僧來. Quoted from Tsuji, Nihon Bukkyō shi, Vol.9, p.531. According to Tsuji, the original record is preserved in Manpukuji. This conversation occurred when Yuefeng visited Edo and was invited to Yanagisawa’s residence. Most of his conversations about Zen and Manpukuji abbots were preserved in Yanagisawa’s Gohō jōōroku [Records of Protecting the Dharma].

63 See Jiang Wu, “The Trade of Buddhist Books at Nagasaki in the Late Seventeenth and Early Eighteenth Centuries as Seen from Hakusai shomoku: With Special Attention to the Purchase of the Jiaxing Canon and the Role of Ōbaku Monks,” Paper presented at the Third International workshop “Monies, Markets and Finance in China and East Asia, 1600–1900,” Tübingen University (Germany), October 1–4, 2008, Tübingen, Germany. For a brief overview, see Kimura Tokugen, “Ōbakuha niokeu Chūgokuso torai danzetsu no keika [The Process of the Termination of Migrated Chinese Monks within the Ōbaku Sect], in Zen to sono shūhengaku no kenkyū: Takenuki Genshō hakushi kanreki kinen ronbunshū [Study of Zen and its Surroundings: Collected Papers Commemorating Doctor Takenuki Genshō’s Sixtieth Birthday] (Kyoto: Nagata Bunshōdō, 2005), pp.105–18.

64 This rule is included in the collection of official documents of the superintendents of temple affairs compiled in 1834. See Shisō zasshiki, fasc. 11, in Naikaku bunko shozō shiseki sōkan, Vol.7, p.242.

65 Data in Tables 1 and 2 are based on Ōbaku jinmei jiten and Zuishōji jūji kōtai zakki [Miscellaneous Notes on the Succession of the Zuishōji Abbots], in Tōkyō daigaku sōgō toshokan shozō kakō daizōkyō [Jiaxing Buddhist Canon Preserved in Tokyo University Library], eds Yokote Yutaka et al. (Tokyo: Tokyo University, 2010), Vol.2, pp.219–42. I want to thank Professors Fumihiko and Yokote for arranging my visit to examine this edition of the Jiaxing canon and giving me a copy of this book in March 2011.

66 Matsudaira served as superintendent from 1784–98 and was on duty during the first month of 1793. See Ozawa Ayako, “Jisha bugyō kō” [Investigating Superintendents of Temples and Shrines], in Bakufu seidoshi no kenkyū [Study on History of Bakufu Institutions] (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 1983), pp.1–107, at pp.54 and 79.

67 For the procedures for an individual audience, see Ryūei gyogi , fasc.1, in Tokugawa seido shiryō shoshū, pp.172–75 and Shiryō Tokugawa Bakufu no seido, pp.236–40.

68 The Hōsho paper is a high-quality white paper made of mulberry wood, usually Sugihara paper: one bundle contains ten sheets. For a detailed explanation of the wrapping of the gifts, see Ryūei gyogi, fasc. 2, Tokugawa seido shiryō shoshū, p.29 and Shiryō Tokugawa Bakufu no seido, p.307.

69 The bakufu had a detailed dressing code for Ōbaku monks. See Shiso zashiki, fasc.36, Vol.8, p.822. The hat was also named after the Chinese monk Baozhi 寶誌 in the fifth century and was also called “Ingen bōshi” 隱元帽. The exact history is not clear. See Yamamoto Etsushin, Ingen kanji kō [Investigation on Things Named After Yinyuan] (Aichi: Ōbakudō, 1942), pp.13–14.

70 Shiso zashiki, fasc.25, Vol.8, pp.575–76. This record is also corrobrated with a brief record in Zuishōji documents according to which they met with both Ieharu 家治 (1737–86) and the heir apparent, Ienari 家斉 (1773–1841). See Zuishōji jūji kōtai zakki, Vol.2, p.233.

71 Marius Jansen, China in the Tokugawa World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992), pp.55–57. Also his “Japan and its World,” first appeared in Nihon Kenkyū Kyoto Kaigi (Kyoto Conference in Japanese Studies) in 1994, reprinted in Japan and Its Worlds: Marius B. Jansen and the Internationalization of Japanese Studies, ed. Martin Collcutt, Katō Mikio,and Ronald P. Toby (Tokyo: I-House Press, 2007), pp.10–25, especially pp.18–19. Joshua A. Fogel, Articulating the Sinosphere: Sino-Japanese Relations in Space and Time (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009), p.33. Both Jansen and Fogel mistakenly stated that Yinyuan met with the retired emperor Gomizunoo 後水尾 (1596–1680).

72 Toby, State and Diplomacy in Early Modern Japan, p.201.

73 Hesselink, Prisoners from Nambu, p.165.

74 These were the onomatopoeia with which Japanese used to mimic Chinese speakers in the Nagasaki Chinese quarter. See Herbert E. Plutschow, A Reader in Edo Period Travel (Kent, UK: Global Oriental, 2006), p.99.

75 In addition to Yinyuan and his disciples, Chinese monks Donggao Xinyue 東皋心越 (1639–94) settled in Mito 水戶 and Duli Xingyi was invited to Sendai 仙台. It appeared that Japanese authorities treated Chinese traders and Chinese monks very differently. Chinese merchants had been treated badly after the building of the guarded Chinese quater and the issuance of the regulation of the Shotoku 正德 reign. In a newly discovered record, Chanqing jiwen [Hearsays From Nagasaki] dated to 1735. Its author, Tong Huang 童華 (jinshi degree 進士, presented scholar 1838), vividly described the sharp contrasts between Japanese officials and translators’ different attitude toward and treatment of Chinese merchants and monks. See Matsuura Akira, Edo jidai Tōsen ni yoru Nitchūbunka kōryū [Japan–China Cultural Exchanges Seen Through Chinese Ships During the Edo Period] (Kyoto: Shibunkaku Shuppan, 2007), p.130.

76 For such a debate, see Chen Zhichao, “Zheng Chenggong zhi Yinyuan xinjian de faxian: jieshao yipi Nan Ming kang Qing douzheng xinshiliao” [The Discovery of Zheng Chenggong’s Letter to Yinyuan: Introducing a Series of New Sources about the Qing-Resistance Movement in Southern Ming], Zhongguoshi yanjiu dongtai 8 (1993): 1–5. Ono Kazuko, “Dōran no jidai o ukita Ingen zenji” [Zen Master Yinyuan Who Was Born in a Time of Turmoil], Zen bunka [Zen Culture] 124 (1987): 91; Wu, “Leaving for the Rising Sun”; Lin Guanchao, Yinyuan Longqi Chanshi, pp.201–40.

77 See Ronald Toby, “Leaving the Closed Country: New Models for Early-Modern Japan,” Transactions of the International Conference of Orientalists in Japan, 35 (1990): 213–21. Yamamoto Hirofumi also has the similar comments. See his Sakoku to kaikin no jidai [The Age of Isolation and Closing of Maritime Trade] (Tokyo: Azekura Shobō, 1995), p.256.

78 For Hevia’s interpretation of imperial formation and the centering process, see his Cherishing Men from Afar, pp.25–28, 121–25.

79 The certificate was issued by the chief officer of Imperial Household Agency Usami Takeshi 宇佐美毅 (1903–93). See Ōbaku Shūhō [Official Newsletter of the Ōbaku Sect] (Manpukuji), 154 (July 20, 1972): 4.