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*''Born: [[1648]]''
 
*''Born: [[1648]]''
 
*''Died: [[1724]]''
 
*''Died: [[1724]]''
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*''Other Names'': 忠英 ''(Tadahide)''
 
*''Japanese'': [[西川]] 如見 ''(Nishikawa Joken)''
 
*''Japanese'': [[西川]] 如見 ''(Nishikawa Joken)''
  
Nishikawa Joken was a prominent scholar of the 17th and early 18th centuries, known for his writings on ''tengaku'' (celestial sciences) and on the peoples of the world. Joken is regarded as one of the earliest Japanese scholars to engage with and promote European observational approaches to astronomy.
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Nishikawa Joken was a prominent scholar of the 17th and early 18th centuries, known for his writings on ''tengaku'' (celestial sciences) and on the peoples of the world. Joken is regarded as one of the earliest Japanese scholars to engage with and promote European observational approaches to astronomy. In addition to his work on astronomical subjects, Joken also made efforts to advance and spread knowledge on geography and the peoples of the world, "Heaven, Earth, and Man" (J: ''Tenchijin'') being a classical conception of the three chief categories of knowledge. While much of his work was based closely on expertise with Chinese sources, Joken generally wrote in a relatively accessible manner, and without extensive direct quotes from classical Chinese sources.
  
Joken was born into a townsman (''chônin'') family in [[Nagasaki]]. He is believed to have studied astronomy under [[Kobayashi Kentei]] ([[1601]]-[[1684]])<!--小林謙貞-->.
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Joken was born into a townsman (''chônin'') family in [[Nagasaki]]. He is believed to have studied astronomy under [[Kobayashi Kentei]] ([[1601]]-[[1684]])<!--小林謙貞-->, and other Confucian studies with [[Nanbu Soju|Nanbu Sôju]] ([[1637]]-[[1688]])<!--南部草壽-->.
  
 
Joken published one of his most famous works on peoples and places of the world, ''[[Kai tsusho ko|Ka'i tsûshô kô]]'', in [[1695]]. This original version was in two volumes, and described the lands of China, Korea, Ryukyu, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and Europe, and their peoples. In [[1709]], Joken published an expanded version, ''Zôho ka'i tsûshô kô'', covering the same subjects in five volumes.
 
Joken published one of his most famous works on peoples and places of the world, ''[[Kai tsusho ko|Ka'i tsûshô kô]]'', in [[1695]]. This original version was in two volumes, and described the lands of China, Korea, Ryukyu, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and Europe, and their peoples. In [[1709]], Joken published an expanded version, ''Zôho ka'i tsûshô kô'', covering the same subjects in five volumes.
  
Though Joken never achieved the position of ''[[tenmongata]]'' (astronomy/calendrics official for the [[Tokugawa shogunate]]), his son [[Nishikawa Seikyu|Nishikawa Seikyû]] ([[1693]]-[[1756]])<!--西川正休--> did.
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In [[1719]], the shogunate summoned Joken to [[Edo]] to consult him on astronomical matters. The following year, [[Nagasaki interpreters|Nagasaki-based Chinese-language interpreter]] [[Ro Sosetsu|Ro Sôsetsu]] was also summoned to Edo and the two began to work together. After his return to Nagasaki, Joken was asked to produce copies of his writings on astronomy and geography for presentation to the shogun.
 +
 
 +
Though Joken was never officially named to the position of ''[[tenmongata]]'' (astronomy/calendrics official for the [[Tokugawa shogunate]]), his son [[Nishikawa Seikyu|Nishikawa Seikyû]] ([[1693]]-[[1756]])<!--西川正休--> later was. Seikyû is not known to have produced much original works, but edited or recompiled a number of Joken's works. Joken's daughter, meanwhile, married a son of Chinese interpreter [[Sakaki Soken]] (d. [[1740]])<!--彭城素軒-->, who had written the preface to several of Joken's books.
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==Selected List of Works==
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*''[[Kai tsusho ko|Ka'i tsûshô kô]]'' ("Thoughts on Commerce among the Civilized and Barbarians," 1695)
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*''Zôho ka'i tsûshô kô'' (1709)
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*''Gusho rekishô zokkai'' ("Explanations in Vernacular Language of Calendrical Matters in the Book of Yu")
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*''Kaii bendan'' ("Discussions of Strange Things")
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*''Ryôgi shûsetsu'' ("Collected Theories on Two Models")
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*''Shichiyô usen benron'' (a work on whether the visible planets, sun, and moon, move in the same direction as the Heavens, or in the opposite direction)
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*''Shijûnikoku jinbutsu zu'' ("Illustrations of Peoples of 42 Lands")
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*''Tenjin gogyô kai'' ("Explanation of Heaven and Man and the Five Elements")
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*''Tenmon giron'' ("On the Celestial Signs")
  
 
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Revision as of 08:58, 25 June 2020

  • Born: 1648
  • Died: 1724
  • Other Names: 忠英 (Tadahide)
  • Japanese: 西川 如見 (Nishikawa Joken)

Nishikawa Joken was a prominent scholar of the 17th and early 18th centuries, known for his writings on tengaku (celestial sciences) and on the peoples of the world. Joken is regarded as one of the earliest Japanese scholars to engage with and promote European observational approaches to astronomy. In addition to his work on astronomical subjects, Joken also made efforts to advance and spread knowledge on geography and the peoples of the world, "Heaven, Earth, and Man" (J: Tenchijin) being a classical conception of the three chief categories of knowledge. While much of his work was based closely on expertise with Chinese sources, Joken generally wrote in a relatively accessible manner, and without extensive direct quotes from classical Chinese sources.

Joken was born into a townsman (chônin) family in Nagasaki. He is believed to have studied astronomy under Kobayashi Kentei (1601-1684), and other Confucian studies with Nanbu Sôju (1637-1688).

Joken published one of his most famous works on peoples and places of the world, Ka'i tsûshô kô, in 1695. This original version was in two volumes, and described the lands of China, Korea, Ryukyu, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and Europe, and their peoples. In 1709, Joken published an expanded version, Zôho ka'i tsûshô kô, covering the same subjects in five volumes.

In 1719, the shogunate summoned Joken to Edo to consult him on astronomical matters. The following year, Nagasaki-based Chinese-language interpreter Ro Sôsetsu was also summoned to Edo and the two began to work together. After his return to Nagasaki, Joken was asked to produce copies of his writings on astronomy and geography for presentation to the shogun.

Though Joken was never officially named to the position of tenmongata (astronomy/calendrics official for the Tokugawa shogunate), his son Nishikawa Seikyû (1693-1756) later was. Seikyû is not known to have produced much original works, but edited or recompiled a number of Joken's works. Joken's daughter, meanwhile, married a son of Chinese interpreter Sakaki Soken (d. 1740), who had written the preface to several of Joken's books.

Selected List of Works

  • Ka'i tsûshô kô ("Thoughts on Commerce among the Civilized and Barbarians," 1695)
  • Zôho ka'i tsûshô kô (1709)
  • Gusho rekishô zokkai ("Explanations in Vernacular Language of Calendrical Matters in the Book of Yu")
  • Kaii bendan ("Discussions of Strange Things")
  • Ryôgi shûsetsu ("Collected Theories on Two Models")
  • Shichiyô usen benron (a work on whether the visible planets, sun, and moon, move in the same direction as the Heavens, or in the opposite direction)
  • Shijûnikoku jinbutsu zu ("Illustrations of Peoples of 42 Lands")
  • Tenjin gogyô kai ("Explanation of Heaven and Man and the Five Elements")
  • Tenmon giron ("On the Celestial Signs")

References

  • Daniel Said Monteiro, "Celestial Sciences in the Works of Nishikawa Joken (1648-1724)," Historia Scientarium 29-1 (2019), 112-135.
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