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Takegawa Chikusai

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  • Born: 1809
  • Died: 1882
  • Japanese: 竹川竹斎 (Takegawa Chikusai)

Takegawa Chikusai was an Ise-based merchant known for his Bakumatsu era writings on the subject of relations with the Western powers, and for establishing the Izawa Bunko, an archive based in his hometown of Izawa Village (now part of Matsuzaka City), in Mie prefecture.

He was born in 1809 into the Higashi-Takegawa family; his father did financial work for the shogunate and maintained branch offices in Edo, Osaka, and Kyoto, though the family itself continued to live in Izawa Village in Ise. Chikusai's father was a student of Motoori Norinaga, while his maternal grandfather was Arakida Hisaoyu, a prominent Man'yôshû scholar. He was thus raised within a strongly Kokugaku ("nativist") oriented environment, being taught Confucianism, agricultural science, and astronomy, as well as geography and surveying. Takegawa later became head of the Higashi-Takegawa family, following his father's death; he took on the name Chikusai after himself entering into retirement. He engaged in exchanges with prominent bakufu figures such as Ôkubo Ichiô and Oguri Tadamasa, and with their writings on national defense, writing his own essays on the subject, including Kaihô gogoku ron ("Maritime Defense and Protection of the Country"). A diary kept by Chikusai from 1826 through 1881 also survives, and has been reprinted and published by Matsuzaka University.

In 1854, he established a library or archive called Izawa Bunko in his hometown; while many such institutions, influenced by the Western/modern conception of the library or archive, were founded in the Bakumatsu and early Meiji periods, Izawa Bunko stands as having been, from its inception, intended especially to be accessible to the greater public.

References

  • Shimazaki Sayaka 島崎さや香, 「幕末から明治初期における新聞受容~竹川竹斎と射和村」 ("Bakumatsu kara Meiji shoki ni okeru shinbun juyô - Takegawa Chikusai to Izawa-mura"), Journal of Literacy History リテラシー史研究 1 (2008), 1-13.
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