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Tei Junsoku

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Statue of Tei Junsoku at the Nago Museum
A monument to Tei Junsoku on the grounds of the Confucian temple in Kume, Naha.
  • Born: 1663/10/28[1]
  • Died: 1734/12/8[1]
  • Other Names: 名護親方寵文 (Nago ueekata Choubun), 宮里親雲上 (Miyazato peechin)
  • Japanese/Chinese: 順則 (Tei Junsoku / Cheng Shunze)

Tei Junsoku was a Ryukyuan Confucian scholar and government official, credited with numerous major educational reforms.

Born into the Kumemura scholar-bureaucrat class, he spent four years in China as a youth, studying Confucianism, among other subjects.

He journeyed to China in 1689 as an official translator, residing there for four years. After his return, he presented copies of the Seventeen Histories (shíqī shih) to the Confucian temple. He traveled to China three more times, the fourth trip taking place in 1707, when he served as the vice-envoy on a tribute mission. Following his return, he had copies of the Six Courses in Morals (六諭衍義) printed, and presented copies to Satsuma han, who in turn presented them to Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune. The shogunate then distributed copies to terakoya to use as textbooks. In total, Junsoku traveled to China five times over the course of his career,[2] and to Edo at least once, as one of the shokanshi (secretaries) on the 1714 Ryukyuan embassy to Edo.[3]

Junsoku was active in literary and cultural circles, and is known to have even exchanged kanshi (Chinese poetry) with kanpaku/dajô daijin Konoe Iehiro. Many of Junsoku's kanshi are collected in a volume entitled Setsudô en'yûsô (雪堂燕遊草), which takes its title in part from Junsoku's art-name () Setsudô (lit. "Snow Hall"). The "en" of the title (C: yān) refers to Yanjing (or Yenching), an alternate name for Bejing. The volume contains some 84 poems under 79 headings; most of these poems were composed during a 1697 journey from Fuzhou to Beijing, and consist of four lines of seven characters each. The volume was originally published in Fuzhou in 1698, but was later expanded to include poems by Junsoku from later journeys.[4]

In 1718, Junsoku established the Meirindô as a school for the children of Kumemura's scholar-bureaucrat class; it would later become the kingdom's first public school. The following year, at the peak of his career, in 1719, he held the rank of shikin daifu (紫金大夫) and the post of Kumemura sôyaku (head of the administration of Kumemura). A Chinese investiture mission visited the kingdom that same year, and Junsoku is said to have become lifelong friends with the deputy envoy of that mission, Xu Baoguang, with whom he actively exchanged poetry and otherwise remained in communication.

Junsoku later served as a member of the Sanshikan, and in 1728 was named jitô of Nago magiri.

He died in 1734, at the age of 72.

References

  • "Tei Junsoku." Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia 沖縄コンパクト事典. Ryûkyû Shimpô. 1 March 2003.
  • "Tei Junsoku." Okinawa rekishi jinmei jiten 沖縄歴史人名事典. Okinawa bunka-sha, 2002. p50.
  • Plaque on-site at former home of Tei Junsoku, Naha Kume 1-6-14.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Date is on the Okinawan lunar calendar.
  2. Pamphlet, Kume Shiseibyo.
  3. Ryûkyû shisetsu, Edo e iku! 琉球使節、江戸へ行く! Naha: Okinawa Prefectural Museum, 2009. p37.; Gallery labels, "Kuninda - Ryûkyû to Chûgoku no kakehashi," special exhibit, Okinawa Prefectural Museum, Sept 2014.
  4. Maehira Fusaaki, Ryûkyû shisetsu no ikoku taiken 琉球使節の異国体験, Kokusai kôryû 国際交流 59 (1992), 62.; "Setsudôenyûsô," Okinawa Compact Encyclopedia, Ryukyu Shimpo, 1 March 2003.
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