Samurai-Archives

Yashiro Hirokata

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  • Born: 1758
  • Died: 1841/int.1/18
  • Other Names: 詮虎 (Akitora), 詮賢 (Akikata), 詮文 (Akifumi), 輪池 (Rinchi)
  • Japanese: 屋代弘賢 (Yashiro Hirokata)

Yashiro Hirokata was a gokenin kokugaku scholar and writer of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Born in Edo the son of Yashiro Yoshifusa, an official associated with the Shinto shrine Kanda Myôjin, Hirokata studied kokugaku under Hanawa Hokiichi (aiding in Hanawa's compilation of the Gunsho ruijû), calligraphy under Mori Masayoshi, poetry under Reizei Tamemura, and Confucianism under Yamamoto Hokuzan. Matsudaira Sadanobu later granted Yashiro a position as secretary or scribe within the Tokugawa shogunate in 1793. In that position, he edited or compiled the Kansei chôshû sho kafu (House Genealogies of the Kansei Era) and the Kokon yôran (560 volumes, 1821-1842), among other works, as well as rewriting clean calligraphic copies of important documents, such as diplomatic communications to be sent to Russia. He also worked with Shibano Ritsuzan to survey the temples and shrines of Nara and Kyoto, and to compile the Kuni kagami ("Mirror of the Provinces").

Yashiro was also a member of the Tanki-kai writing group, along with Yamazaki Yoshishige and Takizawa Bakin, and head of the Wagaku kôdan sho group of kokugaku scholars. He amassed a sizable personal collection of some 50,000 Chinese and Japanese books, which he stored in a series of three buildings he erected in Ueno and called the Shinobazu Bunko ("Shinobazu Collection"). He frequently lent out copies of these books to friends and associates, as well as making manuscript copies by hand of books he borrowed from others, to add to his collection. Yashiro also penned a number of works himself, including "Thoughts on the Tales of Ise" (sankô Ise monogatari). Many of his works (in original manuscripts in his own hand) survive today in the collections of the National Diet Library, Seikadô Bunko, Tôyô Bunko, National Archives, and Mukyûkai Library. Much of his collection, however, was given over to the lords of Tokushima han, whose archive was lost in a fire in 1950.

He died on 1841/int.1/18 at age 84.[1] His grave can still be found today at Myôsei-ji, a temple in Tokyo's Bunkyô-ku.

References

  1. His death was not formally announced to the shogunate until 1851/2/25, however.
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