Table of Contents

Chapter Seventeen Trade with the Chōsen peninsula, Ming China, and Cultural Trends



Chapter Seventeen Trade with the Chōsen peninsula, Ming China, and Cultural Trends
Relations with the merchants of Hakata

One thing that must not be forgotten when discussing Sōrin`s cultural interests were his friendly relations with the merchants of Hakata. The Ōtomo family itself had first become involved in the Hakata region in the 8th month of the 3rd year of Genkō (1333) when Ōtomo Sadamune, in recognition of his expulsion of the Chinzai Tandai, was granted the territory of Oki no Hama (息浜) by the Kenmu (Ashikaga) government. Thereafter the Ōtomo used this land as the lynchpin in developing their control over Hakata.(211)

In the first half of the fifteenth century, a Korean national by the name of Sin Suk-Ju made his way to Japan from the Chōsen peninsula. After he returned home, he penned a work titled the `Kaitō Shokoku Ki` (海東諸国記, or `Record of the Many Nations of the Eastern Seas`) in which he spoke of Hakata. At the time of Sin`s visit, Hakata was being run by both the Ōtomo and the Shōni families. Of the 10,000 dwellings present in the Hakata area, the Shōni were responsible for 4,000 abodes in the west and south, while the Ōtomo ruled over 6,000 houses in the east and north. The Ōtomo also employed an overseer (or daikan, 代官) by the name of Fujiwara Sadanari to administer their territory. Hakata was a port of call for ships from the Kingdom of Ryūkyū (Okinawa) and European (predominantly Portuguese) vessels and bustled with activity, becoming the focalpoint for trade with the Chōsen peninsula and Ming China.(212)

In the Sengoku era, Francisco Cabral wrote about Hakata in an entry recorded during the 9th month of Ganki 2 (1571)…

`There were originally some 10,000 residential dwellings in Hakata, yet 10 or so years ago a number of regional lords fought over the region which resulted in a great amount of burning and destruction. Since last year many houses have been rebuilt, and now there are around 3,000 residences therein`.(212)

The mention of 10,000 dwellings matches that description given in the Kaitō Shokoku Ki, and thus is probably a reliable indictation of Hakata`s size.(212)

As for control over Hakata, after the Ōuchi had driven out the Shōni, they fought with the Ōtomo. However in the 20th year of Tenbun (1551) the Ōuchi were eliminated (by the Mōri) which removed their presence from northern Kyushu. As Sōrin had only just succeeded to the head of the Ōtomo household, the Mōri family now began to encroach on territories in northern Kyushu. Yet it was the Ōtomo who would come to exercise the most influence over Hakata. Although Hakata was five days journey from Funai, as the description above demonstrates, both areas shared a close relationship with one another. In the 3rd year of Kōji (1557) Hakata came under the protection of Sōrin, who had residences and a meeting hall erected for missionaries there. However, in the 2nd month of the 2nd year of Eiroku (1559), Hakata was attacked by an army of 2,000 troops under the command of Tsukushi Korekado (筑紫惟門). They killed the daikan in charge of Hakata and destroyed much of the city. Even the missionaries` meeting hall was reduced to ashes. However this hall was rebuilt in Eiroku 4 (1561) with proselytizing activities re-newed in earnest. As for Sōrin, he became the shugo of Chikuzen province in the 6th month of Eiroku 2 (1559) and followed this in the 11th month of the same year with his promotion to the position of Kyushu Tandai. It was with these events as a background that Sōrin extended his control over Hakata. From this point onwards, Sōrin would enjoy good relations with the merchants of Hakata.(213)

Hakata itself was home to two particularly wealthy merchants, Shimai Sōshitsu (島井宗室, also known as Shigekatsu or 茂勝) and Kamiya Sōtan (神屋宗湛, or Sadakiyo 貞清). The Kamiya had made their fortune as a result of the activities of Sōtan`s great grandfather, Kamiya Jūtei (寿貞) who developed a silver mine at Iwami (known as the Iwami Ginzan). The family increased their wealth through trade with China, the Chōsen peninsula, and various countries in the southern oceans. The Kamiya also contributed to the manufacturing of candles and metalwork. Sōtan established his own fortune on the back of these achievements, and together with Sōshitsu became a key figure in the economy of Hakata. He was also quite renowned as a tea master. Sōshitsu, like Sōtan, was one of the representative merchants of Hakata who had amassed a fortune through trade with China and the Chōsen peninsula. He too was widely known as a connoisseur of tea.(213)

Sōrin, who had extended his rule over Hakata during the early Eiroku years, quite predictably came to enjoy favourable relations with these two merchants. It appears as though the Ōtomo had been negotiating with the Kamiya since the time of Sōtan`s grandfather, Sōseki (宗浙). Furthermore, one of the three main retainers of the Ōtomo clan and lord of Kōshidake Castle in Chikuzen Shima gun, Usuki Akisumi, had received a gift of undergarments from Sōseki.(213) In the intercalculary 10th month of Tenbun 24 (1555), Yoshishige promoted Kamiya Kamegiku (神屋亀菊) to the rank of Saei`mon Jō. What this tells us is that the Kamiya were in a feudal relationship with the Ōtomo. As for relations with Shimai Sōshitsu, there is one area through which we may examine his dealings with Yoshishige. The friendship between these two appears to have started around the 8th year of Eiroku (1565). Twice (in the 1st month of Eiroku 9 (1566) and the 6th month of Eiroku 10 (1567) ) Sōshitsu paid a visit to Yoshishige`s (Sōrin`s) quarters in Usuki. These visits may have been a way in which to show gratitude for Sōrin`s protection of Sōshitsu`s trade with the Chōsen peninsula. Both sides also enchanged messages by courier. When one examines the content of these letters, we find that Sōrin was blessed with an inquisitive mind, and a predeliction for collecting particular items. For example, on the 2nd day of the 2nd month of Eiroku 8 (1565), Sōrin expressed his thanks to Sōshitsu for sending him a roll of woven cloth as a gift to aid his recovery from illness. Sōrin then asked whether it would be possible for Sōshitsu to get hold of a snow landscape like those possessed by members of the Ming court. Sōrin`s plea to Sōshitsu to `do all within your power (to obtain such paintings)` summarizes just how passionately Sōrin pursued his interest in this form of art. (214)

It appears that Sōrin was besotted by Sōshitsu and his capacity for largesse. This extended to Sōrin`s interest in a heirloom of the Shimai family, a box known as an Inrō (印籠, into which one put one`s personal seal and medicine, and which hung from the broad sash that most men wore around their waists). Apparently Sōshitsu tried to distance himself from Sōrin as a result of Sōrin`s insatiable desire for goods. Yet Sōshitsu also shared some of Sōrin`s characteristics, and himself sent many gifts to him. Among these were included tea bowls from the Chōsen peninsula (called Kōraiyaki in Japanese), gifts of cod and salmon, distilled wine, and medicine (in the shape of a ball) made from the gall-bladder of a cow known as a Goōen (牛黄円). Yoshishige was replete with these and many other artifacts and items. One must remember though that Sōrin`s habits placed a large burden on his territorial finances. In the 2nd year of Tenshō (1574), Sōrin sent Sōshitsu a request for a loan of 120 kan in silver to pay for war materials. Sōshitsu agreed to this, and pooled together the requisite amount. It was just such friendly relations with the merchants of Hakata that was to paint Sōrin`s life in vibrant colours.(214-215)

Communication and trade with the Chōsen peninsula

It may be taken as given that Sōrin, with his avid interest in all things novel and new, was particularly pro-active in regards to trade and communications with China and the Chōsen peninsula. Yet this was not something unique to Sōrin, but was a trait handed down through many generations of the Ōtomo family. The very first member of the Ōtomo to engage in trade and communications with the continent was the 12th head of the family, Mochinao, in the first half of the fifteenth century (more specifically from the 1st year of Eikyō, or 1429). Those records of this era that still exist show that the high point in relations with Chōsen came in the 1st year of Eishō (1504), just before the outbreak of an early sixteenth century conflict known as the `War of the Three Bays` (a conflict involving Japanese traders and Wako pirates residing in the three Chōsen bays of 乃而浦, Pusan, and Yeompo). Thereafter all records virtually cease. It therefore appears that Sōrin`s trade with Chōsen was both conceived and implemented during a time when trade itself was in decline.(216)

There is one other thing in regard to relations between the Ōtomo and Chōsen before Sōrin. Before Mochinao opened up trade with Chōsen, the region around the peninsula experienced what could be termed `the age of the Wako`. This refers to a period in the latter stages of the Kamakura era, or in the case of Chōsen the latter stages of the Korei dynasty, in which incursions by Wako pirates grew in size and led to an expansion in the amount of territory seized by pirates. The trend continued despite a change over to the Lee dynasty, for the Chōsen peninsula had no effective measures to deal with pirates and continued to suffer from their attacks. The `Seisō Jitsuroku` (世宗実録, for the 12th month of the 11th year of Seisō) states that `Lord Ōtomo has quelled a number of pirates residing along the coast of Bungo province`. This record shows that there were people known as `pirates` living under Ōtomo rule, and that the Lee dynasty was aware of them. The gradual introduction of regulated trade saw the Lee dynasty embark on attempts to suppress the Wako pirates in order to stabilize the economy. The Lee dynasty would experience its highpoint in the early fifteenth century as a result of the stability created by the reign of King Sejong (or Seisō in Japanese). This in turn heralded an era of communication and trade in exchange for piracy. It was at this time that Mochinao initiated his correspondence with the continent.(216-217)    

According to the content of the Seisō Jitsuroku and the Kaitō Shokoku Ki, Mochinao wrote a letter addressed to the officialdom of Chōsen, requesting that communication be made between them…「我貴朝に於て敬信を存すと雖も、未だ礼儀を通せず」(Seisō Jitsuroku, 7th month of Seisō 11) As is evident through this extract, Mochinao displayed due deference to the recipient of his letter while emphasizing the stability of his rule over the important port of Hakata, and asked that his authority be recognized by the rulers of Chōsen. He went on to say that he planned to build a Buddhist temple, but that he did not yet have the requisite paraphernalia to place inside it. As such, he sent gifts to the court at Chōsen in the hope of receiving one section of the `Great Heart Sutra` (Dai Hannya Kyō) and a large bell (Ōkane). Mochinao received a reply from the Chōsen office responsible for foreign relations, festivals, and education granting his request. However instead of a large bell, Mochinao received 160 rolls of hempen cloth.(217)

It appears that Mochinao became involved in trade and communications with Chōsen because his main competitor at the time, the house of Ōuchi of Suo, was already doing so. Mochinao`s decision to embark in trading probably thus stemmed from a desire to obstruct his rivals. After Mochinao, his son Yoshimune (Yoshihisa) (師能), the 15th head of the Ōtomo family Chikashige (親繁), his son Daizō Chikatsune, and Tahara Sadanari all engaged in trade with Chōsen. The real zenith of this trade took place in the latter part of the fifteenth century. When one looks at the Kichō Jitsuroku (季朝実録, or `Records of the Lee Dynasty`, one of the official histories of the Chōsen peninsula), one notices a gradual increase in comments related to the Ōtomo. Mochinao is mentioned 10 times, Chikashige 18 times, while Yoshimune (Yoshihisa) is mentioned 26 times. However as we saw earlier, the outbreak of the `War of the Three Bays` at the beginning of the sixteenth century led to a breakdown in trade with the peninsula. The Chūshū Jitsuroku (中宗実録) (dated for the intercalculary 10th month of the 23rd year of Chūshū) states the following…

`源(大友)政親正徳四年己巳(永正六年、1509)使を遣わし来朝す。(中略)源(大友)親治病みて久しく来朝せず。源(大友)義鑑時に来朝せず。義鑑は即ち今図書(ずしょ、正式貿易の許可印)を請うものなり。`(原漢文) (218)

What this tells us is that the 16th head of the Ōtomo family, Masachika, along with the 18th head Chikaharu, and the 20th head Yoshiaki were all to some extent engaged in trade with the Chōsen peninsula. However as there is a lack of evidence backing up the claims made in the Chūshū Jitsuroku, one must regard the above statement with a degree of caution. Even if trade and communications were taking place, one must consider who held the rights to such trade. Trade with the Chōsen peninsula was originally conducted through the auspices of the merchants of Hakata. By the latter part of the fifteenth century, trading rights had passed from the hands of those persons designated to act on behalf of the Ōtomo into those of the merchants of Hakata who travelled to the peninsula to conduct trade. The Ōtomo used these merchants as act as their representatives. Despite these `representatives` assuming the identity of the Ōtomo clan in negotiations during the late fifteenth century, it would be a mistake to conclude that the Ōtomo held overall rights to trade or that they accrued extensive profits from such trade.(218-219)

The description given above certainly applies to negotiations made with the Chōsen peninsula under Sōrin. The fact that one cannot verify trade agreements that occurred after the rule of Ōtomo Masachika (except in the Kichō Jitsuroku) is testimony to the situation involving trade at the time. As for Sōrin`s own commercial interests, unfortunately no mention is made of them in the Kichō Jitsuroku. However, in the `Inkan no Atotsuki` (印冠之跡付) reference found in the `Chōsen Sōshi Kuninami no Sho Keigaku` (朝鮮送使国次之書契覚) the following paragraphs are quite revealing…

A 元亀三年(一五七二)九月十日

According to Dr Tanaka Takeo, those persons referred to in the above document as having possession of a `seal` or `insignia` (shirushi, 印) were nearly all residents of Tsushima. Those persons referred to as Jōkanjin (上官人) were probably traders working on the Chōsen peninsula. By looking at the records for the 9th month of the 3rd year of Ganki, the 7th month of the 4th year of Ganki, and the 3rd month of the 2nd year of Tenshō, one sees Sōrin engaging in trade and communications with the continent. However, the actual right of trade appears to have belonged to the inhabitants of Tsushima, namely Ishida Katsutokumaru and Yoshida Mimasaka no Kami, while trade itself was conducted on the continent by Uehara Sukegorō, Sajikibara Yojirō, and Akagi Chūei`mon. Although one might speak highly of `Sōrin`s trade`, one must question the extent to which Sōrin`s own will was enacted on the Chōsen peninsula. In terms of the level of profit accrued from such trade, the author is of the opinion that it didn`t amount to very much.(220)

Unfortunately we do not possess any historical records directly dealing with trade with the continent during the reign of Sōrin. If we backtrack to include the reign of Mochinao and his successors in our study, what we find is that goods exported to the peninsula (from Bungo) were simply referred to as `goods`, leaving us with no idea as to what they contained.  As for imported goods, we have seen how Mochinao was granted a copy of the `Great Heart Sutra` and 160 rolls of hempen cloth. Similarly in Eikyō 4 (1432), Ōtomo Mochinao received a number of gifts including 5 rolls of fine white cotton, 10 straw mats onto which various decorations had been painted (known as Zassai Kaseki, or 雑彩花席) as well as the skins of a leopard and a tiger (outlined in the the Seisō Jitsuroku for the 7th month of Seisō 14). Again, according to the Seisō Jitsuroku (成宗実録) for the 1st month of the 8th year of Seisō, in Bunmei 9 (1477) the shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimasa planned to send 5 rolls of fine white cotton and 10 decorated straw mats each to the Shiba, Hatakeyama, Kyōgoku, Ōuchi, Yamana, and Shōni families, as well as to Ōtomo Chikashige. In reviewing the type of goods imported into Japan, what strikes one is that rather than importing things such as provisions and weapons which had obvious military or economic purposes, the trend was for refined, luxury items. It`s unlikely that Sōrin deviated much from this trend, for there were enough imported luxuries to satisfy his curiosity in all things foreign.(221)

Trade and negotiations with Ming China

Trade with Ming China was conducted by the Muromachi Bakufu, and was known as the Kangō trade. It was regulated through certificates issued by the Muromachi government which limited the number of vessels that could travel to China while recognizing such vessels as legitimate trading ships (these certificates were known as Kangōfu, or 勘合符). The participation of the Ōtomo in the Kangō trade can be discerned from a record in the Inryōken Nichiroku (蔭涼軒日録) for the 19th day of the 5th month of Bunmei 19 which refers to a flotilla of ships gathered together in Hōtoku 3 (1451) under the authority of the shōgun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa. The number of Kangō ships included in the flotilla was outlined as follows…
Looking at this source, one notes that the Ōtomo possessed vessel number 6 in a similar manner to the Ōuchi and Shimazu families. At the time, the most common Japanese goods marked for export to China included swords, bronze, sulphur, fans, and lacquerware.  Of particular note was the inclusion of sulphur. This was harvested by the Ōtomo for use in the manufacture of gunpowder. (222)

Nevertheless, there is still much debate about who actually represented the Ōtomo in their trade with China. The most likely candidate (at this stage) is Ōtomo Chikashige, if one supposes that he was involved in trade with the Chōsen peninsula at the time.(222)

The details given above allow us to measure just how formal trade relations with Ming China were conducted. From this era onwards one gradually perceives an increase in the presence of messenger vessels sent by daimyō of western provinces. According to Professor Kobata Atsushi (小葉田淳), those vessels bringing goods from the continent and those conducting trade with Ming China possessed a neutral character directed solely towards trade. (223)

Most of what the author will describe in relation to negotiations and trade from here on is based on the findings of Professor Kobata. Those vessels referred to earlier received their Kangōfu from the shōgun, yet they were not Kenminsen (遣明船, or `tribute vessels to Ming China`), dispatched by the Muromachi Bakufu,and bound by regulations stipulating that they provide tribute `every ten years` (meaning that they travelled to China once every ten years). The Kangōfu vessels operated much more freely than this. For example, according to the Nippon Ikkan (日本一鑑) and the Shōhō Isenji (哨報夷船事), Ōtomo Yoshiaki had a priest by the name of Seiryō (清粱) of Funai Daichiji (府内大智寺) Tachū (塔頭, a small temple inside a larger temple complex) Shōgatsuan (松月庵) act as a messenger for him. In Tenbun 15 (1546) Seiryō embarked on a ship for China. Although Yoshiaki possessed a Kangōfu, he received no official recognition from the bakufu for the trip. As such, when Seiryō landed in China, he was told that as it was not the appointed time no trade could take place, and was thus unable to achieve anything for all his efforts.(223)

Kenminsen eventually disappeared following the severing of relations between Ming China and Japan in Tenbun 18 (1549). This event heralded a resurgence in Wako pirate activity (indeed the catalyst for the decision to severe relations stemmed from attacks against the coastline launched by Wako pirates). The Ming court, aware of the depredations of pirates, planned to send a messenger to Japan in order to discover what the true state of affairs was within Japan with a mind to eventually using such information as a stratagem against piracy. The plan was the brainchild of the governor of Zhejiang province, Yang Xuan (揚宣), the result of which saw a messenger by the name of Zheng Shun Gong (鄭舜功) being dispatched from the Ming court for Japan. Zheng left Canton in the 4th month of the 1st year of Kōji (1555), and made his way to Bungo by way of the Ryūkyū islands. He was to remain in Bungo until autumn of the following year.(223-224) 

At the time, Bungo was under the rule of Yoshishige (Sōrin). Although it is not entirely clear why Zheng chose Bungo province, it may have been because Bungo was a convenient location in which to observe pirate activity, and because the province possessed a tolerant ruler, an attribute much admired by messengers from Ming China. Zheng landed at Usuki, and was given lodgings at Tachū Ryūhōan (龍法庵) located in the temple of Kaizōji (海蔵寺) (according to the Nippon Ikkan).(224) He may have decided on Usuki because he wished to confirm the presence of pirates in the coastal area near the town. Zheng was granted an audience with Yoshishige, where he requested that everything be done to stamp out piracy. In this he was supported by the activities of two messengers from the same region as himself, officials Shen Meng Gang (沈孟綱) and Hu Fu Ning (胡福寧) who had journeyed to meet the bakufu to discuss an outright ban on piracy. Having reached most of the goals he set out to achieve, Zheng departed Bungo in the autumn of Kōji 2 (1556).

Yoshishige sent two priests to accompany Zheng back to China, these being Seiju (清授) of Saiki Ryūgoji (龍護寺) and Seichō (清超) of Notsuin Tōmeiji (野津院到明寺), who were official representative and deputy representative respectively. Their mission was to relay to the Ming court the Ōtomo`s firm intention to outlaw piracy. However just as Zheng and the two priests were set to arrive in Canton (by way of the Ryūkyū islands), Seiju split off from Zheng and made his way to Huzhou, where he was arrested and imprisoned on suspicion of having written documents asking for the procurement of arms and troops. Zheng did his best to help Seiju, but he himself ending up being arrested and imprisoned. Seiju eventually apologized for his actions, and was sent to the temple of Zhi Pian Si (治平寺) located in Mazhou, Sichuan province, where he stayed for three years (according to the Nippon Ikkan). Thereafter his whereabouts are unknown.(224-225)

The man who had organized the entire mission to Japan, Yang Xuan, had retired from his official position by the time Seiju landed at Huzhou, hence there was no-one available to defend Seiju when he needed such support. While Yoshishige`s pro-active strategy had opened the way for independent communications with China (via the pledge to rid the seas of pirates), as far as the Ming authorities were concerned, there was only one, officially sanctioned form of engaging in trade, and that was through the medium of the Kenminsen. Yoshishige was thus regarded as an interloper engaging in illegal trade, a charge for which Seiju became an unfortunate victim.(225)

Meanwhile, in Ming China, the 1st year of Kōji was to prove auspicious for travel to Japan, for in the same year that Zheng Shun Gong left for Japan, a magistrate named Hu Zong Xian (胡宗憲) of Zhejiang province appointed a messenger by the name of Jiang Zhou (蔣洲). Jiang was ordered to convey a decree addressed to the leader of pirate activities in the five islands of Hizen province, a man known as Wang Zhi (王直), ordering him to act in accordance with the law, as well as to hand on a request to the many rulers of Kyushu asking for their assistance in outlawing piracy. In the 10th month of Kōji 1, Jiang left from the port of Dinghai (定海). He arrived in the five islands in the following month, where he had an audience with Wang Zhi. He then travelled on to Bungo after first visiting Hakata. He was welcomed upon his arrival in Bungo by Yoshishige, who provided him with lodgings. There Jiang remained until the 3rd year of Kōji (1557). When Jiang was set to depart for China, Yoshishige, in a similar manner to the mission of Zheng Shun Gong and Seiju, had a priest by the name of Tokuyō (徳陽) accompany Jiang as a messenger, whilst also appointing an interpreter by the name of Go Shirō (呉四郎, Wu Si Lang) to assist Tokuyō. (225)

After Jiang returned home, the Ming officialdom (to whom Yoshishige had sent a messenger), having learned that Yoshishige was merely a regional lord, were incensed that Yoshishige had the audacity to use a Chinese year name for his offering to the court, an act they regarded as an insult. The officialdom surmised that they would do well to avoid a person who borrowed names to attach to his tribute and whose only interest appeared to be financial. Yoshishige`s request for a golden seal trade certificate (金印勘合, kinin kangō) was equally brazen in its impudence. However for Yoshishige, the fact that he had shown every courtesy to messengers sent to him and banned incursions by foreigners into Ming territory were achievements that he had no intention of keeping to himself.(226)

In the meantime Tokuyō and his companion were giving lodgings at the port of Shiniu (石牛湾), where they were provided with fresh produce and other victuals. They were, however, forbidden from buying or selling any goods or for entering into negotiations (presumably with officials). Their offering was passed on to the court via the governor. In exchange, the court bestowed on Yoshishige a range of golden silk products, while Tokuyō received decorative scenery paintings together with rice and wine. Eventually Tokuyō moved to the port of Mamu (馬墓湾) in Zhou Shan (舟山, near Dinghai), lodging in the Dōryūkan residence (道隆観).(226)

In the 10th month of the 3rd year of Kōji (1557), Wang Zhi, together with his retinue, sailed aboard four vessels for China, arriving at the Zhou Shan port of Cen (岑, or Shin in Japanese). Wang Zhi had been persuaded to return to China from the five islands of Hizen following Jiang Zhou`s visit to the region. Yet again Yoshishige appointed his own messenger to accompany Wang to China, the monk Myōzen (妙善). By a strange twist of fate, Myōzen managed to meet with Tokuyō while in China.  At this time, the deputy governor in Zhou Shan, a man by the name of Bing Lu Deng (兵盧鐙), invited Myōzen to his residence, where in addition to making a request from the Ming government calling for the suppression of pirates and use of a navy to castigate Wang Zhi, Bing included his own addendum, in which he would open up negotiations on trade with Myōzen in exchange for the arrest and transfer of Wang Zhi to Ming authorities. After his meeting, Myōzen made his way to the Dōryūkan, where he relayed the content of the meeting to Tokuyō. Tokuyō realized, however, that if they did as Bing intended, this would result in his and Myōken`s deaths. As such, Tokuyō decided to send his interpreter Wu Si Lang to the residence of the government official Wu Cheng Qi (呉成器) in order to ask that he (Tokuyō) be allowed to change his residence (upon fear that it might be attacked by sympathizers of Wang`s). Yet this request was refused. Again, Tokuyō sent Wu Si Lang to the residence of the city official Zhang Si Wei (張四維) to try and start negotiations with local rulers, however this visit resulted in Wu`s execution by Zhang. Tokuyō, fearing that he too would be next in line to be punished, gathered together his funds in the 2nd month of Eiroku 1 (1558) and on the advice of Myōken, made his way to the port of Cen where he took up lodgings with Myōken. Both messengers were concerned that they might be questioned by Ming authorities and possibly come to harm, and resolved to return to Japan (as recorded in the Kōmei Jitsuroku 皇明実録 and the Nippon Ikkan). Yoshishige`s strategy for conducting trade with Ming China thus ended in failure. While it is certainly true that Yoshishige harboured great ambitions regarding trade with China and made active efforts to support that trade, he did not fully comprehend the state of affairs in China itself, and was unable to achieve his aims on the continent.(227)

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© Greg Pampling. This page was modified in February 2012