Online ISSN : 2424-2616
Print ISSN : 0018-2478
ISSN-L : 0018-2478
Foreign Relations and the Rinzai Sect's Genju School in Late Medieval Japan
Koji ITO
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1999 Volume 108 Issue 4 Pages 465-500,621-62


An impotant intermediary role was played by monks of the Zen sects in foreign relations during late medieval Japan. It has already been pointed out by MURAI Shosuke that during the Muromachi era the five main Zen temples (Gozan 五山) functioned as a veritable "foreign ministry." However, looking at diplomacy as the Bakufu noticeably weakened during the sixteenth century, it is also necessary to focus on other Zen sects who became very active in foreign affairs. In this article, the author investigates the Genju 幻住 School of the Rinzai Zen Sect and its dirlomatic activities in the pan-China Sea region of Asia, focusing on Shofukuji Temple in Hakata, which had adopted the canon of the Genju School's Muinka 無隠下 Faction at that time. The Muinka Faction was in very close contact with Ankokuji on the island of Iki, a temple that was active in foreign relations and an important part of Shofukuji's diplomatic network. It was the Ouchi 大内 family that took advantage of Zen sect diplomacy like the kind carried out at Shofukuji. It utilized both Gozan and non-Gozan networks, resulting in monks belonging to both the Soto and Rinzai Sects coming under its control. It was under such circumstances that Koshinsekitei 湖心碩鼎, pupil of Ikkasekiyu 一華碩由 of the Genju School's Enkeika 遠渓下 Faction, appeared advocating the unification of the Soto, Genju and Daito Sects in a complete missan 密参 form. At the same time, he inherited the canon of the Genju School's Muinka 無隠下 Faction, that was deeply involved in foreign relations and took charge of the Ouchi family's diplomatic affairs, looking after the Genju faction within the diverse religious factions under that family and building a staff of diplomatic personnel for himself. Many well-known diplomat/monks, including Nihogenyu 耳峰玄熊 and Shogakuteiko 嘯岳鼎虎, came from the Genju School that was tied so closely to the Ouchi family's widespread foreign activities, while as the same time affiliating themselves with the 0ryo 黄龍 School of Min' anyosai 明庵栄西, the founder of shofukuji, and rebuilding the temple from ruin after the turbulence of the Warring States era. Genju faction's sphere of activities included formed a broad network spanning Ming China, Korea and the Ryukyu Islands. Particularly, after the fall of the Ouchi family, the island of Tsushima 対馬 in the Genju faction network became the main organ for trade and diplomacy with the Korean peninsula.

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© 1999 The Historical Society of Japan
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