Ryukyujin gyosoki [trans.: The Record of the Ryukyuan Mission to Edo in 1790 [or] The Record of the Ryukyu People’s Procession in Costumes]. RYUKYUAN MISSION TO EDO. ANON.
Ryukyujin gyosoki [trans.: The Record of the Ryukyuan Mission to Edo in 1790 [or] The Record of the Ryukyu People’s Procession in Costumes].
Ryukyujin gyosoki [trans.: The Record of the Ryukyuan Mission to Edo in 1790 [or] The Record of the Ryukyu People’s Procession in Costumes].
Ryukyujin gyosoki [trans.: The Record of the Ryukyuan Mission to Edo in 1790 [or] The Record of the Ryukyu People’s Procession in Costumes].
Ryukyujin gyosoki [trans.: The Record of the Ryukyuan Mission to Edo in 1790 [or] The Record of the Ryukyu People’s Procession in Costumes].

“Edo Nobori”

Ryukyujin gyosoki [trans.: The Record of the Ryukyuan Mission to Edo in 1790 [or] The Record of the Ryukyu People’s Procession in Costumes].

24 full-page woodcut illus. 17 folding leaves. Small oblong 8vo, orig. wrappers (wrappers somewhat defective), orig. block-printed title label on upper cover, new stitching. Kyoto: Iseya Shosuke et al., 1790.

First edition and very rare; no copy in WorldCat. Following Japan’s 1609 invasion of the Ryukyu Kingdom (today’s Okinawa), the Kingdom became a vassal to the Japanese feudal domain of Satsuma and was expected to make periodic diplomatic visits to the shogunate in Edo to pay tribute. During the Edo period, there were 18 such diplomatic missions (Edo nobori or “the going up of Ryukyu to Edo”) which included royal princes, high-ranking government officials, merchants, craftsmen, scholars, etc.

These diplomatic exchanges were based on models established by the Chinese but were modified as the needs of the Japanese were somewhat different. Every mission had a reason: either to congratulate a new shogun on his succession, or in connection with the accession of a new king of Ryukyu.

This is a record of the 1790 mission, the thirteenth, to Edo; there were 96 members of this entourage and the round-trip journey took a year. The lead envoy was Prince Ginowan (1765-1827); the delegation came to Edo to congratulate Tokugawa Ienari (1773-1841), who had become shogun three years earlier.

The attractive woodcuts depict the ships from Ryukyu as well as the Japanese fiefdom lords’ escort ships. The following woodcuts depict members of the entourage as well as members of the receiving fiefdom’s representatives and the carriage of the fiefdom lord himself. The foreign visitors were required by lord of the Satsuma fiefdom to wear Chinese-looking attire to demonstrate their foreignness, thereby emphasizing the glory and power of the Satsuma, the only feudal lords in Japan to enjoy the fealty of a foreign kingdom. We see woodcuts of musicians, banner carriers, a carriage holding the official documents, Prince Ginowan in his carriage, government officials (all named), and many priests. There is extensive text explaining the activities of the visiting delegation during their stay. We also find a short dictionary of Ryukyu words and a list of gifts: swords, art objects including lacquerware, textiles (bashofu), incense, awamori liquor, bells, dolls, minoshi paper, and foods.

Apart from the wear to the wrappers, a nice copy.

Price: $9,500.00

Item ID: 6314

See all items in History, Japan, Japanese, RBMS 2019