Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Chu Chih-yü

CHU Chih-yü 朱之瑜 (T. 魯嶼, 楚嶼, H. 舜水), Nov. 17, 1600–1682, May 23, was a native of Yü-yao, Chekiang. Both his father and grandfather were Ming officials, and he himself repeatedly declined invitations to accept high positions under the Manchus until his loyalty was questioned and he was forced in 1645 to flee to Japan. His journey lay by way of the Island of Chusan to which he shortly returned and where he was made to serve for a time in the army. Disliking government office but strongly desirous of aiding the restoration of the Ming dynasty, he set out in 1649 for Annam where he hoped to secure military aid for a fellow-provincial, General Wang I 王翊 (T. 完勳, H. 篤庵, 1616–1651). But his ship, driven from its course, landed in Japan and not long thereafter his friend, Wang I, met an untimely death. Chu Chih-yü returned to Chusan, but again touched Japan in 1653 on his way to Annam to request aid against the invading Manchus. Experiencing many difficulties in Annam, of which he left an account, entitled 安南供役紀事 An-nan kung-i chi-shih, he once more went to Japan in 1658. In the meantime Chusan had capitulated to the Manchus, and when he arrived at the island he found that his friends had been killed and that all hope of restoration was gone. Unwilling to submit to Manchu rule, he returned to Japan in 1659. His travels had occupied some fifteen years, and this was his fifth visit to that country. His funds were nearly exhausted and his plight was desperate. On a previous visit he had become acquainted with a scholarly samurai, Andō Shuyaku 安東守約 (H. 省庵, 1622–1701), who now came to his rescue. Andō not only gave Chu Chih-yü half of his meager stipend of 80 koku of rice per annum (one koku = about 5 bushels), but secured for him from the governor of Nagasaki permission to remain in Japan. In a letter to his grandson, written some years later, Chu Chih-yü gratefully recounts Andō's self-sacrificial kindness to him at this time. It was in reply to Ando's queries that Chu wrote a bitter attack on the Manchus, entitled 陽九述略 Yang-chiu shu-lüeh.

In 1664 Tokugawa Mitsukuni 德川光圀 (1628–1700), Prince of Mito, a member of one of the three ruling shogunate families, dispatched the Confucian scholar, Oyake Seijun 小宅生順 (H. 處齋, 1638–1674), with others to Nagasaki to search for learned men from over the seas. The only Chinese whose scholarship impressed Oyake was Chu Chih-yü, and in 1665 he was invited to serve the prince. On his arrival at Mito he was given a hundred pieces of silver and a rice stipend sufficient to sustain thirty persons. He was treated by the prince with every token of respect and consideration due his rank as teacher and advisor, and in turn he spared no effort in serving his patron. Besides discussing history, philosophy, poetry, and politics with the prince, he drew plans and made models of stone bridges and mausolea, wrote inscriptions on tombs and bells, made patterns of Chinese court garments and head-dresses, and sample costumes worn by different classes of Chinese during the Ming dynasty. At Mitsukuni's request he prepared in 1670 a detailed description of the Confucian state-worship of China, together with wooden models of Confucian temples, schools, and ceremonial utensils. In 1672, under Chu Chih-yü's direction, the spring and autumn ceremonies to Confucius were first carried out in Japan. It is supposed by some that he served as an advisor in the task of compiling the monumental 大日本史 Dai Nihon shi. In 1669, on reaching the age of seventy (sui), Chu Chih-yü sought permission to resign and return to Nagasaki, but Mitsukuni refused to part with him. Instead, he was honored with many presents of food, money, silk, and a folding screen with portraits of six famous teachers of antiquity—three Chinese and three Japanese. In the following year Chu Chih-yü had a coffin of cypress made—indicating his intention of remaining permanently in Japan. He was lionized in Edo by such scholars as Hayashi Harunobu 林春信 (H. 梅洞, 1644–1666), Hayashi Nobuatsu 林信篤 (H. 鳳岡, 1644–1732), Kinoshita Teikan 木下貞幹 (H. 順庵, 1592–1669), Maeda Tsunatoshi 前田綱利 (later 綱紀, 1643–1724), Okumura Yōrei 奧村庸禮 (H. 蒙窩, 1628–1688), Isogawa Gōhaku 五十川剛伯 (H. 鶴皋), and others. When he reached the age of eighty (sui) Mitsukuni called on him in person to extend his congratulations and to shower him with presents.

Before his death Chu Chih-yü left instructions that his body should not be returned to China so long as the Manchus ruled, and so he was buried at the foot of Mt. Zuiryū in Hitachi. He lived frugally and saved much of his stipend in the vain hope of using the money to restore the Ming dynasty. At his death he left to his prince the sum of 3,000 gold ryō. He was privately given the posthumous name, Bunkyō sensei 文恭先生. Mitsukuni also enshrined a tablet at Komagome 駒込 to his memory, and there Chu Chih-yü was remembered on succeeding anniversaries of his death. Mitsukuni, styling himself a pupil (門人), collected his manuscripts and edited them into 28 chüan under the title 朱舜水先生文集 Shu Shunsui sensei bunshū which was printed in 1715 and was known as the Mito edition, being more complete than an earlier one in 10 chüan, entitled 朱徵君集 Shu Chō-kun shū, which was printed in 1683 and was known as the Kaga edition. Until the close of the last century Chu Chih-yü was but little known in China. But during the last decades of the Ch'ing dynasty Chinese students in Japan, kindled with revolutionary spirit, were encouraged by the writings of this self-exiled scholar, especially by the Yang-chiu shu-lüeh. A Chinese edition of his collected works, entitled 舜水遺書 Shun-shui i-shu, appeared in 1913.


[1/505/13a; 6/35/2a; 舜水先生文集 Shunsui sensei bunshū 28; 先哲叢談 Sentetsu sōdan II; Inouye Tetsujirō 井上哲次郎, 日本朱子學派之哲學 Nihon Shushi-gaku-ha no tetsugaku, pp. 149–64, 809–20; Tokutomi Iichirō 德富豬一郎, 近世日本國民史, 德川幕府 Kinsei Nihon kokumin shi, Tokugawa-bakufu I, 下/385–90, 548–71; Tsuji Zennosuke 辻善之助, 海外交通史話 Kaigai kōtsū shi-wa, pp. 660–50; Mito Shōkō-kan 水戶彰考館, 朱舜水記事纂錄 Shu Shunsui kiji sanroku (1914); Shu Shunsui kinenkai 朱舜水記念會, 朱舜水 Shu Shunsui (1912); Nagata Gonjirō 永田權次郎, 德川三百年史 Tokugawa Sanbyaku-nen shi (1905); Aoyama Enwu 青山廷于, 文苑遺談 Bun-en i-dan (1856) 2; Liang Ch'i-ch'ao (see under T'an Ssŭ-t'ung) 近三百年中國學術史 Chin san-pai nien Chung-kuo hsüeh-shu shih (1926) pp. 129–134 and 飲氷室文集 Yin-ping shih wên-chi (1915) 67/23b; Ch'üan Tsu-wang [q. v.], Chi-ch'i t'ing chi wai-pien (1776) 4/17a; Journal of the Chekiang Provincial Library III, no. 2, with portrait; Clement, E. W., "The Tokugawa Princes of Mito", and "Chinese Refugees of the Seventeenth Century" in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan (1889) XVIII, pp. 1–23 (1896) XXIV, pp. 12–40; Hummel, A. W., Report of the Librarian of Congress, 1930–31, pp. 265–67.]

Shunzo Sakamaki