Hayashi Shihei

Hayashi Shihei (林 子平, August 6, 1738 - July 28, 1793) was a Japanese military scholar and a retainer of the Sendai Domain. His name is sometimes transliterated (according to the Sino-Japanese reading) as Rin Shihei’'.

Hayashi Shihei
Statue of Hayashi Shihei in Kōtōdai Park, Sendai
Statue of Hayashi Shihei in Kōtōdai Park, Sendai
BornAugust 6, 1738
Edo, Japan
DiedJuly 28, 1793 (aged 54)
Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
SubjectMilitary strategy, geography


Hayashi was born in Edo as the second son of Hayashi Gonhyoue Yoshimichi, a 600 koku hatamoto who served the Tokugawa shogunate as commissioner for documents. However, when Hayashi was only three years old, his father was expelled for some reason and became a ronin. Hayashi and his brother were brought up by his uncle Hayashi Jyūgo, a physician.

However, Hayashi had an elder sister, Kiyo, in the service of Date Yoshimura at the Date clan residence in Edo. She became the concubine of the 6th daimyō of Sendai Domain, Date Munemura. Through her influence, Hayashi Jyūgo received an appointment as official doctor to Sendai Domain with a stipend of 150 koku, and Hayashi's brother Hayashi Kazen was adopted as his heir. On Date Yoshimura's death, they moved to Sendai; however, Hayashi himself had no official post or stipend, and remained unemployed within the household.

He wrote a poem called "Six No's", which reads: "I have no parents, no wife, no son, no block for printing, no money, and I wish for 'no death'."

However, Hayashi was not idle. He maintained an active correspondence with many of the leading rangaku scholars, economists and military scientists of the day. He also travelled to Nagasaki in 1777 where he was especially impressed with the size and strength of the Dutch ships, and learned of Russian intentions to advance south from Siberia into Asia from the Dutch Opperhoofd. The caused him to make a journey to Matsumae in the north, and he increasing became aware of the weaknesses of the country's coastal defences, and ignorance of the outside world.

In 1786, he published Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu (Illustrated Description of Three Countries), describing in detail Japan's geopolitical position in relation to Korea, Ryukyu and Ezo. He raised concerns that China may one day attempt to invade Japan, as had been attempted in the Kamakura period,[1] and also emphasized the need for Japan to populate and develop its northern frontier in Hokkaido.

In 1787, he published Kaikoku Heidan (i.e. Military Defense of a Maritime Nation), a 16-volume work in which he stressed Japan's vulnerability from the sea and need for Japan to adopt Western military science and the re-education of the samurai. He complained of the lack of organized drill exercises, and stressed the importance of chōren, or teamwork drill, rather than mere individual martial training. He gave technical descriptions about shipbuilding, cannons and other military designs.He especially was critical of the Shogunate's sakoku national isolation policy. The work generated great interest, but was banned in May 1792, on the grounds that national security matters were being discussed without official consent. Hayashi was placed under house arrest. He died the following year.[2]

Together with Takayama Hikokurō and Gamō Sanbei, Hayashi is known as one of the "Three Excelling Men of the Kansei Period" (Kansei no san-kijin 寛政の三奇人).


Hayashi's grave is at the Buddhist temple of Ryuun-in in Aoba-ku, Sendai. It was proclaimed a National Historic Site in 1942.[3] The surrounding neighbourhood was renamed Shihei-chō in 1967. A plaque commemorating his accomplishments can also be found at the site of Sendai Castle.


  1. ^ Jansen, Marius (1992). China in the Tokugawa World. Harvard University Press. pp. 88–89. ISBN 9780674184763.
  2. ^ Jansen, Marius (2002). The Making of Modern Japan. Harvard University Press. p. 262. ISBN 9780674009912.
  3. ^ Agency for Cultural Affairs - Cultural Heritage Online (in Japanese)
  • Dore, Ronald P. (1965). Education in Tokugawa Japan. (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul), p. 171.

Further reading

  • Boxer, C.R. (1932). Rin Shihei and his picture of a Dutch East-India ship, 1782. Tokyo: Asiatic Society of Japan.
  • Lederer, Friedrich (Transl./Ed.) Diskurs über die Wehrhaftigkeit einer Seenation München, Iudicium, 2002 (Diss. LMU Munich) First Translation of Kaikoku Heidan in a foreign language, i.e. German.
Bonin Islands

The Bonin Islands, also known as the Ogasawara Islands (小笠原群島, Ogasawara Guntō), or, Yslas del Arzobispo, are an archipelago of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands, some 1,000 kilometres (540 nmi; 620 mi) directly south of Tokyo, Japan. The name "Bonin Islands" comes from the Japanese word bunin (an archaic reading of 無人 mujin), meaning "no people" or "uninhabited". The only inhabited islands of the group are Chichijima (父島), the seat of the municipal government, and Hahajima (母島).

Ogasawara Municipality (mura) and Ogasawara Subprefecture take their names from the Ogasawara Group. Ogasawara Archipelago (小笠原諸島, Ogasawara shotō) is also used as a wider collective term that includes other islands in Ogasawara Municipality, such as the Volcano Islands, along with three other remote islands (Nishinoshima, Minami-Tori-shima and Okinotorishima). Geographically speaking, all of these islands are part of the Nanpō Islands.

A total population of 2,440 (2015), 2,000 on Chichijima and 440 on Hahajima, lives in the Ogasawara Group, which has a total area of 84 square kilometres (32 sq mi).

Because the Ogasawara Islands have never been connected to a continent, many of their animals and plants have undergone unique evolutionary processes. This has led to the islands' nickname of "The Galápagos of the Orient", and their nomination as a natural World Heritage Site on June 24, 2011. The giant squid (genus Architeuthis) was photographed off the Ogasawara Islands for the first time in the wild on 30 September 2004, and was filmed alive in December 2006.A 25-meter-diameter radio telescope is located in Chichijima, one of the stations of the very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) project, and is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.


Ezo (蝦夷, also spelled Yezo or Yeso) is a Japanese name which historically referred to the lands to the north of the Japanese island of Honshu. It included the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido which changed its name from Ezo to Hokkaido in 1869 and sometimes included Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands.

The same two kanji used to write the word "Ezo" can also be read as Emishi "shrimp barbarians", the name given to the people who the Japanese encountered in these lands. Their descendants are suspected to be the Ainu people.


The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul in South Korea or Chosŏn'gŭl in North Korea, has been used to write the Korean language since its creation in the 15th century by King Sejong the Great.It is the official writing system of Korea, both South and North. It is a co-official writing system in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County in Jilin Province, China. It is also sometimes used to write the Cia-Cia language spoken near the town of Baubau, Indonesia. The Taiwanese linguists Xu Caode (1987) developed and used a modified Hangul alphabets to represent the spoken Taiwanese, and was later supported by Ang Ui-jin (see Taiwanese Hangul).The Hangul alphabet originally consisted of 28 letters with 17 consonant letters and 11 vowel letters when it was created. As four became obsolete, the modern Hangul consists of total 24 letters with 14 consonant letters and 10 vowel letters. In North Korea the total is counted 40. It consists of 19 consonant letters and 21 vowel letters as it additionally includes 5 tense consonants (ㄲ ㄸ ㅃ ㅉ ㅆ) and 20 compound and complex vowel letters as well as ㅐ.

The Korean letters are written in syllabic blocks with the alphabetic letters arranged in two dimensions. For example, the Korean word for "honeybee" (kkulbeol) is written 꿀벌, not ㄲㅜㄹㅂㅓㄹ. As it combines the features of alphabetic and syllabic writing systems, it has been described as an "alphabetic syllabary" by some linguists. As in traditional Chinese writing, Korean texts were traditionally written top to bottom, right to left, and are occasionally still written this way for stylistic purposes. Today, it is typically written from left to right with spaces between words and western-style punctuation.Some linguists consider it among the most phonologically faithful writing systems in use today. One feature of Hangul is that the shapes of its consonants seemingly mimic the shapes of the speaker's mouth when pronouncing each consonant.

History of Japanese nationality

The history of Japanese nationality as a chronology of evolving concepts and practices begins in the mid-nineteenth century, as Japan opened diplomatic relations with the west and a modern nation state was established through the Meiji Restoration.


Hōtoku (宝徳) was a Japanese era name (年号,, nengō,, lit. "year name") after Bun'an and before Kyotoku. This period spanned the years from July 1449 through July 1452. The reigning emperor was Go-Hanazono-tennō (後花園天皇).

Isaac Titsingh

Isaac Titsingh FRS (c. January 1745 in Amsterdam – 2 February 1812 in Paris) was a Dutch scholar, merchant-trader and ambassador.During a long career in East Asia, Titsingh was a senior official of the Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC)). He represented the European trading company in exclusive official contact with Tokugawa Japan, traveling to Edo twice for audiences with the shōgun and other high bakufu officials. He was the Dutch and VOC governor general in Chinsura, Bengal. Titsingh worked with his counterpart, Charles Cornwallis, who was governor general of the British East India Company. In 1795, Titsingh represented Dutch and VOC interests in China, where his reception at the court of the Qing Qianlong Emperor stood in stark contrast to the rebuff suffered by Britain's ambassador George Macartney in 1793, just prior to celebrations of Qianlong’s sixty-year reign. In China, Titsingh effectively functioned as ambassador for his country at the same time as he represented the Dutch East India Company as a trade representative.

Korean claim to Tsushima Island

The Tsushima Island dispute concerns a territorial issue about Tsushima Island (対馬), a large island in the Korea Strait between the Korean peninsula and the island of Kyushu. The island is known as the Daemado in Korean. South Korea does not officially claim the island though some South Koreans have said that Korea has a historical claim on the island and have taken steps to attempt to assert South Koreas claim.

Liancourt Rocks dispute

The Liancourt Rocks dispute is a territorial dispute between South Korea and Japan. Both countries claim sovereignty over the Liancourt Rocks, a group of small islets in the Sea of Japan which are referred to as "Dokdo" (Korean: 독도; Hanja: 獨島) in Korean and "Takeshima" (竹島) in Japanese. North Korea also claims sovereignty of the islands.The Liancourt Rocks have been administered by South Korea since 1954 by the Korea Coast Guard. This action was taken after the United States stated in the Rusk documents that the Japanese claim to the Liancourt Rocks would not be renounced in Japan's post-World-War-II peace treaty. In 1954, Japan proposed a reference to the International Court of Justice, which South Korea rejected, believing that the Liancourt Rocks are irrefutably South Korean territories, and thus should not be dealt through diplomatic negotiations or judicial settlement between South Korea and Japan.There are conflicting interpretations about the historical state of sovereignty over the islets. Korean claims are partly based on references to a Korean island called Usan-do in various historical records, maps and encyclopedias such as the Samguk Sagi, Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, Dongguk Yeoji Seungnam (Korean: 동국여지승람; Hanja: 東國輿地勝覧), and Dongguk munheon bigo (Korean: 동국문헌비고; Hanja: 東國文獻備考). According to the Korean view, these refer to today's Liancourt Rocks, while the Japanese researchers of these documents have stated that the various references to Usan-do refer at different times to Jukdo, its neighboring island Ulleungdo, or a non-existent island between Ulleungdo and Korea.Researchers disagree on who first had administrative control over the islets due to ambiguities in early historical records and maps, partly due to changes in the names of the islands in the area over the years.

List of Cultural Properties of Japan - paintings (Hokkaidō)

This list is of the Cultural Properties of Japan designated in the category of paintings (絵画, kaiga) for the Circuit of Hokkaidō.

List of Historic Sites of Japan (Miyagi)

This list is of the Historic Sites of Japan located within the Prefecture of Miyagi.

Ryukyu Islands

The Ryukyu Islands (琉球諸島, Ryūkyū-shotō), also known as the Nansei Islands (南西諸島, Nansei-shotō, lit. "Southwest Islands") or the Ryukyu Arc (琉球弧, Ryūkyū-ko), are a chain of Japanese islands that stretch southwest from Kyushu to Taiwan: the Ōsumi, Tokara, Amami, Okinawa, and Sakishima Islands (further divided into the Miyako and Yaeyama Islands), with Yonaguni the westernmost. The larger are mostly high islands and the smaller mostly coral. The largest is Okinawa Island.

The climate of the islands ranges from humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) in the north to tropical rainforest climate (Köppen climate classification Af) in the south. Precipitation is very high and is affected by the rainy season and typhoons. Except the outlying Daitō Islands, the island chain has two major geologic boundaries, the Tokara Strait (between the Tokara and Amami Islands) and the Kerama Gap (between the Okinawa and Miyako Islands). The islands beyond the Tokara Strait are characterized by their coral reefs.

The Ōsumi and Tokara Islands, the northernmost of the islands, fall under the cultural sphere of the Kyushu region of Japan; the people are ethnically Japanese and speak a variation of the Kagoshima dialect of Japanese. The Amami, Okinawa, Miyako, and Yaeyama Islands have a native population collectively called the Ryukyuan people, named for the former Ryukyu Kingdom that ruled them. The varied Ryukyuan languages are traditionally spoken on these islands, and the major islands have their own distinct languages. In modern times, the Japanese language is the primary language of the islands, with the Okinawan Japanese dialect prevalently spoken. The outlying Daitō Islands were uninhabited until the Meiji period, when their development was started mainly by people from the Izu Islands south of Tokyo, with the people there speaking the Hachijō language.

Administratively, the islands are divided into Kagoshima Prefecture (specifically the islands administered by Kagoshima District, Kumage Subprefecture/District, and Ōshima Subprefecture/District) in the north and Okinawa Prefecture in the south, with the divide between the Amami and Okinawa Islands, with the Daitō Islands part of Okinawa Prefecture. The northern (Kagoshima) islands are collectively called the Satsunan Islands, while the southern part of the chain (Okinawa Prefecture) are called the Ryukyu Islands in Chinese.

Ryukyu Kingdom

The Ryukyu Kingdom (Okinawan: 琉球國 Ruuchuu-kuku; Japanese: 琉球王国 Ryūkyū Ōkoku; Middle Chinese: Ljuw-gjuw kwok; historical English name: Lewchew, Luchu, and Loochoo) was an independent kingdom that ruled most of the Ryukyu Islands from the 15th to the 19th century. The kings of Ryukyu unified Okinawa Island and extended the kingdom to the Amami Islands in modern-day Kagoshima Prefecture, and the Sakishima Islands near Taiwan. Despite its small size, the kingdom played a central role in the maritime trade networks of medieval East and Southeast Asia, especially the Malacca Sultanate.

Ryukyuan missions to Edo

Over the course of Japan's Edo period, the Ryūkyū Kingdom sent eighteen missions to Edo (琉球江戸上り, ryūkyū edo nobori, "lit. 'the going up of Ryūkyū to Edo'), the capital of Tokugawa Japan. The unique pattern of these diplomatic exchanges evolved from models established by the Chinese, but without denoting any predetermined relationship to China or to the Chinese world order. The Kingdom became a vassal to the Japanese feudal domain (han) of Satsuma following Satsuma's 1609 invasion of Ryūkyū, and as such were expected to pay tribute to the shogunate; the missions also served as a great source of prestige for Satsuma, the only han to claim any foreign polity, let alone a kingdom, as its vassal.

Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu

Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu (三国通覧図説, An Illustrated Description of Three Countries) by Hayashi Shihei (1738–93) was published in Japan in 1785. In his lifetime, the writer and his works were considered controversial. This book represents one of the earliest attempts to define Japan in terms of its outer boundaries. It represented a modern effort to distinguish Japan from the neighboring nations.The book describes the Joseon Dynasty (Korea), the Ryukyu Kingdom (Okinawa), Ezo (Hokkaido) and the Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands).A copy of Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu was brought to Europe by Isaac Titsingh (1745-1812). In Paris, the text represented the first appearance of Korean han'gŭl in Europe. After Titsingh's death, the printed original and Titsingh's translation were purchased by Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat (1788-1832) at the Collège de France. After Rémusat's death, Julius Klaproth (1783-1835) at the Institut Royal in Paris published his version of Titsingh's work. In 1832, the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland supported the posthumous abridged publication of Titsingh's French translation.

Senkaku Islands

The Senkaku Islands (尖閣諸島, Senkaku-shotō, variants: 尖閣群島 Senkaku-guntō and 尖閣列島 Senkaku-rettō) are a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. They are located roughly due east of Mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands. They are also known as the Diaoyu Islands or Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands (Chinese: 钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿; pinyin: Diàoyúdǎo jí qí fùshǔ dǎoyǔ; also simply 钓鱼岛) in Mainland China, the Diaoyutai Islands (Chinese: 釣魚台列嶼; pinyin: Diàoyútái liè yǔ) in Taiwan, and the Pinnacle Islands.As a result of the discovery of potential undersea oil reserves in 1968 in the area and the 1971 transfer of administrative control of the islands from the United States to Japan, the latter's sovereignty over the territory is disputed by both the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (also known as Taiwan).China claims the discovery and ownership of the islands from the 14th century, while Japan maintained ownership of the islands from 1895 until its surrender at the end of World War II. The United States administered the islands as part of the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands from 1945 until 1972, when the islands returned to Japanese control under the Okinawa Reversion Agreement between the United States and Japan.The islands are disputed between Japan and China and between Japan and Taiwan. Despite the diplomatic stalemate between mainland China and Taiwan, both governments agree that the islands are part of Taiwan as part of Toucheng Township in Yilan County. Japan administers and controls the Senkaku islands as part of the city of Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture. It doesn't acknowledge the claims of China nor Taiwan and has not allowed the Ishigaki administration to develop the islands.

As a result of the dispute, the public is largely barred from approaching the uninhabited islands, which are about a seven-hour boat ride from Ishigaki. Vessels from the Japan Coast Guard and the China Coast Guard patrol the waters around the islands in what one visiting journalist described in 2012 as "an almost cold war-style game of cat-and-mouse," and fishing and other civilian boats are prevented from getting too close to avoid a provocative incident.

Senkaku Islands dispute

The Senkaku Islands dispute, or Diaoyu Islands dispute, concerns a territorial dispute over a group of uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, the Diaoyu Islands in the People's Republic of China (PRC), and Tiaoyutai Islands in the Republic of China (ROC or Taiwan). Aside from a 1945 to 1972 period of administration by the United States as part of the Ryukyu Islands, the archipelago has been controlled by Japan since 1895. According to Lee Seokwoo, the People's Republic of China (PRC) started taking up the question of sovereignty over the islands in the latter half of 1970 when evidence relating to the existence of oil reserves surfaced. Taiwan (the Republic of China; ROC) also claims the islands. The territory is close to key shipping lanes and rich fishing grounds, and there may be oil reserves in the area.Japan argues that it surveyed the islands in the late 19th century and found them to be terra nullius (Latin: land belonging to no one); subsequently, China acquiesced to Japanese sovereignty until the 1970s. The PRC and the ROC argue that documentary evidence prior to the First Sino-Japanese War indicates Chinese possession and that the territory is accordingly a Japanese seizure that should be returned as the rest of Imperial Japan's conquests were returned in 1945.

Although the United States does not have an official position on the merits of the competing sovereignty claims, the islands are included within the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, meaning that a defense of the islands by Japan would require the United States to come to Japan's aid.In September 2012, the Japanese government purchased three of the disputed islands from their "private owner", prompting large-scale protests in China. As of early February 2013, the situation has been regarded as "the most serious for Sino-Japanese relations in the post-war period in terms of the risk of militarised conflict."On 23 November 2013, the PRC set up the "East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone" which includes the Senkaku Islands, and announced that it would require all aircraft entering the zone to file a flight plan and submit radio frequency or transponder information.

Tsushima Island

Tsushima Island (対馬, Tsushima) is an island of the Japanese archipelago situated in-between the Tsushima Strait and Korea Strait, approximately halfway between the Japanese mainland and the Korean Peninsula. The main island of Tsushima was once a single island but was divided into two in 1671 by the Ōfunakoshiseto canal and into three in 1900 by the Manzekiseto canal. These canals were driven through isthmuses in the center of the island, creating "North Tsushima Island" (Kamijima) and "South Tsushima Island" (Shimojima). Tsushima also incorporates over 100 smaller islands (many tiny). The name Tsushima generally refers to all the islands collectively.

The island group measures about 70 km (43 mi) by 15 km (9 mi) and had a population of about 34,000 as of 2013. The main islands (that is, the "North" and "South" islands, and the thin island that connects them) are the largest coherent satellite island group of Nagasaki Prefecture and the fourth largest in Japan (excluding the main islands of Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and Hokkaido). The city of Tsushima lies on the Tsushima islands, and is divided into six boroughs.


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