The Circulation and Reception of Nanban unkiron

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The Circulation and Reception of Nanban unkiron

Format:
Article
Kyushu Univ. Production Kyushu Univ. Production
Title(Other Language):
「南蛮運気論」の流布と受容
Responsibility:
平岡, 隆二(長崎歴史文化博物館 : 主任研究員)
Hiraoka, Ryuji
Language:
Japanese
Publication info:
洋学 : 洋学史学会研究年報. (18), pp. 1-50, 2010-08-01. 八坂書房
Version:
Publisher
Abstract:
Nanban unkiron (Yunqi theory of "Southern barbarians", c. mid-17th century) is an interesting example of a mixture of Western Aristotelian-Ptolemaic cosmology and Chinese Yunqi theory in the seventeenth century Japan. The book has been known as a variant copy of Kenkon bensetsu (Discussion on the heavens and the earth), the original draft of which was composed by the Apostate Jesuit Sawano Chuan (Christovao Ferreira, c. 1580-1650), but an extensive survey of its extant manuscripts had not been done. Based on a survey of twelve manuscripts, the present study gives the first description of how the book was circulated and read by Japanese intellectuals in the Edo period as well as the bibliographical stemma of the manuscripts. My conclusions can be summarised as follows: (1) Of the twelve extant manuscripts of Nanban unkiron, nine were made during the Edo period and three were made after the Meiji Restoration. Of the nine early modem manuscripts, five have been practically unknown to the scholarly world, and, in fact, four of the five had such titles, different from Nanban unkiron, as Tenmon yokai, Tenmon sho and Nanban tenchiron. This means that the circulation of the book was far wider than has previously been acknowledged. (2) The colophons attached to several manuscripts and some other evidence show that the owners in the Edo period were such figures as Okochi Terutsuna (17th century), Tani Kakimori, Toita Yasusuke, Obata Chutatsu (18th to 19th century). It is also confirmed that the book was disseminated in various parts of Japan : Nagasaki, Kawagoe, Edo, Tosa and Tohoku. (3) Abibliographical analysis of the manuscripts showed that [01] Okochi MS, [2] Mtsura MS and [3] Yamauchi MS can be used to reconstruct the archetype of Nanban unkiron. Since these early munuscripts contain many different readings and share some in a very intricate way, it is not an easy task to reconstruct the archetype. This fact, however, conversely reveals that the book was already sought after and well studied by Japanese intellectuals in seventeenth century. (4) Apart from the case of Matsudaira Terutsuna, we have no witness confirming that readers in the Edo period recognized the Christian origin of the book. On the contrary, some readers in the 18th even explicitly argued that it could not be of Nanban origin and others tacitly identified it as a Japanese book, most specifically one on Yunqi theory by a Japanese physician. All this shows that the book underwent a very unique and different process of circulation and reception from that other cosmology book of Jesuit origin. Read more
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