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7 From Liuyu yanyi to Rikuyu engi taii: Turning a Vernacular Chinese Text into a Moral Textbook in Edo-period Japan

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Chapter Summary

The Rikuyu engi taii is a Japanese version of a Chinese text bearing the title Liuyu yanyi. The Liuyu yanyi was in turn based on the "Six instructions" issued by Ming Taizu, the first Ming emperor; these were first articulated in 1387, according to the Ming Taizu shi lu. According to the narrative in Tokugawa jikki, which mistakenly presents Tei Junsoku as the author of Liuyu yanyi, Shimazu Yoshitaka had submitted the text to Yoshimune in answer to a request for information about the 'politics and literature of Ryūkyū': this too appears to be incorrect in the light of Yoshitaka's letter contained in Tsūkō ichiran. Muro Kyūsō's first version of Liuyu yanyi was in three volumes and found favour, but Yoshimune considered it too long for common people and told him to shorten it.

Keywords: Chinese text; Japanese books; Liuyu yanyi; Muro Kyūsō; Rikuyu engi taii; Shimazu Yoshitaka



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