Takamuko Kuromaro

From SamuraiWiki
Revision as of 20:34, 2 September 2008 by JLBadgley (talk | contribs) (Correcting date.)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigationJump to search
  • Born: ??
  • Died: 654
  • Titles:
  • Other names: 高向漢人玄理 (Takamuko no Ayabito Genri), 高向史玄理 (Takamuko no Fubito Kuromaro), 高向玄理 (Takamuko no Genri)
  • Japanese: 高向博士黒麻呂 (Takamuko no Hakase Kuromaro)

Takamuko no Kuromaro (aka Takamuko no Genri) was a scholar and ambassador. He first went to China as a student in 608. It is unclear when he came back, though Wang claims he was there at least twenty years.

In 633 a 'Kuromaro' accompanies a Chinese ambassador back to China, though he only travels as far as Tsushima. It is unclear if this is the same as Takamuko no Kuromaro, however, as he is later noted as returning from China along with envoys from Paekche and Silla in the latter part of 640. Five years later, Kuromaro is promoted from scribe (Fubito) to doctor (Hakase).

In 646, Kuromaro is sent to Silla to negotiate an exchange of hostages. He returns a year later with the envoy Kim Chhyun-chhyu (金春秋), a "Superior Minister, of the rank of Greater Ason" who brought a peacock and a parrot as tribute, and was eventually kept at the Japanese court as a hostage.

In 649, Kuromaro is ordered, along with the Buddhist priest Bin, to come up with a structure for the "8 Departments and 100 Bureaus" (八省百官).

Kuromaro's last mission was in 654, when he was named as a special ambassador. He made it to China, but passed away later that year.

Other Names

Although Aston uses 'Kuromaro' for both 玄理 (GENRI) and 黒麻呂 (Kuromaro) in his translation of the Nihongi, and equates both as the same person, though his transliteration of the family name is inconsistent (Takamuku or Takamuko). Wang Zhenping uses 'Genri' exclusively to refer to the ambassador. Although there are only two references to Kuromaro (黒麻呂) in the Nihon Shoki, for the period referenced, there is good reason to believe that the two are one and the same. This article follows Aston's usage of Kuromaro rather then Genri.

To add some clarification, the various entries in the Nihon Shoki have been summarized below. The name has been transliterated as closely as possible to the kanji in the original.


5/9/608: Takamuko no Ayabito Genri sent to China as a student along with seven others.

633: Kuromaro and others accompanied the Chinese ambassador as far as Tsushima.

11/10/640: Takamuko no Ayabito Genri returned from China along with envoys from Paekche and Silla.

14/6/645: Takamuko no Fubito Genri was promoted to doctor (Hakase).

9/646: Shotoku no Kuromaro no Hakase Kuromaro was sent to Silla to negotiate a hostage exchange.

647: Silla sent an envoy, Kim Chhyun-chhyu (金春秋) to accompany Hakase no Shotoku no Takamuko no Kuromaro back to Japan, along with presents of a peacock and a parrot, the following year. Chhyun-chyyu, a "Superior Minister, of the rank of Greater Ason" was made a hostage in Japan.

2/649: Hakase, Takamuko no Genri and the Bhuddhist priest Bin were ordered to establish the 8 Departments of State and the 100 Bureaus (八省百官).

2/654: Upper Daikin Takamuko no Fubito Genri (other books say Lower Daikwa Takamuko no Genri), went to China as a controlling envoy. Takamuko no Genri dies in China.


  • Wang, Zhenping. Ambassadors from the Islands of Immortals: China-Japan Relations in the Han-Tang Period, Association for Asian Studies and University of Hawai'i Press, HI, 2005.