Tamura Genyu

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Tamura Gen'yû was a rangaku scholar and botany expert who served as the head of the shogunate-authorized ginseng za (monopoly guild).

He organized an exhibit in Edo in 1757, the first of its kind, displaying a wide variety of botanical samples. This was followed two years later by a similar exhibit organized by his student Hiraga Gennai.

Gen'yû was appointed the first head of the newly established ninjinza (ginseng guild) in 1763 by kanjô bugyô (Finance Magistrate) Isshiki Masahiro. The guild held a monopoly on the sale and distribution of ginseng, and was meant to help enforce standards for quality and price controls.


  • John Whitney Hall, Tanuma Okitsugu (1719-1788): Forerunner of Modern Japan, Harvard University Press (1955), 78, 95.