Tokugawa Mitsukuni

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Tokugawa Mitsukuni was the second Edo period lord of Mito han, and is strongly associated with the Mitogaku intellectual movement. He was the son of Tokugawa Yorifusa, and grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Mitsukuni commissioned the beginning of a great history of Japan, the Dai Nihon Shi, which was begun in 1657, and continued by his descendants, being finally completed in 1906. Mitsukuni also completed the Kôrakuen gardens in Edo, begun by his father. For both of these projects, he enlisted the help of Ming loyalist Zhu Shunsui.

Though sometimes characterized as anti-Buddhist because of his efforts to separate kami worship out of Buddhist temples, he was an active patron of Buddhist temples and some scholars have suggested his policies were motivated more by a desire to recreate a more "pure" form of Buddhism. He invited the Chinese monk Donggao Xinyue to take up a position at the Tentoku-ji temple in Mito, and through him maintained contacts with a number of Ming exiles.[1]


  • Schirokauer, et al., A Brief History of Japanese Civilization, Wadsworth Cengage (2013), 146.
  1. Rebeckah Clements, "Speaking in Tongues? Daimyo, Zen Monks, and Spoken Chinese in Japan, 1661–1711," The Journal of Asian Studies Vol. 76, No. 3 (August) 2017: 616.