Mo Teichu

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  • Born: 1745
  • Died: 1801
  • Titles: 兼本親雲上 (Kanemoto peechin)
  • Other Names: 宣猷 (Sen'yuu, or Sen'you)
  • Japanese: 廷柱 (Mou Teichuu)

Mô Teichû was a Ryukyuan scholar-official who served as the gieisei (head of street musicians) in the 1790 Ryukyuan embassy to Edo.

The sixth head of the Yoseyama family, the chief family (honke) of the Mô family of Kumemura, Teichû was known for his particularly superb calligraphy. Examples of his calligraphy can be found carved into a stone lantern at Sunomata-shuku in Gifu prefecture,[1] and on another stone lantern, this one at Komatsu-ji in Tomonoura, at the grave of Yoseyama peechin Shô Dôkyô, a member of the 1790 mission who died aboardship on the way to Edo. He also produced works of calligraphy as gifts to the shogun's wife, at her request, and participated in poetry activities alongside Vice Envoy Ba Kokugi, Ryukyuan mission musician Tei Eitai and local literati of Okazaki-juku.[2]

Though other members of the mission departed Naha for Kagoshima on 1790/6/6, Teichû departed on 7/12. He was thrown off-course, and came ashore at Koshiki Island (just west of Satsuma Sendai), where he procured a smaller boat, and made his way to Kagoshima, arriving at the Ryûkyû-kan on 7/23. During the 8th month of that year, he visited Kagoshima castle and various temples in the city, before departing alongside the rest of the mission on 9/6, bound for Edo.[2]

Following their official audiences in Edo, the mission made its way back to Kagoshima, arriving there on 1791/3/17. Their official duties ended on 4/10, but on the sea voyage back to Naha from Kagoshima, the mission encountered numerous difficulties, only finally arriving home on 11/21.[2]

Teichû journeyed to China as well, on four occasions.[2] While service as Deputy Envoy on a tribute mission to Beijing in 1793, Teichû encountered the mission of George Lord Macartney, the first official British envoy to China. Teichû and his Lead Envoy, Mô Kokutô, were brought aboard Macartney's vessel on the Grand Canal near Hangzhou, and the three spoke briefly (through interpreters); the meeting is recounted briefly in Macartney's diary.[3]

Mô Teichû's name had originally been Sen'yô (or Sen'yû), but the character sen (lit. "proclaim," "announce") was banned within the kingdom, and so he changed his name to Teichû.


  1. Though originally located in the town's Tennô Shrine, the lantern can now be found at Sunomata's Tsushima Shrine. Shirarezaru Ryûkyû shisetsu 知られざる琉球使節, Fukuyama-shi Tomonoura rekishi minzoku shiryôkan (2006), 56.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Minoji wo aruku Ryûkyû shisetsu 美濃路をゆく琉球使節, Bisai Museum of History and Folklore 尾西市歴史民俗資料館, Bisai, Aichi (2004), 9.
  3. Maehira Fusaaki, Ryûkyû shisetsu no ikoku taiken 琉球使節の異国体験, Kokusai kôryû 国際交流 59 (1992), 61.; J.L. Cranmer-Byng (ed.), An Embassy to China: Being the journal kept by Lord Macartney during his embassy to the Emperor Ch’ien-lung 1793-1794, Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1963, 182-183.