Tomari Jochiku

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  • Born: 1570
  • Died: 1655/5/15
  • Other Names: 日章 (Nisshou), 養善院 (Youzen'in)
  • Japanese: 如竹 (Tomari Jochiku)

Tomari Jochiku was a Buddhist monk and Neo-Confucian scholar, known as a Confucian teacher and advisor to King Shô Hô and Shô Shôken of the Ryûkyû Kingdom.[1]

Originally from Yakushima, Jochiku studied Nichiren Buddhism at the Honbutsu-ji at Kuonzan, and then at the Honnô-ji in Kyoto before returning to Kagoshima, where he studied Neo-Confucianism under Bunshi Genshô, at the Dairyû-ji founded by Bunshi. Shedding his monastic robes, he became a Confucian advisor and tutor to Tôdô Takatora, lord of Tsu han in Ise province, and published a number of texts in Edo, including Keian oshô kahô waten, which contained Keian Genju's Japanese readings for Chinese texts, and epilogues for two commentaries on Chinese classics, also written in Bunshi-ten style Japanese readings. These Bunshi-ten texts were the first versions of Zhu Xi's commentaries on the Four Books to be published in a form relatively easily readable in Japanese (i.e. for those less capable in reading the original Chinese). Compiled in 1625 by Tomari based on a Chinese copy published by Yu Mingtai in Fujian province, they were published in Kyoto in 1626 by Nakano Dôhan.

Following Tôdô's death in 1630, he entered into the service of the Shimazu clan of Satsuma han, and served the Ryûkyû Court from 1632 to 1634, during which time he introduced the Bunshi-ten volumes to Ryûkyû, where they remained in use until the Meiji period.

Tomari then returned home to Yakushima, founding the Honbutsu-ji temple, and traveling at least once to Osaka to give lectures. He returned to Kagoshima at the invitation of Shimazu Mitsuhisa in 1640, but returned to Yakushima again four years later due to illness. Mitsuhisa invited him back to Kagoshima the next year; he died on Yakushima on 1655/5/15 at the age of 86.


  • "Nisshô," Nihon jinmei daijiten, Kodansha 2009.
  • Takatsu Takashi, “Ming Jianyang Prints and the Spread of the Teachings of Zhu Xi to Japan and the Ryukyu Kingdom in the Seventeenth Century,” in Angela Schottenhammer (ed.), The East Asian Mediterranean: Maritime Crossroads of Culture, Harrassowitz Verlag (2008), 259-260.
  1. Smits, Gregory. Visions of Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999. p51.