Sangoku tsūran yochi rotei zenzu

Figure1Sangoku tsūran yochi rotei zenzu. Source

Sangoku tsūran yochi rotei zenzu, which is entitled Illustrated general route map of three countries in English. It is a manuscript map created by Hayashi Shihei in 1800. This map represents the area of Japan, as well as its three surrounding countries: Ezo (Hokkaido), Choson, and Ryukyu Kingdom (Okinawa). Additionally, it covers east coastal region of China and part of Russia. In early modern period of East Asia, tribute system served as the network that connected countries in this area together (Kang 592). Characterized by its hierarchic feature, China takes the hegemony in this system whereas other secondary states become tributaries of China. In early seventeenth century, when Ming collapsed and rising Qing power established regional hegemony, those neighboring countries, such as Choson, had to submit to Qing court in exchange of border security and domestic stability. However, Tokugawa Shogunate was an exceptional example. It did not show compliance toward Qing and refuse to establish official tribute relation with Qing. Therefore, I am going to talk about how Tokugawa Japan in early seventeenth century under the threat of Qing hegemony maintains domestic stability and promotes the economy of the state through manipulating diplomacy, foreign trade and religion.


According to Lee’s analysis, in order to reinforce its newly founded power and balance the relation with Qing empire, Japan in early Tokugawa regime established a self-proclaimed miniature tributary order (136). Lee points out that it can be viewed as a miniature tribute system in which Japan claims centrality and other neighboring states are considered to be inferior to Japan (136). In this Japan-centered system under threat of Qing, the governor of early Tokugawa bakufu requested Korea to remove any reference regarding China in Japan-Korean relation, due to Tokugawa government’s incentive to separate Korea from Qing-dominated regional order. When Korea and Ryukyu dispatched envoys to conduct diplomatic communication with Japan, the Tokugawa rulers would advertise to the local public as if they came to pay tributes to the central government. This method serves as a window to represent the power of early Tokugawa Shogunate. The local population therefore would show respect and pledge loyalty to the center. Since the rising Qing in early seventeenth century was too powerful to be challenged, in order to avoid military confrontation with Qing court, the early Tokugawa leader adopted pragmatic approach when dealing with relation with Qing. Taking Japan and Qing’s mutual handling of Ryukyu kingdom as an instance (Lee 145). Even though Ryukyu was part of Japan’s territory, Japan allowed Ryukyu to conduct tributary mission to Qing. The Qing government also agreed to let Ryukyu pay tributes to Japan as well. Although it seems to be a compromise for early Tokugawa government, it actually helps Tokugawa bakufu avoid becoming the tributary state of Qing court. This peaceful compromising measure helps Japan leave room for its future potential indirect ties with Qing. To conclude, through manipulating tribute practice, Tokugawa Shogunate in early seventeenth century establishes a miniature regional hierarchic order and utilizes it to legitimize the authority of central government and strengthen domestic political control (Toby 109).


Figure2: RyuKyu Kingdom sent envoys to Edo to conduct diplomatic mission. Source

Figure3: The zoom-in part of Ryukyu Kingdom.

Qing China and Tokugawa Japan’s mutual handling of Ryukyu.


Foreign trade

As is demonstrated by Yasunori, even though Tokugawa government in Edo period implements Sakoku policy which is known to us today as Close country policy, it does not mean Japan isolate itself from the outside world. Instead, in terms of foreign trade, Japan also establishes a hierarchical “Japanocentric order” with Japan at the summit (Yasunori 206). Based on Sakoku policy, the early Tokugawa government issued edicts that local merchants were prohibited from establishing official foreign trade relation with China and western nations. Therefore, how did Japan in early Tokugawa period achieve its economic prosperity through manipulating indirect foreign trade relation with its neighboring countries? Generally, the Tokugawa Shogunate utilizes the foreign relation with Satsuma, Tsushima and Matsumae as a springboard to continue indirect trading relation with Qing China and other surrounding nations (Toby 107). These three domains used to be autonomous foreign land under the protection of Tokugawa authority. Satsuma has connection with Ryukyu. Tsushima and Matsumae build relation with Korea and Ezo respectively. Hence, they will conduct foreign trade under the name of Shogun. In the meantime, China also relies heavily on imports of Japan’s silver and copper, which gives early Tokugawa bakufu possibility to maintain an indirect trade relation with Qing China. Furthermore, the early Tokugawa government builds a mutual beneficial alliance with Zheng family who develops a powerful maritime regime along China coast and a ship-link from Fujian to Nagasaki (Hang 136). For instance, Zheng Zhilong and his son Zheng Chenggong are viewed as dependable partners who can provide the Tokugawa government with Chinese goods, and early Tokugawa Shogunate will provide Zheng family with protection and support regarding to its against of Qing under bakufu’s law. Lee describes that Tokugawa Shogunate sets up a trade credential system to restrict the merchants and envoys from Korea and Ryukyu who tend to conduct tribute mission to Japan (146). They are required to bring the certified trade credential with Japan’s era name on it to Japan, in order to carry out their tribute mission and purchase Japanese goods. Overall, similar to the miniature tribute system regarding to diplomacy, Tokugawa Shogunate in early seventeenth century also establishes a Japanese version of Sino-centric trade system in which Japan takes the dominated role. Although there exists strict bans relating to foreign trade, it does not imply that Japan eliminates trading relation with Qing China and neighboring countries, it still leaves space for the promotion of foreign trade. Instead of participating directly into the Sino-centric trade system, early Tokugawa government chooses to manipulate surrounding foreign lands and official certificate as a medium to indirectly conduct trade with China and most importantly establishes a miniature trade system with Japan at the peak.

Figure4: This is the certified trade credential with Japan’s era name on it. Source


How did early Tokugawa leaders utilize religion to maintain social order and enhance the political authority of Tokugawa government? Kim illustrates that Neo-Confucianism is adopted Tokugawa Japan as normative justification to maintain hierarchical order in the government and society (248). In early seventeenth century, Neo-Confucianism was embraced by Tokugawa shoguns as the doctrine of the central government. One of the most important point it emphasizes is the prescribed relation between ruler-official, father-son, husband-wife, older brother-younger brother and friend-friend, characterized by loyalty and filial piety, which are the two essential fundamental virtues of Neo-Confucianism (Kim 249). The fealty to the lord is placed in superior place in Tokugawa Japan. The subject is requested to pledge loyalty to the ruler and ruler is expected to show its benevolence in return. Hence, the early Tokugawa governors localize this political ideology to establish class-based social structure, with samurai at the top and following goes to peasants, craftsmen and merchants, which is significant for Tokugawa government’s entire control of the society. In addition, the reverence to Buddha is regarded as the premises of lord-vassal relationship. The early Tokugawa leader points out that people’s loyalty toward Buddha is crucial for consolidating the relation between lord and vassals. Therefore, the Tokugawa governors use people’s reverence and allegiance toward Buddha to establish Japan as an unified nation. The early Tokugawa leaders establish a registration system which requires every Japanese people to register in a Buddhist temple, with the incentive to transform people into part of Sangha (Buddhist community) and then achieve government’s control over population. Shintoism, as an indigenous religion, which advocates both mental and physical purity based on the guidance of Kami, also functions like a medium that can be utilized by Tokugawa leader to strengthen central authority since Kami is viewed as divine and inviolable. Christianity is regarded as a mysterious and disturbing foreign religion presented as national enemy since it will destroy political stability and social harmony (Hur 38). Yasunori emphasizes that in order to wipe out the foreign threat toward Tokugawa bakufu, the eradication of Christianity is unavoidable (212). To summarize, Neo-Confucianism, Buddhism and Shintoism harmoniously coexist in early Tokugawa period. When dealing with the potential threat that Christianity brings to the sovereignty of Tokugawa Shogunate, the early Tokugawa rulers utilize the ideology in these religions which asserts the loyalty to the lord, and transform it into political ideology to enhance the authority of Tokugawa government and maintain social stability. Moreover, the early Tokugawa leaders also manipulate people’s allegiance toward deity in each religion to strengthen their control over people and establish hierarchical social order


In summary, through doing research about how Tokugawa Shogunate in early seventeenth century under the threat of Qing hegemony establishes its regional authority and maintains domestic social order in terms of utilizing diplomacy, foreign trade and religion, one of the most important purpose of making this map is to represent the success of Japan-centered regional order established by early Tokugawa leaders. Even though the China-centered tribute system is no doubt to be the dominated regional order in East Asia during this period, according to the central placing of Japan on the map, we can draw the conclusion that the creator of the map intends to show the success of this Japanocentric order in terms of diplomacy, foreign trade and religion during early Edo period. Although it is viewed as a miniature hierarchic structure of Sino-centered tribute system, it indeed helps the Tokugawa government in early Edo era shape its regional authority and maintain domestic social order.


Hang, Xing. “The Shogun’s Chinese Partners: The Alliance between Tokugawa Japan and the Zheng Family in Seventeenth-Century Maritime East Asia.” The Journal of Asian Studies 75, no. 1 (2016): 111-136.

Hur, Nam-lin. “Trade, Anti-Christianity, and Buddhism.” In Death and social order in Tokugawa Japan: Buddhism, anti-Christianity, and the Danka system. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2007.

Kang, David C. “Hierarchy and legitimacy in international systems: The tribute system in early modern East Asia.” Security Studies 19, no. 4 (2010): 591-622.

Kim, Tae Young. “Social Structures and Neo-Confucianism of Choson Dynasty and Tokugawa Japan.” 일본문화학보 67 (2015): 239-266.

Lee, Ji-Young. “The Making of Qing hegemony.” In China’s Hegemony: Four Hundred Years of East Asian Domination. Columbia University Press, 2016.

Toby, Ronald P. “The Lens of Recognition: Diplomacy in the Legitimation of Bakufu.” In State and diplomacy in early modern Japan: Asia in the development of the Tokugawa Bakufu. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014.

Woods, Shelton. “Religion in Tokugawa Japan.” About Japan: A Teacher’s resource. Accessed April 6, 2018.

Yasunori, Arano. “The formation of a Japanocentric world order.” International Journal of Asian Studies 2, no. 2 (2005): 185-216.

Yasunori, Arano. “Foreign Relations in Early Modern Japan: Exploding the Myth of National Seclusion.” Last modified January 18, 2013. Accessed April 6, 2018.

Contributor: tianyu Chen

April 15, 2018



Sekai bankoku Nihon yori kaijō risū ōjō jinbutsu zu

Sekai bankoku Nihon yori kaijō risū ōjō jinbutsu zu ❀ 世界萬國日本ヨリ海上里數王城人物圖

Map of all the countries of the world and pictures of the peoples, showing the capitals and the distances from Japan

As one of Japan’s most significant periods, the Tokugawa era has left various cultural values in the global community through its distinct lifestyle and development in Japanese history. Drawing attention specifically on the partial reality portrayed in the visual materials created and preserved from the remarkable era, it is clear that the economical, political, and social dimensions of the Japanese people living during the period was unique from foreign countries.

The Japanese map of the Tokugawa Era, “Sekai bankoku nihon yori kaijo risu ojo jinbutsu zu” was created by Eijudō in 1850 (late Edo period). It can be accessed in UBC’s Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era Collection within the Rare Books and Special Collections in Irving K. Barber library.

This map project will examine this map with the aim to educate the public about this particular world map’s approach in visualizing the Japanese people’s conception of the world. Moreover, the aspects: conflict, characterization will be analyzed to demonstrate how the world map portrays the racist and patriotic viewpoint that the Japanese people held during late Edo period as a result of the isolation policy. (The aspect of ‘color’ will be analyzed in the longer, formal paper!)

CONFLICT #1 Japan vs. Foreign countries

Firstly, the conflict between Japan and foreign countries is apparent on this world map, signifying the patriotic and racist aspect of the Japanese people living during the Edo period. In regards to the portrayal of the world and people in this map, Japanese people considered their nation as superior in comparison to foreign nations as a result of the isolation policy. This is evident in the position of Japan on the map, as it is centered, highlighting its supremacy. Moreover, the size of the Japanese land is enormous, stressing their power and control in the world. It also indicates that the creator of this map, as well as many other Japanese people during the Edo period were unaware about their country’s geographical features relative to foreign nations.


↑”A 17th century European engraving depicting a Dutch tributary embassy to the Tokugawa’s residence.” – Wikipedia

CONFLICT #2 Known vs. Unknown

Furthermore, the Sakoku years, or period of national isolation of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate’s rule resulted in the Japanese people’s unfamiliarity of the foreign countries. The conflict between the known and unknown world is demonstrated in this map, proving the lack of knowledge that Japanese people had regarding foreign land and cultures. This map shows the clear distinction between the existing nations and fantastical nations through the portrayal of people belonging to 12 different regions. The Dutch, Tatars, North Americans, South Americans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, and Indians are existing inhabitants living in existing countries. In contrast, the lands of women, dwarfs, cyclops, and giants are fantastical nations which do not exist in reality. They are fictional realms inspired by foreign folktales, illustrated to portray the imagined countries in the unknown regions of the world.

Considering the features of the fantastical nations and creatures, it is clear that Japanese people, including the creator of this map, had some kind of a opportunity to read foreign tales. For instance, this world map in particular portrays nations and creatures from the fictional stories in: Saiyuki, Greek mythologies, Gulliver’s Travels, and Flowers in the Mirror. Thus, despite the strict regulation limiting access to foreign material during the isolation period, this map shows that some people had access to foreign material in the Edo society, which had an impact on the people’s perception of the world outside Japan.

In addition, the conflict between the known and unknown worlds is reflected through the absence of the portrayals of the people belonging to regions such as Melanesia, North Pole and South Pole. In regards to Melanesia, which includes countries like Fiji and Papua New Guinea, is assumed to have been unknown to the Japanese because they are located in the southern half area of the equator, opposite from Japan. Moreover, it is presumed that Melanesia was of little significance during the Tokugawa era because Japan was mainly limited to trading with the Dutch.

Overall, the two conflicts both demonstrate the influence that the isolation policy had on Japanese people. It widened the relations between Japan and foreign countries, resulting in the Japanese people’s unawareness of foreign lands and cultures. Additionally, it highlights Japan in a superior manner, and compares other nation’s people and culture in relation to Japanese people and cultures. As an outcome, the patriotic and judgemental attitude in Edo societies influenced people including this artist to create an inaccurate depiction of the world.

CHARACTERIZATION – The 12 Nationalities

Existing: China, Korea, India, Vietnam, Tatar, South America, North America, Dutch

Fictional: Land of Giants, Land of Dwarfs, Land of Cyclops, Land of Women

cdm-tokugawa-1-0213137-0000full2←Bankoku sōzu

Secondly, the characterization of the people representing 12 nationalities portrayed on this world map indicates the Japanese people’s narrow minded, conservative view of the foreign world. In general, it is possible to distinguish each ethnic group according to their body size, gender depiction, clothes, headdresses, bows, swords, shields, and spears. For instance, the man representing people of the Qing Dynasty is characterized as having an elegant and calm traits based on his facial expression, posture, and upper-class outfit. Similarly, the Korean man appears well-off and cheerful, however also has a characteristic of being dependable according to the portrayal of the small female-like figure leaning against him.

qingkoreavietnamindia←From left side: Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese

Contrasting to the characteristics of the Chinese and Korean men, the Indian man depicted on the map is characterized as a stranger, regardless of his wealthy-looking visuals, due to his unique headdress and clothing which is unfamiliar to the East asian culture. Furthermore, the Vietnamese man is all the more unusual looking, indicated through his grim facial expression and wild outfit that is not similar to the East Asian robe-style outfits. Moreover, the Tatars, the Turkic-speaking tribes in west-central Russia, are also have a barbaric, country-side appearance. Thus, the characteristics of the non-East asian men are not positive compared to the East asian men, which shows their lack of intimacy with Japanese people.

southamerican←South American           North American→northamerican

Transitioning to the South American man illustrated on the bottom right, it is noteworthy that they appear asian. Also, the description next to the illustration indicates that South American men are handsome. Although it is arguable whether the Japanese were familiar with these nationalities, especially according to the inaccurate depiction of the common South American people, it is evident that Japanese people had a rather positive impression towards South American people and culture. Similarly, the North American man illustrated on the top right area looks very Asian. Additionally, he is holding several weapons on his back, which emphasizes his military power. Hence, it denotes that, despite their limited knowledge and understanding of the Americans, Japanese people imagined people of American regions to be either feared or respected because of their attractive physical traits and military power.


Additionally, the similar clothing and headdresses worn by the North American man and Dutch man reflects that Japanese people understood North America as a westernized nation. The Dutch man illustrated on the top left area of the map is holding an item in his hand. This is assumed to be either money or an item for trade, representing Dutch as the important trading partner for Japan during the Edo period. In fact, it is stated in the description that people from Holland visit Nagasaki every year, and visit Edo as well every five years during the sakoku era.

womencyclopsgiantdwarf←From left side: Women, Cyclops, Giant, Dwarfs

Regarding the portrayal of fictional entities belonging to the fictional lands, it demonstrates the creator of this map characterizing them in specific ways according to their portrayal in the original foreign folktales. The giants are very tall and asian-looking, based on their robe clothing, dark hair color, and bun hair style. They measure one jō and 2 shaku (3 m 60 cm) in height. They are not wild looking in this map, which makes adds verisimilitude, causing viewers of this map to believe in the existence of such abnormal beings. In contrast, the dwarfs only measure one shaku and two sun (36cm) in height, and are characterized as weak through a humorous tone because they are chased by a crane. In fact, the bankoku sozu states that they walk together in groups to avoid the cranes from attacking them.

Also, another entity contrasting from the giant is the cyclops. Regardless of their similar large body size, they appear less human-like and are given barbaric and frightening traits in comparison to the giants. Lastly, the two women belonging to the land of women are topless, and appear asian according to their dark hair color. As it was not perceived as sexual to be topless in many non-western cultures in ancient asian cultures, it is evident that these women are inspired from asian texts. As a matter of fact, they appear to be conversing without disruption, and have no necessity to carry weapons because of the peaceful lifestyle. Overall, the fictional entities all carry mysterious characteristics and display a certain culture which are not realistic in the geographical location they are positioned on the world map.

Taking into account the ways in which the people from the 12 entities are characterized as, it is understandable that the Japanese creator of this world map characterized races and ethnicities in a patriotic manner. Most are asian, if not Japanese looking, and ones which are not similar to Japanese people are portrayed as barbaric, dangerous, weak, or uncanny. It stereotypes foreigners based on imaginations and assumptions because most Japanese people were unable to socialize with foreigners, had limited access to foreign material, and illiterate in foreign languages during the Edo period. Thus, this world map is reflecting that Japanese people were unaware of foreign land, people, and cultures to a large extent due to the isolation policy.


In conclusion, the research and analysis regarding the Japanese map of the Tokugawa Era, “Sekai bankoku nihon yori kaijo risu ojo jinbutsu zu”, indicates that Japanese people living under the sakoku system, including the creator of this map, had an obscure perception of the world. The isolation policy implemented by the Tokugawa Shogunate resulted in the Japanese to become attached to their undisturbed culture, and ignorant about foreign nations. In addition, there is a higher possibility that this world map was used as a display or reference, rather than as a tool for navigation and higher education, considering the vague and inaccurate representation of the world and the 12 nationalities.


Eijudō. “Sekai bankoku Nihon yori kaijō risū ōjō jinbutsu zu, 1850; Map of all the countries of the world and pictures of the peoples, showing the capitals and the distances from Japan. 世界萬國日本ヨリ海上里數王城人物圖.” University of British Columbia Library – Rare Books and Special Collections: Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era.

Unknown. “Bankoku sōzu, 1600; Map of all nations. 萬國総圖; 万国総図.” University of British Columbia Library – Rare Books and Special Collections: Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era.

Kusano, Takumi. “西梁女人国. 中国神話伝説ミニ事典/地名編. ” フランボワイヤン・ワールド. Unknown.

Unknown. “Early Japanese Maps of the World.”

Kan’in Dairi Keijō zu

The map shown above is titled Kan’in Dairi Keijō zu (閑院内裏京城図) or also known as Bird’s- eye view of Kyoto. This map is a part of UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collection’s. It is a map that is categorized under Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era. However, the original map dates back to the Kamakura period around 1200, and was formerly owned by Bunkyūdō (文求堂). Interestingly, the original map was destroyed in a fire and someone made a replica before it was destroyed. It was reproduced in 1892 which is the 25th year of the Meiji era. Which can been seen stated on the map.


If I am correct, it states that it was entrusted to Tanaka(田中) and Bunkyūdō (文求堂) has… well now had possession of it. As mentioned before it was reproduced during the 25th year of the Meiji era which is 1892. For some reason it specially states that it was being copied before or during sunrise. I just find this piece of information interesting.




Moreover, UBC does not even own the “replica” of the map, but a mere copy of the copied map. UBC’s copy is not even a physical copy, but rather it is a slide which one can go to UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collection’s to view. This makes me wonder how valuable and what was so important about this map. The physical copy of the map’s whereabouts is unknown. Since there is too much to cover, here I will be introducing some of the aspects about the temples and shrines that are present in this map of Kyoto.

To indicate what are shrines, temples or places of worship are, simply look for these characters (堂/神社/寺), which are pronounced (dō/jinjya/dera or ji ). However, it is not to say that (堂)(dō) always indicates a place of worship as it sometimes means hall or it is attached to names of stores and businesses.

The abundance of shrines and temples started to exist when Buddhism entered Japan. Many people of power sought out to legitimized their right of power through religion. Many emperors throughout the centuries, built them. By giving tribute to the deities, emperors hoped that they will protect them and bring prosperity to the land. With the continuous construction of temples and shrines, this created micro-cities that centered around shrines and temples.1 For nobles that no longer serve the state they were able to have influence through private matters from their wealth. By viewing the map one can see that most of the temples and shrines are not built within the city, but rather outside the capital. Stravos suggest that there is no evidence that suggests why there was a taboo that temples and shrines would not and could not be built within city grounds.2 However, some taboos that come to mind are, building within the city may threaten the current power. Building in the outskirts, both the current power and nobleman may be at peace as no ones’ powers are a threat and also poses a balance from an aesthetic point of view.

One would think that since Kyoto is a city that has a high density of religious establishments such as shrines and temples. Pilgrims would flock to Kyoto for their pilgrimages, instead of going else where as this way the pilgrims are able make a plan and go to each desired place of worship accordingly to whom they wish to pay tribute to. However, as Stravos mentioned with the creation of micro-cities, would some of these places where temples and shrines exist be private quarters and off limits to the public and only the few selected be allowed access? For many, they would go to one of the most famous temples which is the Kiyomizu dera (清水寺). Pilgrims journey here “to pray to its icon, faith in whom has cultivated the thriving businesses”.3

Aside from nobility being able to enjoy them, commoners also came to Kyoto to see the temples and shrines. As it attracted many people to honour and pay tribute to the deities. One pilgrimage that became popular is called the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage (西国三十三所). This pilgrimage is strictly only to visit Buddhist temples. This pilgrimage only covers the Kansai region. Several temples in Kyoto are a part of this journey. However, the only temple visible in this map that is included in the pilgrimage is the Kiyomizu dera. The Kiyomizu dera is number 16 on the journey. The creation of this pilgrimage is credited to emperor Kazan (968-1008) as he was credited as the founder in the Chikkyo seiji and tenin goroku. This pilgrimage was originally done austerity. A plain, and simple journey, which eventually turned into a popular devotion done by many people.4 With the popularity of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, a condensed version was made for the city of Kyoto.5

After a long journey, pilgrims are able to obtain proof of pilgrimage. Proof of pilgrims can be found in forms of old name slips, Senjya fuda (千社札).6 Senjya fuda, name slips were mainly posted on gates or entrances of the shine or temple. Even now many people try to journey through this pilgrimage. People now perhaps may not walk and instead take transportation such as subways, trains, cars etc. People that journey through in present day collect temple stamps, shuin (朱印) in booklets called nokyocho (納経帳) as proof of visit instead of Senjya fuda. It changed from Senjya fuda to Shuin because, “In 1871 the government issued a decree for the protection of antiquities and ordered the prefectures to submit inventories of suitable objects.”7 . However, this was just the start. Eventually, a law called koshaji hozonoho, or ‘Law for the Preservation of Old Shrines and Temples’ was promulgated on 5 June 1897 (Law Number 49) in order to protect religious buildings and the works of art they contained.”8 The Senjya fuda was seen as damaging historical properties.

Another important place of worship in Kyoto is a shrine called Gionjinja (祇園神社), Which is now known as Yasakajinja (八坂神社). This shrine has been associated with the festival called the Gion Festival (祇園祭 Gion Matsuri). It has been said that every year of the 6th month which is present day July, for the whole month festivities are done as purification. This ceremony is named Goryōe. Chapin states that Goryōe is a “phallic worship…. and the long poles know as “hoko,” or “spears,”” are symbols of phallicism.9 Chapin continues to state that, it is believed that phallic images exorcised evil influences and life threatening causes. “What brings life to is not unnaturally suppose to have power over death” and the festival started in the endeavour to get rid of a plague.10 As to why the Gion jinja was chosen, it is because the Bull-headed King is worshiped at this shrine. This Bull-headed Kings is believed to associated with phallic gods. Hence, Goin jinja was chosen as it was believed that phallic worship helped stopped the spread of epidemics.

Although little is known about medieval Kyoto, this map has given us an insight on why and how there are many inclosed areas, “micro-cities” in Kyoto. As there are proof that commoners came to pay tribute, how many were actually accessible to the public is unknown. What is for sure is the importance of Kiyomizudera and Gionjinja. Over and over these two places of warship are seen depicted in Rakuchu rakugai zu, (Scenes in and around the Capital). The two places of worship may have been seen as a places that protect the capital from evil spirits and purification. However, we will save this for another time.



1Stavros,Matthew. Kyoto: An Urban History of Japan’s Premodern Capital. (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014), 61.

2Ibid., 62.

3McKelway, Matthew P. . Capitalscapes. (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2006), 53.

4MacWilliams, Mark. “Buddhist Pilgrim/Buddhist Exile: Old and New Images of Retired Emperor Kazan in the Saigoku Kannon Temple Guidebooks.” History of Religions 34, no. 4 (1995): 303.

5Winfield, Pamela D.. “Kyoto Pilgrimage Past and Present.” CrossCurrents 59, no.3 (2009): 353.

6See note 6 Above.

7Henrichsen, Christoph. “Historical outline of conservation legislation in Japan.” Horzon Architectural and Urban Conservation in Japan. Ed. Enders, Siegfried RCT, and Gutschow Niels. Sungnam: Daehan Printing and Publishing Co.,Ltd., 1998. 12.

8Coaldrake, William Howard. “Building the Meiji State: The Western Architectural Hirearchy.” Architecture and Authority in Japan. New York; Routledge. 1996. 248.

9Chapin, Helen B. “The Gion Shrine and the Gion Festival.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 54, no. 3 (1934): 285.

10See note 9 above.



Chapin, Helen B. “The Gion Shrine and the Gion Festival.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 54, no. 3 (1934): 282-89.

Coaldrake, William Howard. “Building the Meiji State: The Western Architectural Hirearchy.” 208-250. Architecture and Authority in Japan. New York; Routledge. 1996.

Henrichsen, Christoph. “Historical outline of conservation legislation in Japan.” Horzon Architectural and Urban Conservation in Japan, 12-21. Edited by Enders, Siegfried RCT, and Gutschow Niels. Sungnam: Daehan Printing and Publishing Co.,Ltd., 1998.

MacWilliams, Mark. “Buddhist Pilgrim/Buddhist Exile: Old and New Images of Retired Emperor Kazan in the Saigoku Kannon Temple Guidebooks.” History of Religions 34, no. 4 (1995): 303-28.

McKelway, Matthew P. . Capitalscapes. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2006

Stavros, Matthew. Kyoto: An Urban History of Japan’s Premodern Capital. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2014.

Winfield, Pamela D.. “Kyoto Pilgrimage Past and Present.” CrossCurrents 59, no.3 (2009): 349–357.