Ryōan Keigo

Ryōan Keigo (了庵桂悟, 1425–1514) was a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk and diplomat in the Muromachi period.[1] He was the chief envoy of a 1511–1513 mission sent by the Ashikaga shogunate to the court of the Zhengde Emperor in Beijing.

Tofuku-ji abbotEdit

In 1486, the Rinzai monk Keigo was the 171st abbot of the Tofuku-ji monastery when the honorific title "Ryōan" was conferred by Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado.[1] He was already considered famous when he was designated by Ashikaga Yoshizumi to lead the 1511 mission to China;[2] and Yoshizumi conferred the further honorific title "Butsunichi Zenji," perhaps with the intention of impressing the Chinese.[1]

Mission to ChinaEdit

The economic benefit of the Sinocentric tribute system was profitable trade. The tally trade (kangō bōeki or kanhe maoyi in Chinese) involved exchanges of Japanese products for Chinese goods. The Chinese "tally" was a certificate issued by the Ming. The first 100 such tallies were conveyed to Japan in 1404. Only those with this formal proof of Imperial permission represented by the document were officially allowed to travel and trade within the boundaries of China; and only those diplomatic missions presenting authentic tallies were received as legitimate ambassadors.[3]

Year Sender Envoys Chinese monarch Comments
1511-1513 Yoshitane Keigo Zhengde Party of 600; returned with Zhengde tallies; returned leftover tallies from the Jingtai and Chenghua eras.[4]

Selected worksEdit

  • Goroku
  • Jinshin nyūmin ki

See alsoEdit



  • Fogel, Joshua A. (2009). Articulating the Sinosphere: Sino-Japanese Relations in Space and Time. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674032590; OCLC 255142264
  • Goodrich, Luther Carrington and Zhaoying Fang. (1976). Dictionary of Ming biography, 1368-1644 (明代名人傳), Vol. I; Dictionary of Ming biography, 1368-1644 (明代名人傳), Vol. II. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231038010; OCLC 1622199
  • (in French) Titsingh, Isaac, ed. (1834). [Siyun-sai Rin-siyo/Hayashi Gahō, 1652], Nipon o daï itsi ran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 300555357
  • Yoda, Yoshiie. (1996). The Foundations of Japan's Modernization: a comparison with China's Path towards Modernization. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-9-004-09999-9; OCLC 246732011

External linksEdit