Shopping techniques? – Purchasing Egoma (Perilla seed) oil

A critical game or battle that may decide one’s fate is sometimes referred to as “Tennozan (天王山)”. “Tennozan” is a mountain located in Oyamazaki-cho(大山崎町) in southern Kyoto Prefecture. Hashiba Hideyoshi (羽柴秀吉) and Akechi Mitsuhide (明智光秀) fought for this mountain in their battle of Yamazaki. Hideyoshi won this mountain, and that victory determined their destinies in the entire battle. This is why a critical game or battle is called “Tennozan”.

In Oyamazaki, where Tennozan is located, the production of Egoma (荏胡麻Perilla seed) oil was prosperous. The origin of this product is believed to be traced back to the Heian period. Oil dealers were doing business around the Rikyu Hachimangu shrine (離宮八幡宮) at the foot of Tennozan, and later established a trade union called “Za”. The Oyamazaki Aburaza (lit. Oyamazaki Oil Trade Union) served Iwashimizu Hachimangu (石清水八幡宮), the main shrine for Rikyu Hachimangu, which was located across the river, and cooperated in religious services and festivals, and finally acquired exclusive rights for the procurement of raw materials, production and marketing, in return for such services.

The Egoma oil became a special product from this region, and was used for lighting lamps. It was not only delivered to Iwashimizu Hachimangu, but also marketed in Oyamazaki and in Kyoto. The Toji Hyakugo Archives records how the oil was traded:

Chinju Hachimangu Toyuryo Sokusan Yojo web page
Item 97 of Box-HE (Hiragana), “Chinju Hachimangu Toyuryo Sokusan Yojo”, dated May 12, 1458

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Emperor’s command written on thin black paper

What are the most exciting things about ancient documents?
Deciphering cursive handwritten characters? Appreciating handwriting and brush strokes by famous persons?
The answers will vary. Studies of ancient paper used may be one of them. Today’s story is focused on paper used in ancient documents.

Go-Daigo Emperor’s Command web page
Item 9 of Box-SE (Hiragana) Nancho Documents, “Go-Daigo Emperor’s Command”, dated June 19, 1333

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What are drawn in the picture? 2

Some Sashizu (drawings) are included in the Toji Hyakugo Archives. One of them is a Shoen Ezu (lit. pictorial diagram of manor) titled “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” (Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana)).

This picture depicts a Shoen (manor) that was located in around the present Suita, Osaka, showing rivers and farm fields throughout Taruminosho. At a close look, some things are drawn between the two islands that are located in the Mikunigawa river (present Kanzakigawa river), which runs from east to west at the top of the picture.

Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu web page
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”, October 1463

Continue reading What are drawn in the picture? 2

What are drawn in the picture? 1

The Toji Hyakugo Archives include several documents titled “Sashizu (差図)”. This term sounds unfamiliar. What does it mean?
For example, the figure below is called “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”. It seems like a kind of map. Let’s have a close look at it.

Item of 101 Box U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”, October 1463
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”, October 1463

In medieval Japan, figures were often drawn to identify the details of Shoen (manors). Figures of Shoen were drawn for diverse purposes and in various processes, for example, for clarifying who should pay land tax (rice and harvest) and how much the tax should be, and for investigating local situation when a dispute occurred concerning the distribution of water channels to farm fields. Such figures are called “Shoen Ezu (lit. pictorial diagrams of manors)”. Among other Shoen Ezu, plane drawings that depict farm fields and water channels with simplified black ink lines are called “Sashizu”.
“Sashizu” not only signifies Shoen Ezu, but also collectively refers to the premises of residences, temples and towns, the layouts of tools and seats for Buddhist services, and so on.

A sheet of Ezu or Sashizu often reveals the domain of a particular Shoen, life of people living there, and many other historical facts. Here, leaving any academic complexities behind, let’s enjoy visiting the world drawn in Sashizu.

Look at the photos above. This Sashizu depicts Settsunokuni Taruminosho, a manor that was located in the present Osaka, just around the border between Suita and Toyonaka. It was drawn in October 1463, about 550 years ago.
This Sashizu was drawn in Taruminosho when “Kenchu (検注)” was conducted. “Kenchu” refers to measuring land area and designating the owner of the measured land, for the purpose of identifying who should pay land tax (rice and harvest) and how much the tax should be.

Care should be taken as to the directions of the map. In this Sashizu, the bottom is directed to the north.
It seems that this type of manor diagrams were folded out and seen from all sides. A close look at this photo shows that characters and illustrations were entered in various directions, to the top and bottom and to the left and right.

At the top of this drawing, the “Mikunigawa (三国川)” river (present Kanzakigawa (神崎川)) runs from left to right. The road along the river is marked as “三国堤 (Mikuni Tsutsumi (tsutsumi: bank))”. Mikunigawa runs through the north of the Yodogawa river, and flows into the Osaka Bay.
Taruminosho was a manor that covered the northern coast of Mikunigawa. The place name “Mikuni (三国)” remains to date in this area.

Mikunigawa is depicted at the top of this diagram, and something of a crescent shape floats in the top left corner. Let’s turn it upside down:

Item of 101 Box U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”, A) Fune (Boat)
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”, A) Fune (Boat)

It is a picture of a boat – a simple vessel just like a leaf boat, and one oar. In those days, ferry boats traveled across Mikunigawa, so this picture may have depicted one of them.
Trees are also drawn here and there. There is one in the top right of the drawing (A), one on another river that runs at the center from north to south (B), and in the bottom left of the drawing (C). A closer look shows that things are also drawn around the temple (帰命寺 (Kimyoji)) and around the shrine in the bottom left area of the photo.

Item of 101 Box U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”, C) A pine tree (A)
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”, C) A pine tree (A)
Item of 101 Box U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, D) A tree on the river (B)
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, D) A tree on the river (B)
Item of 101 Box U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, E) A tree (C)
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, E) A tree (C)

Tree (A) has a thick trunk, and thin leaves that stretch vertically on horizontally spreading branches. It may be a grand pine tree.
Tree (B) has branches that resemble those of (A), though without many leaves.
Tree (C) has branches that grow seemingly upward, in a manner different from those of (A) and (B).

Among the three buildings, Kimyoji is drawn to the left, above the other two. It seems that a bamboo bush surrounds this temple. Bamboo bushes may have always surrounded temples, long time ago and still in the present days.

Item of 101 Box U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, F) Kimyoji
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, F) Kimyoji

Near the shrine building is drawn a Torii gateway to show that it is a shrine. In front of the shrine building, something like a hedge is depicted.

Item of 101 Box U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, G) A shrine
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, G) A shrine

To the right of the shrine is depicted another temple, marked as “円隆寺 (Enryuji)”. According to “吹田市史 (History of Suita City)”, Enryuji had a close relationship with the Toji temple, and was the main place of worship in Taruminosho. A gate with doors is drawn, with a part of earthen wall, suggesting a different atmosphere from that of Kimyoji.

Item of 101 Box U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, H) Enryuji
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu” 2, H) Enryuji

While the buildings of the temples and the shrine are drawn in the same manner, items around them clearly indicate their characteristics. All items in the drawing seem simple, but are actually drawn carefully and skillfully.
Ancient documents are usually filled with unfamiliar characters, yet such interesting illustrations are sometimes found!
Last but not least, let’s look at the islands that are located in Mikunigawa.

Item of 101 Box U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”, B) A reed field?
Item 101 of Box-U (Katakana), “Settsunokuni Taruminosho Sashizu”, B) A reed field?

Two islands are drawn. The larger one is marked as “本嶋 (Honshima) (lit. main island)”, and the smaller one as “新嶋 (Shinsima) (lit. new island)”. Between them are drawn things that look like plants or trees. Are the reeds growing in the river? Well, the true answer is … it’s in another document in the Hyakugo Archives! Look forward to the next story.

History recorded in drawings

“Documents” contain not only text. Today, let’s look at how history is recorded in drawings.

Iyonokuni Yugeshimanosho Jito Ryoke Sobun Sashizu web page
Item 153 of Box-TO (Hiragana), “Iyonokuni Yugeshimanosho Jito Ryoke Sobun Sashizu”

“Iyonokuni Yugeshimanosho (伊予国弓削島荘)” was an area known for salt production, and had been widely known as a “Shoen (manor) of salt”. This manor is located on the Yugeshima island(弓削島) and the Hyakkanjima island(百貫島), Kamijima-cho(上島町), Ochi-gun(越智郡), Ehime(愛媛) in the present day, at the easternmost tip of the Geiyo Islands that range from Hiroshima Prefecture to Ehime Prefecture (Google Maps ). Turn the Sashizu (map) north up, and compare it with the present map (Geospatial Information Authority of Japan ). The L-shaped island is Yugeshima, and “辺屋路島 (Heyajijima)” drawn to the northeast of Yugeshima equals to today’s Hyakkanjima. The shapes are simplified, but clearly represent the geographic characteristics of the two islands.

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Prayer for victory – Contribution from Kuze Kamishimonosho Jitoshiki

Ashikaga Takauji(足利尊氏) narrowly won the battle, thanks to the protection of the Toji Chinju-Hachimangu shrine(東寺鎮守八幡宮). However, fights continued in Kyoto and in Hieizan (Mt. Hiei), and the war situation was unpredictable. As Takauji keenly wanted to achieve his fervent wish, he contributed an estate of his to Toji Chinju-Hachimangu on the day following the “release of sacred arrows by the deity”, praying for further protection.

Ashikaga Takauji Yamashirono-kuni Kuze Kamishimonosho Jitoshiki Shinjo-an web page
Item 4 of Box-KO (Katakana), “Ashikaga Takauji Yamashirono-kuni Kuze Kamishimonosho Jitoshiki Kishinjo-an”, dated July 1, 1336

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Guards of Toji: the Akazunomon gate and the Toji Chinju-Hachimangu shrine

東寺境内図
Map of the Toji precincts

The Todaimon(東大門) gate quietly stands to the northeast of the five-storied pagoda of Toji. Todaimon is also called “Akazunomon(不開門) (lit. never-opened gate)”. As its name suggests, the doors of this gate are not opened except on special occasions. Do you know why?

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Ryoyu, a Buddhist monk recorded on a stone pagoda

羅城門跡地付近出土石塔
Stone pagoda unearthed near the site of the Rajomon gate, owned by the Museum of Kyoto
* This image is not provided with a CC BY license.

An excavation in 1961 unearthed a stone pagoda near the presumed site of the Rajomon gate (羅城門), close to Toji Temple. On this stone pagoda, the following letters were recorded:

天正八年
(Sanskrit alphabet “Ā”) 権僧正亮祐大和尚位 (Gonnosojo Ryoyu Daiwajoi)
壬三月十八日

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Treasures and documents that were sent to a shelter during the Onin War were lost in a fire

The Onin War refers to a battle that started in 1467 and continued for about a decade, fought in Kyoto by the eastern army and western army of military governors. It is recorded in “Nijuikku-kata Hyojo Hikitsuke” (Box Hiragana CHI, No. 19) that Toji Temple sent its treasures and documents to the Daigo-ji Temple (醍醐寺) for shelter in September 1467, shortly after the war started, for the purpose of protecting them from the fires of war. “Nijuikku-kata” (廿一口方) refers to an in-house organization of Toji Temple in medieval times, which consisted of 21 monks. “Hikitsuke” (引付) means minutes of meetings (“Hyojo”) held by such organizations.

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Takiyamajo castle in the Sengoku period, as seen by Yasui Soun

When Toji brought disputes to court presided by Miyoshi Nagayoshi (三好長慶) in the Sengoku period, they concluded an agreement for consultancy with Yasui Soun (安井宗運), for the purpose of enabling efficient proceedings. Therefore, Soun, as the representative of Toji visited Matsunaga Hisahide (松永久秀) many times, a vassal of Miyoshi Nagayoshi who often handled trials involving Toji.

Continue reading Takiyamajo castle in the Sengoku period, as seen by Yasui Soun