Christian Daimyo (Feudal Lord)
|In the middle of the 16th century, the Otomo
Family ruled over the international city of Oita (called Funai at
that time), which actively traded and held exchanges with foreign
countries, and it enjoyed its most prosperous times during the days
of the 20th Lord Yoshiaki , 21st Sorin (Yoshishige), and 22nd Yoshimune.
In particular, Sorin (1530- 1587) invited the Christian missionary
Francisco Xavier to Oita, and protected and encouraged Christianity.
He also embraced Western culture enthusiastically. After being baptized,
he called himself "Don Francisco", and dreamt of establishing
a Christian kingdom, however, he died in Tsukumi without fulfilling
his dream. Another person who endorsed the development of Christianity
in Oita was Father Petoro Kasui Kibe (1587-1639). Though he had traveled
to Rome via the Holy Land of Jerusalem and was appointed as a Bishop,
he came back to Japan while there was a serious ban on Christianity.
He was finally caught and executed. His birthplace, Kunimi Town holds
an annual Petoro Kibe Festival.
Three Wisemen of Bungo*: Baien, Banri, and Tanso
|Oita is proud of having three wisemen represent
modern Oita ; MIURA Baien (1723-1789), HOASHI Banri (1778- 1852),
and HIROSE Tanso (1782-1856). "Baien" was really named "Susumu"
and "Baien" was actually the name of his private school.
After he had studied under AYABE Keisai in Kitsuki and FUJITA Keisho
in Nakatsu for a short period of time, he taught and established his
own science of "jori", and also worked at a hospital in
his birthplace of Tominaga Village (Aki Town). He left many works
such as "Gengo (Deep Words)", "Zeigo (Redundant Words)"
and "Kango (Bold Words)" which were known as Baien's Three
"Go (words)". He also had goodknowledge of astronomy and
his hand-made astronomical globe was passed down the generations.
Keisai's son, who was 11 years younger than Baien, and an astronomer
and anatomist called ASADA Goryu, was also one of the Baien's disciples
HOASHI Banri learned under WAKI Ranshitsu (1764-1811) who was a disciple
of Baien. Banri brought his ability into full play in natural science
and medical science, not to mention Confucianism, and was appointed
as a Minister for the Feudal Lord in 1832 to revive the financial
situation of the Hiji clan. He learned Dutch by himself and wrote
Japan's first books of natural science, "Kyuritsu"(a set
of 8 volumes). Later in life, he opened the private school "Seienshoja"
and produced many talented disciples such as MORI Kuso (1797-1884),
MERA Tokyo (1811-1871), and OKAMATSU Okoku (1820- 1895 ) .
A Confucian scholar and Chinese poet HIROSE Tanso was born as the
first son of a banker in Hita. Since he was sickly, he handed over
the family business to his younger brother Kyube (1790-1871) and devoted
himself to study. He established the private school Keirinen in 1807,
but lately it was moved and renamed as Kangien. His unique educational
principles were found in "Sandatsu-no Ho" and "Gettan
Hyo". "Sandatsu-no Ho" was the principle of Kangien-that
is to dissociate the 3 major personal backgrounds of the disciples
with the disciples themselves; that is, age, educational background,
and status. Furthermore, their monthly school results were announced
in the form of "Getten Hyo" to encourage them. Gradually,
disciples started to gather from all over Japan to reach to more than
3,000 from 62 domains by the end of Edo period. Though his youngest
brother Kyokuso (1807-1863) had been also a Confucian scholar and
Chinese poet and was once in charge of the administration of Kangien,
he moved to the Kinai area for his own work.
*Bungo : Oita Prefecture's ancient name
Petoro Kasui Kibe
MIURA Baien's Old Residence (Aki Town)
Kangien School (Hita City)