Chéng Shùnzé 1663-1734

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In this kind of Chinese junk, Cheng Shunze made his voyage to the Ryukyu Kingdom.

"Shunze was a scion of one of the original 36 Chinese families of Kumemura. In the year Shunze was born, his father, Taizuo 泰祚, had accompanied the first Qing investiture embassy back to China, where he stayed for two years. In 1671 Taizuo and Sho Joken had petitioned the throne urging the establishment of a Confucian temple in Kumemura, and Taizuo was subsequently commissioned to supervise the temple's construction. Taizuo sailed for China again in the following year with a tribute mission, but unfortunately died of illness in Suzhou in 1675 at the youthful age of 42.

Shunze, however, was well prepared to carry on in his father's foot steps. He had excelled in Chinese learning from a young age, showing a particular passion for painting and poetry. In recognition of his learning, in 1683 he was named official interpreter (tongshi 通事) to accompany a royal thanksgiving mission to Fujian. There he stayed behind to further his studies under a poet named Chen Yuanfu 陳元輔 and a Confucian scholar named Zhu Tianzhi 竺天植. Upon his return in 1687 he was appointed tutor to the throne . Two years later he was sent back to China to study Neo-Confucianism and investigate Chinese institutions while serving at the Ryukyu legation in Fuzhou. During this two-year stay, he purchased, at his own expense, a complete 1,592-volume set of the seventeen dynastic histories, which he present ed to the Confucian temple upon his return.

Subsequently, Shunze made three further journeys to China, in the years 1696-98, 1706-08 , and 1720-21 . With the tribute mission of 1696 he travelled from Fujian to the Chinese capital Yanjing (Beijing) , where he associated with eminent Chinese poets, scholars, and officials . He recorded his experiences during the eight-month journey to and from the capital in a series of 83 poems , under the title Xuetang Yanyou Cao 雪堂燕游草 a work that became a classic of Ryukyuan literature . Through this and other writings, Shunze became much admired and emulated as a Chinese-style poet not only in his native Ryukyu, but in Japan as well."

The Transmission of Neo-Confucianism to the Ryukyu (Liuqiu)
Islands and Its Historical Significance, Barry D. Steben
National University of Singapore

Ferry Boat Crossing 程順則
Sound of Surf On Pine Path 松徑濤聲

Related Items:
Fújiàn 福建
Fúzhōu 福州
Japan 日本
Kumemura 久米村
Naha 那霸
Naminoue 波の上
Okinawa 沖繩
Ryukyu Kingdom 琉球王国
Shuri 首里
Shurijo 首里城